Sunday, July 31, 2011

What does being body positive look like?

In March of 2011 I signed up for and attended the Be Body Positive workshop in Marin. While there I met this awesome redhead named Monica and friended her on Facebook as soon as I got back to Sacramento. She had an amazing photo album called "Goddess". I was inspired by her curves and the beauty of the photographs. I too, wanted a Goddess photo shoot! I contacted In Her Image Photography and and booked my session for June.

As some of you know, I had weight loss surgery in 2007. After years of yo-yo dieting, I thought the Gastric Lap-Band would be the answer to weight problems for good. In 18 months I lost 130 pounds and found myself in a size 8. I had always wanted to do pin-up photos but had never allowed myself to because I never had the right body for it. So I booked a session and I took some fantastic photos. I thought that seeing the photos of my new body would help it sink in, would help me feel comfortable in this new strange and small body. Getting thin did not feel or look like what I had hoped and dreamed it always would. But the experience of the photo shoot that day stayed with me. It was the best day of dress up ever.

Shortly after the photo shoot, I got really sick and the doctors found out my Lap-Band had slipped out of place and they had to schedule surgery immediately to fix it. I woke up from that surgery to find that they had to remove the whole set up completely. I was devastated! They told me I'd be fine, keep doing what I was doing (eating 1000 calories a day). No one prepared me for the effects this would have on my body, my metabolism, my emotional well being... As soon as I recovered from surgery the weight started piling back on even though I was still hardly eating anything. It was unbelievable to me how fast the weight came back despite my efforts to control everything. 

I set out on a mission to stop this cycle, learn how to heal my mind body and soul. This began with learning about Intuitive Eating to recover from binge eating, which lead me to Being Body Positive and learning about Health At Every Size. So when I saw Monica's pictures, I knew that this was the best way I could close the loop and heal from the torture and shame I've put myself through in order to try and look like what society tells me I should. I have made tremendous progress over these last two years, unfortunately it is not reflected in my pant size as one hopes it would... but this is me. This is what total size acceptance looks like for me right now. I'm no longer trapped in the shame of body hatred. Today I'm able to enjoy my body and celebrate what it looks like right now. Regardless of what size I wear and it no longer stops me from getting what I want out of this life.

Images courtesy of: In Her Image Photography


  1. Ah Emily, they are beautiful! And what great truthful writing you engage in. So proud of you and all you are doing to constantly be making your self a more whole and happy individual. So lucky to have you in our family:)

  2. I love this Emily and think you are so amazing and inspiring! Please don't ever stop!

  3. Beauty @ its best! Xoxoxo

  4. I work for The Body Positive, know Monica dearly, and would have been at that workshop facilitating except I am in San Diego for summer. I just had to click on your link on the In Her Image page, even though I don't know you, and am SO thrilled to see this! It inspires me every time I see what this work does/heals. And WOW, you are SO beautiful! If you come to the workshop in October maybe we will meet! Keep doing what you're doing girl. Health truly comes in every size, and beauty truly comes from that love and self care within. I'm constanly amazed by the connections in this community!
    xoxo Sammy Jo