Progress Photos: “F” This

In life, I think that there are facts and there are feelings.

Feelings are rarely facts, and facts are rarely feelings.

Fitness and health include both facts and feelings.  Each of these “F”s plays an important role, but we have to keep them in balance!

Some examples health and fitness facts that you might want to keep in mind:

  • Your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and resting blood sugar levels
  • Facts about your strength (how many push-ups/sit-ups/shoulder presses can you do in one minute?)
  • Facts about your cardio fitness (how fast can you walk a mile?  how fast can you run a mile?)

Some examples of health and fitness feelings that you might want to keep in mind:

  • How much stronger you feel after a workout
  • How much better you feel after a healthy meal
  • How good you feel about yourself when you stick to your program, see results, believe in yourself, take a step in a better direction….

Health and fitness thinking often gets tangled up because the facts and feelings start getting mistaken for each other.  I am often told “facts” like:

  • I just can’t do this….  I’m not good at…. (actually feelings, not a facts!)
  • I’m so far from my goal (ok this one might be a fact, but any small step toward your goal is a more important fact)
  • I don’t like my [insert literally anything you can think of here] (definitely a feeling!  and not one that’s worth holding on to!)
  • I’m not making any progress (yes…another feeling, unless you’re not sticking to your program)

While everyone is wallowing around in these negative feelings, they’re overlooking the real facts like:

  • How much stronger/faster/more agile they’ve gotten in their workouts
  • How many new recipes they’ve tried or invented in the name of healthier eating
  • How much closer they are to their goals than when they started…or were thinking about starting…or were starting to think about thinking about starting….

The Photo Part

No one I’ve worked with has ever wanted to take a “before” picture.

But…”before” is now.  “Before” is the life you are currently living.  Today.  This life is a fact!  And, chances are, it’s probably a pretty great life.  You are a great you.  (Really, you are.  I’m not just that chipper, I really think so.)  And, you are that great you today. “Before.”

Whether or not you take a picture to show one set of facts about who you currently are, those facts are still a part you.  You might have feelings about those particular facts, but those feelings don’t change the facts*.

If you stick with your program, progress will also be a fact.  The changes you want to see will become facts.  However, you will miss out on your progress toward those changes if you don’t have photos to record them along the way!

Your “before” photo is also a vote of confidence in your “after” photo – it’s a vote of confidence in yourself, and in your own ability to make the changes that you want to see.  And THAT should feel pretty great!

F The Photo

That is…make the photo a fact.  You don’t have to look at it again for a while.  Just store it away somewhere so that you can come back to it in a month and be rightfully surprised.  Don’t let your worries about the future steal your today from you!  Have a little bit of one more F in yourself…some faith about the future!  We’re in this together, after all.


*Letting your feelings win this battle is also called “denial”…facts are facts, my friends.  They can change, but they are usually empirical knowledge that can be confirmed by repeat observations.  True story.

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