Picture “Proof”

I recently received an e-mail from someone saying that she was eager about my program but doubted the results. She thought that it would be nice if I had physical pictures of those who have done my program and that she hopes I prove her wrong in her skepticism.

I found these comments fascinating – especially the one about the pictures. First off, how do pictures prove specific results? How many of us have been lured into trying a weight-loss product or program and failed to achieve – or maintain – the results promised by the beautiful marketing picture?

Secondly, are you sure that “after” picture is entirely the result of the product or program in question – and not at all the result of even a teensy bit of Photoshop?  And even when advertisers claim that their photographs have not been digitally altered, they are altered in other ways to evoke an emotional response.

Generally, the “before” picture will have harsh lighting, and the person will be wearing little or no makeup, standing in an uncomfortable pose, and looking insecure or unhappy. All of these nuances create an emotional response to the entire image itself – not simply to the person in the picture. These same techniques are used in reverse for the “after” picture. The lighting and background are flattering. The person is standing tall and smiling confidently, wearing nicely applied makeup and looking great.

We have an emotional response to the entire transformational experience of both images – not just simply to the result that these pictures are supposed to prove. Since this is the case, we are never really given an opportunity to “objectively” evaluate results demonstrated with photographs.

Next, are you sure that beautiful person in that picture is really a satisfied user of the product or program? As an actress, I regularly get paid to espouse the benefits of products that I don’t really use myself. It’s just another type of acting job – and the type that pays the best.

More importantly, what is the result that you are really after? If it’s simply to lose weight, there are thousands of programs with beautiful before and after pictures that claim to deliver results. If it’s freedom from the drama, pain and struggle of the weight-loss battle – and sustainable weight-loss as a bonus – that’s a different result. So what would a picture of that result look like?

That answer is as unique as each individual who has fought the weight-loss battle – and deeply personal. And since Happy Calories Don’t Count and the New Body Mind Makeover create deep transformation, these programs simply cannot be reduced to surface appearances.