Behind The Lens

This weekend I was at the Breathing Space Blogger Retreat. It was a meetup of 75 bloggers, mostly local to the Wasatch Front area, held at Daybreak. I’ve known about the retreat for several months, and one my factors of motivation was to lose enough weight to look good in pictures.

For a long time, I’ve shuddered at the thought of group photos. I’m usually the largest woman in the groups, and I just pore over the pictures in nit-picky comparison. But this week I hit the 60 pound mark in my weight loss, and I had some cute clothes to wear, and I got into a mindset where I didn’t feel like I needed to stress out about how I looked for the conference.

On Friday afternoon, I went to the salon at Daybreak for a complimentary shampoo and style. The attendees of the conference  got to choose a free service, and I wanted my hair done. I was thinking we could do something fancy, and I wanted to look good for the Stepford Wives party, so I found a picture of a rockin’ 60’s beehive style. I was totally bummed when they said I’d have to pay a lot extra to do it. So I told the stylist to do whatever she wanted with my hair. She blew it out and gave it some wave, and dubbed it my “Kardashian hair.”

That evening was the Stepford Wives party, and I had a custom dress made by eShakti. I’d never ordered a dress off measurements before, and I wanted it to not be too big, so I guessed where I’d be in a few weeks when I bought it in early April. It was very tight when I got it, and the sleeves were way too tiny in circumference. I ended up picking out the stitching to get the sleeves off and wear it with a little jacket. As you can see – I’m regaining my waistline! The party was so fun, and there were so many fun dresses and outfits. The party was hard to eat at though – Corner Bakery catered the dinner, but there wasn’t much I could eat. I am addicted to their tomato basil soup, but dinner was a choice of sandwiches. I ate the meat out of my sandwich, but I was still hungry and faced an army of dessert choices. I nibbled on a few sweets, but resisted the urge to binge on cream cheese brownies and Sweet Tooth Fairy cupcakes.

Saturday was full of classes and ended with a Cinco de Mayo party. As the day went on, Jenny K (the official conference photographer) was snapping away. I started getting nervous about what pictures she was taking of me. When I went through her photostream after the conference, I felt so self-conscious. So many pictures of me from “bad angles.” In the one to the left, I can’t even tell I’ve lost weight, especially compared to the above picture in my green dress. I started feeling really hard on myself. You can’t always control what pictures are taken and shared. But you can try to control the way you think and perceive what you see.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been having a hard time emotionally with my weight loss. I care too much about what other people think, and I’m having a hard time accepting myself. I love getting compliments and attention, but sometimes I have a very hard time believing the things people say to me. I look at photos of myself so critically, and wonder if other people are judging me as harshly as I do to myself. Luckily, I’ve been finding out who really cares about me, and who I can depend on when things are hard. I gained some great new friends at the conference, and felt more accepted by new acquaintances than I have in a long time. I think I intimidate some people, and I’m hoping that I’m becoming more approachable with my weight loss. I know that I’m working on myself physically, spiritually, and mentally, and these doubts and struggles are just part of the journey.


  1. Ah Nicole, you look fab and positively glowing in your first photo, and I admire your bravery for posting the photo you hated… The truth is we ALL have photos that make us look awful, and that we feel self conscious about… It’s just that you’d never catch 99% of people posting or sharing those ones! I know many people that would de-tag or even ask me to remove photos from Facebook where they think they look awful, even though I don’t-so take comfort that EVERYONE has these feelings, and I’m sure other people are more worried about their own self-consciousness than they are about yours.

    You’re doing great, keep up the good work, and tell Rosie to stop tempting you! Lol!

  2. Breeanne says:

    Hey Nicole,

    I’ve been thinking about you and your journey a lot these past few weeks and I just wanted to send my best wishes your direction. You are looking so good, but beyond that, I think you are doing something really incredible for yourself. I’ve found that when the criticism gets the toughest it is often a good sign that you are doing something remarkable. You’ll never regret it. Keep up the good work!

  3. I thought you looked beautiful! It is so sad that we as women are so critical of ourselves. Whether we are size 0 or 16. Love your blog and all you represent! Be easier on yourself, you’re adorable. =)

  4. Nicole it was so nice to get to know you better, I thought you looked great! I hate all the pictures I am in as well, in my head I am thinner so it is hard seeing it. I am so glad we were in the same house. I am so shy until I get to really know people and I was upset with myself that I couldn’t break through my shyness, but I will get there 🙂 I hope to get to know you better at future events:-)

  5. nicole, i loved meeting you and i was so inspired listening to your story. you are a beautiful woman inside and out. i know how hard this journey is, and how discouraging ‘bad photos’ can be- but keep your head in the game and continually think about the good that has come from your experiences.

  6. I’m proud of you for your courage and honesty Nicole. You can do hard things! You ARE doing hard things!

  7. SO glad I got to meet you AND be a housemate with you at Breathing Space!! You really inspire me and you looked beautiful!! Loved that green dress on you.

  8. You’re pretty. You OWNED that green dress. I agree about the candid photos. They make me realize what I really look like instead of the posed shots I can control.

  9. That green dress is so cute and congrats on the 60 pound mark. I thought it was super interesting that you said you thought you would be more approachable with more weight-loss. I’d love to hear more about your thoughts on that. Do you think that people shy away from you because you are heavier than average? I’m super tall and I’ve always thought the same thing about myself. I think I’m intimidating because I tower over others or something. I have no idea if it’s true of not though. What about your weight is intimidating do you think? I hate group pictures too and those dang around the room casual shots, don’t worry there were plenty of unflattering ones of all the ladies LOL .

    • I’m not sure how to explain it. I think that I will be more approachable because I’ll be more normal/average. So many people have ideas and beliefs about people who are obese (undisciplined, lazy, smelly, you name it) and there will be fewer external barriers to discourage people from interacting with me. It could be all in my head, but I don’t think it is. I have noticed more people in social situations will come to me, instead of me always coming to them. I’m tall too (although not as tall as you are) and I never considered myself intimidating from my height – except when I was dating someone shorter (which didn’t bug me, but seemed to bug them)

      I’m glad I’m not the only one upset at some of those pics. Jenny was a great photographer, and there’s no way a photographer can Photoshop out others insecurities.

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