Sound like an odd question? I am sincere in my query, because I have had this issue myself: I was very successful at losing weight and gaining muscle in 2004, however after maintaining for approximately a year, I went back to my old habits of eating unconsciously. I saw the number on the scale rising, and of course my clothes were tighter, however when I looked in the mirror, either I did not want to see, or I could not see the magnitude of my weight gain.

If you have been struggling to find the motivation to lose weight so that you can live an active, healthy lifestyle, my suggestion is to get out your camera today.

Ask a loved one to take front, side, and back pictures of you. Choose clothing that won’t hide your body (I wore my workout gear) so that you will get a clear view of your shape today. I guarantee you that if you have not done this for awhile (or ever), that once you see your pictures you will not be able to deny that your health and fitness level could benefit from some daily movement and a healthy eating regime (note: I am not speaking of body dismorphia, but rather true overweight).

Take those pictures and display them where you will see them daily. Note though, that if you live with others and displaying your pictures publicly brings up thoughts of self-shame, then put your pictures where you can easily access them. Make a commitment to look at them at least once a day in order to remain conscious of the fact that you truly do need to take action in order to raise your level of health.

Remember, this is not an exercise in self-recrimination, but rather a wake up call. It is very easy to go out and buy larger clothing to hide in and deny that you are getting bigger. I have done this myself and have experienced thoughts such as “if my clothes aren’t tight, then what’s the problem?”

Your pictures can shake you out of your denial, and help you become conscious of where you are at today. Use them to motivate you to take action and seek out a healthy diet and exercise plan that you can stick with for the rest of your life. You could refer to my list of 9 different lifestyle changes and choose to implement one of them today.

It is true that a picture is worth a thousand words. Giving yourself the visual feedback of your body’s shape today is honestly one of the best motivators (and wake up calls) that I have experienced. Once you have done this and obtained the motivation that you need to move forward, you can then take it to the next level and begin to visualize the body that you wish to create.