We've all seen them—the weight-loss "before" and "after" photos that are so drastic you can hardly recognize the person.
Now, thanks to a new infographic from Psychguides.com (see below), we can all see just how sketchy those pictures really are. (Moms, be sure to tell your daughters!)
Among the people who agreed to show just how deceptive images can be are two personal trainers and a coach. Their "before" and "after" pics each look shockingly different—complete with rippling muscles and smaller hips—and one was taken a mere 15 minutes after the "before" image.
Some tricks of the dubious trade? Surprisingly, they don't involve Photoshop.
Melanie Ventura, a fitness trainer from Australia, showed that eating a big breakfast, standing with your feet together and wearing a bikini bottom that's too tight can create the illusion that you are perhaps bigger than you really are. In her "after" shot, 15 minutes later, she sucked in her gut, added spray tan, changed her bottoms and her pose—all of which made her look pounds lighter.
A writer for Australian site MammaMia.com tried the experiment on her own, and the differences were pretty startling.
So next time you see a before/after ad, keep in mind that looks can be deceiving.