When Lydia first got in contact with us she had gone through an amazing mental health & weight loss journey, and was ready to see the difference for herself and put herself out there. She wrote “I have spent the last 6 months losing weight and now I am over 2 stone lighter. I am feeling so much happier in myself and so much more body confident! I would love to do a shoot to really embrace my new body!"
Lydia's road to recovery
Lydia had a tough few years and definitely needed a pick-me-up to not only help her in loving herself, but also to reward her for all the hard work she'd put in.
"So I was diagnosed with depression in 2016 and part of my 'road to recovery' was a self-esteem course, so I completed the course and I'm in a much, much, much better place now, and then I started slimming world. I lost two and a half stone and I saw the advert on Facebook and I thought that, actually, this is probably quite a good time for me to do it. To prove to myself that I can put myself in a place where I feel scared to do it, and worried about what I'm going to look, like but actually be able to do it and prove how far I've come and reward myself."
"I also thought that it's probably not very likely that I'd actually do it, so I might as well sign up and then it doesn't matter either way because it probably won't happen, nothing will come of it anyway so I might as well sign up."
She certainly got a surprise when Anna called her a few days later to chat about booking her in.
"Before my session I didn't feel good about my body, better than I have done in the past but still not very happy and still more focused on what needed changing rather than what has changed. Sometimes in clothes I'd feel OK, didn't often feel very good in just underwear. I'd be very like “oh this is clingy here or this is a lump and bump and stuff like that.”
We very often find that people who have been through weight loss journeys don't always end up loving their body as much as they thought. People believe that reaching a weight loss goal will solve all their issues that they have with their body, and are often left disappointed when they don't see the difference, still pick out things they deep 'imperfect', or in extreme weight loss cases they're left with things like excess skin.
Changing how you view yourself and improving your mental state and self-love is a huge part of learning to love your body after weight loss. It doesn't matter if you've lost 2 stone or 10 stone, if you don't change how your see yourself and how you talk to yourself, your body confidence will never change.
The day of her session arrived
Having a boudoir portrait session with us is a lot like gradually walking into the ocean, as opposed to being thrown into the deep end of a pool. We ease you into it with small steps so you never feel like you're 'in over your head'or like you can't back out.
"Before the session I was really, really, really anxious. The whole day, then especially when I was leaving the house to come to the studio, I was really, really anxious about how it was going to go and how I was going to feel. But then during it, I sort of became more confident as the session went on, and it was really nice and Katrina was really lovely, saying “Yeah, you look great! You look great!” So I was like “Oh! OK, maybe I do.” It was really nice having my hair and make-up done as well, it was really calming before the session started. At first, I was really nervous but I got more relaxed as I got into it. I enjoyed it, I really enjoyed it, it was fun."
No matter how much we try, nobody will ever believe us when we say "you're going to be looking at roughly 25 images of yourself that you adore." Which is exactly what Lydia did and... well you can just read what she had to say about her images.
"I did feel nervous about coming back to see them, not as bad, but I was still quite nervous. I was like, “well, hopefully I'll like 1 or 2, as I'm here, there's bound to be one that's nice.” But yeah, I was still quite nervous about seeing them. I thought I'd see lots where I didn't like bits and be like “oh there's a lump there, that doesn't look very good.” So I thought whilst there might be some that look good, there's probably some that don't look good as well."
"They're amazing! I look incredible! That sounds so big-headed, I never normally say things like that, but I did it and I look amazing. I look really sexy and really glamorous."
A few final words from Lydia for anyone considering taking part
"Just do it because you've not really got anything to lose. Even if you don't like any photos, you just don't buy them. You don't come off any worse.
I think it's a way of seeing yourself in a different perspective because, at end of the day, the camera doesn't lie. The photos are what you look like, even if it's only in good lighting and only at good angles, that's still what you look like at some points. So yeah, do it because it feels amazing."
The Embrace Your Body Project is all about empowering women to love themselves and their bodies, as they are, right now.
It's about embracing our bodies, whatever flaws we may think we have, and accepting ourselves.
It's about showing that nobody is perfect, but that we are all beautiful in our imperfections.
And it's about sharing that experience with other women, to help them on their journey to body confidence.