NYC Boudoir Photographer | What If…

A few months ago I started working with a woman named Rachel. I am not sure if Rachel is a nutritionist, nutritional counselor, wholistic coach or just a plain ole lifesaver. Regardless of her title, I hired Rachel after I was dreadfully sick all winter to help me learn about food, to eat healthy, and to strive for my optimal health. (I think Rachel’s real title should be nutritional therapist, because truly that is what she was to me.)

The last few months have been a roller coaster. I have (not always so easily) learned to make much smarter choices with my food. My rosacea looks better, my energy is up and my insomnia is way down. All perfectly good reasons to say good bye to cheese doodles forever one would assume.

Except there was one benefit to all this green eating that I wasn’t seeing. I wasn’t losing those dreaded 5-10 pounds that was part of my true motivation to start eating healthier. Ok, it wasn’t my ONLY motivation… but for years, YEARS, those 5-10 pounds have been the demise of me.

Funny enough, when I was 5 pounds lighter than I am now, I would still always say I was trying to lose 5 pounds. When I was 10 pounds lighter, I wanted to lose 5 more. These 5 pounds have become part of my identity. They own me. If I get on the scale and see a good number, I have a good day. Sadly, the opposite is true too. How many days have I spent in a bad mood because of a stupid number on a cheap digital scale? Too many.

So I told Rachel 2 weeks ago that I was upset that I wasn’t an ounce thinner than I was when we started our journey together. Even though I FEEL great, I still am beating myself up over what I SEE.

Her response… “Jen, WHAT IF you just let go of those 5 pounds, what would happen?”

Truth is, I didn’t know. It never even occurred to me that I could let go of it. If I let go of it, what will be my motivation to lose it? It was kind of a mind warp for me.

Rachel gave me a few instructions. First, I was to take down the photos of me that hang on my fridge that show me 10 pounds lighter. Who needs that constant reminder? Second, shed my closet of all the clothes that are too small on me. (She assured me that since I love shopping so much she has no doubt that if I am ever that small again I would buy new jeans anyway…she knows me too well). Third, put a rubber band on my wrist and any time I think about food or myself negatively I snap the rubber band. (Sadistic, I know.)

While I was going through this mind warping, I had the opportunity to work with a gorgeous client. Her body is SICK, I mean it makes women and men drool. Sadly, she has hid her body for fear of people seeing her imperfections on her legs. I can’t emphasize enough how gorgeous this woman is. Not just on the outside, but even more so on the inside. She has a mission in life, one that requires huge guts and heart. I admire her. I only know her for a handful of hours but at the end of the session I told her how much I see in her. I said, “If anyone that knows you – even in passing – defines you by a few marks on your legs…. well, it’s just impossible – because you are SO much more than that. Trust me, no one is even seeing what you see. Your love and energy is so bright, THAT is what they see and define you by.”

I meant every word.

On my ride home that day I realized that I was being a hypocrite. No one is defining me by my 5 pounds, and if they are – well, how sad for them.

After that session I promised myself to let go of the 5 pounds. I promised to put my energy into being good to myself. Going to the gym, making juice and to STOP weighing myself. I am too strong to let a scale determine my day.

It’s been a bunch of weeks since I made this commitment. I can’t tell you how good it feels. It’s like a while new life. I am no longer a prisoner in my own flesh. I never realized how exhausting it is to put so much energy into something so negative. I have even more energy to spare now. I am lighter and more confident and just so so ready for this new way of life.

Thank you Rachel, for asking me “What if…”. It allowed me to do something that I thought was impossible.

Love myself.

So I want to ask you… What if?

I would love to open up this discussion in the comments below.

What is your what if… Maybe if you share it, you can start living it too… It’s hard work, but the benefits make you unstoppable!


11 Replies to “NYC Boudoir Photographer | What If…”

  1. Nice post. Glad you are able to be healthy and understand how important feeling good is vs looking “good”

  2. Wow, Jen. As much as I love your photos, I think I love the words behind them even more. A lot of what you say speaks to more than just the women in your audience. Trust me, guys out there can relate to a lot of what you say. I know I can…

  3. Jen, I love this post. I am going to share it on my FB page because so many of my clients feel this way. I jumped on the what if bandwagon about 4 years ago when I knew losing 10 lbs was just NOT going to happen. My body is just different now. My bone structure is wider than it was in high school and I plain ol’ had bigger breasts. I kept telling myself if I worked out I could be like I was when I was 18… yeah no I can’t. I finally learned to love who I was now. When I looked in the mirror I did feel skinny, I couldn’t quite understand where the 10lbs came from until I learned that my body structure had changed! I also work out a lot more so the increase is from my muscles. I feel good in my own skin and honestly the only time I get weighed is at the doctor’s office and even then I don’t look at the number. Thank you for sharing! xoxo

  4. Jen. WOW. Thank you. My “what if” is the same as your “what if”. This is very empowering… :). Thank you! Natalie Wallace, Zhush Portrait <3

  5. This is such a great post Jen!!! I couldn’t be happier for you for letting go of those 5 pounds. It’s amazing the strong effect a simple number on the scale can have on us. I stopped weighing myself a few years ago when I realized that I too was starting to have an unhealthy relationship with the scale. My “what if” is probably being scared to combine my photography company with my dream of being a personal trainer & health enthusiast.

  6. And here’s something else: 5 pounds, 10 pounds, 50 pounds even: if we keep judging ourselves based on the LOOK of things instead of the HEALTH of things (and that’s the emotional, mental and physical health), then we diminish ourselves, and all women, girls, and even men and boys. Because we are teaching them (and reinforcing for ourselves) that that’s the main thing we have to offer.

    I’m glad to hear you’ve made peace with those pounds, and sharing what you’ve learned.

  7. GREAT post. No kidding….am I really going to let 10 pounds stress me out for the rest of my life? What’s the cumulative effect of that? The worry probably does more damage than the actual weight.

  8. I love, love this post Jenny. She totally had me too with that question too. What would really happen if I ever let go of the pounds that I work hard and spent a lot of money trying to shed the weight off.

    But really to think of it, I’d still be the amazing me. Though maybe more energy, prettier, and more curves 😉 but people would still see the me that is in me.

    Thanks for the great post Jenny. And you really had me at putting a rubber band on the wrist and any time one think about food or oneself negatively to snap the rubber band. Sadistic or not, I’m going to find a rubber band now NOW 😀

  9. Damn. Second time I’ve read this, and it still brings tears to my eyes. Everything you said to your client is true about you. I won’t belabor the point, but Jen, you ARE beautiful inside and outside. And through the work you do, you help so many of us get past the damage we’ve done to our psyches by absorbing and internalizing all of the messages we get from the external world. There’s so much more I’d like to say, but I’m going to the gym now, before it closes. Instead of obsessing about losing the cellulite on my legs, though, I’m going to focus instead on listening to the music I love and appreciating the power of these long, lean legs.

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