“I no longer think in terms of “I can’t” or “I won’t.” Now I just think, “I wonder what would happen if …” and then I go out and try something new.” — from “A Power Couple” on weightwatchers.com
Oh my goodness! I am so excited, I can now add “spokesmodel” to my resume!
In early 2012, following the urging of our Weight Watchers meeting leader, Mr. Second Helpings and I submitted our weight loss stories to Weight Watchers. In July we were invited to New York City (on their dime) and given the full celebrity treatment at a Success Story photo shoot. We had a whole crew of people to beautify and coax us into looking our very best. The studio space was stunning. We shot in an older industrial building lit by two walls of single-paned windows coated with the perfect amount of dust to naturally diffuse all the light floating through them. The walls and anything permanent in the space was white washed from top to bottom. Weight Watchers had shelled out the big bucks for this corner space. The photographer shot us separately and as a couple in two different outfits. With each click of her shutter button we were encouraged to find a new pose, act natural, be expressive, and, since I was sporting extensions, not fling my hair around too much. The experience gave me brand new respect for the professionals; modeling is not easy. Though we will always tell you the weight loss is its own reward, the pampering was a nice bonus.
Last Sunday morning I was supposed to be hurrying to get the family out the door, but I couldn’t tear myself away from the comments on Weight Watchers’ Facebook page. Most of the notes were congratulatory and complimentary, some commenters shared their own challenges and accomplishments, but a few people jumped in with critical remarks. Those criticisms were directed at the company but they left me grinning from ear to ear.
Patty commented: “I don’t believe she can look this great even if she did lose all this weight…without have surgery to tighten up the loose skin…”
Liz complained: “Weight watchers, in your after pics, why don’t any of your success stories have any excess skin – do you airbrush the pics to make their weight loss look so neat and tidy? I think so. Just give us a realistic after picture for once, please.”
I responded: “Hi Liz. That is a real look at me with clothes on! If we were to meet I would be happy to tell you all about the flaws you are looking for. Fortunately for all of us there are Spanx! I am lucky that my neck toned up but my under arms and middle are a totally different story. It is frustrating but a small price to pay when you consider I went from a 22 to a 2 pants size.”
I decided to take these remarks as compliments. I am proud to share the images that Weight Watchers published and a picture we took with our own camera. They used reflectors to bounce the light back on to me and utilized different post-processing effects (light and color adjustments) but you can see that I essentially look the same in both.
I frequently wrestle with my feelings about what is going on under my clothes. Losing over half of my body weight after almost 2 decades of obesity left me with some flabby reminders. Two years ago my sister (love her!) observed that my belly looks like “Kate after the babies but before the surgery,” and that was before Scoop arrived. I have written about my Spanx wearing bikini-less life. As I discuss in that post, body image continues to be an obstacle for me. If there is one thing I have learned along this incredible journey it is how sweet looking back can be. The joy of reminiscing is worth taking those first wobbly steps. I’ll get my head and heart to look lovingly at the mirror 100% of the time; it will just take a bit more time.
If you click over to the Success Story on weightwatchers.com, you can read my story and see a short interview video featuring both of us.
Rose McAvoy blogs at OurLadyofSecondHelpings.com and HeraldNet.com.