I’ll never forget the first time I saw Pamela Anderson without makeup. I thought “wow, there’s hope for me!” I would have never recognized her if I saw her walking by. Don’t get me wrong, I look pretty crappy without makeup too. So, I think it’s time we get down and dirty. It’s time to get real.
First, it would only be fair if I put a makeup-free photo of myself up too – complete with smudged leftover mascara, glasses and slept on hair. I found this in my iPhoto. I’m pretty sure it was a selfie I took of myself to text Steve “good morning”. Truth is, I know I have take a lot scarier pictures, but after looking and looking, I realized I probably deleted them as soon as I took it and saw the scariness. 🙂
Before I show you the celebrities, I thought I’d suck it up and use myself as a demonstration first. My goal is not to poke fun of celebrities who appear fit in photos, but appear a little more plump in real life pics captured by the paparazzi. My goal is to remind people that what we see in photos can be deceiving – starting with me. Ok, here goes nothing! ha!
Before & After: The Real Me
Here is an example of a picture of me on the beach (bottom left) shortly before a photo shoot (bottom right). The one on the left is me with a full belly, obviously holding water (probably that wonderful time of month), relaxed and normal. The one on the right is me after losing a few more pounds with nothing in my stomach (or bowels for that matter!), dehydrated, prepped and ready for an awesome photographer with great lighting (thank you Justin Price). BIG difference. Same me, different looks – one is me normal and one is me at my best.
Here’s another example of some before and afters. This picture (left) is a pic I snapped on my iphone of my abs to text Steve the day before my photo shoot with Misty Lundeen. The photo below (bottom left) was one of the shots (finished touched up photos) from the photos she took. Then, there is a photo just a few weeks later (bottom right) of me at the beach with my cousin, personal trainer and bikini competitor Emily Smith Bare. There sure is a big difference between flexing muscles and posing for a camera (much less all the prep that goes into getting ready to look your best like cutting water, carb depleting, carb loading, taking natural diuretics and doing extra cardio to shed excess body fat).
Then there’s photo shop. Here is a picture of me with a pooch, and without a pooch. An easy fix in photo shop. When I saw this, I was amazed. I had nothing in me to pooch I thought. I felt super skinny, yet BAM, there was the pooch! So, if I still am not happy with the way I look on a good day, you can imagine how I feel on a bad day.
Silly, I know, but this is the kind of craziness we put our mind through. We torture ourselves with unrealistic expectations. We set our standards to what we see on TV or in ads, instead of what is healthy and maintainable.
Learning (trying) to Be OK with Me
I’ve been in the fitness industry since I was 18. I’m not super fit. I don’t have a ton of raging muscles bulging out and I am not all that lean. I’m healthy though – and, finally, at 42, I’m learning to be happy with me – even when I’m not my best.
Mind, Body & Weight
Fitness is not just about looks. That’s the icing on the healthy cake. Fitness is about being healthy, balanced, injury free, energized and feeling alive. It’s about feeling good in clothes, not necessarily feeling perfect naked. I can look BETTER than I would if I didn’t workout and eat right, even if I don’t always look my BEST.
I think it’s important for people to see normal, not abnormal. My best photos are not my normal. At 5’9″, I typically weigh 142-146 (18-19% body fat) when I’m relaxed on my diet. I weigh 135-138 (13%-15% bf) for shoots and I’ve been maintaining 138-142 (16-18%bf ) over the last few months as I try to maintain a lower, but healthy, weight. I’ve been up to 155lbs (20+%bf), which doesn’t seem that much more than my normal, but it’s 20lbs heavier than my leanest weight. I’m already pretty miserable at 148-150, so you can imagine what 155 feels like to me. We all have that weight where we feel our best – and mine is 140-144. That is a weight I feel good at, and feel like I can maintain without being miserable.
I eat about 1500-1800 calories a day, with an occasional cheat meal, in maintenance and 1200 strictly healthy calories a day when dieting. I do eat fries occasionally, but not when I’m dieting. I am not hardcore, unless I’m trying to shed fat. I use exercise and diet to keep my weight where I feel comfortable. My jeans will tell me if I’ve had too many chips and salsa, and I’ll know it’s time to tighten the reins.
I just stopped typing and weighed myself, and after breakfast, a protein shake and too many cups of coffee to admit, I weigh 146.4lbs. I know that is a healthy weight, and I’m working on trying to be OK with that, but I admit it’s hard. When I compare myself to my own pictures, it can be depressing if I let it. Sadly, many of us fitness fanatics compare our physiques to the people we see in Oxygen Magazine, Muscle & Fitness Hers, Shape, Fitness, Competitions or CrossFit games, which is ridiculous! I’m surprised more of us aren’t in serious counseling for what that does to our brain.
Perfectly Photographed vs Perfectly Normal
I found some recent photos of celebrities caught at the beach by the paparazzi, and compared them to the photos we see in the media. Be encouraged people! They are normal too!
Hayden Panettiere (from Nashville)
Sports Illustrated Kate Upton