As somebody who’s fallen for the fad diet and exercise routines time and time again, I have to admit that I’m one of those people that advertising was created for. If you show me an image of chips, I want chips; show me an image of wine, I want wine; show me an image of a toned body running ten miles and oh my god why did I eat those chips and drink that wine. I’m certainly not alone in my easily-influenced mindset — the diet industry is worth billions and billions of dollars in America, as so many of us are fat and so many of us desperately want to lose weight. When we see weight loss transformation photos depicting an overweight person morphing into a thin one, we want to know why they’ve suddenly transformed to a different shape — and how we can, too. But that’s the problem: it is sudden. So sudden, in fact, that a personal trainer named Andrew Dixon was able to achieve a similar “before” and “after” effect as just about any diet or exercise infomercial out there.
In his piece for the Huffington Post, Dixon explains that people should not be swayed or wooed by the dramatic “weight loss” before and after pictures. He wants consumers to recognize that these products are successful because their marketing campaigns target those who wish to lose weight quickly by showing such drastic results and claiming they occurred within a comfortably short time frame (after all, if there’s anything we Americans hate more than waiting, it’s waiting while hungry).
I decided to take my own transformation photos to see what was possible with just a few easy tweaks. About six months ago I was around 185 pounds and about 16 percent body fat. I was feeling particularly bloated on the day, so I asked my girlfriend to take a before shot. I then shaved my head, face and chest and prepared for the after shot, which was about an hour after I took the before shot. I did a few push ups and chin ups, tweaked my bedroom lighting, sucked in, tightened my abs and BOOM! We got our after shot.
The photo on the right? Shot an hour after the first one. Incredible. By changing up the lighting, doing some intense exercises, tightening his body and shaving off any hair, Dixon managed to recreate the same type of “transformative” results that so many companies have touted to potential buyers for years.
While I am sure some people out there have succeeded with diet pills, achieved weight loss with exercise regimens from commercials and at least one person owns (and uses) a Bowflex, it is very manipulative and misleading to show consumers photos that will make them believe tons of change is possible in a short span of time. In the long run, let’s be honest, even if it kinda sucks: a healthy diet and regular exercise are still, of course, the best way to go. The rest, as Dixon says, is all “smoke and mirrors.”
Via Huffington Post.