Kellie is on a journey of empowerment, joy, strength and bravery. Some days this looks like a celebration some days it’s a struggle.
We celebrated Kellie’s one year anniversary milestone with a photo session yesterday. There was much laughter, much catching up over our children and families, horses, and the friendship that we share. There was also conversation about hard things, and a few tears shed. Joyful tears and some more poignant.
The first photo is Kellie in 2020 at her daughter’s wedding.
The second photo is a side by side comparison of Kellie on June 28, 2022, and June 28, 2023.
The remaining images are from her anniversary photo shoot, half way to her goal weight and to our pull out all the stops kick ass celebration session. Kellie and I decided on a simple photo shoot this time to show her progress. It’s hard for someone to see their journey on a daily basis when they always look in the mirror. Images tell a person’s story and to look back on photos from 3 years ago and a year ago, as well as those from our current session, it’s impossible not to be moved by Kellie’s strength, determination and progress.
A year ago, Kellie decided to take her power back from her weight struggle. Kellie has created her weight loss journey naturally with lifestyle and caloric and food intake changes. In one year, by changing her diet and taking in more water, Kellie has lost 54 lbs. You read that right. 54 lbs, through diet change.
She now starts a new phase toward her goal, a loss of 46 lbs through her continued healthy eating and working out.
When Kellie reaches that milestone, we are going to celebrate with a full-on glamour / empowerment session.
My dear friend asked me to use my words to share her story, because for her, it’s too emotionally charged and difficult to share. Be patient with me, as some of these words are mine, and some are hers.
From my point of view, as someone who is an emotional eater, there is a deep level of shame that comes from being overweight. There is a stigma and a feeling of being judged, as well as judging oneself – we are far more unkind to ourselves than anyone else can be. When people comment to me about my weight, it makes me uncomfortable. Their compliment that I look great, that I’ve lost weight reverberates in my head as a criticism that I was heavy and unattractive before. YES, I KNOW THAT’S A ME ISSUE, as my friends are being kind. My deep level of shame about my appearance comes from being bullied as a kid, and from my own body dysmorphia and it makes me a crazy person.
From Kellie’s point of view – I’ll do my best to paraphrase her words from our conversation:
“A year ago I made a decision to take my life back. Once I was done my job, it was time. Time to focus on me and my health.
I don’t always see the progress, so I need these photos to remind myself of how far I’ve come. I also need them to keep me going. This is hard, mentally, emotionally, and physically. I don’t see the changes from day to day, so to see the photos and really see my advancement, I’m proud of my journey.
My goal is to be able to ride horses again.
Carla, the only person I could tell this to you is you, and the only person that I would let photograph me and tell my story is you.” (this is where I lost it and cried like a baby”).
“There is a shame and discomfort from sharing my story, it’s so hard. I can let you tell it with the images and the words, and it makes it easier for me to share. I’ve had people message me to tell me how proud they are of me. I’ve also had people tell me it’s about time I lost weight. It’s a hard thing to have someone say to you, and makes it even harder to put it out there in the world.
I want people to know that it’s possible, and that there are supportive people out there. I’ve met an incredible group of women online and we’ve banded together as a support for each other. I don’t know if I could have gotten this far without them.”
Back to me again:
Kellie I am so unbelievably proud of you, so blown away by your resilience, Lady, I can’t wait for our next session. Champagne and all the happy tears for that one.
Something that Kellie and I spoke about was that as I started to research to help Kellie celebrate her journey, there are very few photo sessions out there celebrating and empowering people on their weight loss story. I found two online, that’s it. While I could find plenty of before and after, one shot of each, I couldn’t find complete stories of loving one’s body through all of it’s stages. When I told Kellie this, she remarked she felt that there is a general tendency to keep weight issues quiet, to shame people and not celebrate them in all of their steps and stages.
Kellie – here is what I want you to remember. You were a beautiful woman at your daughter’s wedding, you were a beautiful woman a year ago. You are a beautiful woman today, and you are going to be a beautiful woman when you reach your goal. You will be stronger, more agile – and feel more at ease when moving, you’ll be riding your horse and doing all the things you dream of. To me, and to everyone who knows you – you’ve always been beautiful because it’s inherent in your soul and your nature.
I love you and I’m proud of you.
Friends, if you’re looking for someone to help your story, to share your journey and create the session that makes you feel empowered, I’m here to help.
Located just outside of Edmonton, Alberta and serving Camrose, Tofield, Sherwood Park, Red Deer, the Rockies and beyond, Carla Lehman Photography is a nationally accredited professional photographer providing full-service luxury photography for portraits, personal brands and entrepreneurs, equine and pet lovers.
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