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We all have one don’t we ladies? A photo that we absolutely hate? A picture that keeps popping up and reminding us of just how bad it has got? Now don’t get me wrong I am not fat bashing in anyway, I am just being honest about how I personally feel when I see a picture of myself that doesn’t reflect how I think I look. Perhaps thats the problem. The thing is the photo is normally a really accurate record of how I looked at that specific point, which is exactly what makes it so horrid. It forces me to accept the fact that I am overweight and that I am not happy with that.

For a good few years in my mid twenties I actually destroyed a lot of photos of me, or else I got really good at cropping images or getting friends and family to only take pictures from a certain angle so as not to include my forever expanding body. I was in complete denial about the extent of my weight gain. I had an image in my head of how I looked which was more in keeping with how I felt about myself on a good day. I was young, popular, confident with a great social life, a good job and even a boyfriend so I had a lot to be happy about, but my eating and drinking was out of control and my exercise (what exercise?) was non existent.

The particular picture in question was taken at Blenheim Palace in 2004 when I had taken a group of volunteers I was working with for the weekend to help marshal a Triathlon that was being held there. We had just spent 2 and a bit hours in a cramped minibus sitting in traffic so when we finally arrived at Blenheim and saw the amazing grounds we all bundled out and had a group photo taken.

We had a great time that weekend despite the fact it rained all weekend and we were outside for the duration, but we made the most of it tucking into bacon baps, and mars bars during the day and going for drinks in the evening. And if truth be told I was actually really inspired by the athletes taking part in the event and I secretly wondered if I could ever do anything similar.

Anyway, we went back home and life carried on as it does and then a few weeks later someone sent me the photos from the weekend at Blenheim and I was completely gob smacked. I didn’t realise I looked THAT big. When and how did that even happen? And more to the point what the hell was I going to do about it? How could I not see what everyone else could so clearly see? Why had nobody had a quiet word in my ear? The size of my clothes should have been a clue, but I obviously thought I looked good.

When I looked at the picture all I could see was my huge thighs, my bulging belly and my double chins. What made it even worse was how big I looked compared to the others in the picture, bigger than all of the men in fact and absolutely dwarfing some of the young girls. I looked massive. But looks aside I knew my health was suffering too, I felt lazy and lethargic, uncomfortable and unfit and I knew it could’t go on. It was a few weeks later that a colleague roped me into running a local community fit club run, a 3k race in Beckton Park…where I got my Fattymustrun nickname in fact. It was a tough old 3kms with me puffing and panting the whole way round, astonished that I couldn’t run for more than 30 seconds at a time. It was this final straw which led to me making some serious changes in my life and you lot kind of all know the story from there.

But THAT picture never really went away. Years later it actually feature in a Triathlon Magazine about the role of volunteers. THE SHAME!!! By this point I had lost some of the weight, but it wasn’t the point. I was embarrassed that I had allowed myself to get to that size and hadn’t even noticed the increase. That is how easy it can happen sometimes.

I still hate that picture and am not in the habit of showing it to people but looking at it now it does help me to realise just how far I have come and what is possible when you set your mind to something.

Do you have a shocking photo that forced you to make a change in your life?

  1. December 1, 2013

    Like you I was good at avoiding photos, standing at the back is a good strategy or holding the camera. There aren’t a lot of pictures of me at my fattest. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad one because often people don’t believe me when I say how big I was. The other day though, I found some photos of from an event I organised in Morocco. One of my work colleagues was in it looking very young and very tiny and I showed it to someone at work. Before long a whole group of people had gathered round to look and not one of them even realised I was in the photo, although I was right at the front. I did point it out but even then a few people refused to believe it was actually me. Maybe I’ll be brave and post it one day.

  2. December 1, 2013

    I did have that photo and I was shocked. I had no idea. Positive thing was it led to an 80lb weight loss. Sadly I gained some back and have started the process again, but it was definitely a positive thing for me to see it.

  3. November 30, 2013

    I tend to run and hide when cameras appear but on the rare occasion they catch me I always hate what I see. I’ve become so adept at avoiding mirrors and reflective surfaces over the years that I never really know what I look like. However since starting to run I’m gaining confidence. I feel better about my body. It may still be chunky in places but I know I can out run many a skinny Minnie now.

    • December 1, 2013

      I think once your body starts achieving things, and not just being the thing that disappoints you, you see it for what it is and start to love it a bit more!!

  4. November 30, 2013

    Do you know what though, I really understand why you hate the picture but it was great to see it – I miss all of the folk in the photo and it was great to see everyone’s joy (except Marie who never showed joy!). Keep running….arthritis stops me going faster than a shuffle except in water, I love reading your posts 🙂

    • December 1, 2013

      I know Kay, it reminds me of a great time working with the volunteers and I know I would never have found myself on this journey of it wasn’t for that job and subsequently that picture!!

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