“The literary equivalent of a summer night, a good friend and a gin-and-tonic: Shannon is a deft writer; a natural storyteller with a wicked turn of phrase and frighteningly specific memory...”

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Am I Really Fat? (The Nude Photos)

(Disclaimer. Some of you will read this blog and think, “Why doesn’t that skinny bitch shut up?” In Los Angeles I’m not thin. But what I’m trying to demonstrate, is that it doesn’t matter what size a woman is, she’s bound to think she’s lacking. Thank you, advertisers!)

Am I Really Fat? Let’s See …

I’ve been the same weight for approximately five years. 140 lbs. Sometimes I’m up to 143, sometimes down to 137, but almost always exactly at 140.

I’m 5 feet 6 1/2 inches tall. I’m 46. So let’s shark about the internet and find out if I’m really fat …

1. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute says a normal BMI is 18.5 – 24.9. When I calculate my BMI I come out at 22.3 which is well within the normal, healthy range.

2. Am-i-fat.com says that if I were a female in the U.S. Army my healthy weight would be between 143-147 lbs. Hoo-ahh!

3. Myoptumhealth.com says a women my height should weigh between 118-156 lbs.

Clearly I’m in a healthy weight range. So I’ve decided to do something radical.

I’m Not Going to Lose Weight

Say what? That’s it. I’ve relinquished 130. Would I like 130? Yes. Do I need it? No. I’ve been nit-picking myself about those ten pounds for five years. I’ve been wanting to get back to my pre-child, pre-40s size. Well, I’m done with it and this is why.

The un-retouched girl below is 26-years old and weighs 125 lbs.

She’s a size 4. She doesn’t like her body. She’s broken it down into parts as if it were a car. Some parts are acceptable, others she hates.

She Thinks She Has Cellulite on Her Bum

body image issues, am I really fat

She Thinks She Needs Liposuction on Her Thighs

body image issues, am I really fat?

She Thinks Her Breasts are too Small

body image issues, am I really fat?

She is me. 20 years ago. With a media-induced case of Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

Deceased Hollywood headshot photographer Helmut Lipschitz took these for a gallery show he was producing.

I allowed him to do so as a woman trying to see my real body. Not the inadequate one I thought I had. I look at this girl now and wonder:

“Why did she even wear any clothes? She could’ve just walked around naked all the time!”

Whenever I get the chance I show everyone my nudes. Henry just sighs and says, “I see you’ve managed to get your nudes out again.”

My mom’s group is sick of my nudes. The Jehovah’s Witnesses have stopped coming by. Even the neighborhood realtors don’t leave their flyers in our gate anymore for fear I’ll chase them down the street with my photo album shrieking,”Look at my nudes! Wasn’t I gorgeous?!”

(And of course, I won’t be running for public office anytime soon … wonder if they’d let me put my nudes up in the Oval Office?)

Here are Henry and I two summers ago. (We don’t do nudes anymore) I call this our Angie and Brad shot (he’s Angie):

body image issues, am I really fat?

I don’t have the same body I had in my nudes. But … not bad. (Henry’s since lost 10 lbs. Does he have a second family somewhere? Anyone? Anyone?)

Twenty years from now I’ll look back at this photo and think — I looked great.

Why did I worry so much about sucking in my soft round belly? It barely showed! And my kids loved to snuggle on it, my husband too.

Why didn’t I enjoy the way I looked and especially the way I felt, which was extravagantly healthy? Why didn’t I carpe the freakin’ diem?

Any woman worth her salt knows all about the photo-shopping and air brushing that runs rampant in the advertising industry, accosting us relentlessly with fake perfection.

If you haven’t you might enjoy seeing photoshopping in action:

We all know that advertisers make it their business to manipulate us into hating ourselves so we’ll buy their products.

Still, an image is worth a thousand words.

As a society we are brainwashed into the perpetual quest for perfection and it’s just NOT POSSIBLE.

So, I won’t be losing weight. What I’ll be doing is developing a healthier relationship with food and maintaining a healthy weight.

I don’t have the nerve (yet) to make my own “Muffinlicious” video, but here is one brave woman who has pulled a Jamie Lee Curtis and shown us how to celebrate our imperfections:

What are you struggling to accept? And do you want to come over and see the rest of my nudes? I can tattoo them on your buttocks if you like.

Story Continued on Walk The Walk, Naked Lady and Final Nude Salvo.

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Write a comment
  1. Jeannine Chanin-Penn
    Jeannine Chanin-Penn 23 January, 2012, 11:59

    I love this and feel so much better about my muffiliciousness thanks to you and Daphne!

    Reply this comment
  2. The Sweetest
    The Sweetest 23 January, 2012, 12:10

    Just the other day I looked at myself in the mirror and realized that I have already peaked. I have been on the decline for a few years, or at least that’s how I have been viewing it. I see pictures of me ten years ago, even five years ago, and I wish I still looked like that. And I probably never will, which is okay. I know this is okay, but I have to learn to love the new me. Thanks for the reminder.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon Colleary
      Shannon Colleary 23 January, 2012, 12:17

      It’s hard for me to let go of me 15 lbs ago, but a kind of cool thing happened (which I can’t believe I’m saying). A few years ago I came down with a debilitating digestive ailment. It was so bad I went on an elimination diet in the hopes I could find the trigger. I cut out everything but lean protein and really well cooked veggies. I dropped down to 116 lbs. It actually got a little scary because the weight just fell off and my condition got worse (turns out it was stress related and not eating carbs was making me even more stressed). But the cool part is I hated the way I looked at that weight. What would’ve been normal for me in my teens or 20s made me look like a cancer patient in my 40s. We are supposed to weigh more as we age! Shocker. As Catherine Deneuve says, “After 40 you have to choose, nice ass, or nice face.”

      Reply this comment
  3. Sonora
    Sonora 23 January, 2012, 12:44

    As Nora Ephron put it:
    Oh, how I regret not having worn a bikini the entire time I was twenty-six. If anyone young is reading this, go right this minute, put on a bikini, and don’t take it off until you’re thirty-four.”

    Reply this comment
  4. Kim Tracy Prince
    Kim Tracy Prince 23 January, 2012, 13:39

    Oh. My. God. Daphne.

    Before that, this made me LOL:

    Henry just sighs and says, “I see you’ve managed to get your nudes out again.”

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon Colleary
      Shannon Colleary 23 January, 2012, 14:50

      Can you believe that Cool Mom? I love her so much. I am not willing to put the muffin out there like that. I’ve got some size 4s lying around somewhere that’d do the trick.

      Reply this comment
  5. Deborah Stambler
    Deborah Stambler 23 January, 2012, 14:09

    Oh you are a gorgeous woman inside and out. (And that’s before I saw the nudes.)

    Acceptance as we age is so tricky. Especially living here in the madness of LA. I’m really, really tired of all the airbrushed perfection.

    My one wish is that I hadn’t worn a bra all those years when I didn’t need one. (I realize need is a relative term and I’ve decided I need one otherwise my center of gravity goes askew these days.)

    Thanks for yet another great post.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon Colleary
      Shannon Colleary 23 January, 2012, 14:52

      I miss those bra free days! And to think I spent years wishing they’d get bigger. Careful what you wish for. And I want that coffee with you. I think I emailed you my phone number. I’ve been waiting for it to ring… maybe if I sent more nude photos… hmmm

      Reply this comment
  6. Desiree Eaglin
    Desiree Eaglin 23 January, 2012, 14:43

    Just be careful not to judge your now self with the nude self you were before. You’re still a hot piece o’ ass. 🙂

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon Colleary
      Shannon Colleary 23 January, 2012, 14:53

      I am laughing. Thank you Desiree. I recently saw a naked 90-year old woman (it was legal, I swear), and believe me, we’re all still smoking hot pieces of ass.

      Reply this comment
  7. Jrob
    Jrob 23 January, 2012, 15:10

    Fantastic! Post!

    Reply this comment
  8. Jamie
    Jamie 23 January, 2012, 16:07

    LOVE the nude shots! I did some similar right after I had my bio son (that is crazy, right!?) I showed the only one that didn’t show nipple on my blog: http://iamnotthebabysitter.com/confession-friday-11/

    You still look amazing! If I look as unchanged as you do 20 years from now I will be ridiculously happy.

    Retouching is scary stuff when people think that everyone looks like the photos in magazines….but is it weird I really want one Photoshopped photo of myself? I’ve never had one done and I am dying have a picture that looks like a really hot version of me. I would blow it up and hang it above my mantel. If Brian kicked the bucket I would also make it my eharmony.com photo.

    Reply this comment
  9. Rachel
    Rachel 23 January, 2012, 16:55

    This is great Shannon! Now is the time for body acceptance. My cousin did the make-up for this (nude) photo shoot for Plus Model Magazine, which I have to plug.
    Equally beautiful!

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 23 January, 2012, 20:28

      Rachel — I just clicked on your link. I love that image. What a gorgeous woman! I am book-marking that site. In doing research for this post I googled all the models who have recently died of anorexia. It’s devastating that these girls died seeking perfection.

      Reply this comment
  10. Yolanda
    Yolanda 23 January, 2012, 19:45

    Ha- the nudes! I wish I had taken some now. I’d probably pay people to post them everywhere, lol.

    You look amazing- then and now!

    Reply this comment
  11. Eva Smith of Tech.Food.Life.
    Eva Smith of Tech.Food.Life. 23 January, 2012, 20:03

    Your beautiful then and still today! I love myself now with the perfections and imperfections. I think so much more now then than before. Thank you for your candid story and opening your heart about this topic.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 23 January, 2012, 20:16

      Eva, I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, but really had to consider whether or not I want to run for city council before posting nudes. I’ve decided to retract my nomination. As the mother of two daughters I am really trying not to hand down body hatred. It’s tough when you’re confronted daily by thousands of images that tell you you’re not enough and I don’t think they’re going away any time soon.

      Reply this comment
  12. Shelby Barone
    Shelby Barone 23 January, 2012, 20:27

    You are still beautiful today. What a great story!

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon Colleary
      Shannon Colleary 23 January, 2012, 21:39

      Thanks, Shelby. I’m thinking it might be time for some 40-something glamour shots. Clothed though would probably better. Yes. Clothed I think.

      Reply this comment
  13. Kimberly
    Kimberly 23 January, 2012, 22:47

    Amazing post! It is so common to judge, compare and scrutinize our bodies, especially living in this media saturated society. It is so easy to focus on the things that we want to change about our bodies rather than celebrating the parts we like. When I was a teenager I remember my mom telling me to “wear it [whatever outfit I wasn’t sure about because it made me look fat or whatever] because you will wish you did when you get older and you can’t wear it anymore.” Whenever I am questioning whether I am too old/fat/insert other self hating adjective here to wear something and I snap myself out of that and remind myself to be confident and proud of my body NOW! I am always working on letting go of my self judgements and replacing them with self love and appreciation.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon Colleary
      Shannon Colleary 24 January, 2012, 07:29

      So true. I do have a 99-year old grandmother. She’s quite wizened truth be told. But when I visit I sleep with her and she cuddles up to me like she were a child and all that age just falls away and we talk and laugh. We’re just two girlfriends. Then by the light of day I see what time has wrought. She’s handling it with great dignity, but aging’s not for sissies. So I am trying to appreciate all I have now which is so much.

      Reply this comment
  14. Caryn B
    Caryn B 24 January, 2012, 01:09

    You were and are still beautiful….I have so much trouble accepting my post-baby body…..Short of SURGERY, I won’t look the way I did in my 20’s…but the only person who should care is my husband and he doesn’t…he accepts me just the way I am…I need to learn to do the same : )

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon Colleary
      Shannon Colleary 24 January, 2012, 07:31

      Hi Caryn — If someone were handing out free tummy tucks with no complications or side effects or life threatening moments I’d sign up. But as far as I know they don’t hand those out. Also, I didn’t have 8 babies like Octomom so I am trying to love my little muffin. And not wear jeans that are too tight.

      Reply this comment
  15. Debbie Goldberg
    Debbie Goldberg 24 January, 2012, 08:35

    Gorgeous you – then and now. Great piece of writing…

    Reply this comment
  16. AC Booth
    AC Booth 24 January, 2012, 08:48

    Um, I can say with great certainty as your former roommate that you WERE naked most of the time back then. :-). This is so perfectly written. Well done.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon Colleary
      Shannon Colleary 24 January, 2012, 09:56

      Ok enboothment,there was only one of us bouncing around the apartment naked and it WASN’T ME! Love you, miss you, let’s talk this week.

      Reply this comment
  17. Martha McBride
    Martha McBride 24 January, 2012, 09:40

    I LOVE this. You look beautiful then AND now. And your writing is hilarious and strikes a chord. I think I may enjoy some naked time around the house today. 🙂

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon Colleary
      Shannon Colleary 24 January, 2012, 09:58

      Hi Martha — Naked is good. I’m always bundled up in flannel pjs (very sexy) and then the other night I thought, Why am I killing myself at the gym if I’m not gonna get naked with my man? (who loves me up or down on the scale). So I hopped into bed naked … fade to black.

      Reply this comment
  18. Martha McBride
    Martha McBride 24 January, 2012, 09:40

    AND – I’m seriously tempted to come over and see the rest of your nudes. Even it’s just to mildly annoy your darling husband and terrify your neighbors.

    Reply this comment
  19. tania
    tania 24 January, 2012, 12:38

    Love the story! it really made me feel better about my body!

    Reply this comment
  20. tania
    tania 24 January, 2012, 12:38

    Great story! It really made me feel better about my body!

    Reply this comment
  21. Gabrielle - Design Mom
    Gabrielle - Design Mom 25 January, 2012, 03:59

    I love everything about this post. Soooo good! Can’t wait to share it far and wide.

    Reply this comment
  22. Megan
    Megan 25 January, 2012, 06:58

    I so wish I had done nudes when I was younger, when I was 50 pounds lighter and had a six pack.
    Bodywise the hardest thing for me to accept is the scar across my underwear line and my saggy breasts.
    I knew the boobs would sag, but didn’t realize how much it would affect me. The scar- it shows how weak my body has been made (never had a surgery before my cesarean, was traumatized).
    You look great! I bet the rest of your nudes are gorgeous (and I’d totally let you show them off to me. Love photography.)

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 25 January, 2012, 08:13

      Oh Miss Megan I know just how you feel. I had two cesareans and I think my doctor actually stitched me up pretty well, but one side has a little bulge which might be what’s left of my pride. I think the issue for women is we’re expected to be “hot” till we drop. If we’re not hot our culture tells us we’re invisible. I fall prey to this all the time. I want to be desirable forever. It’s freakin’ exhausting. Where is the fine line?

      Reply this comment
  23. Upscale Downhome
    Upscale Downhome 25 January, 2012, 07:47

    Youth is wasted on the young! I love your perspective of loving me right now because someday it will want to come back to this body…

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 25 January, 2012, 08:14

      I do have such a lovely perspective because I have a 99-year old grandmother. The other day I mentioned to her that my mother-in-law just turned 81 and my grandma said, “Oh to be that young again.”

      Reply this comment
  24. Daphne
    Daphne 25 January, 2012, 11:47

    Love your post. Thank you for including my vid! I too think young perfect bodies could forgo clothes as well and yes, I too look back at pictures when I was a size 4 and know I was beating myself up inside my head. ugh.

    Reply this comment
  25. Ciaran
    Ciaran 25 January, 2012, 14:07

    Loved this post. I did not take nearly enough photos in my 20s when I weighed 138(but wanted to weigh 123, for some reason… that was my #). I took my post gymnast years abs for granted. Who knew two pregnancies with bedrest could cause complete and total abnesia?

    Beautiful to me now is feeling good, having energy. Health.

    Unfortunately for my daughters, I fear it is the Victoria’s Secret fashion show.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 25 January, 2012, 14:20

      Hi Ciaran — I know it’s probably impossible to avoid, but I am praying my girls will be kinder to themselves than I’ve been. I showed them the photoshopping video and they were dumb-founded by it. I’m hoping more advertisers will take the Dove real beauty campaign route. I feel a mission brewing.

      Reply this comment
  26. Melanie
    Melanie 26 January, 2012, 11:12

    “Why did she even wear any clothes? She could’ve just walked around naked all the time!” I have had this EXACT thought many, many times. If only I knew. Sad thing is that in 10 years I’ll likely be thinking the same thing about myself now. Ahh, the perpetual challenge of appreciating today. I super suck at it.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 26 January, 2012, 12:05

      Hi Melanie — I am seriously contemplating doing some nudes now (don’t tell Henry, I have to break it to him slowly). This body image thing is a bit of a hot topic button for me.

      Reply this comment
  27. Shannon @ A Mom's Year
    Shannon @ A Mom's Year 26 January, 2012, 11:17

    Bravo! I loved reading this and I’m giving you a standing ovation. Like you, I tell myself I should appreciate my body now because I’ll miss it when I’m 80. But, sadly, even as I’m reading I’m thinking, “I’m happy she’s making peace with her body, but I still need to lose 10 pounds.” Sigh.

    Do you remember Bridget Jones (in the book) finally getting down to 120 or whatever her magic number was and everyone thought she was sick and told her she looked terrible? Where do these awful numbers come from, anyway? (Probably the same place that told us our thighs shouldn’t touch. God forbid.)

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 26 January, 2012, 12:08

      Hi Shannon — We’re both Shannons! Shannons are just nice people. I like us all. As I was writing this post I did shark about the internet and I googled “Anorexic Models.” The images are devastating. A lot of these girls were a healthy weight before modeling and were stunning. The those photos are juxtaposed with what they looked like anorexic. Devastating. I hold the advertising media responsible. I would love to be an advocate for more campaigns like Dove’s real beauty campaign.

      Reply this comment
  28. Nikki
    Nikki 26 January, 2012, 12:18

    Thank you for writing this post. Over the last few months I have been trying to find my balance between loving my body and being happy. I’ve just starting blogging about it, and hope to connect with others that are trying to find body happiness. It’s take a few years, but I am finally to the point that being active and healthy are more important than skinny. After three kids I shouldn’t want to be what I was. This is who I am now, love it!

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 26 January, 2012, 12:49

      HI NIKKI — I think we ladies all need to stick together on this. There is a unique beauty to each age and each weight. The other day I was driving home with my daughters and I saw a woman crossing the street who had a beautiful, large bottom. It was lush. Then I had the thought that she probably hates her bottom. Just because it exists. So to my girls’ mortification I rolled down my window and yelled, “You have a magnificent bottom!” The smile on her face was magnificent. We’ve got to love and support each other through the media mysogynist Blitzkreig.

      Reply this comment
  29. sharon
    sharon 26 January, 2012, 13:50

    Love this!

    Reply this comment
  30. Maeve
    Maeve 26 January, 2012, 19:01

    I wish I could go back and kick that twenty-six year old version of myself who kept asking myself and everyone if my butt was fat. When I hit forty-five I realized that I had wasted all that time in my twenties worrying about something that was useless to worry and obsess about. I’ve spent my forties trying to be in shape and lose the ten pounds I’ve gained over this decade to the point that I’ve endured two sports-exercise injuries. I have someone in my life who loves me and loves me the way I am and I know I’m lucky. But that social pressure to be skinny and attractive and in shape is maddening!

    Reply this comment
  31. whoorl
    whoorl 26 January, 2012, 19:08

    Awwww, man. It’s never good enough, Shannon. Especially where we live. WHHHYYYYYYYYYY? 😉

    The whole “my nudes” thing has me rolling!

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 26 January, 2012, 21:00

      Hey Whoorl — I love your blog, thanks for coming by. I agree, it’s never good enough. I’m going to look at images of Christina Hendrickson from Mad Men and have a few caramels.

      Reply this comment
  32. vermontmommy
    vermontmommy 27 January, 2012, 07:30

    Inspiring. Be happy. 🙂

    Reply this comment
  33. judy brown lawson
    judy brown lawson 30 January, 2012, 09:16

    I’ve always been the fat one (aka the smart one) in the family…but now the family is down to just me and 2 sisters. O milagro! at the age of 70 I slipped from 125 all the way down to 102 Lb. Well, it was a disaster. What previously sagged REALLY sagged. So, I went back up to 115 Lb. O milagro! The sags disappeared (into fat, I suppose) but I look 1000% better.

    Diet really is important. Not DIET but “diet”. I eat like a horse, ie mostly grains and fiber. My luck, no credit due. I pig out on bread, veggies, yoghurt, cooked stuff like rice or legumes. I can’t stand sauces and I have begun to hate meat other than the occasional slice of Italian ham or “saucisson”. Now, I do love my wine, and that too, may be a clue.

    Age is surely a factor. I guess at one point your body gives up and stops growing up or down.

    All this to say, gals, love your muffin, God knows we deserve it.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 30 January, 2012, 09:51

      Judy I can tell from your comment that I adore you! I think I mentioned previously that a few years ago I dropped down from my lusty 140 to 116 due to a very sexy digestive ailments. (so sexy). While my butt looked great in a pair of jeans my face looked like the Crypt Keeper’s. All that to say I am never dipping below 130 for nothin’.

      Reply this comment
  34. kian LEYON
    kian LEYON 1 February, 2012, 13:39

    Great Article Shannon. It really hit the muffilicious spot

    Reply this comment
  35. Truthful Mommy
    Truthful Mommy 1 February, 2012, 14:10

    My friend, as I suspected, like minds think alike. I too have a raging case of BDD. I hate it and can NEVER trust what I see in the mirror. So funny, we are the same height and at 25, I weighed a whopping 113, but I thought I was obese. I really wish I had some nudes, of course they would have been slightly scary. I just wrote about my battle with Bulimarexia yesterday on my blog http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/bulimarexia-the-consequence-of-impossible-standards/
    I’ve talked about my BDD on there as well. Last week, I decided to face my biggest fear…my weight and I shared it with everyone on my blog. SCARY for a girl who is in perpetual recovery from Eating disorders. But I did it and it was the most liberating thing that I have ever done. http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/weight-loss-for-mommies/

    I hope you will stop by:) ALso, you looked gorgeous at 25 and again 2 years ago. I am sure you are beautiful every day. I just wish people like you and I could appreciate our beauty rather than dwelling on some unreachable standard of airbrushing and starvation. Loved this post.

    Reply this comment
  36. Angela
    Angela 1 February, 2012, 14:28

    Thank you for this piece. I wish more woman would accept their beautiful bodies for who and what they are and embrace their differences. When my mother is gone I will still have the wide hips I inherited from her, how could I possibly not love that?

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 1 February, 2012, 15:35

      “When my mother is gone I will still have the wide hips I inherited from her, how could I possibly not love that?” So sweet, so beautiful and so true. xo

      Reply this comment
  37. Al_Pal
    Al_Pal 7 February, 2012, 13:16

    Fabulous post!
    I’m lucky; I’ve always been fairly comfortable in my own skin, even when I was on Depo-Provera and gained 50 lbs…but I felt better after I quit that & the weight came off, I’ll admit.
    I was never small; I’d be happy to fit into 32-waist jeans! (Which isn’t too far off, but I’m currently at the heavier end of size 12; my skinniest has been brief flirtations with 8 and 10–always due to happenstance and activity, not dieting really. I’m 5’4″.
    I’m also fortunate to have broad shoulders and a nicely-proportioned rack, such that many size-12 items fit off the rack, which is what most of my clothes are, so that’s my natural size, I figure…ahh, but youth! Heh. I still feel 27ish but at 35 I’m realizing that I need to get rid of a lot of girlish clothes, even though I’m not a mom and my hips are slenderish [for my family!]

    Hooray for nudes. Wish I’d done some earlier, but it’s not too late. ;p

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 7 February, 2012, 14:01

      Hi Al_Pal — I don’t think it’s ever too late for nudes. Maybe I’m a bad influence, but it was empowering to see what I really looked like. I’m thinking of doing it again 20 years later. My poor mother.

      Reply this comment
  38. Corrin
    Corrin 11 February, 2012, 14:43

    I’ve been everything from a size 6 to a size 22. Even at my smallest, my thighs touched and I had bra fat. I just had my first physical where the doctor didn’t have “the weight talk” with me, so I’m feeling pretty good about myself, even though I’m in the size 18 range now.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 11 February, 2012, 14:59

      Hi Corrin — Thanks for commenting. So glad at size 18 the doc’s not haranguing you. You are a health size!

      Reply this comment
  39. Tree
    Tree 15 February, 2012, 21:22

    Okay.. I am TOTALLY loving this post and the muffinlicious video!! LOL

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 15 February, 2012, 21:56

      Met muffinlicious for lunch. We nourished our muffins. She’s as great as she seems.

      Reply this comment
  40. sherri
    sherri 18 February, 2012, 04:31

    This is beautiful.. you look amazing. I am 26, ive had two kids and a hysterectomy.. i also have hypothryoid problems.. i am the same height as you, and have the same issues with my yoyoing weight regardless of working out and eating well… I do not look at the scale.. i look at inches, how i feel, my cholestrol… all of those numbers that matter.. I am healthy according to all of the data. But it is frustrating.. luckily i have a wonderful husband who loves me and my body, and helps me see the positives… ( i love my butt, i love my boobs, i love my stretchmarks!) And he encourages me to wear a two piece swimsuit when we go swimming because he is all that matters, and my boys,,, and he loves how i look! We need more article like this to see real women! and have real role models for the girls, and boys in the world!

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 18 February, 2012, 12:58

      Sherri thanks so much for the encouragement. And I love your joie de vivre (I think that’s how you spell it). A good man goes a long way toward feeling beautiful.

      Reply this comment
  41. Ava
    Ava 18 February, 2012, 17:14

    Shannon firstly can I say you are still beautiful, I so admire your bravery and honesty.

    I’m 21, 5’9 and 125lbs. I struggle so badly with insecurities and already worrying about getting old. Reading your post has inspired me so much, thank you. I’ll be back to read your blog from now on.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 18 February, 2012, 21:36

      Hello Ava — thank you! I was hoping to be inspirational, didn’t really work out for all the readers. I am buoyed by all the supportive comments and feeling grateful for this body taking me along the path.

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  42. Amanda
    Amanda 20 February, 2012, 12:08

    I worry about 3 daughters growing up in a world where photoshop is everywhere. These kind of things lighten the weight on my chest—less than ample and post-6 consecutive years of breastfeeding, though it is 😉

    I’d thank you for your bravery, but you are gorgeous and just being honest.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 20 February, 2012, 15:13

      I have two daughters and since I’ve been doing this body issue work we’ve been talking about it. I’ve shown some of the photoshopping videos which are so helpful. Since having the second set of nudes (the worst ones will never see the light of day) I’ve felt so much more comfortable in my body and appreciative of it. So there’s a little roll that hangs over my jeans…who cares??

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  43. Kisha
    Kisha 20 February, 2012, 19:29

    I am just about your height (and weight), and up until this moment I too was trying to loose that last 5-10 lbs of “baby” fat.

    I’m putting the scale in the attic tonight, and I’m not going to worry so much about that little squishy bit. I’m especially not going to ever let it keep me from having a great time in my wonderful body.

    thank you for sharing!

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 20 February, 2012, 22:38

      Kisha thanks for reading and commenting. I wish they’d have models with some squish. Why is squish a sin in our country? Xo

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  44. Alexandra
    Alexandra 20 February, 2012, 19:35

    Extremely proud to know you, and your authentic voice, esp. coming from the unforgiving land of L.A.

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  45. Marta
    Marta 22 February, 2012, 18:29

    I would definitely come look at your nudes, they’re gorgeous. It’s crazy how we look back and wish we had appreciated our gorgeous bodies when we had them. My belly is my biggest struggle (not making a muffinlious video anytime soon!) It’s something I think about and struggle with all the time. I’m 5’7 and hoping to get back to 140! (ideally 135!)… 35lbs to go!

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 22 February, 2012, 19:25

      HELLO Miss Marta — thank you so for commenting. Having a sharpie tummy seems to be the ultimate sin. I’m right there with you. God forbid there be any fat or extra skin on the belly. It feels extraneous. So how to accept it? I would lay money that the majority of women AND MEN have extra flesh on the abdomen. I have no concrete answers. I am eating chocolate as I type. Some days it feels better to have a flat tummy. Other days it feels better to eat chocolate. So I suspect it’s a one day at a time proposition.

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  46. Lisa Tognola
    Lisa Tognola 2 March, 2012, 10:51

    Saw this on Huffington Post–Congrats, Shannon, great piece!. P.S. My favorite and only close-to-nude photo of myself is one of me in a skimpy leopard bikini . . .at 8 months old!

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  47. Sheisfabulous
    Sheisfabulous 24 March, 2012, 14:28

    I’ve had five human children. Nuff said. Thank you!!

    Reply this comment
  48. Shari's
    Shari's 7 April, 2012, 05:05

    Great post!

    Reply this comment
  49. Danny Dix
    Danny Dix 17 April, 2012, 05:30

    I would like to pose nude, but I’m so ugly, when I throw a boomerang….it won’t come back. *sniff

    Reply this comment
  50. Twice the woman I once was
    Twice the woman I once was 25 April, 2012, 11:41

    When I was in high school and the Army, I weighed between 125 and 135. At 5’4″, I was even then told I had a butt as wide as a bus, and that I needed to lose weight. (According to my diary, for several weeks as a senior in high school, I went to classes after a breakfast of 1/2 slice of white bread with margarine scraped across it. How on earth did I learn anything?) My dad, bless his heart, told me one day when I was on my way to the lake to swim that I looked like Jane Mansfield, who was his favorite pin-up girl back in the day. I thought he was just being nice because he loved me. I never had a clue how cute I really was, thought I was fat all my life—and now I am . . . wish I’d enjoyed my healthy body when I had it.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 25 April, 2012, 12:15

      Hey girl — You’re not asking for advice but I’ll give some that I need to take. Take what you like and leave the rest. Go ahead and start enjoying your body now. Take time to stretch and breathe. Put lotion on your skin and feel how soft it is. Dance. Don’t look in mirrors or at pictures of yourself (those always get me down). Slowly eat something yummy. Mostly move. It’s hard to love our bodies with the constant onslaught of images that we are not good enough. So try to steal some of that brain space back. xo

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  51. Donna
    Donna 3 May, 2012, 07:19

    I am about your height and would kill to weigh only 14o something pounds again. I always dieted. When I got married I was 125 pounds and like you thought I was not thin. After kids I always stayed between 138 and 148 (and always thought I looked fat) but have recently (last five years) really gained some serious weight. I don’t want to diet anymore and am struggling to find a more healthy relationship with food. Thank God I still exercise. My thyroid is sluggish which is part of my problem but certainly not all of it. The sad thing is even as I write this, I would like some chocolate! AAARGH! Thanks for posting this – it’s good to know there are other people who feel the same and have some of the same “weight history” as I do!

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 3 May, 2012, 08:10

      Hi Donna — yes the food thing is a bitch. My life is very much the same day to day. Get up. Get kids ready for school. Take them. Sit down at a computer and write by myself. In sweats a lot. Pick kids up. Help them with homework. Maybe they have some friends come over. Make them snacks. Get dinner ready. Eat. TV Bed. Boy, now I’m really wanting to eat. I use food to stave off boredom. Alcohol too. I know my kids need this structure now, but it ain’t easy on the grown ups. Anyhow, I’m sending you my love.

      Reply this comment
  52. Chloe Jeffreys
    Chloe Jeffreys 3 September, 2012, 20:37

    Isn’t it the truth? I would kill to have possession of my nudes (I let that asshole keep them because I’m a freaking moron). But I hated those thighs and I thought my butt was all cellulity, and my boobs were sadly too small.

    I struggle to accept my aging body now and the fact that my best is over. And I didn’t even fucking appreciate it. That’s the shame of it.

    Reply this comment
  53. Dr Fred E Rick
    Dr Fred E Rick 19 October, 2012, 15:08

    This picture of you and Brad shows a beautiful woman and a handsome man. You’ve got great & shapely legs. I’m extreme glad that you got healthy so it can show the world that the illness you had is beatable

    Reply this comment
  54. Amy
    Amy 12 August, 2013, 19:14

    I’ve been in marketing and advertising for years, mostly business-to-business. Now an Estee Lauder beauty consultant, and I know how makeup can make us feel a bit more confident, etc. However, the video of airbrushing, etc., made me cry. Why do we have to put up with false images of “beauty” and try so hard to achieve an ideal that doesn’t exist? How can we fight against this prejudice and injustice? Thank you for showing it, and I’m only sorry it’s taken me so long to see it and comment.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 13 August, 2013, 00:06

      Hi Amy — yes, I think photoshopping and air brushing should be outlawed. I really love Dove’s Campaign For Real Beauty. Their approach is so healing.

      Reply this comment
  55. jim
    jim 22 November, 2013, 23:19

    its sad…..I’ve been in medicine for 25 years…an the truth about a little known fact is that. the bmi. or body mass index used by DR’s everyday to determine their patients ideal weight off of a chart was invented by a Frenchman in the 1800s to use on cattle….no kidding. look it up….so nobody should ever use the chart….the mathematical algorythm is broken…cattle do not translate well into people…….

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  56. Lisa Froman
    Lisa Froman 25 November, 2013, 06:08

    What a lovely post. Shannon, I must say, your sense of humor is one of your most beautiful assets. (The rest of you is equally as beautiful.) I have a photo of my 26-year-old self on my fridge. I’m wearing jeans and a sweat shirt and raking leaves. I have the biggest, purest smile on my face…and that’s one of the things I miss…youthful innocence. It’s a reminder for me. Also, I used to think my thighs were heavy and when I look now, I see what I couldn’t see then: a young woman your exact height who weighed about 125 pounds after giving birth…a young woman with a tiny waist and perfectly fine thighs…a young woman with the sweetest smile. Ha, at least I still have that smile…maybe not so innocent anymore, but still sweet. LOL.

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  57. Shoshana
    Shoshana 8 February, 2014, 15:28

    Hilarious! You did my heart good today and gave me plenty of reasons to laugh! Thank you! I have stopped beating myself up for sins committed on this once lovely body…well, really, I have always had the familial tendency towards being an apple rather than a pear, but apples taste just as good in the dark. And hey, it’s all good there even if I am well past the entry age for AARP. And besides, I’ve earned my muffins! Just don’t ask me to wear sleeveless dresses in the glaring light of day ’cause when I bend over slightly, the flesh on my arms goes first!

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 9 February, 2014, 13:18

      Shoshana you crack me up!! What is it that Kate Moss said, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” To which I reply, “Nothing feels as good as voluptuous tastes!”

      Reply this comment
  58. dustin hornbeck
    dustin hornbeck 10 April, 2014, 01:11

    Men have similar problems at least I do I use to be built have hair teeth now I’m real skinny do to a high metabolism and partially bald and all my teeth went bad all hereditary I feel disgusting and and ugly and lost I can’t remember when as a human I have felt beautiful I could get peck implants and have hair follicle transplants and I’m getting all teeth pulled out but do to all the missing one I look skinny and I am getting each tooth implanted but screw all that I’ll keep my head bald at 28 and do my teeth and start eating better and be proud of me and ladies remember it is your imperfections that make you beautiful so be proud of those labor marks and getto booty cause I love it lol and I’d like to be apart of what y’all are doing seven five 7 seven five one 8five 17

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  59. Claudia Schmidt
    Claudia Schmidt 27 June, 2014, 18:44

    You are SO not fat! I think you were a little malnourished at 20 🙂 I’m starting (at 57) to start embracing my body which is also 5’7″ and 140 lbs. I do try to hide my muffin top, but at this stage of the game, who the heck really wants to spend the rest of their life trying to lose those last elusive 10 lbs when no one really even cares anymore! Great post, thanks for reinforcing with all the young women out there that it’s not about the weight or the body, it’s about the soul inside.

    Reply this comment
  60. Leslie
    Leslie 28 June, 2014, 08:42

    I’m just trying to focus on being strong & healthy now. Like most young women I struggled with my physical appearance for years but when I started to study for my degree in natural medicine & I learned about how wonderfully & fearfully made – I mean FREAKING DIVINELY MIND BLOWING AMAZING – my body is I just plain stopped criticizing my parts & started thanking God for it. Seriously, just go and study your cell membrane & detox pathways & the structure of your ear & heart & brain a little bit & then realize what has to take place almost perfectly every freaking millisecond of the day for you to live & you’ll see what a miracle you are!

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  61. Ellen Dolgen
    Ellen Dolgen 1 November, 2014, 19:24

    Another amazing post! If we all share your very beautifully written words with the next generation and they to the next — make we can begin to break this cycle and begin to learn how to love our selves! Bravo my dear! I shall hold onto this blog and re-read it when I need to practice more self-compassion.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 1 November, 2014, 22:39

      Dear Ellen this means so much coming from you. You know how much I admire your work. xoxoxoS

      Reply this comment
  62. Amber
    Amber 15 December, 2014, 21:02

    I just stayed up much later than I had planned reading a bunch of your posts for the first time- never been to your blog before. It is amazing how these body issues creep in, and I enjoyed reading your perspective and you are very funny– I read a bunch of your posts. Thank-you. One thing I am realizing is that often what we find so ugly or repulsive in others is what we find ugly or repulsive in ourselves and when we can forgive ourselves and love ourselves and give ourselves a break, then we can give others a break too and stop being so judgey of ourselves and everyone else. It’s just nice to see people trying and to see us all coming to similar conclusions and understandings on things. thanks again– I’ll try to remember to come back!

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 15 December, 2014, 22:38

      Amber thanks so much for letting me know you are here! It means a lot. I frequently have to remind my self that I’m just a human being, not a superhero. That these soft places and folds are part of being human, not animatronic. Love to you and yours this holiday season.

      Reply this comment
  63. LeslieCreeper
    LeslieCreeper 5 April, 2017, 07:03

    If a woman wants a normal, healthy body that looks good, she needs to have a BMI of 18-21. Most women can achieve this if they walk 10,000 steps per day. No special diets. No rigorous workouts.

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