Why Weight Loss Pictures Can Be Deceptive

This pair of pictures shows Australian personal trainer Mel — but it isn't a before-and-after shot. Both were taken within 15 minutes of each other. The difference? The pose, the accessories, the zoom and a simple image filter.

As Mel explains on her blog, changing the zoom, switching from red to black swimwear, altering the pose and wearing fake tan (amongst other cosmetic tweaks) all make the image on the right look healthier.

We're familiar with the tricks imposed by image editors, but Mel also points out the damaging impact of a before-and-after shot even if it happens to be accurate:

What a before and after shot doesn't tell you how the person achieved it. It doesn't tell you if they did it in a healthy way or if they starved themselves for weeks on end to get there.

Quite. The efforts of our own Mark Serrels notwithstanding, sustained weight loss takes place over a period of time.

The hidden truths behind a transformation pic! [MelVFitness via Gawker via Business Insider]


    Won't be surprised if we see these pics in an ad on Facebook selling the benefits of Acacia berries (or other snake oil) now. lol
    Still good article (note also the stuff on the door in the background has not moved)

    Yeah and she hasn't actually used all the tricks in the trade before you even get to digital manipulation. A good salty bloat in the before picture, and the proper use of lighting (both before and after) can make a phenomenal difference.

    "accessories, the and" ... are we missing a word or two there?

    Last edited 28/08/13 10:42 am

    also sucking in your gut in the after shot.

    It's like those before and after pictures in infomercials where the main difference is the girl is smiling in the after.

    On the left we have the wife and on the right the mistress.

    If I stop posting on Lifehacker - rest assured - my wife did me in.

    is Mel single? either pic i'd be happy to say she's mine

    Sticking out your neck and tilting your head slightly downward gives you better jawline
    photos when in the right lighting. It does look funny and forced from the wrong angles tho

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