Slimming apps for instant weight loss

Did SkinneePix make her look thinner?

Did SkinneePix make her look thinner?

Why diet when you can lose virtual weight?

We’re living increasingly in a virtual world, so why not virtual diets?  You can lose 20 lbs in about 20 seconds using one of a number of so-called slimming apps.  This exposé revealed the Before and After photos of celebrities made to look impossibly thin, including evidence of the manipulations, such as one extremely warped cell phone.

It gives a whole new meaning to the idea of dieting apps.  Why diet at all?  The apps can replace diets.  You can at least look much thinner in the virtual world.

So who cares, right?  We all knew celebrity photos were heavily photo-shopped.  The problem is that photos are very powerful entities.  You can end up feeling pretty dissatisfied with your own body after seeing too many images of perfection, even if you know those images have been manipulated.

SkinneePix is one such app.  The claim: you can quickly look 15 lbs “healthier”.  Oohhh, that makes it OK, because it’s about looking healthier, not thinner.  In fact, the Q&A poses the question “Can SkinneePix help me become more healthy?”  Just…wow.  Manipulating your photo so you appear to be thinner results in better health?  So now we’ve got virtual health as well as virtual dieting.

Most of the sample Before and After photos for this app are done with people who are already normal weight.  The results just make the person look a bit gaunt, not always a good effect.  One possible misuse of the app: anorexics who want to look more gaunt and skeletal.  Those types of photos actually could be inspirational in that case, obviously not in a good way.

cleverly stretched to appear thinner

cleverly stretched to appear thinner

The Spring app stretch effect

Another choice is Spring, with the tagline “It’s stylish, it’s sexy”.  Turn your normal photo into a fashion photo, meaning you’re stretched to appear taller and more model-like, in other words much thinner.  Business Insider posted a pretty funny review of the app.  The writer’s conclusion: “I’ll never trust anyone’s selfies again.”  She also thought it was a narcissistic activity, creating a disconnected and unrealistic view of her own body image.  In my opinion, the Before and After photos aren’t that different, and the After photo definitely looks artificially stretched.

And that might be the real problem.  People can manipulate away, making themselves appear thinner in photos, but you’re still the same person in the real world.  The app developers make the very questionable claim that using these apps to create virtual thin selves is somehow inspirational, leading to actual weight loss and health improvements.  As if the fake thin photo will help you stick to a diet.

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