how body image keeps me behind the camera - can you relate?

I want to be radically transparent for a moment to talk about body image and how it keeps so many women, including myself, behind the camera rather than celebrating our own definition of beauty.  

We live in a world of over photoshopping, perfectly styled outfits, hair, makeup and this crazy idea of perfection.  It's causing so many women (and men) to struggle with body image and feel a need to compete with each other even if we think we aren't.  

Sadly, I've fallen victim to this myself starting back in my 20's when my business was at its peak. Professionally I was riding cloud 9 but personally, I was sinking fast in quicksand.  I wasn't healthy, my skin was a wreck, and let's be honest my weight was out of control.  I'd compare myself to the stunning bridesmaids or guests at the weddings I was photographing.  

I'd do whatever I could to fade into the background while I was photographing weddings, I rocked all black like it was no one's business and did my best to conceal my weight gain.  Thankfully, lugging around a lot of camera equipment can help buffer problem spots. 


My wake up call came in the mail mid to late 2009 when a client had sent me this photo. Taken during the cocktail hour by a guest. I was mortified at the girl staring back at me in the photo. I couldn't believe I let myself get to this point.  I was an athlete in high school, I had a successful business, but I was in denial about my health. 

Bare with me, this post is about embracing who you are... I promise I am getting there. What I came to learn is that I gave food way too much control over my life and in turn my poor body image continued to multiple.  It wasn't until I had a true heart to heart with myself that something needed to change.  So... I enlisted help from a coach to help me transform my eating habits and in turn, I lost weight to the tune of 60+ pounds.  

Rather than embracing who I was during this time in my life, I was filling my mind and body with so much negative self-talk and truthfully self-hate, that it is no wonder I packed on MORE pounds.  In order for me to embrace my own definition of beauty... I had to find it from within.  This is different for everyone, but I found myself on the floor of the gym covered in sweat, tears, and a bit of blood.  Or in the kitchen where I completely restructured my/our diet to give me energy rather than deplete me. 

And because I am being transparent - Recently, I have felt myself slipping back into my old habits with the relaunch and expansion of the business.  Trading healthy eating and morning workouts for blogging, catching up on edits, or responding to client emails. 

So.... what I have decided to do is embrace my own definition of beauty with a photo shoot of my own scheduled for June 4th.  Yikes, I am putting it out there.  More than likely I won't have 6-pack ab's or a popping booty, but I will have a healthy glow and so much confidence about myself because I fully intend to embrace who I am at this photo shoot.  Love handles and all.  

Here's my challenge to you... EMBRACE YOUR OWN DEFINITION OF BEAUTY TODAY!  And if you aren't ready yet... what can you do today so you can embrace your beauty tomorrow?  

One final thing... don't hide behind the camera because you aren't happy with how you look at this moment in time.  If something god forbid happens to you, your loved ones aren't going to care about your weight, gray roots popping through, or any other ego induced idea you think about yourself. Instead, your loved ones will cling to the memories that accompany those photos - not the thoughts your ego is pumping into your mind.