Finding Inspiration In a Picture

If you’ve read my blog, you might remember the blog post where I shared that my supposed best friend was not at all happy when I was losing weight.

One of the many ways she expressed her displeasure at my rapidly changing appearance was a snide remark she made when she saw this picture taped to the refrigerator in my kitchen.

She said, “What’s that picture doing there?”

I said something like, “It’s my inspiration picture.”

She said, “You don’t think you can be that size again, do you?”

I remember standing in my kitchen looking at her dumbfounded. Finally I said, “Well, I’m certainly going to try.”

If you look at the picture, you can see where that it used to be in a frame. When my weight increased by almost 100 pounds during my first pregnancy, I decided to put the picture away. Before I took it out of its shiny gold frame, I held it in my hand and cried a little bit. I thought to myself, “Why had I let myself get so big and fat? Why? Why?” Surprisingly, instead of crumpling the picture up and throwing it in the trash, I put it in a drawer, sighing in resignation over the fact that I’d never look like that again. Or would I?

John asked me one time what had happened to the picture and I just shrugged as though I did not know. But the truth is that I put the picture away because I no longer looked like that, and whenever I saw that picture it reminded me of how much I had changed. Every so often throughout the years that I struggled with morbid obesity, I’d come across that picture when cleaning out a closet or a drawer.

When I finally got serious about losing weight I searched through all my bedroom drawers until I found that picture buried under some t-shirts that no longer fit me. I took the picture to the kitchen and taped it on the front of the refrigerator.

I decided it was my inspiration picture.

I knew I couldn’t look exactly like that picture again, but it served as a reminder of the old Diane who had gotten lost under the layers of fat and whose self esteem was in the toilet. Every time I saw that picture I was reminded of how healthy and fit I used to be. I was reminded that the old Diane wasn’t gone forever, she was just hiding behind layers of fat.

That picture filled me with hope.

The picture also helped me when I felt weak and wanted to eat something that I really didn’t need. After all, the refrigerator held the makings for sugar cookies and the pantry was right next to the refrigerator!

The picture did not defeat me. Instead, it inspired me to look and feel the best that I could. It inspired me to keep walking every morning and to keep making healthy food choices.

It still inspires me to maintain my 150 pound weight loss.

I’d like to put a challenge out there for you.

Find something that inspires you and post it on your blog or display it somewhere in your house. It doesn’t have to be a picture. It can be an old sports trophy, an item of clothing, or even a letter from someone you love.

When days get tough you can look at your inspiration item and find encouragement and motivation to continue on your path.

Do you already have an inspiration picture or can you see where this might be a good thing?  Diane

Did you miss my post on learning about probiotics?

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About Diane Carbonell

Diane Carbonell is passionate about weight loss. Subscribe to regular blog updates and receive the latest information on weight loss, weight maintenance, and healthy living. Keep up with Diane by following her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.


  1. I have been reading your blog for about a year now…struggling with being overweight. This post made me cry. I have felt the same way…how did I get lost along the way and allow myself to get this big? I recently printed out an “inspiration” picture and it is on my fridge. It was me 25 years ago at a family picnic holding my 3 year old son…looking very happy and thin. The picture made me realize that there are very few pictures of me along the way and most of them are me tryng to hide from the camera or glaring at the person taking the picture. I have started fresh in the past few weeks…eating healthier…enjoying the wonders of summer fresh fruits and veggies…and getting some exercise in at least 5 days a week. Feeling better each day. Thanks for the inspiration.
    karen recently posted…Favorite Ways to Eat TomatoesMy Profile

  2. Reading your post made me realize I don’t have a picture of me thin. Ever. I have always been overweight, as a child, a teen, a young mother… So I guess now, at 48 I would have to say the pictures I post on my blog of me now is my inspiration because they finally show me as fit not overweight for the first time in my life.
    jeanette recently posted…Hey MisterMy Profile

  3. Carol Miller says:

    When I was at my goal weight, I actually went out and had professional glamour shots taken-I was so proud of how I looked and I felt fantastic. As the weight came back on, those pictures represented a me that I felt that I had lost. I started to feel anger and resentment that that thin me was no longer around. Then I came to the realization that I was actually mourning the thin me and that I was moping around for what was. Now that I am within 17 pounds of goal, I feel the “thin me” coming back, not just in size, but in attitude and self-esteem. It does make me sad that I used the loss of what I thought was my true essence and wallowed in the self-pity of it. Pictures of my thin self no longer make me feel that way and I’m happy just the way I am.

  4. Hi Diane,
    I follow you always but seldom post. Today really hit home. I woke up feeling fat and well, undeserving of everything and everyone around me. I am not kidding, I has the exact same thing happen when a “friend” saw my inspiration picture on my fridge years ago. She told me I would never look like that again and that I could never be 18 again. I was 24 at the time and 50 pounds heavier than the picture. Now I am 37 and 80 pounds heavier and have added to my insecurities an age complex. I got teary reading this because you are so right, the picture has less to do with the weight and more to do with what happened to that vibrant girl inside? Thank you for today’s blog. I’m always reading and appreciative:)

    • Thank you Carrilu for writing today! That is amazing that your friend told you the same thing. Those kinds of comments do nothing but hurt don’t they? I wish you the best of luck on your journey – it is never too late and you never have too much to lose. That vibrant girl from your fridge is still there – you just have to believe that you can do the right things to embrace her again!

  5. Mairi Brown says:

    I don’t have a picture because like a lot of people I’ve been hiding from the camera all my life or at least since I hit puberty. Honestly, I don’t need a picture for inspiration this time because I’m doing it for my knees. I’ve always had bad knees and they’ve gotten worse in the past year. So, I decided the best thing I can do for them is lose the excess weight and give them less to carry. Nothing like the fear of an operation to motivate you.

  6. My picture from the first night at Weight Watchers was my inspiration picture which is the opposite of yours. I just wanted to leave that place behind me and I carried that picture for about two years after losing the weight to remind me of how big I had been and did not want to be again. :-)
    Caron recently posted…Testing – One, Two, ThreeMy Profile

    • I, too, keep a BEFORE picture as my inspiration. I put it up on the fridge to remind myself that emotional or mindless eating is not going to get me anywhere.

      I also keep a Facebook album called The Incredible Shrinking Meg, which follows my journey. I find that really inspiring and helpful, especially as I added a new picture to it last night of me, seven pounds from goal!
      Meg (@LadyMegSoprano recently posted…HeroesMy Profile

  7. Congratulations, Diane. Through believing and working to reclaim your life, you made it! I think you are beautiful inside and out. Thanks for the post. Great stuff!
    Lori recently posted…Thursday InspirationMy Profile

  8. I have one! It’s in the ‘before’ section of my blog, and I actually achieved my goal of making it back to that weight.

    So now my inspiration needs to shift, since I’m not where I want to be, yet. Hmm…

  9. That supposed ‘best friend’ was nothing of the sort! Your story of her makes me realize how lucky I am to have supportive friends in my weight loss journey. I have some that are neutral but that’s OK.
    I have been meaning to put up some inspirational photos but haven’t gotten around to it. Thanks for the reminder. It’s on my to-do list for this weekend!

  10. It seems so odd to me that anyone would talk that way to you. I wonder what her perspective was of her behavior as cruel people certainly don’t see their actions as cruel.

    Actually there is a photo that I wish I had, of our Karate team that won the tournament and where my teacher and I won first and second place that I do not have and he can’t seem to find it to send it to me. :-(
    Dr. J recently posted…Psychological Distress Linked to Higher Risk of DeathMy Profile

  11. Great words of motivation today. I too had pictures of myself during college and from my wedding that were inspirational for getting fit again. My greatest inspiration is my children. I want to be that mommy with lots of energy and plays with them every day.
    Elizabeth recently posted…Results are InMy Profile

  12. I don’t have any certain pic anymore Diane since it has been a long time for me but my progress pics help motivate me to stick with this as I age. :-)

    I am so glad you did not let that lady;s words deter you!!! So many saboteurs around us sadly!
    Jody – Fit at 54 recently posted…Do You Take Rest DaysMy Profile

  13. I can honest say I don’t have a picture of myself that would inspire me. I wasn’t really a fat kid although I thought I was but when I hit the age of 11 or 12 I was heavier than all my friends by 30 + pounds. I thought I was fat but looking back I was a lot taller then my friends and had a figure. I have always had hips and butt. I think I weighted around 155 but I was 5’5 but since all my friends weighted 110 or 120 I was huge in comparison. Boy to I wish I was that weight now!!! I don’t have any pictures of myself as a women that I inspire to be because that is when I slowly gained the weight. But I have a vision of being 170 pounds having nicely sculpted arms, a flat stomach and defined thigh muscles. Over the last year I have looked at different pictures of women to use as inspiration but nothing has stuck out to me. I do not want to be skinny or thin but I truly would love an athletic body.
    Joy recently posted…Glutes and Back PainMy Profile

  14. I’ve always had an issue about the way I look (I don’t know whether this is self-esteem or just facing reality) but I do have a photo of me at the age of 25 on the refrigerator. Also on my blog there is an early post of me at the age of about 23. I was slim! Those two photos help me a lot. I’m so glad that you’ve kept your old photo and didn’t trash it. I can never understand why people throw away old photos. It just seems so…. wrong. The thing is that when I look at old photos I feel sad. I don’t know why. Lost opportunities maybe?
    John recently posted…Weigh-in updateMy Profile

  15. I have a picture from many years ago, I was so healthy and fit (not skinny) When I joined WW back in Maarch I did think of this picture and I told myself that I was alot older now and I would probably never get back to that size, or I would have to starve and work out all day long. Not true, I am that size now and I am healthy and fit!!! I dont work out all day long and I sure dont starve myself! At 44, my body is a little different ( I would love my weight on my face and less on my belly) but I am so proud of myself. My huge before pictures (dont have many, hid from the camera) inspire me every day!

  16. I don’t have an inspiration picture. I don’t have any photos of myself at a healthy weight unless I want to use pictures from when I was 5 years old and those aren’t exactly motivating. I still believe eventually I’ll know what it feels like to be at a normal weight!
    Mary (A Merry Life) recently posted…Eating Out: Yum ChaMy Profile

  17. I just got my passport photo redone and I compared the photo to the one 5 years ago (which was just before I lost a major amount of weight). The difference was startling! I couldn’t believe they were both me. To me I am the same person I was 5 years ago, before I lost all that weight, embarking on the same journey, and looking exactly the same. But I’m not. Now I have cheek bones and a chin! I look much better and healthier. It was a huge realisation that even though I was back to losing the weight, I was in a completely different place than I was 5 years ago.

    Take photo’s and if you’re not happy with what you look like, change it. One day you will, and when you are able to compare those two photo’s, it’s an amazing feeling :)

    Thanks Diane for reminding me of that feeling!
    Megan Davis recently posted…Training with a capital T.My Profile

  18. I have been on my journey of health since 2007 but last year finally took some photos..took some more this year and started to compare. It feels good to have photographic proof of the changes!
    Lynn recently posted…Let’s look at the positive!My Profile

  19. I have a variety of skinny pics and fat pics and both inspire me. The ‘skinny’ ones are a verification that I did it, lost the weight and can carry on as a ‘normal’ person for the rest of my life, and the ‘fat’ ones act as a reminder of where I don’t want to go back to.
    Deniz recently posted…Getting to grips with changeMy Profile

  20. I have no problem with it when people use images as their inspiration. I did not use this method in succeeding with my weight loss but there is really nothing wrong with this method. If this is something that works for one, then great!
    blackhuff recently posted…Home made goodies and the weekendMy Profile

  21. I loved your idea of an inspiration picture that is of you before your weight gain. I always tried to use a “very unflattering” picture of myself AFTER weight gain. It never worked, because I think it depressed me to look at it. I’m going to be going through old pictures, and if I find one that was taken at a time when I liked myself and the way I looked, it’s going on my refrigerator. If would give me something to work toward and be proud of, instead of making me feel depressed and ashamed of how I look now.
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