When it comes to women and weight, it’s an on-going journey – and for many, it’s a lifelong one. Whether we’re trying to lose it, or gain it, our weight has become the scale on which we measure our self-worth, and ultimately, our confidence. When we met Shelley at the E Bridal Expo last year, we knew she was no ordinary woman; anyone who has life changing gastric sleeve surgery and loses a whopping 40 kilos is anything but.
“I had my surgery on 31st July 2015, so just over 18 months ago…and then when I saw the competition, I knew it was the perfect time …”
Like so many other women, Shelley was waiting for the right time. For some it’s a matter of weeks, and for others a little longer; For Shelley it was over twenty years! Having lost so much weight, she felt it was finally time she commemorated her journey so far. We know that women have to come when they feel ready, and the irony of it is that you need a certain amount of confidence to come to the studio in the first place in order to become more confident! Taking that first step can be the hardest part. One hundred percent of our clients say they wish they had come to us sooner, and not waited for the “right” time.
“I was very nervous. I wasn’t sure what to expect… especially when I saw some of the nudes on their website gallery…but with Alice I was made to feel so comfortable and in the end I just threw everything off!”
When women enter the studio, something phenomenal happens. In that comfortable, safe space we see women transform. They throw caution to the wind, and like Shelley, they decide that they are going to make the most of the experience, and they seldom regret their decision. After all, nothing spectacular lies within our comfort zone…
“I loved every minute of the shoot, and I would totally recommend it to EVERYONE. I mean, the last time I did something for just myself was a long time ago…probably when I had my operation and this was probably better”
The real surprise came after the photo shoot, when we took Shelley to our cinema room so she could see her photos. We could see that she was nervous as we handed her a coffee and dimmed the lights, but her reaction left us totally speechless, and for the best reason.
“I broke down in tears; I just didn’t expect them to be so beautiful…I was in shock. Many people, like myself, we still see the big person the mirror, and to see the difference…it was amazing…for the first time in my life I felt confident”
Shelley admits that her journey has not been an easy one. She’d been struggling with her weight for more than thirty years, after having her children. When she had an accident at work, it left her even less active and both her health and her confidence were taking a nose dive. Although Gastric sleeve surgery is Mentally, physically and emotionally tasking, and not something one should consider lightly or without support, Shelley maintains that it was one of the best decisions she could have made in taking control of her health.
When it comes to her confidence however, Shelley pauses to answer. Even after her staggering weight loss, she admits that she struggled to associate her reflection with her mental image of herself, and that it wasn’t until she saw her photos that the two merged together and she really felt like she was the woman she’d always envisaged.
“To anyone who has lost a lot of weight, or who are in the process of losing weight or who are at the early stages of their journey: do this for yourself. I’ve realised that the weight loss is just a small part of gaining confidence. I barely recognised myself at first, but this experience has really helped me to see the new, thinner person I am, and I have the photos to remind myself every day”
Shelley decided to commemorate her transformation by putting all of her beloved images in a photo book which she’s hoping to give to her husband to thank him for all his love and support throughout their two years of marriage (awww!). Having a book also means that she can show her photos to whoever she likes, and tuck it away when the grand kids are over.
“I went for the book, because I think it’ll be just absolutely beautiful – my husband will love it and I can show the people I want to show! I’m so glad Becky was there to help me design in and accommodate my budget”