The Shape Saga: When the 'after' picture gets real


(Photo credit:

Meet Brooke Birmingham. You may know her already. I feel like I do. I have been following her blog, Brooke Not On A Diet, for quite some time.  She is an amazing inspiration to the thousands of people who follow her blog and her postings on social media. I read along and cheered her on when she reached her goal weight at Weight Watchers and then hit the milestone of Lifetime. She is in the process of training to become a WW leader.

This is a woman who has lost 172 lbs, the old-fashioned way. No gimmicks. No tricks.  Just pure.hard. work. HARD work. Everyone who turns to the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans community knows just how hard this journey is.  She has shared her knowledge, strength, passion and insights with the rest of us aiming to achieve health and fitness goals of our own.

Which is why I was fuming mad this week to learn about Shape magazine rejecting this photo you see above. This topic has gone viral so odds are you have seen posts about it in the news, on FB and all over the web, frankly. Brooke was contacted by Shape to be considered in its Success Stories feature on its website. When she submitted the photo you see here, she was asked to submit another one with a shirt on. The magazine claims it was following policy in asking for a new photo, saying they don’t use photographs of women in bikinis. We all know that is not true.  Brooke refused to submit an additional photo and withdrew her participation.

I, for one, am proud of her for that. As she wrote  in her blog:

This is the type of body they should have featured because it can give people hope. Hope that they can lose weight healthfully and even if they don’t end up with airbrushed abs of steel, they’re gorgeous and shouldn’t be ashamed of whatever imperfection they believe they have.

If you haven’t read her full post where she shares her thoughts about the decision she made to not be featured in a national magazine, I encourage you to do so. It is powerful and moving. She should be commended for standing up for her beliefs, and standing up for her body.

Shape, trust me when I say those of us in the weight loss game do a gold-medal job of beating ourselves up far too often. Even after the celebratory 5 lb loss, 10 lb loss – we know there is more work ahead of us. And it can be grueling at times. People like Brooke help us to keep fighting the good fight.

Don’t cover us up.

What are your thoughts on this topic? We’d love to hear your feedback.

(Visited 22 times, 1 visits today)