The positive side of selfies

I recently read that over 1 million selfies are posted daily. I am a fan of the selfie. I take quite a few and like seeing the parade of photos in my Facebook timeline. It’s impossible for me to see all of my Facebook friends in person. These snippets of their lives keep me up-to-date with their lives.

I am fascinated by selfies in weight loss surgery pages and groups. In these cases, a picture is worth a thousand words. I love to look back in a person’s timeline and see them progress in their weight loss. Even more telling is the absence of selfies, particularly full body shots, pre weight loss surgery. The sudden presence of photos is a pretty good sign that life has positively changed.

There are critics of the selfie who argue that they are vain and narcissistic. I must agree that there is some truth in that statement. However, those are not necessarily bad traits when placed into context.  Let’s take a look at three scenarios where the selfie has a positive influence.


A photo is visible proof that change is happening. Weight loss is hard even with the assistance of bariatric surgery. Motivation plays a key role in keeping the post-op patient on track and moving forward. People who shied away from the camera now welcome the camera lens into their daily lives. I find motivation in the photos shared by others. It’s rewarding to see their successes. These photos give me a chance to lend my support.


For years I was sedentary and had no interest in physical activity. As a post-op, my life changed and physical activity now plays a major part in my life. I enjoy challenging myself to go farther than I have gone before with my cycling and running. Sharing my selfies at a half marathon, century bike ride or bicycle tour is my way of announcing that I did it and am damn proud of it.

Celebrations come in all shapes and sizes. That seemingly unimportant Facebook photo may become just the motivator you need in the future. Pick up your smartphone and swipe through the photo gallery to remind yourself how much you have to celebrate when you are feeling not so great about how things are going.


When we were young, stars on our quizzes and our name on an honor roll were the recognition we valued. Recognition is not so predictable after we entered adulthood. The selfie at the gym, at the amusement park, or at a walk/run becomes the new “star” of our achievement. Many people are unaware of the personal victories experienced by bariatric patients until they see the selfie.

People are generally supportive of the achievements of other people. This is especially true when the person has completed something that their friends and family would have never imagined them doing in their past life. Let your selfie be the means by which you share your achievement with others.

The Bottom Line

Go ahead post that selfie. There will be those who do not like it. There will be those who love it. If it motivates you, celebrates your life or offers recognition, go for it.

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