A tale of two photoshoots

Back when I lived in Southampton, as well as being an accountant, I was a part-time fitness instructor.   I taught 3-4 classes a week, as well as being a bit of a gym bunny the rest of the time too.

Before we moved up here, I took advantage of a groupon offer to have myself a studio photoshoot – I wanted a bunch of photos of me doing fitness-type things that I could use when I started my own classes up here.  At the time, I was a size 6-8, but I remember worrying over how I would look in the photos.  It’s kind of ironic really: back then I was the skinniest I’ve ever been, or am ever likely to be – I had, like, muscle definition and shit!   But constantly hanging out with super fit, lean fitness fanatics gave me a slightly insane idea of what was “normal”.  So despite being slim by any sensible standards, I was never really happy with my physique or how I looked.   I was constantly on a diet to lose a few more pounds and get leaner.  I don’t think I had any sort of actual eating disorder, but I certainly didn’t have a healthy relationship with food, exercise or my appearance.

So anyway, I did the photoshoot.  I didn’t particularly enjoy it: I felt self-conscious in front of the camera, and couldn’t really relax.  However there were a few shots I liked, this one being my favourite.

Fast forward two years and I am now over a stone heavier than I was then, and wearing size 12 clothes.   I did teach fitness classes for a while here, but they weren’t really busy enough to make me any sort of decent money, and took up too much of my time to justify the return.  I haven’t been inside a gym for 18 months.  I’m obviously nowhere near as fit as I used to be.  For a while, I couldn’t decide whether or not this bothered me.  I mean, I used to be ALL ABOUT the fitness.  And – let’s be brutally honest here – it was mostly about wanting to look good.  Did I want to go back to dieting, and fit back into my size 8 clothes?  Or should I resign myself to middle aged spread – after all, I’m 40 now!  But if I did, would it be the start of a slippery slope whereby I’d end up in size 20 clothes by the age of 50?!

Happily, eventually I decided  that there is more to life than being skinny.   Now, I try to take a more balanced approach.  I don’t always get it right, far from it!  But I’m getting there, I think.  I try to eat mostly healthy stuff, and enjoy chocolate, cake and wine when I want to without going mental.  I try to exercise for health and vitality.  This has been the big change in mindset for me.  No longer do I want to beast myself with a hardcore exercise session to burn as many calories as possible.  These days, I simply want to be fit and healthy enough to enjoy life.  I want Dave and I to still be able to climb Merrick when we’re in our 70s.  Even if it is at a slow pace.  So now I walk, I climb hills, I run, I stretch, I do the odd bit of yoga and I try to be generally active.  I look in the mirror and – wonder of wonders – I’m fairly happy with what I see.   How strange and mad that when I was thinner, I never liked what I saw and always thought I looked fat.  I guess I’m just so much happier in my life in general now, that I am finally learning to love my body as it is.  Yes, flabby, wobbly bits and all.

This week, Dave was asked to take some photos for a client, so I ended up having my first ever “job” as a model for a photoshoot.  Ha!!!!!!!!!! I found it amusing to think how the old – much skinnier! – me would have obsessed over this.  Wanting to inspect every photo in case a roll of fat was visible.  Worrying for hours about what to wear,  For this photoshoot, I slapped on a bit of make-up, shoved my hair in a pony tail, and then had lots of fun prancing around in the sunshine and not even caring if my bum looked big.  I jumped in m2013 happy bethuddy puddles and didn’t worry that I looked like a mentaller.  I felt relaxed, happy, and free of inhibitions.  I suppose in terms of conventional beauty the first photoshoot picture is more attractive – but I totally love the second one.  I’m wearing crappy leggings and an ancient brown cardigan, my hair is a state, but look how HAPPY I look! Look how much fun I’m having!  I’m playing in the sunshine, with the beautiful Galloway mountains behind me, and I’m right where I belong.  That’s so much better than being skinny.


9 thoughts on “A tale of two photoshoots

  1. How I love the new picture! The picture tells the story that it’s really nice being you. The other one was a good cover photo of being you. I defintely prefer the inside out one 🙂

  2. Loving both photos but especially the second. It takes so much effort to be skinny and it’s a constant worry! Eat chocolate cake and be happy is what I say! You have definitely got the right balance, and you look gorgeous!

  3. love the second photo Beth, and you do look so happy. also love the sentiments expressed. I have been sliding up and down that slippery slope since my 30’s and although way bigger and less fit than you, am just as happy with myself and my life. it’s all about being where you feel happiest, being the with person who makes you feel happy and complete and loving what you do.

  4. You look lovely in the first photo, but you look *vibrant* in the second. Keep on doing exact;y what you’re doing, becuase it really suits you 🙂

  5. This is wonderful love, truly. Authentic, honest and real…

    It’s always about happiness from within, no matter what the size. Good for you, and thank you for sharing with us xxx

  6. It’s lovely to hear that the move north has been so life-changing in such a positive way Beth, and great to know you feel so happy with who you are. It sounds like a very “back to nature” style of living, which is what we probably all need rather than the artificial life many lead of just existing. Long may the joy continue, no matter your size or shape…….it is what is in the heart that counts. I wish it to always be so and even though I still miss you down south, it is comforting to know you are in my beloved Scotland xx

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