The world is obsessed with transformation. Think about it.
How many magazine covers, Facebook posts, Instagram stories or commercials have you seen with before and after pictures?
From home renovations to weight loss renovations, we like to see and look at “dramatic results.”
The After Picture is appealing, eye-catching, and “click-worthy.” It’s all that matters to some. The Before Picture only seems to get noticed if it is unattractive or shocking. The After Picture is what some of us focus on, worship, and try to emulate.
But I’m going to level with you.
The After Picture doesn’t really mean anything.
If you want to a picture to emulate, you’ve got to find an After the After Picture.
Let me explain what I mean.
“Even low-calorie diets and vigorous exercise fail to work in the long term for at least some people.” — Andrew Weil
The Research Is In
Research tells us that only 2–3 percent of people who lose weight can maintain their weight loss. That’s bad news for those who want to lose weight, but job security for every diet counselor, nutritionist, personal trainer, and some weight loss doctors.
This research holds up across spheres. For instance, in the physique world — bodybuilders, physique contestants, fitness or bikini competitors, etc. — the percentage of those able to maintain their weight is higher, but not by as much as you might think…
For the physique world (bodybuilders, fitness girls, physique contestants, etc.), I think the percentage of those able to maintain their hard-worked-for body is much greater. Going through my notes and charts on thousands of patients over many years, my guess it is closer to 10–20% in the first year, but then plummets to 5–8% by the time they are five years out from competing.
Most people that dive into a diet or into the bodybuilding world find that every diet they begin must eventually end.
Sometimes diets end because of personal choice.
Sometimes diets end because of a health diagnosis.
Sometimes diets end because the dieter just can’t do it anymore.
Diets can cause relationship issues, social anxiety, mental and or physical fatigue. And don’t get me started on the hormonal havoc they can wreak. They just aren’t sustainable.
“There has to be a good balance of diet, food, and workout for your body to stay in good shape, always!” — Rithvik Dhanjani
After the After
We assume that the After Pictures are the end of the dieter’s story, but they’re not. The whole story includes a picture that comes several months, years, or decades after the initial After Picture.
I used to have a hat that I wore around the gym that said, “I am the After Picture.” Now, some people might think that’s cocky, but it was my way of saying that having the physique you want isn’t the result of a diet.
Having the physique you want is the result of a lifestyle choice.
It doesn’t come from an exercise program or a diet. It comes from a transformed lifestyle of movement and eating.
I consider the Before Picture and the After Picture both as the “before.” They are both you at different stages of choice. They can both be you again at any point.
If you want to achieve and keep the physique you want, don’t worry about the After Picture. Think about the “from now on” picture.
The “from now on” picture captures everything — striving for balance with eating instead of criminalizing foods, timing your meals to get the most out of them, moving every day, etc. It includes the ice cream sundaes you enjoy with your kids after a bike ride on a nice fall day. It includes a tough HIIT workout. The “from now on” picture includes everything.
Want your dream physique? Commit to a lifestyle instead of a program. I promise you, your desired physique can be maintained through consistent, sustainable choices.