Sometimes Real Isn’t Always Best…

Now every once in awhile on this blog I will share an opinion that most will not agree with. Now wipe the shocked look off your faces and consider this a warning. I know that I am walking on egg shells with this one and I might offend a few of you. I want to say up front that this is my opinion. Everyone is entitled to have their own view on this topic but this is mine. Feel free to disagree!

So recently a story went viral about a fellow blogger who had amazing success on her weight loss journey and got the opportunity to share it with Shape Magazine. The woman lost an amazing 200 pounds and her story is phenomenal. The catch was at first entry the magazine would not allow her “after” photo in a bikini in the magazine. They requested she submit a photo with a shirt on. Please see her bikini photo below:

Now the blogger, Brooke Birmingham over at her blog “Brooke Not On A Diet”, fought back and the magazine has agreed to run the photo as it stands. Brooke was upset because she felt that not being allowed to show her photo was not showing her true story. She was proud of how much she lost and how she looks now. She wanted to share the real story of weight loss with the world.

Now here is where I know people will not agree with me. I feel the magazine made the right decision in the first place. While I agree she did an amazing job losing the weight she did and will inspire many with her story, I don’t feel the above photo needs to be run in a magazine. Often times we look to magazines knowing that the pictures are cleaned up and the stories are fantasized but they make us feel good and give us hope. Seeing a photo like this could very realistically turn someone off to losing the weight they need. I am not saying it would for everyone but I am saying that I would not open to a photo like this and think “man how can I get my body to look that way?”.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with her sharing her story with a shirt on. I feel it could inspire just as many without the shock value. I relate this to a story of a war hero. The story is going to have just as much of a powerful impact even if we neglect to show a gruesome photo of the war injuries they suffered. Sometimes realistic isn’t exactly what we are looking for but rather optimism even if its a little naive.

How do you feel about this bloggers? Did the magazine make a wrong decision in denying the photo in the first place?

25 thoughts on “Sometimes Real Isn’t Always Best…

  1. I think that by running the photo as she wants it, in her bikini, a lot of people will be shocked. Some people will think “I don’t want my body to look like that”, but I think it serves as a warning to a lot of people that, should you get very large, there will be excess skin if you decide to lose that weight. It might well shock people into not getting that large in the first place, which would be a good thing.

    I think the magazine should run the bikini picture alongside the t-shirt picture, so people can see what it could look like for them if they get 200 pound overweight. Some might feel that they wouldn’t be comfortable to be topless after losing the weight, but there will be some who aren’t comfortable with that anyway, so they would be doing it for the quality of life improvement that weight loss offers.

    Not everyone losing weight is going to end up looking like a supermodel with a taught stomach, and people need to be prepared for that or they might well see themselves like this and think “At least when I was fat the skin was filled out”, and then go and make the same mistakes all over again, at the detriment of their health.

    • I guess that is true. There is a positive side to reality. But I don’t think scaring people is neccesarily a good thing or the aim of this. I think people who are seriously overweight understand that there will be excess skin but that doesn’t mean it needs to be in a magazine used as motivation.

  2. I was confused about the photo, thinking that was the before shot! I’m not familiar with Shape magazine, but I can see where that photo might discourage people from losing weight. In general, most people look better with clothes on anyway!

  3. Going completely from a attraction point of view, just ewwww lol she may be proud but need to hide that stuff.

    It could encourage people never to put the weight on and as you say discourage them from losing it. I don’t think magazines need made up floozies or anything, but unless they are a magazine that caters to the ummm errr turnoff stuff, then yeah,keep the shirt on.

  4. Yes, I see your point, Shae, and it very well might turn certain people off from losing weight, true. However, I actually admire her for fighting back the magazine to run the photograph (as is) because it’s real. So much of what we see in magazines (especially beauty and fashion mags) is so touched- up that it becomes difficult to look at reality.

    So I think (as difficult as it might be for some people to see), it’s an inspiration. And not only for those wishing to lose weight, but for everyone because it’s reality.

    GREAT post, Shae. And I applaud you for always sharing your thoughts and feelings with honesty!

    Have a super weekend, my friend…X

    • Thank you Ronnie! I am glad that we can agree to disagree and still be blogging buddies! I will say I admire her spirit and I always believe in standing up for yourself. Even though I do not agree with her fight I certainly admire her accomplishment and her spirit! Thanks for stopping by my friend!

  5. I actually don’t mind the ‘reality’ of it. When people lose a large amount of weight like this they do have the extra skin and something needs to be done with it. I think we’re just too used to ‘glamour shots’ these days. But I do agree with Bijoux’s comment “In general, most people look better with clothes on anyway!”

    • While its true that we are too used to glamour shots I dont really think thats the issue here. I think the problem is some are inspired and some arent. I guess I fall into the not inspired camp but that doesnt mean I dont think she made an amazing accomplishment just means I appreciate it more with her shirt on.

  6. I was hoping to read this and disagree with you because well, that’s just more fun. But I guess I have to agree with you on this. I mean, she looks great from the boobs up (and I guess from the waist down), but something needs to be done with all that skin. But it’s what she wants to show and what the magazine wants to show but it may discourage a few.

    • Haha you love a good argument don’t you my friend? But I am glad to see you agree on this one. I know its not the popular opinion but its just how I feel 🙂

  7. I think that sometimes life isn’t always airbrushed and I like that she pushed for her real photo with no top to be published. She should be so proud at her accomplishment. And it shows the reality of dramatic weight loss.

  8. Wow. You ARE naive. This blog entry perpetuates false ideals of beauty. There are multiple measures of success. Only self absorbed, self-centered people would prefer to stay 170 pounds overweight than risk loose skin. I am inspired because she was ABLE to lose the weight. We can’t all look the same. She is inspiring because she had the COURAGE to actually change her life.

    Real woman empower other woman. Not tear them down.

    • I think I was very clear that I NEVER intended to tear her down. We all have our own opinions and I was just sharing mine and how I would feel if I read the magazine. She made an amazing journey and I made note of that I only gave my opinion on the magazines stance on the issue.

  9. Huh. Interesting take. However, I have to disagree with you on this one. I will admit to being a little shocked when I saw the photo, but after thinking about it for a while, I realise that the photo of Brooke just highlights everything that is wrong with the media. I’m going to make a personal comparison here for a moment. We all have those bodies that inspire us, and I suddenly realised the other day that I don’t recall a time when I have seen an actual woman’s body – in person – that I really really want to work towards. It’s not because there are no women out there with beautiful bodies because there most definitely are. What I am saying is that all the bodies that I aspire to have and work towards in my own workouts are all online, and thus the majority of them have most probably been touched up. I recently learned that one of my favourite models photoshops her eyes on her personal social media platforms. Now I’m asking myself what else she photoshops. Being one of my favourite models, she has a lot that I look up to. When she is interviewed, she speaks so highly of the young women that look up to her, and I sit there thinking, “you’re not actually doing any good by editing your photos. Those young women are looking up to something that may not exist”. I feel like in Brooke’s case, she is AWESOME because she is one of the few people online who have a photo that hasn’t been airbrushed or made to look like something it’s not. She is being real and she is showing other people the truth, and whether or not they decide to no longer be inspired to lose their own weight, that’s their problem but I think that there are a lot more shittier things to being overweight than being a healthy weight and having some extra loose skin.

    Side note: I’ve reread my comment and some sentences sound like they don’t make sense, but it’s 3am here and I’m up doing an assignment so syntax won’t be my strongest point right now 😉

    • This really does make a lot of sense. I will admit that I have been fortunate enough to not need to struggle with weight so when I am looking for inspiration it is about tightening and toning. So I will admit that my idea of what is inspiring may be different since I am coming from a different angle than many people.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and being respectful at the same time!

  10. I think people who blame the media and society are the naive ones! Who makes up society? US! And if we really thought that her After was so awesome, that would be what you saw in magazines. The reason they show perfect people is that it apparently sells. Easy to say, “Stop making Disney princesses so pretty!” but hard to get little girls to prefer them! All those commeters who are like, “Oh Brooke, you are AH-MAZING!” are kidding themselves. Would they really rather look like her than Jennifer Lawrence? Really? She look just as awesome?

    Now, I do think she accomplished something great and she should be proud of that. She does look and feel a ton better and that’s fabulous. But why do we have to pretend that everyone is beautiful and fantastic? The vast majority of us are ordinary and that’s totally okay. I’m not pretty, I’m not super fit or skinny, and my strengths and gifts lie elsewhere. Why insist society reward my ordinary face and shape with praise? Why not just say, “yup, JLaw is way more attractive than I am, whoop de doo” and move on? Let magazines show only the gorgeous and photoshopped, what do I care? If it bothers me, I can quit buying. And if it keeps selling anyway, I guess society has spoken.

  11. I think it was a very bold decision to run with this picture. I personally feel like photos like these are more supportive and more encouraging than edited and photoshopped perfect bodies that are unrealistic and unattainable for many people for many different reasons. It may not look like the “perfect bikini body” one imagines but she is healthier since losing that weight and that is what counts. That is what should be the encouraging point here. By losing that weight she put her health first!

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