Too Fat for Photos

Recently I posted a link to an article on my Facebook pageSO YOU’RE FEELING TOO FAT TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED . . . I wanted to share it here for you guys to read, too. I really loved this article and could relate to so much! I’m sure many of you can, too.

“In our warped minds pictures become frozen mirrors that we can stare at as we pick apart our features over and over again. I know girl. I know.”

This was me for a really long time. Probably most of my life. I ducked for cover whenever someone brought out a camera at a party or event. If I was forced into participating in the picture I was the one that hid in the very back behind the group of people so that I could hide my body. I was just a floating head in the background.


My other move was to not have body shots taken. A lot of pictures were from the chest up. Not that that really hid the fact that I was fat, but somehow it was better for me.


Another trick: wear baggy clothes or big jackets/sweaters and to hold purses and bags and stuff in front of my body. Not foolin’ anyone!


As I was losing 100 pounds I started to get better about allowing photos to be taken of me. It was slow. It’s not like I lost 20, 30 or 40 pounds and immediately was like “yeah! I’m ok with pictures now!” I was still reluctant. But I’m glad I did get some photos because I get to look back now and see the transformation I made. I didn’t notice the weight loss as I was smack-dab in the middle of it. I couldn’t tell I was losing weight (other than having to buy new clothes in smaller sizes) until it was a drastic change. Looking at yourself in the mirror every day, you don’t see the changes.


The above photo was taken the day I weighed in at 50 pounds lighter–the day of my brother’s wedding. I was SO glad I reached that first goal before his wedding and that I was able to enjoy the day and not feel self-conscious about my body and not enjoy being in the photographs. It wasn’t about me and how I felt about my fat. It was a day for my brother and his wife to celebrate and I’m glad I’m in those photos. No matter what size I am.

“…always waiting for this elusive moment where I would be thin enough (pretty enough) to have such a permanent record of me. Because, you know, HEAVEN FORBID there be any proof that I look the way I actually look.”

That above quote from the article was TOTALLY me. Not only was I waiting to be thin enough for photos to be ok, I was waiting to be thin enough TO BE HAPPY. “I’ll be happy when I lose 50 pounds.” Why can’t I be happy now??


I’m also happy I have some photos of my heavy days (even if it’s not many) because sometimes I forget that was ever me. I see old pictures and I don’t recognize that person, I can’t relate and it doesn’t feel like I’m looking at myself. But I’m glad I have them because I can look back and think “that was that amazing trip to Chicago I took with my best friend!” I’m not thinking “that was the trip I took when I was 250 pounds.”

I think many of us have been there. But have you ever stopped to think, isn’t this a moment that I would like to remember someday? Even if it’s not my ideal body weight, wouldn’t I rather look back years to come and remember this moment? Christmas with family? Especially if family memories have passed away. Am I going to look at the photo and think “God I look fat in this photo!” or am I going to look at the photo and think “I really miss Grandpa. I’m so glad we got to spend that last Christmas together”??

Your children want pictures with their mom.

Your husband wants pictures with his beautiful wife.

Your mom and dad want pictures of the happy, successful, amazing woman they raised (ok, and more pictures of the grandkids while you’re at it)

So you’re feeling too fat to be photographed? . . . Ok. But you’re the only one who notices. The rest of us are too caught up in loving you.

Now that I’m pregnant and obviously going to be gaining weight, I’m trying not to focus on that. I’m growing a human. It’s not like I’m bingeing on pizza and ice cream like I did when I was 250 pounds. That was a different beast altogether. I’m trying to focus on my body as a healthy vessel for the baby, not criticize the weight gain or pick apart pictures of me that may not be the most flattering. It’s important to me to have PHOTOS of this magical time in my life. I want to look back years from now and think happy thoughts, not negative thoughts about weight gain. I’m trying to change my perspective.

What about you? Are you hiding from the camera or embracing life as it is in the moment?

Author: Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and

8 thoughts on “Too Fat for Photos”

  1. Hi Lisa!
    I haven’t been reading blogs for a while so didn’t know you were pregnant – congratulations!! I will have to read back on your posts to see your announcement 🙂

    This post is timely because just today I shared an album with my friends and family of our trip to Turks & Caicos, and everyone commented on how I was missing from the album. Well, I’m the family photographer…haha! Also, I didn’t post the few pictures of me because I felt like I looked too fat. I’m still not where I want to be post-baby and my baby is over a year old now. Actually, I was close to where I wanted to be, but then started working and everything went to pot. So now I don’t feel like taking pictures because I don’t like the way I look.

    Thanks for this! Need to read the full article, but enjoyed your post. 🙂
    Irina recently posted..New Lives and New Friendships for Life

    1. Thanks for the comment Irina! I could totally relate. I was always the family photographer, too (and still am) to avoid photos of me. But now it makes me sad I don’t have a lot from years ago…do you feel the same way?

  2. Yes, I often feel self-conscience about my weight in photos. Although I am 56 pounds lighter and in better physical shape, I often think of myself as ugly and I think I am going to “mess up” the family photos with my ugliness.

    Thank you for that excellent thought of family is busy with loving me and I’m the only one who notices my weight. I am a work in progress physically, mentally, and emotionally.

    Bless you…:-)

    1. Yep yep totally me too! It took me awhile even after losing some weight to be ok with being in the photo. And even then I still hid behind people so it was just my head…I think it takes time. And doing it more often. Having lots of pictures taken makes it much easier!

  3. I am so that person. I don’t even have any pictures from when I was thin, because I was so used to not being in photographs. Most of my 20s and 30s could be narrowed down to maybe 20 photos. I don’t have any pictures of my dad and I. I have a few with my mom, but not a lot. We only have one family photo where the 4 of us are all in it, isn’t that sad? And now it’s too late, as they are both gone.

    I still tend to avoid photographs, and even when I am in them, I spend my entire time picking out all the flaws: I’m so fat, my hair looks horrible, look how fat my face is, why do I even bother? I never see any of the good things. It took me nearly 3 months to post a picture of something I was really happy about too, which is sad, now that I think about it. And when I do decide to post a selfie? It’s after I’ve taken about 50+ and I’ve finally managed to take one where I don’t look too horrible or ridiculous.

    I know it’s something I need to get over, but it’s incredibly hard when you’re used to living on the sidelines of your own life.
    Cindy recently posted..#40thbirthdaytheatrepalooza: Or My 40th birthday in London (part 1)

    1. “I need to get over, but it’s incredibly hard when you’re used to living on the sidelines of your own life.” <--- totally this! This was me for a long time. And I think I got sick of it and decided, no I'm not going to be on the sidelines anymore! I think back to years ago and like you, wish I had more photos with certain family members. I mean, the photos I do have do NOT look "too fat" and it was all in my head (for a long time, until I was actually obese). I wish I could go back and tell my younger self that I wasn't fat and it was ok to be in a photo once in awhile... 🙁

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