I Took a Selfie Every Week for a Month to Lose Weight. Here’s What Happened.
Participants in a study successfully lost weight after having their photo taken weekly. But would it work with selfies, too?
Courtesy Chloe Winter
Confession: Two years ago, I worked out six days a week and weighed 15 pounds less than I do now. What happened to me? I changed jobs, turned 50, fell in love and got a little too comfy wearing yoga pants. So when I read that about 71 percent of participants in a study who had weekly pictures taken (along with measurements and other data) lost weight, I was intrigued. It made sense to me to see visual progress in pictures instead of just relying on the scale. I decided to try it myself.
The difference with my experiment is the study participants had the research staff take photos, measurements, and weight. I wasn’t about to let anyone take a picture of me, so I decided I would take full length selfie of myself every Monday for a month. I figured it would be a good way to stay motivated and get my mind in the right place.
The first picture was downright depressing. I knew I had gained some weight but—yikes!—I had gotten soft, too. The pride and joy of my body was my abs and now they resembled Pooh’s belly, and not in a cute way.
By week two, chaos broke out. We bought a house and the closing process went so quickly we were able to move in right away! Simultaneously, our holiday guests were still in the old house and contractors were coming and going, fixing things at the new house. I spent a lot of time between two houses instead of walking in the mornings like I had been the first week. Although I wasn’t getting a traditional workout, I thought all the constant moving would help melt off the pounds. (Literally. I was moving boxes up and down three flights of stairs.) However, week two’s selfie produced no visible results. Quite honestly, I didn’t expect too much until the third week, but this was a buzz kill. Time to get serious.
I decided to amp up my weight loss/fitness regime. By trade, I’m a writer, so naturally I’m on my butt most of the day. I set my kitchen timer to go off every hour during my writing hours and got up to do about 10 minutes of exercise. I rode my stationary bike or hopped on my elliptical. Sometimes I hit the mat and cranked out some push ups and crunches. I started drinking more green tea during the day and less wine and beer during the night. I set up my gym in the basement of the new house and started exercising in the morning.
Week four came and I put the same clothes on I had been wearing each Monday. Still, no change. I’m not as disappointed as I thought. I felt like I gave myself the fresh start I needed to get back in shape.
The study lasted 16 weeks and my little experiment was only four weeks and the first half of virtually no focus on diet or fitness. Although I haven’t lost a single lousy pound or even half a inch, the good thing is my resolve hasn’t wavered. I know that the number on the scale may not budge right away but my psyche is moving in the right direction: To get back on track to eat healthier and be more active again. I’m going to keep up with the selfies because like the study concluded, seeing is believing.
While the selfie trick didn’t work, these easy weight-loss tips will!