This blog might be surprise some people, here goes…
I’ve always been pretty happy in my own skin, I had a confident body image and was un-phased by the images I see in magazines. I’ve never really had any body hang ups or disliked what I see in the mirror, and I’ve even been happy to embrace my post-pregnancy loose skin and the odd stretch mark…
But that all changed about 2 years ago.
I was booked to do a photo shoot and on arriving I was handed a sports bra, crop-toppy thing and some short-shorts to wear. I wouldn’t normally wear either of these things, let alone together…I’m a big believer that if you flash a bit of flesh on the top half then you should opt for leggings on the bottom half and vice versa. But that aside I’ve never been a big skin flasher. I’m more of a leggings and vest kinda gal when it comes to active wear.
But I was there to do a job, so did as I was asked and put on the outfit. Before I came out of the changing room I looked in the mirror and thought to myself, ‘you know what Katie, you look alright.’
Back then, just as I am now. I was a healthy size 8-10…yes I there’s some loose skin below my belly button from being pregnant, but when I stand upright it’s flat…and that’s totally OK.
So, feeling alright about my body image, I stood in front of the camera and began to take direction from the photographer. I was asked to do fitness-style poses (which for the record never involve standing in a normal upright position). I did planks, press ups, elevated split squats etc…all of which involve bending forward…and none of which are particularly flattering on the tummy skin as gravity tends to take over.
A few shots in and the photographer stopped to take a look at the shots that had been taken so far, and as she did so she kind of screwed up her face and said ‘no, it’s ok, we can air brush your skin.’
As I’m sure you can imagine, this isn’t exactly a confidence booster when you’re stood there wearing what felt like not much more than a bikini. But trying to be as professional as ever I carried on taking direction while more photographs were taken. These were interspersed with a few more comments such as ‘can you just try and move the band on your shorts to cover your that mark on your tummy.’
Once we were done, again the photographer looked back through the photographs and twisted her face saying, ‘don’t worry I’ll touch up your stretch marks.’
I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. I hated every minute and it knocked my confidence and my body image big time.
I spent many a day after that judging myself negatively in the mirror and in shop changing rooms.
I’m really good at building up other people, boosting their confidence and telling them how great they look and how lovely they are…but I struggled to do the same for myself.
I’ve done several fitness shoots since, but haven’t looked back at the images- I didn’t want to see them and the few I did see I would pick myself apart.
Yesterday however, I had to look at the shots as they were being taken…I couldn’t miss them, as they appeared on a screen right in front of me within seconds of being taken. The photographer taking the shots was lovely and I was wearing something I felt comfortable.
After a few test shots I had a look at the screen and for the first time in a very long time and thought to myself and even said out loud, ‘wow I’m not fat I am.’ To which my pal and the person who booked me said, ‘WHAT?’ [as if I was a crazy person].
I think lots of people who know me and follow me on social media may well get the impression that I’m super confident all of the time, but for some time that hasn’t been the case.
It’s taken a long time for me to get the negative voice out of my head and I’m determined I’m not going to let it get back in!
So the moral of the story…
- Be careful which words to choose to use towards others…you never know the effect it may have on their body image.
- Don’t always assume that everyone else is super happy with themselves.
- Be sure to take the advice you give others. I’m always praising others and saying positive things about other people and paying them compliments…maybe it’s time we all started paying ourselves some compliments too.