NakedProgress.com is a free social network dedicated to helping people achieve, recover, improve and/or maintain healthy choices in all aspects of life. Among other things, this site allows people to share their struggles, their journeys, their stories, their strategies, and their accomplishments within an open and inclusive atmosphere. It is up to each individual to decide what they want to share, but NakedProgress is a place where people can be especially open and transparent so they can get better feedback and support.
And NakedProgress is not just for those looking to lose weight. It is as much for any mental, physical or general health endeavor that users want to pursue. Thus, it is contemplated that this site will be a support network and journal for people wanting to lose weight, those wanting to build muscle and a great physique, and those who just want to live healthier lives.
What led to the creation of NakedProgress.com?
Some background: I am in the latter half of my 30’s, and I recently weighed as much as 316 lbs. One day, I woke up and realized that I did not want to feel like I did anymore, and I did not want to die an early, preventable death. I also realized that I want to live life to the fullest, and a fit, healthy body is a critical part of that.
So long story short, I created a personal blog that was essentially the precursor to NakedProgress.com. It was certainly inspired by other sites and blogs, including the /r/nakedprogress forum on Reddit. The blog received very positive feedback, and although I still have a long way to go to achieve my goals, I believe the feedback and public accountability really helped with my mindset. The blog provided a source of motivation and accountability, thorough record keeping, and persistent feedback.
So with NakedProgress, I am trying to lay the foundation for a radically different approach to personal improvement that includes the elements of my previous personal blog... except now, anybody can participate. Each and every detail of a person’s life related to health, fitness and general wellness can be documented here, but it is up to each individual how much they want to share. For people that embrace the platform to its fullest, they are laying all their cards on the table, in the sense that they are holding nothing back, and leaving nothing to the imagination. There is no hiding, and there are no excuses since others will actually be able to see even the smallest amounts of progress (or lack thereof). Users will be forced to be completely honest with themselves, especially over time. However, there will be other people to cheer you on, share in your successes, and support you during setbacks, so you are more likely you are to succeed.
Thus, NakedProgress is a platform for keeping a journal or record of your progress, combined with a supportive social network. Personally, I have always been fascinated with other people’s stories about how they overcame hardships, obstacles, and problems in their lives. Knowing that other people have faced and conquered the same (and often more difficult) issues gives me hope and personal motivation for tackling my own problems. And so it is my hope that this platform can allow others to share their stories and to serve as a testimonial that yes, if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.
Inspirational stories are everywhere on the internet, but some of the stories that have hit home with me the most have been at Realself.com, the bodybuilding.com “transformation” threads, and many subreddits on reddit.com (including /r/nakedprogress!). Realself.com, in particular, is a site that allows people to tell their stories and create mini-blogs (complete with pictures) about their journey before, during and after various medical procedures, many of which involve substantial amounts of weight loss. I really enjoy reading these individuals’ profiles because you can tell what a big difference these changes have in their personal lives. Many of these people are so proud and happy with their life changes that they elect to not censor their profile data (including pictures) since they have finally accepted who they are, both in the past and the present. And it is this uncensored information that allows outsiders looking in to really see what has changed, and to what extent, without their perspective being skewed by layers of ambiguity.
Similarly, Bodybuilding.com (and to some extent, Reddit.com) has many forum threads that briefly document many individuals’ personal transformations. It is quite refreshing to see quick before and after pictures of a person that has transformed from a skinny ectomorph to a hulking brute that can lift a car. But unfortunately, besides the pictures and perhaps a couple of sentences, there is very little information about the daily struggles, routines, and problems/solutions that these people faced. And although the pictures are inspirational, it’s the background story that is most helpful.
Accordingly, it is my intention with NakedProgress to document my own story of change in real-time, as uncensored as possible, so that I can stick to a plan, hold myself accountable, document my progress, and perhaps be of assistance to others in a similar situation. I will also document my experiences and observations with respect to the various books, articles, products, supplements, programs, etc, that I encounter in my journey, and I invite all of you to do so too.
Lots (and I mean LOTS!) of deliberation went into the decision to use NSFW (Not Safe For Work, i.e. nude) progress pictures on my original blog, and now on NakedProgress. And since this is probably the most controversial aspect of the site, I will try to outline as best as I can the rationale for NakedProgress.
My first instinct was to not even entertain the question of using NSFW images. It’s easy to see how this is a first instinct, since this is how we are all conditioned in our society (particularly in the United States). But beyond that, my second instinct was to say to myself “No! Are you fucking CRAZY!” I was cemented at this point for a long, long time because without analysis, it just seems intuitive that it would be a bad idea. But as I read more and more stories, blogs, and books on the subject of health, fitness and body acceptance, my worldview began to change. And so, I tried to do away with my prejudices and analyze the question from as neutral a viewpoint as I possibly could, while also staying “body positive.”
So I created a list of pros and cons to determine whether the benefits of using nude progress pictures outweighed the costs, and I came up with the following (in no particular order) for myself:
Cons for NSFW progress pics
(1) People I know in real life may see me naked… and I will probably have to look these people in the eye sometime in the future.
This was probably the biggest fear/con for me. It was very likely that most of the readers of my blog would be internet strangers sharing in my journey. However, there are sure to be people that I know in real life. But as outlined in the “Pros” section, this fear is something I have to get over if the concept of NakedProgress is going to reach its highest potential.
(2) Under normal circumstances, nobody wants to see a fat naked guy.
You remember the fat naked guy from Friends? Yeah, nobody was ever excited to see him.
However, I feel that NakedProgress doesn’t constitute a normal circumstance. The NSFW progress pics here serve a real purpose, as outlined in the “Pros” section below.
(3) People are outright irrational when it comes to nudity and our bodies.
This is a very Puritan notion going back several centuries now. We are supposed to be ashamed of everything under the sun, and especially about our bodies!
The irrationality with respect to nudity, and its perceived perfect correlation with sex, pervades our modern culture. For example, consider that in many (most?) parts of the United States it is very much frowned upon for a new mother to breastfeed her child in public. We would collectively rather that a newborn child fucking starve, or suffer from malnutrition, than to risk that a nipple might, MIGHT be visible to peeping onlookers for the briefest of moments.
We also see it in the media that we consume as Americans. If an 8 year old child is watching a movie where a guy kills a dozen men and women with a shotgun and an ax, that’s fine. But by God, if a buttock or nipple shows up on screen, we can’t have any of that. We’re a country of morals, dammit! (*slams fist on table*)
I don’t know how to respond to this other than to say that, at least for now, we still have Constitutionally protected freedoms to engage in activities that constitute free speech. As such, I will be cognizant of this con, but I will not let it ultimately stop me from doing what I am free to do.
(4) Once the cat is out of the bag, there is no putting it back in.
This is something I have given serious thought to, and between not wanting to live (and die) with regrets, and my increasing willingness to do anything that will help me solve my problems and achieve my goals, I have decided that this is a fact I am willing to accept.
Any nudity on NakedProgress is non-sexual in nature. This is a health-oriented website. And I honestly do not see how this is much different than the realself.com blogs, or from college courses where students analyze and draw nude models. In the end, we’re all just naked bodies.
(5) Is it possible I will look back on this and regret it?
This is a very good question, and I think the answer is yes – it is possible that I will look back on this and regret my decision.
However, I just don’t think it’s likely, and whatever risk that exists, I think it is more probable than not that this will work out for a net positive gain.
If I’m successful with this program, and I complete my transformation into a happy, healthy and fit guy, I just don’t see how any negatives can outweigh the positive results.
But absent that success, what’s the worst that could happen?
The worst that could happen is that I’m “outed” and my name is attached to my blog on NakedProgress. At this point, I’m definitely not worried about embarrassment. If anything, I’d be concerned that some small-minded people would hold a grudge against me and hold it over my head. However, I’m fortunate that I’m at a point in my life where I really do not have to depend on any other person for support.
However, I think it’s likely that as time goes on, and especially as today’s younger generation grows into adulthood, the notion of having non-sexual nude pictures on the internet won’t even register as a concern in the future. It will inevitably be so commonplace that it will become a trivial matter.
(6) Is it possible that I will offend or alienate people?
Yes, this is probably possible. However, it is not my intent… at all. On top of that, it’s not like I’m going to shove NakedProgress in front of people without adequate notice. Any mention of it will come with a fair NSFW warning.
And haters gonna hate. Nothing anyone can do about that. But I will definitely not push NakedProgress on anybody beyond letting people know that it exists. I will also make it a point to not even mention NakedProgress to people that I know with 100% certainty that it will offend.
Pros for NSFW progress pics
(1) It is my belief that NSFW progress pictures are what any person would do if it weren’t for society’s preoccupation with nudity and conflation of nudity with sexuality.
If we lived in a world/country where nudity was a complete 100% non-issue, then nude progress pictures would be the norm, right? In this hypothetical scenario, why would someone want to view/share their body’s progress with their body covered up? That makes little sense in such a circumstance. That would be like showing off your brand new car, but having a tarp over it.
On the flip side, it would make sense to have clothed progress pics if one wanted to see how clothes fit them at any given time, but as far as seeing progress of their actual body, nude is the way to go.
(2) A picture is worth a thousand words.
Fo’ shizzle. You can ascertain more from a side-by-side picture comparison of a person’s body than several pages text describing the same thing.
(3) Sometimes I wish I had NSFW progress pics from my younger days.
Sometimes when I look back at old photos, when I’m reminiscing about how much better I looked back then, I wonder what I actually looked like under those baggy clothes. How much did I weigh then, and how did I carry it? Did I have any muscle definition? If so, how much? What was my posture like? Did my legs rub together as I stood or walked? Did my chest bounce as I moved? Could I see my own dick without sucking my gut in? Did I have loose skin on this or that body part? Was that freckle always there, and/or was it always this or that color or size? Am I losing the arch in my feet? Am I gaining/losing hair there? Over time, how did my body specifically adjust in response to changes in my life or my daily routine?
[some of the above are questions that obese people, especially, will understand]
(4) With NSFW progress pics, I can receive better feedback.
Especially when it comes to weight lifting, NSFW pics give a much better glimpse into what is working and what is not working with respect to a given routine and set of goals.
(5) I would be conquering a fear, and pushing boundaries.
The thought of posting NSFW progress pics of myself certainly requires that I suspend conventional wisdom and take a leap of faith. I can think of a handful of times in my life where I was absolutely terrified of doing something, and seriously contemplated just backing out and taking the “safe” route. But I knew that if I could just take that first step, and then the second, and so on… that I would eventually overcome that initial fear.
And so far (knock on wood), every time I have challenged myself to this degree, I have not regretted the decision. But there is a first time for everything though(!), which is what makes doing something like this so intimidating. It’s always hard to step outside of a comfort zone, and in this case, I would be blasting miles outside my comfort zone.
But every time a person steps outside their comfort zone, even when they initially fail, they gain a little bit of confidence since the unknown isn’t so unknown anymore. And the great thing about this new confidence is that it allows the person to expand their horizons in ways that aren’t always immediately obvious. More or less, one baby step becomes two baby steps which becomes three baby steps which eventually becomes a thousand baby steps, at which time the person is really making substantial progress!
(6) Following through with this could make me a better person and/or professional.
Related to (5) above, if I actually follow through with this grand plan and get myself into tip-top shape, then I will have succeeded in multiple ways.
First, I will have shown that I can finally conquer my demons, which in this case is my poor lifestyle when it comes to health and fitness.
Second, I will have stepped outside my comfort zone and succeeded. Without getting into too much detail, one of the things holding me back in my chosen profession is that I’m terrified of stepping out of the comfortable little world I live in. Yet in order to achieve my dreams in that arena, I have to make some major leaps outside of what I’m used to doing, and I have to be willing to make a fool out of myself while I practice my craft.
Third, since I will have succeeded in becoming healthy again, I will be able to support my family and friends better, both physically and emotionally.
(7) If I can get used to the idea of being completely nude in front of others (even if it is just people on the internet), then maybe I will be more willing to swim in public with my kids.
As any obese person knows, public swimming is the bane of our existence. And as I suspect is the case with most people in my situation, I avoid swimming and general water activities at all costs, even at private residences. And even in the very rare instances where I do opt to join in, I always 100% have a shirt on and other appropriate large clothing (long shorts, hat) to cover myself. I also avoid getting in and out of the pool as much as possible, because I don’t want to draw attention to myself.
And I do not do this because I am “ashamed” of my body. Rather, it’s just that I’m self-conscious about what I “know” people are saying behind my back, or even what I “know” they are thinking. That’s right, I’m so self-conscious about my body (although not ashamed), that I worry about what other people are thinking, even to the extent that they may not be saying it to other people.
In any other area of my life, I really could care less about what people think about me. Between my line of work and my sometimes outspoken political views (which I will not dive into on NakedProgress), I am told fairly regularly that I’m the scum of the earth, I’m “what’s wrong with society,” I’m an egomaniac, an idiot, etc. None of it phases me one bit, and in fact, I often take these insults as a badge of honor. However, I am able to shrug these things off even when they’re said to my face because I know they are simply not true… and I can prove (to rational people) that they are not true.
And even fat jokes don’t phase me, to the extent that they are not genuine insults and are a result of just messing around… especially between friends. In fact, I usually find these jokes hilarious and crack them myself. But the difference is that when a fat joke is made, I’m not vulnerable like I am when most of my clothes are off, and I’m standing in front of people that I strongly suspect are judging me on a super-obvious flaw of mine.
Thus, if I can even get to the point of not caring what other people think about my shirtless body (independent of whether I “accept” my body or not), then perhaps I can bring myself to at least participate in swimming and water activities with my kids.
And if I can get to the point where I don’t care that people see me fully nude (it still feels weird just typing this out), then certainly I can rationalize in my mind that I do not care if people see me without a shirt on, right?
(8) To the extent that I’m willing to bare all, I will have accepted my body for what it currently is.
It seems that when a person intentionally puts their uncensored body on display, no matter the reason, then they have implicitly accepted their body. They have to, at least to a certain extent, because they are telling the world “Hey, this is me. This is my person. I know it’s not perfect, but here it is.”
At least in some circumstances, the counterintuitive part is that the person doesn’t necessarily share their nude body because they have accepted it, but rather, they accept their body because they have shared it.
As an example, I do not particularly like looking at my body in a mirror, and it has been a very long time since that was true. Looking directly at my body just reminds me of all kinds of negative things. But I feel that if I were to share my NSFW progress pics, then I will be forced to accept my body, because then I will have to deal with it to make it better. You cannot really fix a complicated problem until you accept (own) that problem outright. It’s the same way with my body. I cannot fix it until I own (accept) it.
(9) If I use NSFW progress pics, then I am laying all my cards on the table. There is no hiding from reality.
This would serve to keep me honest, and not allow me to sugar coat or twist the reality of the situation to make excuses.
(10) I am more accountable with NSFW progress pics.
This is true for multiple reasons:
First, as mentioned above, there are no excuses since all my cards are on the table.
Second, if I am taking this insane, gigantic leap outside of my comfort zone, I cannot and am not going to let it go to waste.
Third, for purely vain reasons, I am going to want to show that I can look better than whatever the current NSFW progress pics show.
Fourth, in the event that people I know in real life are readers of the blog, I know there is no way in hell they are going to let me get away with insufficient progress.
(11) In many (most?) parts of the world, nudity (in itself) is totally not a big deal.
Japan and many areas of Europe have co-ed public saunas for crying out loud. And these amenities aren’t for the fringe, kinky crowd, but rather the everyday citizens.
(12) Life is too short to care about what other people think.
This is kind of a philosophical thing for me. From a cosmic perspective, human beings (and all life known to have ever existed) do not even register on the scale of our galaxy, let alone the universe. Not at all… not even a little bit. To the universe, we are smaller than the proton inside an atom is to us. So in the grand scheme of things, does it really matter what any of us does, anyway? Not really. So as long as we’re not hurting each other, who cares? I sure don’t think God is going to care.
(13) As I get older, I care less and less about “expectations” as they relate to arbitrary standards.
Expectations can be a good thing, particularly when they serve a purpose (such as to prevent pain and suffering, to promote justice, to honor an agreement, etc). But expectations that arise out of a group’s desire to run other peoples’ lives serve little purpose but to make the group’s members feel morally superior. When expectations such as these arise, it is perfectly acceptable to brush those expectations aside, and live life how you see fit (to the extent that you are not negatively affecting other lives).
(14) When I die, I want my legacy to include being known for challenging myself and pushing the envelope for a greater good.
Likewise, do I want to be on my deathbed and have regrets? Do I want to fade into obscurity because I was afraid to stray from the beaten path?
(15) By using NSFW progress pics, I may be able to more effectively help people that are struggling with the same issues as me.
If I can use the progress pics to show people “hey, this guy did it and he’s just like (or worse off than) me!”, then any success I may have will resonate more with these people.
(16) Wife is supportive and on-board with this approach. She understands that this is a very personal journey, and that success in this endeavor (i.e., NakedProgress, change) will make me a better person.
(17) If I am able to successfully incorporate NSFW progress pics, I will probably feel more of a sense of freedom and liberty.
In some sense, I would be giving “the finger” to each and every entity telling me that not only should I not do this, but that I am not allowed to do this.
In a very real sense, the incorporation of NSFW progress pics is an activity (speech, press) expressly protected by the United States Constitution (First Amendment).
If you do not exercise your rights, you lose them, right?
(18) People do stuff like this all the time, and they turn out fine.
To my knowledge, not a single person has spontaneously combusted due to posting nude pictures on the internet (else, we would all be wiped off the face of the Earth by now). Moreover, on the scale of extremes that a person could be on the internet, just being naked is about a 2/10.
(19) The use of NSFW progress pics on NakedProgress is non-sexual in nature.
As enumerated in the Community Standards, explicit sexual talk and content is strictly forbidden, unless the talk or content is somehow directly related to a topic being discussed (such as the topic of an educational article, research paper, etc).
(20) When I decide to do something, I go all out. No holds barred.
As people who know me personally can attest, I’m kind of an all-or-nothing guy. My mentality is usually “go big, or go home.” (<–fat joke… see?).
(21) If I am able to successfully incorporate NSFW progress pics, I may learn something about myself.
This is almost certainly true. When a person takes a big step like this, how can they not learn something new?
(22) To the extent that I decide to use NSFW progress pics, I can (and will) do it my way.
Since it is my blog and my forum, I am in control of the information that I want to share.
(23) If I am able to successfully incorporate NSFW progress pics, I may be able to lessen my anxiety and chill out.
As a guy with a very hectic schedule and multiple things I am trying to achieve in life, sometimes the stress of it all causes me to have minor meltdowns over the most stupid/trivial stuff. Perhaps if I can take this leap out of my comfort zone, I can put those minor things in perspective.
For example: Suppose I’m at a work function and I get a stain on my shirt. Instead of flipping the fuck out, I can calm down and just say (to myself) “so I have a small stain on my shirt, BFD. A bunch of people saw my balls last week, and I was okay with that.”
Long story short, after doing the calculus of the pros versus the cons in the lists above, and weighing the totality of the circumstances, the pros were considered more persuasive.
So... naked it is!!