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Bri at Run Lift Yoga has issued a challenge — post a “real gym selfie”, by which she means a smiling face (instead of a painfully carefully lit and posed definition shot). She notes that the proliferation of carefully staged shots can have a similar, demoralizing impact on viewers that airbrushed media images have, and that regular posting of such idealized (or even sexualized) images can have pretty negative unintended consequences.

I’d like to up the ante — in fact, I’d like to suggest that people do what Bri herself does: take casual photos while doing active stuff, alone or with others. Among the pleasures of a commitment to get more exercise (or eat better) is feeling better and being able to do more. And grabbing some snapshots of the things you’re doing helps make it real, helps you make the transition from a person who wants to do more to a person who is really doing it.

You don’t even have to show anyone the pictures you take. Talk to a lot of people who have lost a large amount of weight, and one of the things you hear most often is “I definitely didn’t want to take ‘before’ shots but now I kinda wish I could see how I looked then.” Progress pictures — especially action shots — give you something to look back on while honoring the work you’re doing to get better.

A friend snapped this picture of me flipping a tire last spring. (And no, that’s not a blazer! It’s just a fleece top with very crisp shoulders!)

Do you have an action shot you’d like to share?

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