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.

 

2,318 Responses to “So you’re feeling too fat to be photographed . . .”

  1. Maria says:

    I love this post. Teresa, you are so awesome. Rock on.

    • Susanne says:

      I couldn’t figure out how to post, either, so I replied to this post. Wow, love this, and really loved the photo. What I saw was happiness and joy immediately when I looked at it. Great family; great photo! More important for the rest of us, though, GREAT message. By the way, as I’ve aged (I’m 54), I have gone back and looked at photos from when my children were young and have actually thought (although I usually avoided being in photos), that I look way better in the photos than my memory serves me. I’m glad I have them. You are beautiful, Teresa, and you have a beautiful family!

      • May says:

        Yes, fabulous post that goes along with a fabulous attitude and family. I hope more people get your message and truly can accept it. I wish more women and men accepted and loved themselves as much as others love them. Thanks for posting from your heart and sharing this.

        • Karen Kartchner says:

          Thank you so much for posting this! Did you look at my life and post this? lol It is so me! I HATE to be photographed. In fact there aren’t that many pics of me unless they get it without me knowing. But after reading this I am rethinking my attitude. I don’t want to be a cipher anymore! I want to be recorded in my family history. I want my grandkids to remember my face. Not to have them say” mom I cant remember what grandma looks like.” Thank you Thank you Thank you.

      • donna says:

        Soooo very ironic I came across this…it was only minutes ago I was talking w/ my BFF about apture my sisterin-law posted of me in a pool w/ my double chins hanging down to my knees lol…never even noticing how big I was smiling and how much fun I was having and despite the double chins, I really am a very pretty girl…your so right, you have to get over it..none of us are flawless…Live, Love & Laugh ALWAYS ……AND document it w/ photos!!! :-) ….thanks for the kind words!!!

      • Susan McNeill says:

        Love the message you’re conveying in your post. My son is now in his mid-20s, and there are probably no more than a handful of photos of us together. Even when, so many years ago, I was a size 10 I thought of myself as not being attractive in pictures! How foolish to not realize that every family photo is a family treasure. The love, joy, and laughter they give to the future are worth more than gold.

        • Lynda Brown says:

          When I looked at this picture, I first saw your amazing smile, and how it lights up your face, then I noticed your jacket, which is one of my favourite colours, then I noticed everyone else. Someone else mentioned your necklace, so I went back and looked again, yes it is kick-ass and I love it! Your face positively shines with happiness, it is a truly beautiful picture, one to hang on the wall. Your lesson is one I need to remember and keep reminding myself of. Thank you

          • Jasmine says:

            I absolutely cried when I read this. Such a beautiful post. I have considered on more than one occasion of ending the misery that my weight tortures me with each day. Thank you for quite possibly, saving my life xxxx

      • Yes! Well said. So happy you are doing better after the wreck and you have a wonderful point of view about this.

      • Tia says:

        I saw this posted somewhere…I think BP4U…and fell in love instantly!! After reading, I once again allowed pics of myself again and I started referring clients who asked me ‘Can you make me look skinny?’ or ‘You have to hide me some how…or it’s a no go…got it?’ to this article. After they read it, then I tend to have no problem and we all have a complete understanding and acceptance of ourselves!! BEYOND BROVO!!!

    • amanda says:

      We are strangers yet share the same passion for photography and the same thoughts on our gorgeous curvy bodies. This was exceptionally well written and I hope this reaches the masses. You are blessed with an honest voice and a real gift to capture others in their best light. Thank you for such raw emotion and all the best as you continue to encourage women and men alike.. From Prince Edward Island to whereever you are.. God Bless

      • Teresa says:

        I used to make up stories about Prince Edward Island in Elementary school when staring at the map of North America. I was CERTAIN it was filled with castles and kings and queens. LOL. Keep ROCKIN!!!!

        • Nancy says:

          Well, PEI doesn’t have castles, kings or queens but it is awesome. I am in Raleigh and I miss it… although the red dirt of NC helps… a little :-)

          Great piece, true and beautifully expressed.

        • Marsha Pettijohn says:

          Teresa, I don’t know you, but I know Linda from church, and she IS an amazing woman! I don’t see her any more ’cause I live on the west side of town and church is on the east side,and I don’t drive anymore,except in an emergency. But I really felt compelled to drop you a note! You have hit the nail on the head, exactly! It starts in grade school and just keeps on going…if you’re fat (I was and am), if you have crooked teeth, different sized ears, a big nose, even a different-sounding name, you will be targeted with bullying and pranks and thoughtless behavior and comments. You will not be accepted because you have a beautiful voice (you’re fat!), you will not be accepted because your parents have money (you’re fat!)…and on and on it goes.I have learned, through the years and many tearful days and nights, that I am God’s perfect child and that, to me, is really all that matters! My faith has sustained me – let me count the ways – abandonment at age 4, adopted because it was “the thing to do”, not out of love,marriage to a selfish, unfaithful man, still-birth of my daughter, a son who was truly a gift from God, but put me out of his life years ago, a hurtful divorce, Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis, having to stop working, uprooting and relocation, doctors inattention and almost medical disaster,living with MS every day for 26 years…but again, I stress that my faith has gotten me through it all, and more. I’ve learned some great comebacks for the ones all around us who are “unflawed”, and I never hesitate to use them: “Seems (or sounds) like a personal problem to me – YOURS!” or “I may be fat but you’re ugly – I can go on a diet!” That one is for the really obnoxious idiots. Anyway, Teresa, thank you so much for lending some perspective on this age-old subject. Best wishes to you and may you always enjoy God’s abundant blessings!

          • Mimi says:

            I read through your post. While a lot of what you said hits home for me, I still am having quite a struggle. I read a lot of posts hoping I will find something that really clicks, but it seems for everyone , there is a form of gold at the end of the rainbow, so to speak. I am as of yet unable to find that. I do not have any kind of loving support system or a career I can be proud of. It would take a lot of time to go into but it is what it is. I have absolutely no belief in a higher power…..so actually, when reading a lot of these posts, instead of gaining from the experiences, I am possible becoming more distressed over the fact that I do not have what seems to renew , revive, or at least work to help others carry on. Which, from what I’ve read seems to be family love, friends. career, and faith. Maybe this is not meant for me, but I sure would like to see a positive post about someone in my situation!

          • Christina says:

            This post is for Mimi, who has posted right before. Sister, I understand. Sometimes life has that ring of irony to it that just won’t seem to acknowledge anything as good or useful or valuable. I have gone through severe and destructive depression when these thoughts get in my head. I have a spiritual path, etc, but sometimes it was just not helping, because the way I sometimes process things. There have been many good influences that have helped me, but most recently I’ve been gifted with an intro to Codependents Annonymous, that has helped me understand myself and how I process the world better. I would encourage you to seek out a CoDA group, and start listening there to see if it’s for you, and read “Co-Dependent No More”, by Melanie Beattie (I may have the wrong spelling on her name) You may have an idea of what co-dependent means and think it might not apply to you, but characteristic traits are: denial patterns, low self-esteem patterns, compliance patterns, and control patterns – including not being able to see one’s own self or life path as valuable. The Codependents Annonymous principles have helped me jolt that depression and yuck to re-see things differently, to re-recognize and value myself and what I have that is good, and to be more kind to myself as I go through life. I hope it can help you -

        • Shani says:

          Love your article so much! It is very true and we need this kind of writing to convince us of that because of the deception we’ve come to believe about thin being beautiful. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. And I laughed at you PEI comment. I live in PEI. It is an awesome place. Come for a summer vacation sometime! Bring your family and get lots of pictures to add to your family memories lol. You will not regret it. It is a lovely and magical place ;)

    • Amy says:

      Thank you, thank you, thank you for this. It’s just what I needed to read as it’s exactly how I feel about myself any time someone whips out a camera. Since I’m 5’9″, I always hide in the back barely visible. Next time, I’ll stand in front. My boys do deserve a picture of their mom out front, proud and enjoying/appreciating her blessed life. The only things I noticed about your picture were your beautiful smile, your kick ass necklace, how fantastic the color of your vest looks on you, and how much fun you all must have together.

      • Mary-Beth Santarelli says:

        You are gorgeous! There is a top plus size model who resembles you. She models for Land’s End, and has long red hair, but you have the same great smile. Look at their website and you will see who I mean.

    • Kathy says:

      Oh my gosh…there are years of my life missing photos because of exactly what you said. I still shy away from the camera but decided enough is enough. You go, girl!

    • Rochelle says:

      I could not figure out how to reply to this article either. I sure needed to read it. I sent out Christmas cards with a photo of my 2 children and the dog.,. I wasn’t in it cause I didn’t want anyone to see the weight I have gained. Thank you for a lesson I very much needed to be reminded of.

    • SA says:

      Also could not figure out how to leave a comment…..

      This has be drowning in tears… My beautiful mother passed away a year ago, far too young, from a horrible battle with cancer. I made a slideshow for her memorial service, and had trouble with finding enough good pictures, as she was always hiding in photos. I am the desiganted family photographer. I have my camera with me always, and have oodles of pics of my kids. But you will find very few of myself. My gorgeous daughter graduated last spring, and we had professional family photos taken. The photographer sat my daughter and myself on stools, then placed the family around us. The photos are beautiful, but almost a year later, I have not ordered any, because… you guessed it, I dont like the way “I” look!! Not really fair to my kids, now is it?? Going to call the photographer to place an order tomorrow….

      • Monica says:

        Yes this is a great story. I tell everyone to always take lots of pictures with loved ones, cause once their gone their gone. I have lost both of my parents before I was 34 and one of my regrets is not having more photos of my mom and me. I always hated how my body looked and I remember the last time I saw my mom alive at our house, I told myself when I lose more weight I would take a photo with my mom. I never got the chance and I regret that more than ever. I would have cherished it now with all my heart. Another piece of advice is get video footage of loved ones, hearing their voices after they pass is priceless. Again growing up we did not video record anything, so I have no record of my moms voice. Hard lessons to learn the hard way.

    • Diana says:

      Wow… Teresa, you really gave me a lot to think about and I appreciate your outlook on life. Thanks for opening my eyes to the beauty of the moments captured.

    • Lisa J says:

      Sorry to tag on to a post, but I can’t find how else to respond.

      I *did* have a tremendous weight loss. Still not many pictures of me in that time, partly because I was away from people who would take my picture, but mostly because when a camera came out, I avoided it, even though I was at what I thought was my ideal weight (actually was a little on the thin side for a bit).

      Kids or no, we lose a piece of our lives hiding ourselves. I’ve regained the weight I lost, due to a variety of circumstances both within and outside of my control. Somewhere along the way, I learned this. Now, there are tons of pictures of me, arms swinging in the breeze, chins resting on my chest. They’re pictures of me smiling, happy, and THAT is what my friends noticed.

      The self-loathing must stop. I’ve shared your post; it needs to be shared far and wide.

    • karen says:

      I love this post as
      well and I’m sure all my friends on FB will too. I am loosing weight but it has been a while since I would let myself be in any pictures not even for a before picture on Sparkpeople. you have inspired me to be free and do so.

    • Shelia says:

      After my mom passed, I went thru her pictures to find very few of myself. Because I was the one taking them. So for 20 years there are only a few to show I was even alive. You are right !! It is not worth it. Go have your picture taken !!!

    • Melissa Martinez says:

      Wow, makes me re-think how I feel about being photographed, I really needed this, thanks for a wake-up call Teresa, thanks so much!

    • Jaqui Somers says:

      I too can’t work out how to post on here so I apologise to Maria for jumping on her thread!

      I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS – it gave me butterflies to read it. I’ve missed so many opportunities to have photos of me with my friends and family and I hereby pledge NEVER to duck out of a photo again xxx

    • Jan says:

      I agree. I am 63 and there are very few pictures of me with my kids or otherwise. I’ll admit part of that was because I was always the one with the camera and no one offered to take my picture but I never asked, either.
      Self concept and self acceptance are vital and I applaud Teresa that she is finally achieving that at a “young” age. Takes some of us a lot longer. I could mourn the opportunities lost but I choose, now, to rejoice in the life I have, the person I am and the choices I am making.

    • Melissa says:

      This is such a wonderful post Teresa! Thank you for sharing, and for putting everything in such a perfect perspective! You are such a beautiful person!!

      • Terry says:

        Wow! Excellent post. I’m sitting here crammed into some too-tight jeans because I’ve gained even more weight! Think I’ll go change into some stretchy pants and breathe and take a photo with my hubby!

    • Julie says:

      I so needed to read this. I am in some pictures, but I always try to stand in the back with others partially hiding me. As I am much taller than most of the people I work with, (Indonesian teens and kids) I can’t hide completely, and that’s ok. But I really get what you mean about criticizing myself over the extra weight whenever I see a photo with me in it. It’s true. No one else really cares….

    • sheryl says:

      So true and SO well put!

    • Carrie says:

      Thank you for this beautiful wake-up call. You described me to a T, and have given me the resolve to move to the front of photographs, put my arms around my kids and smile!

    • Rosemary says:

      Great post and good wisdom. I do have to admit I do turn a leeeeetle sideways though. Thanks for posting this, we all need a reminder from time to time.

    • This made me cry. I’ve said these same things almost everyday since I’ve gained 20lbs :( and I just can’t seem to get the discipline back to lose it again. Thanks for sharing such candid thoughts, loved it!

    • Joan says:

      Amen! You have put into words what so many of us feel. I have deleted so many pictures and promise not to any longer!

    • Kathleen Youngs says:

      This is so beautiful and so perfectly written and so RELEVANT! I am engaged to be married and my wedding is February 22, 2013. Of course, like every bride, I want to look perfect. But I’m 46 years old, heavier than I should be, and like it or not, I have that dreaded ”
      bra bulge.” But that’s not the whole story. In October I was hospitalized with a serious illness that nearly took my life. I remember when they told my fiance they had to intubate me. He stood in front of me crying and I said to him (and my children), this is something they have to do right now, but I promise you, I will be back. By the grace of God, I did come back. I am still recovering but refused to change my wedding date. I have waited long enough already. :-) Anyway, my point to this is that your blog put a whole new perspective on the wedding photos. <3 Thank you so much for writing it. And I am thanking God for putting it in my path to read! God bless you and yours.

      • Teresa says:

        Precious Kathleen – There is simply no such thing as an ugly bride. Have you ever been to a wedding where people didnt cry and gasp at a bride’s beauty on that special day? It’s a rule: Brides (even 46yo brides) have an unstoppable HOTNESS . Focus on your new love, not the photographer, and you’ll have magic! Congrats!!

        • Kathleen says:

          The wedding was perfect! Everything I had dreamed. And I didn’t worry one time about cameras flashing. I just smiled and had the time of my life!!! Thank you again. I would love to show you some of the pics :-)

    • Tracy says:

      Thanks for this. It made me cry. I cried thinking about the ictures I do not have of me and my little girl who is now three.
      I needed this. I needed it so badly right now.
      Things change at this moment. Tomorrow when I wake, I will be taking pictures with my Ingrid.
      Thanks for making me aware

    • beansgirl says:

      This brought me to tears. I too am a photographer. I take photos of everyone BUT myself. I refuse to be in any of them since gaining so much weight. My daughter does not have any professional photos of us taken since she was 3. thank you for this reminder. I cannot tell you what this means to me. I am going to print it and put it where I will see it when I forget again.

    • Sheila M Davis says:

      I agree I love the message you are sending. I would stay the way I am because I like myself the way I am; however, I needed to make the change because of my health issues. You are doing a wonderful job, keep up the good work! Love the family picture!

    • Melissa Myers says:

      The Holy Spirit just used you to speak to me and others through this blog. What an amazing eye opener! I just want to go right now and take pics with all my kids and husband! God is so good and is using amazing people like YOU to guide us through with great perspective. Thank you for this, it’s just what I needed for this time.
      Melissa

    • Kelly says:

      I too couldn’t find the post button.

      I have been really trying to accept me as me.
      I take pics and share pics that are only the
      Best angle and looks of me. Not ever showing
      My almost 280 pound saggy body. I lost 190
      Pounds and gained back 110. I hate a waddle
      Under my chin and a low hanging stomach from
      Having a monster of a child and such quick
      Weight loss. I’m a totally different looking person
      When I have on makeup and hair done. To the point
      People don’t recognize me if they never seen me
      Just one way. I want to share my life with people
      On facebook and family of my everyday life. I just
      Can’t seem to do it. I see people with no makeup hair
      A mess and rolls that draw attention and just think to
      To myself, why would anyone want people to see this,
      But at the same time give kudos to them.
      I think it’s all about being comfortable in your own skin.
      I Am not. I’m ashamed of having gained the weight
      Back and people thinking , god what happened?
      It’s embarrassing honestly! So I hide. Don’t go out
      And definitely limit my pictures.
      Thank you so much for opening my eyes.
      It’s really got me thinking my recluse behavior
      And embarrassment isn’t really worth cutting
      Out the proof of my life. Thank you again for being an inspiration
      To all of us fluffy people out there. You’re awesome!

      • I feel the exact same as you. It’s hard. Baby steps is what I keep telling myself.

      • Amber says:

        I also lost a bunch of weight and gained most of it back. I feel the same as you. I’m back on the weight loss track, but I still can’t get over not wanting to be in photos.

    • Donna showalter says:

      My beautiful, giving, caring mom passed away in a car wreck in 2003. What I’d give to have one more moment with her! And what I’d give if I had more than just ONE picture of her. She wouldn’t let us take pictures of her because she thought she was fat.

    • Betsyerose says:

      Wonderful post. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank YOU Teresa for writing this.

    • Angela says:

      Wow! What a timely article. I soooooo needed to read this right now. We have not had family pictures made in at least 10 years. My daughters are now 18 and 20. One is graduating high school and leaving for college and the other is getting married, both in August. I told her just today (the one getting married) that she can’t get married until I lose 30lbs. I think I need to get over it and just embrace who I am now. Thanks for opening my eyes!!!

    • Patti J. says:

      When I was younger, I was so camera shy because I thought I was fat AND ugly! Very few shots of me were ever taken. Now I look back at those few shots and see how beautiful I really was.
      I still do not have the perfect body but I realize photos of me are a gift to others. When I am gone, they will be cherished. Wish I had more.
      Get some shots while you can!

    • Stacie says:

      Okay, this made me cry. Thank you for posting such beautiful and honest words. I am going to share this on my Facebook. :)

    • Isabelle says:

      I love that everyone looks so happy in the picture – that is what I noticed! Life is short – you never know what can happen in life. Family is forever so you should always cherish that. Tough people last – tough times don’t last. Weight has always been a big issue in American culture, however at the end of the day who you are as a person should define you – not the numbers on the scale.

    • Gale says:

      There could never be enough room for all the replies you should have to this post! This is awesome and I am going to share with all my friends, who, like me, don’t want a picture taken because we consider ourselves fat. The fat may still be there when the coffin closes and then it’s too late for that family picture or that cute snapshot with the children or grandchildren.

    • Lisa says:

      How absolutely wonderful of you to post this. How ABSOLUTELY stupid of me not the give my family something they will be looking for after I leave this world….off to get my picture taken…with my family! Thank you soooo very much!

    • Rina Marie says:

      Theresa,
      You Rock! This blog is so well written with perfectly stated touching facts.
      Thank you for opening many eyes and hearts creating smiles.
      Rina Marie

    • Kim says:

      (Sorry, I don’t know how to reply to just the blog itself, so I’m piggybacking on this comment.) I read this blog post with tears in my eyes, and about halfway through they escaped down my cheeks, those rascally things! For me, I’ve allowed myself to be photographed, but I have trouble being comfortable when it is happening. I have trouble giving a genuine smile. Worse yet, afterwards when I see the pictures, I just cannot STAND looking at myself. You have reminded me of the importance in letting that joy show through and then ONLY seeing that joy. Thank you.

    • Frank says:

      It’s good to have self-esteem even when overweight. But on the other hand this is problematic in many countries of the world. Because of the lack of peer pressure and the fact that most people are overweight we don’t think or care too much as we continue to gain weight. People its unhealthy. The sad fact is all the people in those photo above will have medical problems well before they should. That adds to healthcare costs, stress, and family problems. Not to mention premature death. Do you not realise the current generation is probably going to be the 1st ever to not outlive their parents. Isn’t that sad? Or better yet, even pathetic. Its cheap, fast food, sedentary lifestyles, and the fact that everyone in your family, social circle is overweight too. I’m an American living in Asia and its striking to see some western people on the streets. They’re bodies don’t go unnoticed or scrutinized.

      • Annie says:

        Weather it’s unhealthy or not was not the point of this. The point of this post was to let people know that It’s okay to be in photos. People aren’t thinking of how fat you are. They love you the way you are. The medical part people will have to deal with. It’s not like people are going out and getting fat on purpose and It’s not like they can lose it in a snap of the fingers. Some people have medical issues before they are fat. Some medicines and medical issues make people gain weight and not be able to lose it. To make fun of someone for it is very wrong. Yes, I hate to look at my body because I am fat, but my husband doesn’t see that. He sees a beautiful girl that has medical issues and is more beautiful than the day he met her. I think that’s what matters. Only what you think about yourself matters. Yes, If you are fat you at least need to try to lose weight because of the health matters, but you also need to live life and love life as though you look normal because you do. Don’t hate on people because they’re fat. Love them and help them as much as you can, if they ask you to. If they don’t ask, then back off.

      • Jennie says:

        Frank — Yes, it’s unhealthy to be overweight, but that’s not the focus of this blog post. Being overweight, or in a wheelchair, or not liking your hair, or your nose, or your wardrobe are all reasons that people may withdraw and hide away from a photographer. The point of this eloquently-written post is to allow photographic evidence of whomever you are!

      • Colleen says:

        Well Frank…. There had to be one person stupid enough not to get the point of this article, and that person is you. Apparently you think that overweight people need you to remind them about health issues. THEY DON’T. I think your condescending opinions are “sad, pathetic, and unhealthy” (words taken from your post).

    • Amy Bowyer says:

      And I see someone who is a true inspirtation to those around her… You do truly rock!

    • Rosemary says:

      Fantastic post! Beautiful family picture. Thanks, Teresa, life is about all the people we love, for who they are. Life is too short to not record our memorable moments. -Rose

    • Jenny says:

      What a great thing to write about – I am going to forward this as it is such a great way to look at life :)

    • Bev says:

      Lovely….and I just experienced this myself…as a very happy (but overweight) new (middle aged) bride, my new niece surprised my husband and me with a slide show to be shown at our wedding — on a huge screen — and not all of the pictures were flattering. There was even one of me in a swimsuit on my husband’s first ever canoe trip…. and people laughed and cried and laughed some more…because I was probably the only one worrying about how fat I looked….everyone else just noticed how much fun my husband and I were having….and how much we loved each other. I still want to loose weight…I cringe when I see pictures…but I’m not going to stop having them taken…because I want to look back and see fun and love and family.
      I hope you do, too.

    • Sue says:

      Such a beautiful post and such a beautiful photo! Thanks for the reminder!!!

  2. Ali says:

    I love YOU Teresa!!!!

    • Francipants says:

      Such a great post! And an important message. We are perfect the way we are, even if we don’t think so. I uploaded 500 pictures today in preparation for an upcoming scrapbooking event. Most of them are of my daughter (now 3) as a baby, and I am in several of them. I don’t usually shy away from the camera. I’m an avid picturetaker and scrapbooker, so I know how important it is to have lots and lots of pictures of and with all my loved ones. However, having just had a baby, I was overweight and that is ALL I could see in those pictures, even though in most of them I was holding my baby girl. You are so right that no one else would even notice or care. I will remember your message every time I see a photo of me. I pray that my daughter does not learn that she should measure her own worth by what she looks like.

  3. Kaleah says:

    This hit home. I have been intentionally avoiding full body shots during my weight loss in anticipation of my “big reveal” and it has made me sad that I don’t have many pictures from last year of me with my daughters.

    • Kaleah – I know personally how gorgeous you are from the top of your head to the middle of your heart. Thanks for reading :)

      • michelle says:

        I didn’t know how to reply in general so I tagged onto this thread~ Thank you for posting!! I have a friend who has gone thru some thyroid issues for the last few years and I photographed her wedding, maternity and 1 family session prior. She had wanted some family pics but was not happy with the way she looked. And had mentioned that she was sad she didn’t have any photos of her and her kids over the last 2 years. Well, we did some pics, and although she wasn’t entirely happy ( we women are WAYYYYY to critical of ourselves!!!) She was happy with 1/3 of the shots!! I loved way more, but that is because I don’t see weight, I just see a beautiful lady and her love for her family!!! And I just want to say thank you for posting! This is something we may not want to “share publically” but you did and all the women reading it are grateful!!!! It’s like, if I was in an accident and my arms had to be removed, who would I be….michelle, or if something happened to my legs who would I be….michelle. Because my body isn’t who I am, It’s my heart, soul, and mind~Thank you for so lovingly sharing yours with us! PS you are beautiful and you are so talented!! Just sayin’

        • Shannon MRTIN says:

          Life is so short and we never know when our time is up! We kill ouselves trying to lose weight before the next picture snaps. I t doesn’t help when you have rail thin celebrities, what role model does that send to our children….you have to be skinny , look a certain way etc…. truth is long before there was plastic surgery– God made us for who we are NOT what we are,or wear. I tell my children this everyday. Don’t take your life for granted-it goes fast enough. Always be respectful–respect not only other feelings, but respect yourself.

  4. Julie Morris says:

    What an amazing post! Everyone should read this and then go and get lots of pictures taken. And, I love the picture- I see a very happy family!

  5. Laura says:

    OMG. I literally just started crying. I’m not kidding. Thank you.

    • Laura says:

      me too.

    • Comeka says:

      Another crier here . . . I SO need to hear this.

    • Ashley Perry says:

      Me Too!

    • Dea says:

      ditto that

    • Sam Mooney says:

      Me too. Thanks so much for this.

    • Nikki K says:

      Me too…thank you for the wake up call!

    • Mandy says:

      What a reality check.. I”m almost in tears!

      • Charlotte says:

        I so understand what you have said in this post. It’s like you were inside my head reading my thoughts. I got very sick several years ago and can’t exercise, plus steroid medications made me gain a lot of weight. I’m over 100 lbs heavier than my ideal weight and I HATE having my picture taken. I have felt so ugly in some pics that they made me cry. My husband and my daughter tell me that I am beautiful but I never believed them. Lately, though, I’ve been doing a lot of family history research, and the few pictures I’ve discovered of grandparents I never knew have felt like finding pure gold! It got me thinking – one day I won’t be here and I’ll be nothing more than a name to my grandchildren generations down the road. I want them to know me as a face, not just a name. I want my daughter to have part of me to hang onto when I’m gone. You know what you said about what others see is so right. My godmother, whom I absolutely adored, was a short little woman who was darned near as wide as she was tall. I never think of that when I see pictures of her. I see the merry, mischievous twinkle in her eyes (oh, she had the most gorgeous eyes!), the love in her sweet face, and that beautiful smile that I’d give a million dollars to see again. Never once do I see “fat”, not once. I just see a woman I treasured. One of the most truly beautiful women I’ve ever known. I would like to think maybe that’s how my family will see pictures of me, just as their daughter or wife or momor sister or friend, the person they love. I am never going to enjoy being photographed but from now on I’m going to try to remind myself that there is a whole lot more to me than just my dress size. Thank you for helping to open my eyes to that fact.

        • Esther says:

          This sounds just like me… The Fat Girl .. I don’t have many pictures with my hubby and 2 girls because i am a FG.. Or I will stand behind people in a pic so can’t see my fat body. I quit smoking and put on 50 lbs but now smoke free for just past4 years, then in an accident where I could not do much… and put on more lbs..My hubby will soon be a cancer survivor now I need surgery to remove a tumour in my spinal canal and may or may not be paralyzed in the end….. I do not have many pictures of me or wiyh my family.. My photographer friend gave me a free photo shoot but I kept putting it off. Another friend entered me in a “Random Act Of Kindness” for a photo shoot but I have still put it off ….My surgery is feb 25…. And I may not have any pictures of my before life…..
          ….Signed, the FG …

    • Jody says:

      Teresa,
      I hope that you are feeling an incredible rush of love and gratitude… you touched a LOT of lives and hearts that needed so desperately to be touched in this specific way… a way that almost no one is going to have the courage or compassion to do like you did.
      All of these women (myself included) are weeping together – with some sadness and regret, but mostly with the joy of just being understood and awakened.
      Thank you, Teresa. You are a true treasure, and your family and friends are SO blessed to have you in their lives.
      Thank you.

    • Julie says:

      So did I. I almost couldn’t see to read the end.

    • Jerri says:

      me too…

    • amber says:

      Me too!

  6. Charm McNemar says:

    Wow can I ever identify with that. I’ve always preferred to be behind the camera too–always. But you’re so right–you end up looking back at family photos and it’s like you weren’t there. The part about: your kids want pictures with their mom–your husband wants pictures with his wife, got to me in particular. I’m going to try to take your words to heart! I have to say I love your family picture too!!

  7. Laura T. says:

    Thank you. That’s really all that needs to be said.

  8. Melissa Raschke says:

    Teresa, you are my hero!!! Well said honey! :)

  9. Carolyn Calder says:

    I love this so much, you rock Teresa :)

  10. Brionne Taylor says:

    This is very insightful and amazing. Thank you so much! You moved me to tears. And, by the way, you are beautiful. You have been since we were kids :)

  11. Paulette says:

    Very well said. Great post!

  12. Lisa Haagen says:

    Teresa, I have never been to your page before. A friend posted this via her friend on Facebook. I am not even sure how to put into words how you just made me feel. Tears are running down my face; they started at the second paragraph and are still flowing as I write this. You have so very perfectly stated what so many of us need to hear. Maybe we know, in our heads, these things but to hear (read) them so bluntly and magnificently stated, makes our hearts pay attention too. How right you are…my mom has never said, “Lisa, you are getting a little big there in that picture.” My dad has never said, “Can you just stay behind the camera and take our picture?”, my husband has never said, “I hope my friends don’t see this picture of us together”. Nope, they have always just said how they love this picture or how beautiful I look in that one. Why have I never noticed it until you, a complete and wonderful stranger, made me open my eyes to it?

    Thank you, Teresa. Just, thank you.

    • Teresa says:

      Lisa – Thank you so much for coming by and reading. I am so touched that you were able to feel the heart of the post. Go enjoy your husband and get some great pictures together :)
      Teresa

      • Donna says:

        Thanks for this post Teresa. When I was young, I never appreciated myself in photos. Always critical. Now I look back and hardly remember how thin /or pretty I was. Now I hate having my photo taken because I’m fat and old. I need an attitude adjustment and stop hiding.

    • Patti says:

      You said exactly what I wanted to say Lisa :) Thank you Teresa – I turned 50 this year and could probably count how many pictures of me I have since our wedding day on all my toes and fingers lol. 100′s of the the rest of the family – but not me. Thank you for reminding me of what is important and what my family sees :)

    • Cathi says:

      Thank you, Lisa, for stating exactly what is in my heart… same tears, same regrets. I have gained a whole other person in my years since high school and do not like the way I look: my thinning hair, my fat belly, arms, and legs (and chins). But I now have grandchildren and would love to have pictures of me and them together, but am ashamed to have other people see those pictures. So… I’m going to put on the big girl (ha!) panties and just do it– whatever “it” might be. Including pictures.

      Thanks, Teresa. I found you through the same process; a friend posted this on her FB and I clicked on the link.

    • Kym says:

      Lisa said everything I wanted to say…..I lost my mom over 15 years ago and my dad died just over a year ago. There are almost no photos of our family together and even fewer of my mom….I vowed when I had my girls 5 years ago, that I would make sure they had photos of us together, but it’s still hard being the weight I am. What gets me through is that one day, hopefully a long time from now, they will see the photos and have memories of us together.

      You are awesome! And as someone who doesn’t even know you…I looked at the photo and didn’t see someone who was fat, I saw someone smiling and looked happy to be with people she loved. Take care…..

    • Alisa says:

      Ditto. Thank you Lisa and Teresa.

    • Tamara says:

      Oh, me too! I almost skipped it, because yes, the headline, sure, but I am SO glad I read it…saving to share! Thank you.

    • Momma Lisa says:

      Ditto, Lisa!
      When my daughter was married two summers ago, I literally hid from the photographer. What a waste.

  13. Andrea cra cra Lloyd says:

    This is amazing! You are beautiful inside and out!!!!

  14. Kate says:

    This is beautifully and thoughtfully written. I am so moved (actually, a little teary) and deeply, deeply appreciative of everything you said. Thank you for your honesty, for your delivery (it always cracks me up) and for being YOU. Btw, my first thought when I saw your family picture was ‘damn, she looks great. I wish I was that photogenic.’ Love the hair, love the glasses and absolutely love the smile. I am so grateful that you, your heart and talent are still with us after the scary accident last year. Hope to get the chance to visit with you again soon! Keep up the awesome work, girl.

    • Teresa says:

      Thanks Kate! So glad to still be here and sharing this awesome planet with great friends and talented photographers like you. Have a great day!

  15. Beth says:

    Teresa, although I’ve never met you, you are my new hero! As an actress and an acting coach, I deal with similar issues myself, and oddly enough, so do most actors. While our livelihood is often made in front of the camera for film and television, many of us dread the necessary head shot and are so very critical of ourselves. And it’s not just about weight. You can insert any number of insecurities here – from aging and baggy eyes to grey hair to “oh, my nose is so big” and the list goes on. I’m constantly trying to convince myself and others that it’s a good thing to look like ourselves in photos. Skip the photoshop process and embrace your own unique beauty. It’s all about what we can see in the expression of your eyes (not whether you have droopy eyelids) or your the warmth of your smile (not that one tooth that’s a little bit crooked). You said it so beautifully! I will be sharing your blog with my actors. Thank you!

    • Teresa says:

      Hey Beth – You’re exactly right. It is not just about being too heavy – our ability to fixate on our own imperfections can hold us back in many ways. Glad to hear that you’ll be sharing this with your acting community. Best regards.

      • Jay says:

        Yes, I was going to add this. I’m still young and thin. Well, okay. Other people tell me I’m thin. People compliment my photos sometimes. I appreciate it, but I am literally not looking at the same photo they’re looking at. All I see is acne, acne scars, huge nose, round Pacific Islander face (ugh), stupid expression, ridiculously wide shoulders, belly paunch, bags under eyes, tiny breasts, not quite as thin as I want…on and on. I realize that our culture is primarily fat phobic, but it’s hard on “thin” girls too. There’s always something wrong. Thank you for adding some much-needed perspective.

        • Chris says:

          I would be one of those women who aren’t “fat” but still never happy with photos of myself. I had been agonizing over taking some new pictures to use for LinkedIn and Facebook – I figured I’d have to spend a lot of time on makeup and hair, best lighting, choosing flattering clothes and pose, all this trouble for a head shot. Then my son responded that if I did all that, I wouldn’t look like me and no one would recognize me – what a wake-up shock that was!
          I sat down in front of the webcam the next day and have new photos. They look like me, not some media model.
          It’s amazing that we all seem to feel that photos should somehow make us into what we want to be (or think that we should be). I don’t really want to be that high-maintenance or spend that much of my life worried about how I look. I want to spend my time with my family and friends, doing what I love, not trying to meet society’s ideals of appearance.

    • Christina says:

      This is what I was thinking. I tend to avoid the camera as well, but not due to weight, instead it’s due to blemishes or some other flaw of the day. I used to think that once the acne was gone I would love the way I looked, yet I don’t get the acne but now critique the stoned smile, “drug adict” eyes, or whatever else is “ugly” in the picture. (I’ve never done drugs, but I’m sure everyone knows that TYPE of picture where you’re certain anyone else looking at it will think you do.)

      Turns out they just see their friend, sister, mother, etc. I love that thought and will try to get in the pictures more often :)

  16. Chrissy Worrall says:

    I absolutely love this! Well written, my dear! And just a side note… You look stunning and so happy in this photo! Hope to see several more :)

  17. Lyn Hawks says:

    Honored to know you and be your friend…and fan…of MY FRIEND TERESA–FOREVER! Thank you for your wisdom and love.

  18. Karen says:

    I love this post, it touched my heart deeply!!! Thanks for sharing!!

    Love the family photo!!

  19. belinda says:

    I love you for this. :) OXOXOX

  20. Corrina says:

    You bring tears to my eyes and I don’t even know you. Thanks for sharing!

    • Teresa says:

      And all of these sweet comments have brought a tear to mine. Thank you for reading and commenting. Have a great weekend!

      • Shannon Judisky says:

        I have NO photos of myself with my mother from the time I was born until I forced her to do a photo with me at 16 years old. I refuse to carry that tradition on to the next generation. I am heavy, I will never see myself as good looking, and I need to get pictures of me with those I love anyway. I have lost over 100 pounds and I still don’t see a beautiful woman in the mirror, and the camera I not my friend. That said, I have pictures of me in a bathing suit online as well as pictures of me from not flattering angles because they are important to those I love.

        • Amy bonn says:

          Theresa,
          Thank you for sharing this. And years so what if I gained some wait!!! I love me for me and everyday my husband who tells me he loves me more than I can ever love him ( yes he has gained weight too) he sees me for what I am and what i do. I have awesome friends that do the same. So I’m glad you posted this for all women to read. God bless you,
          Amy Bonn

          • Rowena Chase says:

            Oh, how I can relate to this. There are very few pictures of me around because I just hate looking at myself- pictures don’t lie, but I do realize that I am depriving my family of memories for after I am gone. Thanks for the great article.

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