After and Before

Today’s post is being brought to you by yours truly, and a co-author: my husband.

 

While working on blog ideas the other day, my husband came into my little office, carrying his laptop. 

‘You’ve got to share this with your readers,’ he said and turned the laptop towards me where, occupying the screen space was this photo: 

 

 

I was confused. ‘That looks like a still shot from a diet-aid infomercial.  Why would I be interested in that?’

‘Because.’ he said, pointing to the photo. ‘These photos were taken 5 hours apart!’  I looked again.

‘Photoshop.’ I said feeling very proud of my keen attention to detail, and went back to my computer.

‘That’s what I thought,’ he said. ‘Here.  Watch the video,’ and he clicked on Play. 

It was less than four minutes long. After it was over, I kind of sat there, a bit stunned.  After letting it settle a while longer, I found myself agitated, too.   Basically, this guy – Pete, wanted to show how quickly he could manipulate his body so that it would imitate both the before and after photos that we see in those weight-loss infomercials on TV. 

 

I admit to being one of those people who lingers a bit too long when it comes to watching infomercials.  Whether promoting ‘the best juicer in the world’ or ‘the greatest hair care products you’ll ever need,’ I always find myself pausing at these shows, especially if there’s a celebrity involved (anyone seen the Cindy Crawford skincare line?  Who would have thought that a rare melon was the key to keeping her so young and beautiful!)  I’ve never actually ordered any of these products.  I just watch them for entertainment purposes – except for the diet-related infomercials; those always seem to leave me feeling frustrated.  I mean, how many times do I have to hear, ‘If I can do it, anyone can do it!’  Ugh!

I was glad that Pete put this video out on the net because it affirmed what I already knew about these ‘easy weight-loss’ infomercials.  Magic pills, machines, potions, patches and inhalers aren’t the key to being healthy.  Nor does looking like a rock-hard bodybuilder or a supermodel mean that you are the picture of health (I’m talking to YOU, Jennifer Aniston. Put those cigarettes down!)  In other words, what you see isn’t always what you get.  Let’s remember that the next time we compare ourselves to people we can’t physically see beyond our TV screens or in magazine ads.   

If you’re interested in Pete’s after and before transformation, you can watch it right here:

Body transformation in 5 hours

 

What are your thoughts on Pete’s video?  What about infomercials?  Have you ever bought anything As Seen on TV that actually worked? 

 

~Ellen

25 thoughts on “After and Before

  1. Jenn

    WOW! That video was crazy!!!!!!!!!!! Really interesting! Do you mind if I repost? I will link back to your blog.

    Yes, I have fallen victim many infomercials!! That’s why I have P90x and Slim in 6 workout dvds collecting dust right now. I was not a P90 girl at all but I did like the Slim in 6 workouts a lot!!

    Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      I don’t mind at all, Jenn. In fact, I think everyone who’s looking for that ‘ideal body’ should see this. Makes me feel tempted to do my own after/before photo. (on the other hand…..maybe not.) LOL

      Reply
  2. E. Jane

    Yes, I have fallen victim to infomercials, even though I don’t want to admit it. I’m doing better in that department now, but not before spending too many dollars on products that make unrealistic promises. The same goes for the weight loss books that flood the bookstores and the internet. I have sold most of my weight loss books on eBay. As for the cosmetics that promise the impossible–I’ve stopped watching, because in a weak moment I might bite!

    Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      I should know that, too. Don’t you just love the teeny, tiny print at the very bottom that says, ‘results may vary?’ The cosmetics ones always try to suck me in as well.

      Reply
  3. Cammy@TippyToeDiet

    I reach for the mute button on the Cindy Crawford infomercial. It’s not the all the melon talk that gets me; it’s Valerie Bertonelli screeching, “Cindy!” (I’m a tad neurotic. :))

    I haven’t bought any of the weight loss/beauty systems via infomercials, but I did buy the PedEgg based on an infomercial really like it.

    Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      Oh, as soon as Valerie B. got on board I completely lost interest. There’s something about her that makes me reach for the mute button, too.
      PedEgg is a winner, huh? Good to know!

      Reply
  4. Karen@WaistingTime

    I didn’t watch it but I once saw some photos at my gym of one of the trainers for an ad that he was in. It was his before and after shots and there was very little time in between. Rather than photoshop he said the difference had to do with how he stood and sodium intake for the before shot. So… sometimes seeing is not believing.

    Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      That’s exactly right. He shows how to get all of those muscles looking so great, how to enhance their look (with the oil) and then for the ‘before’ shot, he basically ate lots of sodium and drank diet soda to help bloat him up. Very interesting, actually.

      Reply
  5. Laura @ LauraLivesLife

    I JUST read an article about this (in Marie Claire, I think, the only non-running magazine I still read) – it is fascinating how society creates impossible expectations and they aren’t even real! I wish every little girl (and middle-schooler and high schooler) could see this and STOP irrational and unreasonable expectations!

    Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      You mean those really work? I’m going to have to look for those because I’m constantly throwing away bananas (and I HATE doing that). Been thinking of you and hoping you’re hanging in there!!

      Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      I was hoping you’d see this, Greg – only because it was more relevant to you as a guy. I know how most guys really want to look all cut. The deception is crazy!!

      Reply
  6. didi

    Back when I was in highschool I had a hard time sleeping so I would watch infomercials at night. To this day, I still kind of want a counter top rotisserie (Set it and FORGET it!!!), and I was always tempted to purchase a magic bullet blender Thankfully for me, and for my wallet, I really like to do product research before buying anything that I’m going to use frequently. Products advertised on informercials are usually very low quality compared to the same product made by higher quality brands. (Jack Lalanne juicers are junk; I know because my aunt bought one, and I used it a few times)
    However, when I was really little my mom bought a wok after seeing an infomercial. This was back in the days when nobody had heard of a wok, and stores did not carry them. It came as a set with the steamer rack, lid, the base to set it on, a bunch of chopsticks, and lots of really nice wooden cooking utensils. That was a good buy. After over twenty years the wooden handle finally cracked off, so I threw it out, but the whole set was under forty dollars, so she got her money’s worth.
    I do love watching that stuff for entertainment value though.
    That video was pretty funny.
    Whenever I see before and after pictures for advertisements I can’t help but notice that the before pictures are always VERY BAD pictures. The person is caught at bad angles, usually dressed in an unflattering way, and is probably the worst looking picture of them that they could find at their starting weight. And then of course the after picture shows them dressed well, with makeup, a big smile, and flattering clothing.

    Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      Ah! I love this story. My grandmother used to say that things aren’t made to last these days and she was right. When my husband’s mother died, he inherited her toaster – that she got as a wedding gift – over FIFTY years ago!! And it still works like a charm. Amazing.

      Reply
  7. Jan

    Woah! That’s insane! It actually is eye opening for me. I wouldn’t have thought that even someone as fit as he is (even without the enhancing) could look like such a blob after just a little food and drink. It certainly makes you question (even more so) the diet products and before and after pictures that are online and TV. Great post!

    Reply
  8. Jenn @ Cooking Aweigh the Pounds

    Wow….I will now look at before and after pictures in a different light. How deceptive!!!

    I’m such a sucker for infomercials. Whether it’s Orange Glo or Brazilian Butt Lift or Ninja Kitchen Blender…I’m watching! I have to shamefully admit that I ordered Orange Glo years and years ago and boy was my husband miffed! I think he still keeps it around to tease me about my naïveté.

    Fortunately, now that I’m older and (somewhat) wiser, I view infomercials as the circus side shows that they really are. No, there’s nothing that will cause 7 lbs of fat loss in a week. I now know that it’s all water weight. No, that product will not make shower scum disappear right before my eyes. Only elbow grease and some Ajax will get rid of it. Though I did get the Ronco Rotisserie as a gift one year and that does make one heck of a delicious chicken! Just set it and forget it was awesome, but took up so much counter space so it had to go. :(

    Reply
    1. Ellen Post author

      Boy, the word Ronco brings back memories! lol
      A homemade rotisserie sound so good, but those things did look like monsters sitting on the countertop.

      Reply
  9. teresa

    that was amazing. I like that. I would NEVER have thought those photos were 5 hours apart. My brain was trying to figure out how the shlubby guy got to looking muscular in 5 hours. It’s much easier to understand it this way. All that stuff was already there..
    Interesting and fun!

    Reply
  10. KCLAnderson (Karen)

    YES!! I’ve seen this before. And it’s exactly why I think most before and after-type ads/commercials are BS…even when someone has actually lost weight. The “before” and “after” are two very specific moments in time that can be manipulated and interpreted in a variety of ways…photoshop or not!

    Reply
  11. Munchberry

    Cindy Crawford and the lady who played Pam Ewing on Dallas. Those women irk me because they have had surgery and proclaim it is melons or bark extract that took away the lines. Or when they show a pregnant woman (sometimes a celebrity) who ate boxed diet food and lost 60 pounds. She is pregnant in the before pic!

    I bought a pasta boat and I am mesmerized by Bosley hairclub infomercials.

    Reply
  12. Tim

    Wow, even though I knew there was always something dodgy about those before/after pics, I never knew this was how they were done. Crazy!!

    Reply

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