Recently, every time I’ve caught a glimpse in the mirror of my belly when it’s bloated, I’ve made a mental note to share it with you guys. That might sound weird but I know that at one point in my life, it could be very upsetting to see fluctuations in my shape that I now know to be completely normal. We wanted to share these pictures to provide a visual of the fact that what we eat, drink, and do everyday affects the way we feel and the way we look, on an hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly basis. We think these pictures are a good argument for not picking yourself apart or over analyzing inevitable and natural changes in your body.
Here are the timelines for these pictures:
Picture 1: Thursday afternoon just before Thanksgiving dinner with family + an after party at our house
Picture 2: Thursday night after lots of delicious food and drink
Picture 3: Saturday morning, after another day of good food + a workout and lots of water
What happened between each picture?
Between pictures one and two, lots of eat and drinking. No binging or eating until we’re sick (that’s not healthy either); just enjoying a holiday feast without any reservation.
On the day between pictures two and three, I did a 45 minute workout of strength training with a little bit of light cardio and Daniel did not workout at all. We both ate plenty of food; lots of fresh stuff but also some leftovers (everything from beans, rice, avocados, vegetables, potatoes, turkey, eggs, fruits, even some cheesecake leftover from the holidays and a glass of white wine, etc) We both drank a lot of water.
Important: There was no diet restriction, no caloric reduction, no overtraining or over exercising, no “detoxing”, no diet pills, and no starvation. None of those things work, and as you can see, you can make relatively big changes in your body in a short amount of time, just by drinking lots of water, working out, and eating reasonably.
No one looks “cut” or “shredded” all the time. Hydration levels, sodium intake, workouts, hormones, digestion, what you’ve eaten and when, lighting, posture, and even mood are just a few of the things that can enormously impact what you see when you look in the mirror. Our bodies are constantly changing and that’s normal. Consistency is key when it comes to seeing results from clean eating and exercise but the whole time you’re on that journey, your body will continually be fluctuating in ways that you will and won’t notice. We hope that these images help you to be more accepting of the many different things you may see when you look in the mirror at any given point.
We hoped these pictures would show that there’s no need to turn to crazy diets or shortcuts for results - even quick ones. There’s also no reason to beat yourself up after a diet slip up or “cheat meal” - if you focus on the negative or entertain feelings of “failure”, you’re setting yourself up for a binge, or at least an unhealthy mindset. You wont get fit in a day and you won't get “fat” in a day.
It should be noted that any weight gained in picture 2 would only be water weight, sodium retention or a full belly, which is why it disappeared so quickly (by picture 3). This is normal after eating a big meal, particularly if it’s high in sodium. Water retention can make a big difference in weight, body shape and tone, and it’s typically the reason why people’s weight loss plans can start off with them seeming to have lost a great deal of weight, and also why weight loss seems to “slow” after that first week. Real weight or fat loss takes time and consistency, and you should aim for a drop of 2-3 lbs a week maximum. Whether you're trying to lose weight or not, you should also realize that progress and fitness and bloat and every other way that your body can fluctuate is all going to be relative to your own body. All of these things look different on each of us and it's a good idea to try and not compare yourself to others.