Scroll down for the real “after” photo.
*There are a lot of angles served up to entice women to lose weight so that they can get that bikini-perfect body. Diet, exercise, liposuction and pills are constant driving forces behind today’s commercials and marketing promotions. But we rarely, if ever, see the un-airbrushed results of the effort – the sagging skin that can remain after the slim down. Many people find themselves just as embarrassed after the weight is gone. But Brooke Birmingham, an Illinois blogger who lost 170 pounds, wants to inspire those women. So she has humbled herself and is now being called an inspiration after posting her sagging skin bikini photo – which Shape magazine refused to publish, and the online support has been amazing.
As Today TV hosts discuss the woman whose before-and-after weight-loss photos were rejected by Shape magazine, Tamron Hall says, “We’re in a world where beautiful models are airbrushed, so it doesn’t surprise me. She’s now an inspiration for a lot of people.”
But then she posted the photo below…
The photo, though graphic, is an important one for people to see as it is the perfect example of what women look like after major weight loss. It represents an accurate alternative to the usual airbrushed results served up in magazines that profit off of encouraging model-thin looks.
Online posts in support of Birmingham’s revelations includes…
She looks amazing. And congrats to her on her amazing weight loss!! She is truly inspiring. So what if she has some extra skin, it doesn’t make her any less beautiful than a woman with a perfectly toned body. I give her credit for being brave enough to put herself out there for all of you to judge and criticize. — Andrea Fisher Valley
Thank you so much for posting your picture. I have lost 110 pounds and don’t like to look at my naked body. I too have loose skin. I look at all the before and after articles and they never seem to look the way I do. I think they are all squeezed in to control garments and photo shopped to get rid of the rolls. You just can’t lose that much weight and be firm all over. You are to be commended for being so courageous to post your after picture. Congrats on your weight loss! — Angie Blanchard Bradshaw
Clinical psychologist Helen L. Coons, Ph.D. says after reaching a healthy weight, women feel better about their bodies.
“They feel empowered and have an improved body image that they took care of themselves this way and their body responded,” she says.
But then again, not every women is like Birmingham, who feels proud of her weight loss success. These women are self-conscious of the extra skin that remains on their bellies, arms or thighs.
Coons says it’s important to focus on the progress they’ve made and on their health, which is more important than the sagging skin. But if they are bothered by the loose skin, there are options they can pursue, such as physical training and wearing clothes they feel comfortable in.
More extreme weight-loss patients have chosen to remove the loose skin through cosmetic surgery.
Watch TODAY video directly below (piece on bikini woman stars around 5:22) and read more at Today