You've seen the commercials before: take one fat-burning pill for 30 days and you'll go from flab to fab -- and there are before-and-after pictures to prove it. But what if those pictures are a ruse?
That's what Andrew Dixon is alleging. And he has some shocking photos that he says prove it.
Dixon, a personal trainer in Hollywood, wrote a blog post for the blog Healthy Urban Kitchen last week that was reproduced on the Huffington Post on Wednesday showing how easy it is to fake such photos. And it's going viral.
"There is no doubt that we live in a world of manipulation, false promises and exaggerated claims," Dixon writes. "This is especially true in the fitness industry."
Sure, he admits there are some programs that are legit. But he has a big problem with those who use fake, Photoshopped, or manipulated before-and-after pictures to sell success.
So he decided to show how easy it is to fake such results:
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.
Here's the shocking result:
Remember, those pictures were taken on the same day.
Maybe you're thinking that's just a fluke. There's no way he could do it again.
"Just a few weeks ago I took another series of photos in an attempt to be a little more deceptive. I wanted to show a series of progressions that look like a few months of hard work and dieting. I'm about 200 pounds and 19 percent body fat in this photo series. This took under an hour to produce."
So what's he trying to say?
"Don't try to look like anyone you see in a transformation photo," he says. "Be inspired, but don't be disappointed if you don't see yourself the way you see those models. Being tricked into eating low-calorie diets and doing endless cardio is a recipe for fat gain, especially in the long term. Forget about the quick transformations and focus on a life of healthy eating, well-managed stress levels, quality sleep and plenty of movement."
"It's all smoke and mirrors," he concludes.