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What I "really" look like - healthy body in unflattering & flattering photos

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Monday, April 15, 2013

I am a beautiful woman.

I say this not to sound arrogant or narcissistic, but to point out a reality that I often struggle to acknowledge and accept with humility. I am beautiful, and so are you.

We as women have such deeply rooted self-esteem battles, that are ever aggravated in the bombarding of daily media we face. We’re constantly measuring ourselves against the woman next to us, the face on the magazine cover, the girl in the commercial, the blogger, the facebook friend whose Instagramed “selfies” are filtered over unrecognizably. There is no shortage of ways to fall short in the measures of beauty we hold ourselves to. It’s obscene, really.

And it’s bull. It’s utterly insane, self-degrading and abusive, and makes no sense at all. How can we live a life of health and happiness if we are constantly beating ourselves down? Constantly comparing ourselves to the appearance and standards of others? There is no safety or self-esteem in a life like this. Only self-hatred and a constant feeling of lack.

I’ve been struggling with this on and off for my whole life – much like you have, I’d guess. When I decided to embark on a journey toward a more fit body and mind, I knew that losing weight wouldn’t solve all my problems. (And it didn’t.) Sure, I felt better in a healthier, smaller and stronger body, but the mental hurdles I faced still kept me cycling in and out of self-abuse and talk. I’d look in the mirror and ONLY see the cellulite. I’d scour magazines for health tips and beauty tips and the best workout to “tone my abs.” It didn’t matter that my weight was healthy, my body strong and capable, or that my husband adores me—only that no matter how hard I tried, I could never get those six-pack abs, that cellulite-free butt or that tiny waist. I could try on a pair of size four jeans in one store—and feel like I was on top of the world!—then go to the next and barely squeeze into a “juniors” (ha!) size 11, and then feel like I was fat and gross.

Admittedly, I sometimes still have these feelings. I have low-self esteem days here and there, and wonder if I’ll ever just be OK and happy in my skin.

But those days are few. And I am proud to say that MOST days, I truly do believe I am beautiful and don’t need to measure up to any of the other women I see. Because I’m me, and I’m healthy and worthy and good as I am.

I’ve had these thoughts on my mind a lot in the past few days since I read this very inspiring blog post by Fit Mama Training. Check it out here:

She posts a chain of photos of her real, beautiful and healthy body in some unflattering and flattering angles. It was so inspiring to read her words of confidence and truth – I felt the desire to do the same.

So, my friends, today I share with you some real photos of my healthy body, in more and less flattering angles. They’re not filtered or edited, just real unprofessional quick shots from today.

We start this morning… post-shower, wet hair and no makeup. I have a few blemishes, and usually do. I’ve always struggled with feeling ugly whenever I get breakouts (which has been almost always, from about age 12 to 25), and I’m trying to be more gentle with myself and not “attack” my skin at night (since abusing it by picking only makes it angrier and worse!).

Torso shot… not flexing, not slouching… just standing. I don’t have a “perfectly toned core” and no matter how thin I’ve gotten in the past, I can’t get definition or much for a defined waist. It’s just how my body is shaped and that’s okay. I can “pinch an inch” around my hips and tummy. I also have stretch marks on my hips and thighs and butt, and I have tiny breasts. All these things are okay, and don’t make me less beautiful.

Here is a more flattering angle, in my yoga booty-shorts and sports bra. I weighed myself after breakfast and workout today, and I’m around 150 pounds (5’10”). This is on the high side of maintenance for me, but it’s easy to fluctuate between 147-151 without effort. When I try to keep my weight between 143-145, it takes more effort—careful eating and more rigorous exercise. For the few pounds difference, no one notices but me. And I don’t care that much anymore.

Squattin’! Leg muscle definition, strong booty.

More flattering angle. Sucked in, flexed tummy. Not much definition, but lots of muscle!

Less flattering angle. Different lighting, slumping down, pooching out over shorts. Baby-love handles and soft pooch. Still okay.

Less flattering angle. Slumpy slouchy. Intentionally pooching out belly and hunching over. Not so cute? Still okay.

GROSS FACE! Slumpy hunchy. Rippled “belly fat.”

Pulled the shorts waistline down a bit, and I can REALLY stick out the belly. Looks like I could lose a little fat here, doesn’t it? Could make a good “before / after” photo, even just compared to some of the more flattering pics above!

Booty-shot. Not perfectly toned. I have cellulite. That’s okay. This booty can squat, balance in yoga poses and run me far!

More flattering shot, differently lighting. Flexing abs.

Difficult behind-the-head-mirror-back shot. I have muscle back there.

All dressed up and made-up! Normal day look for me. Flattering lighting and angle.

Unflattering face. Double chin!

Big grin! Less cute angle, but real me. I have little wrinkles and blemishes.

Different lighting, different look. Still okay!

Full body shot, all dressed up and accessorized.

That’s me, folks. Lots of angles, lots of realness. And I’m beautiful, and so are you.

My hope in sharing these photos and thoughts is not to give myself an ego-boost. I don’t need that from you, as I’m learning to boost myself in a healthy way each day. I’m hoping to give YOU a shot of confidence, knowing that you are gorgeous and worthy, with or without a filter or photoshop. Don’t compare yourself to me, because you’re NOT me. Ya get what I’m saying?

You are uniquely and perfectly YOU. And that’s enough. Because you’re enough.

Stop all the comparison. Stop trying to make your body like someone else’s. Stop the “fitspiration” pages collecting photos of people with totally different genetic makeup than you. You won’t look like them, even following their workouts and diet plans!

Today, I challenge you to see through the judgment, through the comparison, and the unflattering angles. See that you ARE enough, you ARE beautiful, and you CAN be healthy and happy in your skin.

Be beautiful. Be you!

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
LINDAMARIEZ1 7/17/2015 6:00AM

    pretty girl! emoticon

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LIFESABREEZE 12/30/2013 11:44AM

    I really enjoyed this blog! Women are so critical of themselves (including me)! Lately when I see myself in photos, I only see the negative! I want to strive to see the positive and accept myself for who I am and know that I am beautiful!
Your photo demos are great, thank you!

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FATALENORA 9/12/2013 6:20PM

    you are an inspiration!!! I have been strugggling so much just accepting myself. I don't know where to start ... Can you give me your advice..what kicked you into high gear to just shed and work out and diet healthy? I get lazy a lot.. almost hopeless lazy. I tell myself I'll do it tomorrow. I never do.

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ADAPTINGANNIE 7/28/2013 8:11AM

    Thanks for posting. Just seeing the picture of you all dressed and ready..say out in public....I would think "perfect" no issues there. Guess we don't know where others are coming from or what issues they have. I'll keep your words in mind.

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TINYDBS 7/7/2013 2:16PM

    Yes Yes Yes!!! Thank you so much for posting this. I will take this reminder with me today.

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SIENALYN 6/18/2013 7:20PM

    I love this post. I can say, as someone who runs a fitblr and is a love of the fitblr community, most fitblrs are pro self love, pro be yourself, all those pictures mean something amazing to many of us, something positive, inspirational and motivational. Thinspo takes starvation, fitspo takes determination, a healthy perspective, and a lot of hard work. I loved this blog. keep loving your body, keep loving you because you are amazing! Great read!

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MRS.CARLY 6/18/2013 5:56PM

    I loved the photos and the sharing! You make me laugh! Funny girl!

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WISEDUP1 6/14/2013 6:55PM

    Great points!
Thanks for the raw honesty!

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SHERLYN-WILL 6/14/2013 4:57PM


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AMYE1083 6/10/2013 9:14PM

    Thanks, I needed this reminder today. You are beautiful and so am I. We all are.

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    Love the REAL photos! You are a beautiful person!

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BLUEROSE73 5/24/2013 8:45AM

    You look great, in all your shots. I love the idea of really looking at the angles and shots and facing what you consider your problem areas, and seeing they are not really all that bad.

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TERRY0217 5/24/2013 6:42AM

    You look great! keep up the great work!

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TDEMAIO2 5/24/2013 6:09AM

    AWESOME : ) Yes you are beautiful!!!! We are all beautiful WOO HOO

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BOOTYLISCIOUS3 5/23/2013 9:47AM

    Awesome post! thaks for sharing

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    emoticon Great post.

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MCJULIEO 5/4/2013 5:33AM

    Well expressed and well illustrated... Thank you!

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NEWNANCY2012 5/3/2013 6:39AM

    emoticon great post!

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FITGIRL15 5/2/2013 3:21PM

    emoticon Bravo!!!

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 4/24/2013 9:49PM


¸¸.•´¸.•*¨) ♥¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ .♥ (¸.•´ .♥ (¸.•*´¨`* ♥☆¸.•*´¨`*♥☆
`*♥☆ Keep Spreading the Spark!!!

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CAALAN23 4/23/2013 11:24AM

    LOL! You are too cute! Good lesson too! Love to learn from Sparkers because they are so "real".


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WHITEANGEL4 4/22/2013 11:44PM

    Great blog

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JOYFULSPIRIT920 4/22/2013 1:44PM

    I'm working on it... trying to see the beauty in me despite what the scale says or how the other women in my life look.
Thanks for sharing. You are brave, an inspiration & beautiful!

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GRAMPIAN 4/22/2013 6:02AM

  Well said!

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KAB7801 4/21/2013 10:31PM

    Gettin there
We are beautiful

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CIZETHEDAY124 4/21/2013 8:12PM

    Awesome blog! We are all beautiful, inside and out. Thank you for posting a wonderful blog!!


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CLCIPS 4/21/2013 9:42AM

    What a lovely post! Thank you for sharing your beauty and for your sincerity in acknowledging the beauty in all of us.

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STRONGDJ 4/20/2013 4:07PM

    You are right, you are a truly beautiful woman. I mean that in the very best way--sure beautiful outside, but also you are beautiful inside. Thanks for sharing this blog, your bravery and your honesty.

It is hard for me to recognize the "flaws" you point out in yourself--but we all have our own perception of ourselves. So thanks for helping me realize that things I may think are terrible may not be so bad after all.

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SWEET_CAROLYN 4/20/2013 12:52PM

    THANK YOU for this. Thank you! This is what I definitely needed, today and always! I have my own body and have to learn to love it just the way it is.

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ANGELN325 4/20/2013 12:03PM

    This is an awesome blog and kudos to you for doing it because I agree. We have too many women picking themselves apart instead of thinking about the amazing things our bodies when I gave birth to my daughter. That's when I realized I was stronger than I could ever imagine! Everyone lets give ourselves a hug and tell ourselves that we love us.

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CJE1956 4/20/2013 11:58AM

    Thank you. You have put into words, thoughts I have had my entire life. I never appreciated what I had when I was younger and a size 10 or 12. I am now 56 and determined to become healthy and appreciate what I have and what I achieve. Thank you for a wonderful post.

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ERIN_POSCH 4/20/2013 9:56AM

    woo hoo! great for you! thanks for the post

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AMBER461 4/19/2013 10:50PM

  Awesome, you are beautiful.

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JORDANIE25 4/19/2013 10:19PM

    Intensely Brave!

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SHANNONY84 4/19/2013 1:12PM

    You are beautiful and should feel it!

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1GROVES2 4/19/2013 10:43AM

    You really are beautiful....I mean all the pictures, post shower and "unflattering" poses!
Thanks for sharing your morning and yourself.

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STEVIEBEE569 4/19/2013 9:57AM

    Looking Good!

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LANEYTHEGIRL 4/19/2013 2:33AM

    You are so adorable. Great blog!

Comment edited on: 4/19/2013 2:34:38 AM

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JERICHO1991 4/18/2013 10:48PM

    Open, honest, and encouraging. Thanks.

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MRSFANCYLADY 4/18/2013 10:29PM

    Great blog! We must work on ourselves daily! It's only when we fail to work that things fall apart in our lil piece of the earth. I struggle as you.... most days are better (thank God!) than others. Keep up the good work and I will too!

Take care.

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IMAGINYAS 4/18/2013 10:13PM

    WoW!!!! Your blog blew me away. Soooooooo.....what you are sayin are beautiful AND smart!!!! Got it ;).

But seriously, I agree with everyone was super awesome, you are super cute (and so am i :)), you are even better looking inside, etc, etc.

Wow....good one. For realz. I would totally hang out with you ...and hate you at the same time for being so...beautiful, awesome, damned genius? Ok, so i still have some things to work on...

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LEMON2012 4/18/2013 9:11PM


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MISSXJAY 4/18/2013 8:51PM

    Great Post!

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RUTHDEN1 4/18/2013 7:15PM

    emoticon emoticon

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MANILUS 4/18/2013 6:05PM

    Great message, you are right that we are enough, uniquely us and we could never achieve what someone else does because we are genetically different! You are beautiful, great work!!!

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KLMEIRING 4/18/2013 5:55PM


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JULIA1154 4/18/2013 5:17PM

  Thanks for a thoughtful and thought-provoking blog. It's (healthful) food for thought.

You do look great - embrace and enjoy it. You've also got wonderful eyes that express a lot of character and a terrific smile. You do realize this, I hope.

Re: blemishes. Try tea tree oil (i.e., Desert Essence) it really helps and is great for itchy bites, too. I found that when I quit eating nuts (especially peanuts) all my skin problems disappeared. You might want to experiment and see if there's a food trigger for you barely-noticeable breakouts.

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CIRCETWO 4/18/2013 4:02PM

  And it turns out that my favorite photo of you by far is the first one. No makeup, no effort, just you. Beautiful!

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OPTIMIST1948 4/18/2013 4:01PM

    You do an outstanding job of pointing out the difference posture and attitude can make in beauty. Congratulations on a well thought out, planned and above all INSPIRING post!

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EFOX2013 4/18/2013 4:01PM

    This is awesome. Thank you for sharing!!!

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