So you’re feeling too fat to be photographed . . .

Syndicated on BlogHer.com

Listen. I hear you. You’re a few pounds heavier than you like (or a 100lbs heavier than you like). I completely understand how you feel. I get that same blah feeling about myself when I think about booking new head shots or long overdue pictures of me and Justin. Precious, I even picked a career that has me permanently behind the camera rather than in front of it. Seeing myself in pictures actually produces the faintest sick feeling in my stomach. Isn’t it amazing we can see the beauty in our best friends, sisters, mothers, and aunts without the slightest thought to their flaws . . . but can obsess for hours on our own imperfections? We fixate on our flaws to the point we shirk at any documentation that our round faces and curvy bodies ever walked the earth. No pictures to show how we LOVE, how we laugh, how we are treasured by our families. How is it possible that a double chin can overpower the beauty of a mother cuddling her child? How does arm fat distract from the perfect shot of a spontaneous hug? I swear y’all . . . how is it that we can put more value on a TUMMY ROLL than the captivating way you throw yourself into a roar of laughter during a shoot?

In our warped minds pictures become frozen mirrors that we can stare at as we pick apart our features over and over again.
I know girl. I know.

My personal duck-and-cover (or signature “make a funny face”) approach to having pictures of myself changed completely when I had a serious car accident last year (and started over). In the flash of a second (or a flash of the text message the young woman was reading) my entire life changed. I nearly left this earth with no physical evidence of the goofy, wide open and loud love I have for my life, my husband, my family and friends. I haven’t had professional pictures done since our wedding in 2006 . . . always waiting for this elusive moment where I would be thin enough (pretty enough) to have such a permanent record of me. Because, you know, HEAVEN FORBID there be any proof that I look the way I actually look.

So here is the harsh truth y’all. Listen good. Our vanity is no longer enough of a reason to avoid the camera. Life doesn’t wait until you “get thin” enough to capture it. Life is happening . . . it is happening right now and the only moment we are guaranteed is the one we are living. I shudder at the thought of leaving behind no pictures of my life with ME in it. My mom says of the accident she is “just glad that we’re still a whole family.” My gift to her this Christmas was a family portrait showing just that, 9 months post-accident . . . a whole family.

So You're Feeling Too Fat for Pictures?  My Friend Teresa Photography Puts it All in Perspective.

Do you know what my mom sees when she looks at this picture? Her beautiful family all together.
Do you know what my husband sees? The family he gained the moment he met me (and how much he looks like my dad…)
Do you know what my dad sees? The happy family he has worked for every day of his life.
Do you know what my brother sees? That he got away with wearing shorts… :)

Shocker: No one is looking at how fat I look.

 

Can we agree to put the value of family over the value of fat? Can we just accept that the weight you’ve been trying to lose for 5 years might actually just be a part of what you look like . . . and that if this magical day does come when you’re acceptably thin you’ll STILL regret not having any pictures of you with your kids from ages 5 – 10? Can we acknowledge that the insecurities we have in our heads will never be a part of how our children, husbands, and friends see us? Can we just please let our loved ones remember the YOU they love?

Your children want pictures with their mom.

Your husband wants pictures with his beautiful wife.

Your mom and dad want pictures of the happy, successful, amazing woman they raised (ok, and more pictures of the grandkids while you’re at it)

And if you’re thinking that high school friend on Facebook will say to herself (“wow she has gained weight”) then . . . newsflash you DID. You gained weight. Shed a tear. Read a book. Drink a Sweet Tea. Watch Oprah. Whatever it takes. Accept this reality . . . YOU GAINED WEIGHT. The truth is you’ve gained a lot of other things too (a career, a family, some kids, a house, a love for travel, the ability to coordinate your separetes . . . ) and that girl from high school is going to spend a lot more time hating on those things then she ever will on your double chin.

So you’re feeling too fat to be photographed? . . . Ok. But you’re the only one who notices. The rest of us are too caught up in loving you.

 

2,352 Responses to “So you’re feeling too fat to be photographed . . .”

  1. Thank you so much for this honest, compelling and encouraging article. My husband and I have not had professional pictures since we married 12 years ago. That’s gonna change. Thank you!

  2. Lezette says:

    THANK YOU SINCERELY!!! I AM SHARING THIS ON MY PAGE AND AS OF TODAY I WANT TO GET PHOTOS TAKEN WITH MY HUSBAND, MY KIDS, MY PARENTS BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE. I will never be “thin enough” and because of your story, your voice I am willing to accept the me. Thanks so Much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Amanda says:

    Thanks for this post. After reading this I am going to let my boys take my photo tonight and I will not critisize one photo.

    Your words have made a profound difference on my life.

    Thank you so much!

  4. Meg Allison says:

    Thank you so very much for this article. I really needed to read this.

  5. I am so happy for you :D I have not had a photograph taken of me since October 2004 and the sneaky ones my kids have taken and think it’s funny to have ‘captured me’ have been deleted after threats of consequence. I don’t know if I will ever change my mind, but I hope that one day I will.

  6. Christine says:

    Reading this article and all of the responses has made me cry, tears of relief/joy and sadness. I haven’t had my picture taken (aside from head shot selfies) in 20 years. I have truly hated my looks, and therefore myself, for twenty years. Twenty years of daily self bashing. Twenty years of honing in on my weight gain so much that it had become an obsession; it was all I thought about from sunup to sundown. Twenty years of constant scrutinization over every morsel that passed my lips. Twenty years of not truly LIVING. Sure, I was very active with my kids, playing with them at the beach, taking hikes with them and the like, but instead of really enjoying the moment during these times, I would be worrying about how fat I looked, how thin that woman over there was, how I was near worthless because I didn’t look like HER… I wasted a lot of mental energy and precious time being so self absorbed that I didn’t see that my kids loved hanging out with me(they still do, even though they’re in their twenties now)no matter WHAT I looked like, that my mom loved having me visit despite my girth, that my friends since grade school were still my friends….I couldn’t see that it wasn’t my weight that attracted people to me, it was ME, what was inside. I just turned fifty, and I am finally coming around to loving and accepting myself. It is hard, I will not lie, and often that self deprecating devil on my shoulder loves to spew it’s negativity in my ear, but what I am realizing is that I have to enjoy the RIGHT NOW, as I am guaranteed nothing more than this moment, and that wasting time self obsessing is just…..detrimental to my overall well being. I truly believe that once we stop obsessing, and just let ourselves be then the weight will start to come off. If you love your body, it will love you back. If you feed it healthy things, it will reward you with good health in return. I look at it this way; if I had no pre-conceptions of what beautiful truly is, if I had never engaged in the dangerous game of comparing myself to others, would I still find myself unattractive and worthless? No. :) I am finally on the right road.

  7. Helen says:

    I have not stopped crying all the way through your post, I had to stop a few times as the sobbing and tears stopped me but I continued on to the end! This is so beautiful; I just wish i believed it. We had a family gathering on the weekend and lots of pictures were taken and every one that I was in, I HATE! My niece said I looked stunning and all i can see is the roll and the fat cheeks!! I really need to start loving myself more………but don’t know how I guess as I’m now in my 50’s and still at it!! thanks for this amazing post it has affected me immensely

  8. Dawn says:

    Thank you! I am often behind the camera instead of in front of it. Yesterday was the 12th anniversary of the loss of one of my cousins and earlier this year I put together a memorial video for the family. Having many photos of my childhood and immediate family, this experience opened my eyes to how some families do not have these memories. Every day is a gift, I will do my best to be in front of the camera more and enjoy each day to the fullest. More candid family shots, not just professional photos, as these show life as not posed.
    Thank you again!

  9. Jess says:

    This is truth… heartfelt and real… and amazing.. thank you for sharing, for being brave and open enough to speak what so many are thinking.. and I hope its ok that Im sharing it. :)

  10. Jen says:

    I’ve just returned from a 3 week visit with my parents, where I took tons of pictures of them playing with their 20 month old granddaughter (my daughter) who they only see 2-3 times a year as we live in different countries. When I showed my mom these gorgeous pictures of them laughing and playing together all she could do was point out the fact that her fat roll was showing or her arms were exposed. I wanted to cry. We have both suffered from weight struggles our whole lives but since having my daughter, and gaining 20 pounds, I have just decided to accept the fat and be happy for the sake of my daughter, I don’t want her growing up with a mom who is always critiquing herself (and others). When I see pictures of the 2 of us I see the love and joy and happiness, not the fat. (ok, I do see the fat but the other stuff wins out!) It pains me that at 75 years old my mother – who honestly looks fantastic – can still only see the negative. I’m going to forward her this page!

  11. Hi Theresa!

    I loved this post! I’ve lived most of my life like that. (Luckily I ran into a program that worked for me and I like my body a lot more now.) My mom did the same thing. Then she actually ended up dying very young, and I’m so sad that there are barely any pictures of her. Thanks for the post!

  12. Shelley says:

    This is so true…Since I have a friend who is wicked with the camera..I can’t get away with ..”don’t take a picture of me” but I have a lot of friends and family who need to read this!!

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