Why I Refused to Put a Shirt on For Shape

A week or so ago Shape magazine online reached out to me. They wanted to do success story feature on their site about me. Being someone who enjoys putting herself out there and finding new ways to reach people, I agreed.

We set up a time for an interview and I sent them the following after picture to include.


The reporter got back to me and said: Thank you! These should work but I’ll let you know if my editor needs anything else. Talk to you soon!

We did the phone interview and chatted for about a half hour about my journey, my weight loss tips, and other things. She was super friendly and I enjoyed talking to her. She let me know that she would work on my piece and get back to me as soon as she knew when it would be published. I figured I’d here back in the next week or so, when only a couple of days later, I got the following email:


Really? Have you logged on to Shape’s website lately? You can find MANY women in bikinis on the site.

I’m not going to lie, I was absolutely furious with the email and while I wanted to call them every name in the book and tell them how they were wrong. My inner lady (and help of Emily) spoke up and conducted a response:


I awaited a reply and received the following the next day:


Again, not happy about it. I was to be a part of their Success Stories feature on the website, where there are women in bikinis. Why all of the sudden was it ‘their policy’?

I sent another email stating the following:


A few hours later I received a phone call from the woman who interviewed me. She explained that she was just the ‘in-between’ person between Shape and I, and that she had not meant to offend me in any way. She then went on to say that this had nothing to do with me and not wanting to celebrate women’s bodies. That they had just stated it was their policy now to include fully clothed photos for the feature.

She then asked me to reconsider my choice to no longer be featured, that my story is great and I would get a lot of exposure from it. I told her that the exposure wasn’t worth it to me, that I’m an honest person and I didn’t feel like the story was letting me be honest if I couldn’t share that photo. I told her that if their policy was to have fully clothed people, then they needed to do that with the rest of the site as well. She said she understood and that was that.

The whole thing still really frustrates me because I don’t feel like my body was given the same respect as others on their site. Why all of the sudden is it their policy to have fully clothed people? The reporter stated that she wasn’t sure if someone had complained about the previous photos to Shape or not. But in my eyes if someone is complaining about them featuring women in bikinis, then again they shouldn’t have them anywhere on the site.

If anything, the should want my picture on their site. My body is real, not photoshopped or hidden because I feel like I should be ashamed. This is a body after losing 172 pounds, a body that has done amazing things, and looks AMAZING in a freaking bikini.

This is the type of body they should have featured because it can give people hope. Hope that they can lose weight healthfully and even if they don’t end up with airbrushed abs of steel, they’re gorgeous and shouldn’t be ashamed of whatever imperfection they believe they have.

Women today are exposed SO MUCH to what society sees as the ideal body. The perfect hourglass shape with no arm flab, a thigh gap, full lips, perfect breasts, and a flat tummy. We believe from the time we are little girls that to be beautiful we must have these things. If we’re not the ideal beautiful, then we should be ashamed and not feel like we are good enough.

I spent MANY years hating and hiding a body I was ashamed of because it wasn’t society’s ideal of beautiful. Being asked to send a photo of myself with a shirt on made me feel like I again should be ashamed of my body. That since I have the loose skin, I shouldn’t be in a bikini.

I wasn’t willing to do that though. I’ve always been real and honest with you guys around here. That’s what I do.

If I couldn’t have the picture of me in my bikini to go along with my story, then it wasn’t MY story. The story I wanted to tell and shout out to the world, not their ideal story. So, if I couldn’t tell it my way, then they weren’t going to be able to tell it at all.

I was raised to stand up for what I believe in and I believe that if a website posts pictures of women in bikinis, then I should be given that same right. I wasn’t given that, so I decided to decline. Like I said before, the exposure I would have gotten wasn’t worth it to me.

Nothing is worth compromising my beliefs.

I want to know YOUR thoughts on this



Since this has all happened, Shape and I came to a resolution, which you can read about here!

  • Liz @ The Shrinking Owl

    I WANT TO HIGH FIVE THE HECK OUT OF YOU. Thank you for standing up for yourself and YES. All bodies are BEAUTIFUL.

  • kim r.

    When I first saw you post this picture as the one you were going to send to Shape I thought to myself- there is one amazing woman. I completely agree with you- as women we should be proud of our bodies and our achievements. It is unrealistic and unhealthy to only be surrounded in the media by women that are “perfect”. You worked hard for your body and you should be proud! I wish there was a magazine out there that showed real stories like yours. I find your blog and your story so inspiring and it has helped me to try to stick to my health goals also. I am ashamed of Shape- think of how many women there could be out there that would be inspired by your real and honest story also. The reason I read your posts is because you are real and you are not afraid to share your honest self with the world. Good for you for saying no to them-they don’t realize what they are missing out on. Stay true to yourself sweetie because you are amazing! ♥

    • Thank you, Kim! I agree, I wish there were some more realistic stories our there in magazines! Thank goodness for blogs! 🙂

  • I’m actually having trouble to put into words what I want to say to you, it can pretty much be summed up into: ‘YESSSSSSSS SO MUCH YES” for what you did and said. Your weight loss story is YOURS and the point is to show real people right. You really and truly inspire me 🙂

  • Joanne E Cornish

    well done for sticking to your guns, you have done amazingly well without compromising, so why start compromising now as if you were somehow ashamed? what a load of rubbish – I bet the writers at Shape are all super skinny and purge after every meal or they are super-dooper fatties who don’t follow their own mission statement! loved reading your response – fabulous! 🙂

  • Becky

    Way to go! I think you fully did the right thing in standing up to the magazine. You should be proud of your body and the amazing transformation you made happen. So many of us struggle to do the very thing that you have accomplished, and it is shameful for THEM that they are willing to put bikini-clad women all over their magazine and not include your picture.

  • If I had a subscription to Shape, I would cancel it too, Miss Brooke! They want to acknowledge your weight loss, but they don’t want to show the real changes that occur when we lose that kind of weight. Sometimes we are left with excess skin, and that’s okay–it’s so much better than when that skin was filled with FAT! I am so proud of you for standing up for your beliefs. I think your stand will get you much more notice than if you had caved to their demands.

  • Hello and Hell Yes you’re doing/have done the right thing. I hope you’ll forgive the slightly leering nature of this but a) it’s Friday and I’ve been in the pub and b) you look fantastic – if Shape don’t want to share your pictures with the world then they’re bloody idiots. Sharing now!

  • … and in the end, you’ll wind up getting WAY more exposure from telling THIS story and being true to yourself. BOOM! <3

  • Censie ‘Mumby’ Sawyer

    Wow! I am so proud of you for sticking up for yourself and your body – oh and all of that hard work!!! Damn you look amazing! Such an inspiration!

  • Your integrity is inspirational. I want my daughter to grow up in a world where real people and realistic self images are the norm, and she can feel good about the person who she is. Women like you give hope that it is possible.

    • Thank you, I also want the women of the future to feel good about who they are and not what the media thinks they should be!

  • Adriennevh

    Curious to see if/when the issue they were planning to feature you in gets published what everyone will be wearing. If there is a single bikini in any “success story” from now until doomsday it is blatant discrimination. Kudos to you for sticking up for REAL bodies.

  • nic_w

    You’re kind of a rockstar.

  • Samuel Hill

    You are so incredibly strong… a true champion in my eyes, and someone I will forever look up to. I have shared this with the OAC and other Obesity Bias groups so your word and deeds can spread… All I can really say, is thank you!

  • MONA


  • umagurl

    Ok, so I may get blasted here, but I am on SHAPE’S side. You have made a tremendous accomplishment losing 170 pounds. That’s not disputed. Good for you for standing in what you believe in. But you asked for our opinions…I’m not sure why, you would want to be in an online mag with loose skin showing. I certainly wouldn’t. For me, if goes back to what I always say, thin or fat. Just because they make it in your size, doesn’t mean you should wear it. I have lost 188 pounds, and have loose skin. I’m just fine with my body and the skin, but I’m not about to go showing it off.

  • Ashlee Zinn

    You are amazing! I love that you refused and that you kept questioning it! You go girl! I hope another magazine sees this and wants to scoop up your story 🙂 I just found your blog on Instagram with your photo – I will be sharing the photo as soon as I get out of work!

    • Thank you, Ashlee! The feedback I’ve gotten has been astounding! Thanks for sharing as well!

  • Christina E.

    Saw this on Facebook. Thank you for sharing this, and for sticking to your guns. I don’t think I could have. You and I seem to have an extremely similar weight loss (I went from 328 to 156) and this isn’t the After story you usually see. The reality of a 170+lb weight loss is not one I’ve seen a lot of examples of, so it’s wonderful to see someone with those similarities and especially inspiring to see your confidence. There are thousands of sources on the internet telling stories of body confidence for nearly every body type you can imagine, but ours is not one you see a lot. The lack of perfection seems upsetting to the fitness crowd, and of course the weight loss aspect is antithetical to the fat positivity crowd, so I’ve often felt like there’s no place for the body confidence narrative I need to see or need to be telling. So, thanks again, and big congratulations on all your accomplishments.

    • Thank you, Christina. The biggest reason I wanted to showcase this picture is to show others that have lost a lot of weight, that they’re not alone. Congrats to you on your amazing accomplishment!

  • I’ve never commented before, but I couldn’t let this post go without a comment. Congratulations Brooke! I really appreciate your integrity. I think you are going to inspire a movement with this post.

  • Laura Melville

    You totally did the RIGHT thing!! Your weight loss is amazing and you look amazing!! You’re the reality and apparently Shape Magazine doesn’t want actual reality, they want the airbrushed type. Put on a shirt? I can guarantee that had your bikini photo been one of those perfectly shaped proportioned ones – there would of been no shirt request; and everyone here knows that!

    • It’s hard saying if the outcome would have been different if I had the ‘ideal’ body. I probably would have done the same though because again, they have women featured in bikinis on their site. And I deserve to be treated equal as well.

  • Anne Marie Grant

    Congrats on your weight loss. Its nice to there are people out there that are teaching others that being who you are is being beautiful enough. Regardless if you are thin, medium, or plus size BE WHO YOU ARE & LOVE WHO YOU ARE INSIDE AND OUT.I want my 3 daughters to love themselves no matter how different you are because that is what makes you unique. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Wow you are so strong to turn down that exposure in Shape, but of course I totally get where you are coming from. Why can’t we see some REAL after pictures of massive weight loss??

    Shape has women in underwear for articles about “staying organized” so there should be no reason you’d have to put a shirt on!!

    Sharing this everywhere!! Chin up!! <3 <3

    • Oh, you don’t do your home organizing in your underwear? 😉

      Thanks for sharing!

  • WOW! I think you look amazing and great job on your weight loss!! I am in the process of trying to lose just over 80 pounds and your story is such an inspiration!! You are such a good role model for women/girls!! There is far too much fake out there and not enough REAL!!

  • It seems like magazines want the fake, air-brushed, photo-shopped version of life. Weight loss included. You are a rock star. So proud of you girl. Keep loving you.

  • Weight Watchers & Me

    That is totally shameful! I went and looked at their site…hmmm….many many many pictures with bikini’s ~ YOU ROCK! Thank you for standing up for yourself and all of us that have ‘real’ bodies! Congratulations to you!

  • Beatrice Scott Carter

    Congratulations Brooke, I’m so proud of you. I wish we could get this message out to all young girls that think they have to look like those in magazines.

    • Thank you, Beatrice! I hope that messages like mine and other reach young girls everywhere. There’s just too much pressure to look ‘perfect’ out there.

  • Steph Halvorsen

    You are an inspiration! I am just starting my journey (for real this time!) I am starting about where you did and dream of the day I look like this! Bravo lady! I am looking forward to going through your blog!

  • Jessica McDonald

    Thank you for this! I generally do not read magazines like that, because they don’t seem relevant to someone like me, who has 100+ pounds to lose. If there were more articles like this, I would be inclined to subscribe!

  • Heather

    Wow. This is AWESOME! I’ve never commented on your blog before, but had to now. I admire you so much for sticking up for yourself. It does sound super fishy that it’s all of a sudden a “policy.” Now let’s see if any future pictures they put up are actually “fully clothed” and follow along the guidelines of their “policy.” Bravo to you girl. Thank you for being real!

  • Megan Parsons

    I HAVE 2 WORDS FOR THEM….SCREW YOU!!! I have more words then that but they aren’t appropriate 🙂 YOU ARE AMAZING!!!

  • 0to26point2

    You are amazing. And you totally did the right thing. I do believe the reporter didn’t have anything to do with the decision unfortunately she was caught in the middle. And the best thing about it is you can lay your head down at night knowing you did what’s best for you; )

  • Amelia Bain

    Big up for refusing to compromise on your values for so-called exposure in a magazine that wants to lie to women about our bodies!! The models in shape don’t even look like that in reality so it’s clear that they wanted you to cover up to perpetuate their myths of the perfect body and keep us striving for something unattainable so that we’ll keep spending money on things like shape magazine… You rock!

  • Alecia

    Brooke – you know I love the crap out of you. This just makes me love you ten times more!! It took a lot of strength and composure to not basically just tell them to fuck off… You’re a far better woman than I!! You’ve accomplished something many people only dream of – and shame on them for not wanting to tell the WHOLE story!

    • Love you too girl! And ya, the first email I wanted to compose wasn’t as nice sounding. 😉


    T-Rex Runner (Danielle) shared this, and I am both furious and absolutely elated – furious at Shape and elated for your strength.

    You know what – you DO look amazing, and it is shameful that they wouldn’t feature TRUE stories of what extreme weight loss looks like.

    I weigh 210lbs less now than I did when I started my weight loss journey at 23 (back in 1989). I have been ‘thin’ (<200lbs) since late '89, but after thyroid failure in 2007 put on weight slowly and by early 2012 was 275lbs.

    Now I am 175 and a marathoner and do 50-60 miles a week running … and I look awesome. Oh yeah, if I had no shirt on I would have plenty of 'extra skin' that will never, never go away. I play the game with myself regularly about whether or not it is fat – but I know better.

    I don't have the courage to put shirtless pictures of myself online … and maybe I never will. But I think it is great that you have – and think Shape should have celebrated it as well.

    • Thank you, Michael! Congrats to you on all your amazing success! Maybe one day you’ll rock it topless! 😉

  • Corey

    As a fitness professional I respect her decision to do so but I can also understand why they might have wanted her to put a shirt on. Yes it is extremely impressive that she lost the weight and everyone is treating her like she took the moral high ground in this case but from not only a business side but also a health perspective you have to think people are going to see this picture and it is going to make a lot of people not want to lose weight from showing a picture where (Don’t take offense to this, just stating the facts) your stomach is going to look worse. It hurts their business and it hurts the health, nutrition, and exercise business.

    Both men and women are extremely aesthetic and personally even as a fitness professional, I would have been proud of her, but I would probably ask her to do the same thing so as to not discourage anyone from losing weight

    • Hollee Erlandson

      So I guess it’s better for people to be disappointed with reality? You give people way too little credit. Most people can handle reality. I personally would like to know what’s in store for me rather than live in a fantasy land where weight loss is all rainbow and unicorns.

    • Jilly Bean

      Wow, you are incredibly shallow. What a sad little life you must lead. YOU may be “aesthetic”, but not all humans are that simple-minded. You’re basically saying that only those who never needed to lose weight in the first place should be the poster children for weight loss success stories. What kind of protein shakes and stacks are killing your brain cells? Don’t take offense – just stating the facts.

    • not-giving-up

      I actually had no idea most people who lost weight looked like this b/c all the stories I have seen are of clothed people or of others who didn’t have any extra skin. I thought b/c I didn’t look that great after losing a lot of weight, my body was just messed up. This story actually helped me get a better idea as to what most people actually look like and I feel more inspired to keep going instead of giving up.

      • briargrey

        And that’s why we need more stories like Brooke’s with pictures! Now if only people like the one you were responding to got it. 🙂

      • THIS! People like you are the reason I posted this! I want to show others that they are not alone in how their bodies look! Don’t give up! It is worth it! <3

    • briargrey

      That’s sort of the whole point though — to try to change the industry by refusing to kowtow to it so that we can all walk away better people with a more realistic view of how people are — by sharing space between the naturally beautiful and almost perfect bod people and the more common ‘got stretch marks and loose skin and such’ people, we can all benefit by realizing there is no shame to either body type and no need to cover up, photoshop, or bury our head in the sand. And no shame in winning the genetic lottery, being lucky in weight loss skin recovery, or not being so lucky. You’re just perpetuating the image of perfection that we should be fighting against for an image of human.

      • Yes, this was the point. I wanted to get people thinking about the media and maybe changing it. I may just be one person, but at least I’ve played a part. And I’m glad that there are many who see it my way.

    • I asked for opinions and I’m glad that you gave yours. I do agree that my photo may discourage someone to lose weight, but I didn’t do it for those people.

      I did it for the ones who want to know what a body can look like after extreme weight loss. I did it to show others that they can love themselves no matter what. I did it to not follow the standard.

      I work as a Weight Watchers leader, a weight loss business itself. And I’m asked daily about my loose skin. People want to know what to expect and I’m honest. If it discourages them, then they aren’t ready to lose the weight. I’m a firm believer you must love yourself to handle the journey of losing weight, that includes loving how you look. Because if they don’t love themselves throughout the journey, then they are going to get to the end and be pretty upset with what they’re body may look like.

      As for SHAPE, they are a business that is more concerned with sales than the truth. Sadly, that’s just how it works and I didn’t want to comply.

    • jhay66

      So what the fitness industry sells are say 90% lies? Say i’m 500 lbs and wanting to lose weight i buy a fitness magazine that say lose XX lbs in XX days then shows a before and after picture of a model with a fat before photo and a ripped body and rock hard popping abs after photo. And i believe that’s what will happen to me if i lose XX amount of lbs. Started my workout i feel good i lost XX amount of weight and i’m soooo excited for my rock hard popping abs. But whenever i look in the mirror all i see are hanging lose skin although i can see my Abs inside depends on where i pull my lose skin. No one informed me of this. All fitness magazine, website and videos only show rock hard abs after losing XX amount of weight. What do i do after? Of course i feel great i’ve never feel healthier and stronger and happier but where are those rock hard abs that they are saying after a losing XX weight. I think people would be more disappointed and lose interest that way. Like you said men are women are extremely after aesthetics. Fitness industry shouldn’t only be selling aesthetics that’s only the bonus of being fit. The main goal should be HEALTH and WELLNESS. Everyone should be aware of what will happen or what they might look like after loosing XX amount of lbs the reality not the fantasy. So that if anyone wants to shed some weight it’s not going to be about “aesthetics” it’ll be about overall well being.

      (Sorry for my english.)

  • Janine

    WOW you are amazing….170 is another person, a HUGE accomplishment! I would be like you…you don’t want the real me you don’t get me at all! Awesome job on the weight loss girl! You do look AH-MAZING! It is nice to see people not photo shop. Society is pathetic for the way they want women to look! We are all beautiful no matter what, too bad not everyone thinks that way!

  • Mackenzie

    I’ve recently lost 50 lbs and lost 86 while in high school and I’m very self conscious about my loose skin- it makes me almost ashamed of all my hard word. You have inspired me to be proud of all I’ve done! I think you standing your ground is so incredible and I wish more people would do the same! Congratulations on all your success!!!

    • Amazing!! You should never be ashamed of who you are! You have done something amazing and deserve to be proud!

  • Lattie36

    I think you did the right thing. You’ve accomplished something amazing! And to be asked to “cover up” is a total insult in my opinion. Never compromise who you are…Kudos to you! Keep on being an inspiration.

  • Kimberly Remig Prytherch

    you go girl! About 15 years ago, I was the Collage Video weight loss story one month. I was featured on the back cover and the inside. They changed my hair color and straightened my teeth in the photo. When they mentioned touching it up a bit, I had no idea! They also “fattened up” my before pic. As if I wasn’t big enough already! I still haven’t gotten over it!

  • Corey

    You did do something amazing! Incredible!

    Dont be mad at the magazine though

    Its your goal to share your incredible weight loss journey but its the magazines goal to sell magazines, its a business remember. Theres no room to be emotional in business, they want super model like stories… This will help them both sell magazines and inspire other to lose weight so they may look like so ans so super model

    Aesthetic society

    • While I completely understand they are a business, I don’t agree with it. Which is why I decided to pull my story. And thank you.

  • Hollee Erlandson

    I actually like seeing the bikini photo. It shows the reality of weight loss and its scars. I don’t like the after photos where clothes are used to make them look even thinner. I can hide fat with a good cut of clothing. Most of us are most critical of our bodies in the nude. It’s kind of nice to see something real for a change.

    I love the fact that you stood your ground. It’s rare that anyone does anything out of principle anymore. If they do, it usually goes unnoticed and stays out of the media and someone else who just wants the limelight sells their souls to the devil for a bit of fame.

    BTW…I stopped buying Shape a long time ago for other reasons. This just solidifies my decision. 🙂

  • Hi Brooke. Glad I found your blog and congratulations on your success!

    Unfortunately fantasy is what these magazines are selling. Your real life, amazing weight loss story does not fit in with their idea of the fantasy they are trying to push.
    The reality that you need to work hard, sacrifice, stay motivated and stick to it for the long run does not coincide with the quick fix messages of “Melt Away Fat”, “Easy Fat Burning Secrets”, “Fight Fat With Food” or countless other magazine cover headlines they push every single month (you would think with all the easy and effective methods they push, they would go out of business in a few months…. wait, maybe that’s why they want to keep this fantasy alive 😉

  • Melissa

    While I certainly commend Brooke on her amazing transformation and efforts in reaching out and teaching women to love their bodies, I don’t think she’s a victim here.

    Having worked at a magazine (bridal) myself, there are a lot of factors in publication, and yes, policies. I flipped through several success stories on Shape.com and found that there really weren’t that many people with bikinis on – the ones that were along the lines of celebrity status (popular fitness trainers) and professionally photographed B&As, oh and a Playboy model. For nearly everyone else, they had shirts, workout clothes, etc. on.

    There are so many legal ramifications with nudity nowadays – especially with internet publication, that it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Shape had to instill a policy for the “Every Person” who they did a story on. It’s one thing if you’re a Playboy model, monitored in B&As and professional fitness trainers – they have likely been through the process of disclosures, contracts, etc. But to have the “Every Person” small feature story go through the rigamarole of disclosures and contracts, it would be too time-consuming and expensive to manage and these “Real Stories” would become less and less common.

    The responses from her contact at Shape were respectful and courteous, and she opened the door for a phone conversation to further discuss, which it appears Brooke did not take her up on. It is hard to convey so many details in email – not only that, businesses must be very careful in how much they disclose in writing, as anything can be used against them because of misinterpretation. From the way the contact responded, it
    sounds as if she were an editorial assistant, of which only so much information is given. If Brooke really wanted to fight the fight or get to the bottom of this policy, she should have requested to speak with the editor, or even publisher.

    Legalities aside, there has to be some room for editorial disclosure. I can’t tell you how many times a bride or photographer would insist on us using a specific picture – or were reluctant to offer more images than they gave us, making it very difficult to layout the magazine as we saw fit. While Brooke does look great, one must admit that the photograph is far from professional looking (note: professional does not indicate
    Photoshopping). It could be a low-resolution image. It could be that they are changing the focus of the section of the magazine to include less nudity (personally, I am getting tired of seeing everyone and their grandma in their underwear). It could be that she is part of a larger feature and they want the feature to all fit into a theme or feel (maybe others in the feature were dressed – and it would look odd for one person to be in a bikini). It could be any number of reasons. If she had gone through the right channels, perhaps she would have determined what that reason was, instead of jumping to conclusions and crying

    • marilove

      “There are so many legal ramifications with nudity nowadays ”

      Stop. Stop right now. A bikini is not “nudity”. And you already stated that other people have been in bikinis. So there is no blanket policy. There’s only an arbitrary-possibly-not-really-existent policy that you’ve only vaguely talked about, rather than provided any sort of concrete proof of. And then equating bikinis — which already exist in the publication; even you admit that! — with nudity?! (And of course, a guest below has graciously shared with us an example that blows your b.s. right out of the water, to boot!)



      You’re a liar and, frankly, not a particularly bright person if you think it’s not glaringly obvious that you’re attempting, and failing, to blow smoke up our asses.

  • Kelly Geistler

    You are RAD. I have lost 100lbs, and have probably 75 to go after swearing off exercise for about 15 years. I stall out sometimes because I think about how saggy I will be when it is all over (I hold ALL my weight in the middle). But man some days I forget all about that and just revel in how amazing if feels to be healthy!! I’m 6 ft 2 so even at the weight I’m at now, I am 1000x more fit than I was when I started. I crush most people in the gym (I was a college athlete 20 years ago so once I got going the results starting coming fast), just a matter of getting the rest of the weight off now! You inspired me to keep it real and about the beauty of health today, thanks Brooke.

    • You’re the reason I did this. I want to inspire and encourage others. Kudos to you and your amazing success thus far! You rock!

  • April S

    Way to stand up for yourself for everyone out there who has struggled with body issues! Congratulations on your hard work and awesome results! I’ve lost over 50lbs and know even when I get to my goal, it’s unlikely that I’ll have a flat stomach (I never have, even as a kid). You look great, keep it up!

    • Flat stomachs are created with airbrushes. Lol. Congrats to you on your weight loss thus far!

  • Cheryl Harris

    Great story–I can’t wait to see the follow up when Shape caves. Or at least, I hope I get to see it!

    • I haven’t heard anything from them and that’s okay, I don’t need their validation now. 🙂

  • Guest
  • Jody Petersen

    I am so glad you posted this and gave your reasons. You are dead on about how we, as women, are supposed to be in an ideal world! Keep up the amazing work, Brooke! And standing up for what you believe in..this makes you an even greater role model! Love you, girl!

  • SweatandStilettos SAS

    I am so glad you stuck with your decision. I think you look amazing and they need to publish the real you. I think their positions is BS.

  • Ruth Rocker

    I applaud your actions!! We need to remember that our bodies are only a temporary housing anyway. Way to go on losing that much weight!!

  • Mind Full

    I love it that you stood up for yourself and really for every women who has had to face any kind of body image problem. The respect that is needed in the fashion or advertising industry is paramount to getting young girls out of this make believe body image and into a more realistic ideal . I truly respect your actions and wish you all the best in the world.

  • Stephanie

    I dropped Shape a long time ago. They are more like Cosmo and I can’t have that trash around my daughter. This just reaffirms my decision. They are shallow and thoughtless. I would rather read a real fitness magazine like Runner’s World. Good for you for standing up for yourself and your story.

  • Snowlilly

    Thank you! You are just the warrior I needed to hear from. The world needs more warriors like you who aren’t afraid to show what a real body looks like. In about 50 more pounds I hope to shrink down to look like you. It’s more important to embrace realistic goals than photoshopped ones. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    • You’re the reason I posted this, because I do want people to see what major weight loss can look like. Keep rocking it!

  • E.S

    I think you overreacted, just my opinion.

    • I asked for opinions and I respect yours. I do not believe I overreacted because the truth is we do live in a society that is focused too much on the ‘perfect body.’ I wasn’t willing to give into that. Simple as that.

  • LynetteS.

    My thoughts are, you are freaking awesome, I think that you are standing up for your beliefs and the media’s unrealistic expectations for women’s body. You are a BRAVE BRAVE woman who’s strength and integrity is inspiring!

  • Lisa L. Flowers

    Love this! Love you! Love your body!

  • zab50

    While I appreciate your attempt to be rational and explain your perspective, I think you did so without even checking the shape site. Look at this link: http://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/flaunt-it-february-shape-readers-show-their-best-assets

    The women on there definitely did not sign a contract because the pics were taken from instagram. Look at the caption on the first photo: “@Claudkb24 worries that she takes too many photos. But when you work hard to look that good you’ve got to flaunt it!”

    So what I am taking away from this is that you can only flaunt it, when you look THAT good…

  • Way to stand up for yourself, your beliefs, and for telling it like it is. Awesome story. Thank your for sharing your story, your photo and this example of ultimate strength and courage. Way to go, Brooke! from Karen P (also the proud owner of a weight maintenance body after a large loss. 🙂 )

  • Louise Bourque Cunningham

    Good for you to stick to your beliefs! Way to go with the weight loss.. you look amazing!

  • Tracie

    You are amazing! I’m really glad you stood up for yourself and women everywhere! The fitness and fashion industry are killing girls with their warped sense of an “ideal” body. I think it is so important for girls to see women with real bodies, perfect or not! You are an inspiration!

  • Missy

    People seem to forget that women weren’t put on this earth solely to be ogled by others. Good job! I’d say it takes some balls to stand up to a major publication like that but I think it takes even more than that.

  • Aly

    (Standing and cheering) Bravo! The “Success Stories” always make it out to seem that the participants gave up junk food and started running, then POOF! Perfect body! It is Shape’s loss, and they should be ashamed for that treating you the way they have.

  • Good on you both for standing up for what you believe in and for losing the weight. You should be proud of yourself! Rachel xx

  • Debbie Cunningham Montique

    HUGE APPLAUSE to you!!! Congratulations on a job VERY well done!!! You look amazing and beautiful! Standing up for what you believe in so strongly is admirable and your story is inspiring. Thank you for that!! Honestly, I think you’re probably going to get more exposure now than you would have doing the Shape article, because I would have never seen the Shape article. Only found you through “friends” on Facebook 🙂 GOOD for you!!! YAY!!!

    • Thank you, Debbie! You’re so right, the exposure I’ve gotten from this has been phenomenal!

  • Sm1969

    Truthfully I was shocked and sort of gasped initially when I saw the pic, but that doesn’t change the fact that she did an amazing job with her weight loss journey, and yes, I think people need to see that you can have loose skin after such a large amount of weight loss. Maybe that fact can be part of the story? And good on her for being proud and not self conscious about that.
    But I think they were also polite and respectful in their dealings with her…
    Finally-I stopped reading Shape magazine for the same reason mentioned by another commentator: it was starting to look too much like Cosmo or any other photoshopped fashion magazine, and the cover models looks more like anorexic modelsinstead of fitness models

  • Wow. Shape disappoints me. You look amazing!

  • Brittney Minor

    Congratulations on your weight loss! I love that you love your body and are not ashamed to show the reality of weigh-tloss!

  • I see where you are coming from. And commend you greatly for promoting the real story. But I think you could create a win-win situation by complying with Shape magazine, then doing a feature blog post for the readers that come over from Shape’s feature story. Giving an expanded look at your successful weight loss story. It gives you the ability to reach more people and help promote reality.

  • Jessica Ibsen

    It’s not the first time Shape has screwed up. I canceled my subscription and took them out of my news feed because of just how wrong they get it. Good for you for standing your ground!! You’ve got an amazing transformation and sharing your photos is one of the greatest tools out there to give hope and reality of weight loss to others who are struggling to get how far you’ve come.

    • Thank you, Jessica! And yes, the media continues to get it wrong. Hopefully it will someday change.

  • jucifer

    Yes you are a brave one and all that, but no matter what you guys delude yourself with, Shape and all the other magazines are all about their idea of “beauty” and sveltness, and that picture with you although “real” is not alluring or cute, it’s weird and disturbing. It is what it is. You guys shoulda discussed all this before they called and wanted to include you. That’s your body and that’s fine but you must understand the way the machine works, come on don’t pretend you all don’t know.

    • stickerbrick

      There is no “it is what it is.” This photo gives you that feeling not because of what it IS, but because of what you have been conditioned to see it as. This photo is not inherently weird or disturbing. It’s not inherently ANYTHING.

      I will admit that I had a very similar reaction to the photo. It is weird and uncomfortable for me to see it. However, I recognize how that feeling is a manufactured reaction. It has been trained into me. How many women’s bodies have I seen in my life? Why can’t I have seen more variety so that images like this WOULDN’T seem so weird? I feel cheated, like my brain has suffered permanent damage, that my reaction to real people with real flaws is so unfairly conditioned. At first I was like “of COURSE they wouldn’t publish that photo” but after some reflection I am angry at the status quo and want to see some change. This woman’s body represents struggle and triumph and I am blinded to and unappreciative of that reality because of the garbage my mind has been polluted with.

      • jucifer

        It is what it is. If it was a guy I’d say the same thing too, hell do you think I think I look great all the time. These magazines want near perfection, I’m telling u reality that you guys don’t want to deal with. People like seeing pretty things and this ain’t. And let your money do the talking, don’t buy the magazine, its easy, as I said they’re trying to move product and the majority of people don’t wanna see this.

      • I’m happy to hear that the photo got you to think. I hope it sparks you to change the way you have been conditioned to think.

    • Lesa

      Come on get off the train the machine is broken, don’t be a sheep her body is beautiful, we’re all flawed and we need to take heads out of sand and deal with reality. Stop making small talk acting like everythings wonderful beautiful ignore all, nothing gets fixed or taken care of, to busy with vanity and egos…

    • Eh, sorry you find it weird. That’s totally your issue. And yes, they should have been more clear, but they weren’t and the way she worded the email rubbed me the wrong way. You and I both know it could have been handled better on their end.

      And I do know how the machine works, I just don’t agree with it.

    • Carmen Sandiego

      Hmm, I wasn’t disturbed. I think she’s lovely.

  • jucifer

    The person is just stating the obvious…you need to re-read the post. In the publishing/media world it doesn’t work like the way you want it to. And they’re right the magazine is interested in moving product, that’s the reality whether you like it or not

  • Chuck-D

    Hey! Congrats on the healthy weight loss, and on standing up for what you believe to be right. I did want to point out that a quick survey of the Success Stories shows about 19 out of the 20 women I saw were in fact wearing shirts. Only one was in a sports bra, and she was doing kickboxing. The others were all in shirts. Maybe their explanation was honest? At any rate, all the best.

    • Must have been a pretty quick survey, because I have found different. And it wasn’t just success stories I was talking about, it is the entire website. Even stories that have nothing to do with weight loss are in bikinis are sports bras.

  • Heather Erickson

    While I admire Brooke’s story and the fact that she stood her ground, I will be honest: the picture was shocking and I felt a sense of despair when I saw it. I have 50 pounds to lose and knowing “the flap” is the only thing waiting for me on the other side, I am wondering if I’d rather be fat or work my butt off (pun intended) only to find I’m still ashamed of my body and embarrassed by it. Perhaps I just need a bit more confidence.

    Also, I have to say this: we are all getting this story in context from Brooke. I believe that 90% of the people posting here would turn away from the magazine with the picture above in it if they randomly saw it on the rack. We are visual FIRST. Once we read the story, of course we see her body differently. But how many would have actually paused long enough to read it? I guess we’ll never get to find out because SHAPE didn’t give us the chance.

    After typing all of this I realize that Brooke is simply ten steps ahead of me in confidence, and for bucking the business of portraying women in impossible standards. My tone had changed. GO BROOKE! And when I get there, may I show my flap proudly!

    • Heather – I support you 100% and am cheering wildly for you and every other woman (and man!) out there trying to take control of their health, as I am too. (20 pounds down, and I-don’t-care-how-many to go.) That sense of shock and despair, I would suggest, was there precisely BECAUSE media outlets like Shape have lied to us for so very long. Which, as you beautifully point out, is kinda the whole point here.

    • rikperry

      If inner beauty is NOT our goal –the consequences of health living –we are living a lie. Vanity is not a “healthy” quality.

      • someguestperson

        If inner beauty IS the goal, then why make statements like “my body looks freaking AMAZING in a bikini?”

        That’s a load of crap.

    • Lesa

      Be happy God made you perfectly in His image. Great job so far never stop because others have given you a false sense of beauty.

    • I once was in your shoes, Heather. But once I learned to love my body at all stages, that’s when the changes started to happen and I learned that I much rather be healthy and fit.

      Keep telling yourself that you’re beautiful no matter what, because you are! <3

  • Erica Tyler

    Although I am wowed by your amazing success, I agree with shape. Most all of their success stories are shirted. I think you are trying to force the shock value of your bikini photo on the magazine. Unfortunately, all you did was miss an opportunity to share your story with Shape readers. There was the potential to reach people still struggling that could have benefitted from your Success Story, so what was really won here? I guess I don’t see this as a victory for either side.

  • I am ABSOLUTELY in support of you. Heather Erickson’s comment above perfectly illustrates why. She’s shocked and felt despair precisely BECAUSE media outlets like Shape have lied to her and millions of others for so long.

  • Donna

    Today at 12:16 PM
    Wow. Way to start a conversation, girl. And it’s one we need to have. And KEEP having. No matter what Shape’s intentions were or were not, it doesn’t change the fact that every year, billions of dollars in marketing are spent with the purpose of making us feel like crap, that we are not good enough as we are. Our teeth are not white enough, our hair is not the right color, and heaven forbid that our pits sweat once in a while. Your confidence, unfortunately, is rare among women. As a health coach, one of the first places I go with a client is to support her in building her confidence and loving her body AS IS. When we tell ourselves that we will be happy when we lose the weight, get the right job, find the right man, etc. we lose out on a whole lot of happy right-nows. The focus of weight loss is ideally about feeling great, having energy, and getting the most out of this life while we are here. I know if I were on my deathbed tomorrow, I’d want to feel like I had no regrets. None. Brooke, it seems like you live your life with no regrets. Kudos to you for that. Keep on inspiring!

  • itchybits

    I need to side with shape on this one although not a fan Of the mag. Their reader base is diverse and not just people on weight loss journey. I personally do not find your excess skin motivating or inspiring. It’s the end result of abusing your body. I would be inspired by you looking svelte in a one piece….which would flatter you. I can relate to that but I can’t relate to your need to flaunt it in a bikini like a side show. Your story is inspiring on its own so Don’t understand your need to put your trouble areas in people’s face.

  • Derek Ryan R

    Congratulations on your weight loss, it’s an absolutely amazing accomplishment! As far as Shape is concerned, you shouldn’t be concerned with their opinions at all. Remember that they are a publication that is trying to sell magazines, and they do so by trying to promote “perfection.” Perfection is something nobody can reach, but these publications will continuously benefit from the average person flipping through their pages and saying “I can look like that!” And it’s just not feasible. There are many other outlets for your story, the types that would be PROUD to feature you and your accomplishments, not just add you to their pages of (mostly) BS and try to make a dollar off of your achievements while “hiding” your body under a shirt. Don’t let this bother you at all, real people know the struggle that is weight loss, these people behind the scenes of Shape are largely clueless, as are most other publications… You should be very proud of yourself and others can draw REAL inspiration from your story, again, well done!

    • Thank you, Derek. And you’re right, there are plenty of other places to share my story and that has been happening which is great to see.

      And I completely get that they are just looking to sell their publication. Sadly, that’s the world we live in.

  • Pati

    Stephanie is right, Shape is not what it used to be. Women’s magazines are not healthy, every one of them has the same thing each month 1) how to cook (non fitness magazines always feature dessert), 2) how to organize or decorate your home, 3) and how to perform in bed. Runner’s World is full of useful, accurate and motivating tips for people of any fitness level!

    Brooke, I hope you start your own site or magazine featuring people who have successfully lost weight and how their lives have changed. It would be nice to show before and afters of their true body along with other measurable things like: 1) blood pressure, 2) blood sugar and A1C, 3) artery tests, 4) arthritis symptoms, 5) flexibility (life is harder when you can’t touch your toes), 6) energy levels, 7) activities you now enjoy that you could not do before

    If people saw you at the pool in your bikini playing with your kids they would be inspired by you! Surely your fitness improvements are a badge of honor. I am a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator specializing in treatment and prevention of artery disease and diabetes. Would love to see success stories like yours published with the details that I mentioned so people could truly see the real benefits of weight loss and fitness. When you are healthy inside your beauty shines on the outside.

    • They’re a business and they’re going to do whatever they can to sell their magazine. Which is sad!

      Great Idea about the site/magazine featuring stories that show the Non-Scale Victories of weight loss. I’ll have to tuck that idea into my “someday” folder!

      “When you are healthy inside your beauty shines on the outside.” SO TRUE!!

  • Pete

    Good for you Brooke! I shared your story via Kai Hibbard. Far beyond your magnificent accomplishments with your personal health this is a truly heroic act. I hope it will be widely shared. It’s time more people stood up to take down the so-called “Diet” Industry.

  • Lesa

    I am so touched by this story and so happy to see you stand up to the broken “machine”. Love your body you are gorgeous 🙂

  • GirlsGoneSporty

    You’re a rock star, Brooke! Way to stand up for yourself and for all women out there who want their stories, their REAL stories to be shown and told.

  • Dejah

    Brooke, A year ago, I weighed almost 300 lbs. Since I started horseback riding and eating less, I have lost nearly 50 lbs. I find your true “after” picture to be positively INSPIRING. Just because you don’t fit SHAPE’s judgemental body bigotry doesn’t mean you don’t look good all over.

    No one but a fellow 300 lb woman would understand that as much as I hate being so fat, and I dislike how I look fat, I was also TERRIFIED that if I went through all the trouble, pain, and want of losing the 170 some lbs I really should lose, that I would STILL LOOK TERRIBLE, with empty fat and skin all over. I was so frozen with that fear, I did nothing for years. I couldn’t overcome it.

    But seeing you, which is so much more real a picture than what we see anywhere else, I see, WOW, YOU LOOK GREAT! You have a little paunchy tummy, and you’ll probably never have a six pack. But you also don’t need extensive surgery and won’t have horrible scarring from said surgery, like those crazy TV reality shows.

    And I could do this! If I could look like you after that 170lb loss, it WOULD be well worth it. Not just because of the change in my looks of course, all the other stuff… but I won’t have to worry about feeling ugly still or changing how my husband sees me. Does that make sense?

    Obviously, I don’t read SHAPE. I am not their target market. But if they really want to tell true stories of radical weight loss, they have to be prepared for what radical weight loss REALLY looks like pre-surgery. Otherwise it’s just window dressing.

    • You are the reason I did this! Congrats to you on your success thus far! You are worth the hard work it takes to be healthy!
      And I agree, they should have been more open with what radical weight loss looks like. Who knows, maybe they will reconsider they’re approach next time!

      • Dejah

        And I *never* say the word “inspiring,” but you really are. You took away my fear, Brooke. I am literally not afraid anymore.

  • Stacy L.

    Here’s the thing – it’s their magazine, and they’re allowed to ask what they want of the people who *volunteer* to be in their stories. If you don’t like what they’re asking or the terms of participation, DON’T PARTICIPATE. I gotta say, there seems to be more and more of what looks to me like ‘baiting’ of magazines like Shape and Self to make them look like “hating bullies”.

    For the record, I weigh 50 pounds less now than I did a few years ago. It might not be a 200-lb weight loss, but I’m proud of my weight loss and don’t give a shit what others think. I didn’t care when I was fat, either. It’s a very liberating feeling. And yes! I was fat! It isn’t a judgment, it’s a FACT.

    I’m being REAL and HONEST here. I can’t believe I’m the only woman in America who doesn’t buy into the whole “body shaming” culture. For all the talk of “confidence”…someone who was really confident about how she looked wouldn’t need to write a blog post to get – as of now, 83 people, to tell her how awesome she is. Or maybe I just live my life more quietly.

    • Jamie

      You may have been overweight but 50 pounds heavier does not make you FAT. It seems to me you are quite judgmental by assuming she writes a blog only to have others approve of her. She more than likely writes this blog to help others get to where she has been. You probably don’t buy into body shaming because you spend all day shaming others. Shame on you for being such a snob.

      • That is EXACTLY why I have my blog. I write it to help and inspire those who need it. I love putting myself out there to encourage others.

    • Stacy L., I agree with Jamie, first of all. Secondly, she DID opt out of participating in the magazine due to the policy. She, however, has the right to tell her story, even if the magazine isn’t carrying it. I am twelve pounds into eighty pound weight loss, and I find myself inspired by her forthright attitude.

      She isn’t necessarily telling the story to make herself feel better (even if you feel that way). In my opinion, she is telling the story to make ME and people like me feel better. Also, she succeeded.

      Do you write a blog? If not, OBVIOUSLY you live your life more quietly. That does not, however, give you the right to judge people who set out to INSPIRE others.

    • Laura Melville

      You are right Stacy – “If you don’t like what they’re asking or the terms of participation, DON’T PARTICIPATE” That is exactly what Brooke chose to do. All she did was write a blog explaining why. The Shape “terms” weren’t explained upfront; but I can guarantee you one thing – had the bikini photo showed her with a perfect figure, flat stomach, etc….they’d of printed it. All you have to do is look at their magazine and web page and you’ll see that!

    • You’re right, it is their magazine. And I wasn’t willing to conform with what they were asking.

      I didn’t write the post to get the support of “you look great” or “you’re awesome”. I already know that and don’t need the validation.

      I did it to make people think about how the media portrays the ideal body. To help inspire those who maybe don’t think they can look good in whatever they choose to wear.

      And if I lived a quiet life, I wouldn’t have a blog to encourage others on what can be a difficult journey.

    • Carmen Sandiego

      “If you don’t like what they’re asking or the terms of participation, Don’t Participate.”

      Uh, did you actually read this story? She chose not to participate after finding out their terms late in the game.

      We’re not telling her she’s awesome to flatter her ego, and I can’t speak for Brooke but I think she would agree. I was linked here from somewhere else and happened upon Brooke’s blog. I simply think she’s awesome because that’s my reaction.

  • someguestperson

    This is ridiculous, and I’m not going to walk on eggshells here. You need to be honest with yourself: your accomplishment is admirable, your body is not (at least, not admirable on its own admission, not inherently beautiful with no objections). If your body looked “freaking AMAZING in a bikini”, they would want to feature you without a shirt. You would see women aspiring to have a stomach like yours.

    Regardless of the problems that social standards put on women (which I am largely against), the message that you’re sending isn’t just wrong, it’s absurd. I understand the desire to send the message you’re sending, that people are beautiful no matter what, but that’s just not true. And before we get into all of that “inner beauty” crap, let’s be clear, your article is about your PHYSICAL attributes, so let’s address that.

    Beauty is an opinion, and it’s personal. What I find beautiful and what you find beautiful may not be the same thing, and that’s okay. Each individual person is allowed to find beauty in what they like. If YOU think your body looks “freaking AMAZING in a bikini”, good for you. That doesn’t mean everyone else will, nor does it mean they should, and that CERTAINLY doesn’t mean they’re wrong for not doing so. There is no intrinsic beauty you’ve acquired post-weightloss. It’s just not there, nor would it be there if you had a flat stomach with a toned six pack of abs. That isn’t inherently beautiful, just like the stomach you have isn’t inherently beautiful.

    I think the message you want to send, even though you don’t realize it, is that people whose bodies don’t look “normal” still have VALUE. Not that they’re beautiful, but that they’re valuable. Value is intrinsic. Beauty is not. The message that SHOULD be sent is that you don’t have to look a certain way to have value, and you shouldn’t base your VALUE on others’ opinion of your BEAUTY. Likewise, it’s wrong for others to give less value to you because of their opinion of your beauty. Those two concepts (value and beauty) are completely different, and should be treated as such. Wanting people to find your stomach beautiful “just because” is ridiculous. There is no valid reason for anyone to find your stomach beautiful, or to think it looks “freaking AMAZING in a bikini.” There’s not a single thing you can replace “just because” with in the previous sentence and have it make any shred of sense.

    So let’s get real: I don’t think your body is attractive. There is nothing about your stomach that entices me, or makes me want to say “I wish more girls looked like that.” It does not make me say “Damn, girl, you look good in that bikini.” I don’t think you do. I also don’t think that means you should put on a shirt, or that you are less important or less valuable simply because I am not attracted to your body. I am proud of you for your weight loss because of the better health you’ve acquired. I think that has value, and should be recognized as such. I don’t think it’s fair that Shape defines success stories as “attractive stories.” I also don’t think it’s appropriate for you to wear your stomach like some sort of badge of honor as a “screw you” to anyone who doesn’t fall in line with your agenda. All that’s going to do is draw a deeper line in the sand. Yes, there are people who will treat you as less valuable because of your stomach and no, that’s not okay. THAT is what needs to be addressed, not wether or not they think you’re beautiful. No one needs to think your physical body is beautiful. That’s just unnecessary.

    I hope that makes sense.

    • Beth Grant

      I think this comment was very well-written and I agree that is it not about looks, it’s about value, and teaching women and girls to value themselves no matter how they look. I am very happy for the author that she is healthier now and overcame her obstacles in having this type of weight loss. That is an amazing accomplishment. My concern with the blog post is that if the before/after pics of all participants require wearing a shirt, it is not fair to bash the magazine for their decision. If they were rejecting the author but showing other people in swim suits in the SAME FEATURE ARTICLE (but requested she wear a shirt), the bashing wouldn’t be bashing; it would be justified. But I didn’t understand that to be the facts.

  • JC

    I think you need a shirt girlfriend. I’m not a larger person, but I know my limits and I wouldn’t pose without a shirt for the simple fact that I (as most of the world’s population who are not working/paid models) look better with clothes on. No one has to tell me either way if I look good or bad naked. It’s just common sense.

    • You think I need a shirt, I do not. This is why I wear a bikini, because I do what I want to do.

      We’re all entitled to our opinions, great thing about being individuals.

  • Jamie

    I think your story is amazing. I can definitely see where you are coming from but I can see the other side too. Shape is kind of clueless when it comes to the truths about weight loss. Its more than about body image. Its about regaining health. There is more to life than having the perfect body although they think otherwise and its ignorant of them to lead people to believe that losing weight will solve “everything,” including our body appearance and body image troubles. People should talk about what is real when it comes to weight loss. I see others ask about it all the time. ” If I lose 100 pounds, will I have the appearance of extra or stretched skin.” The likely answer to this is yes. I have 130 pounds to lose and I already expect it but it should not deter you from your ultimate goal of getting healthy. Its what’s on the inside that counts.

    On the other hand, I’v always wanted to lose weight and have an article published about me in magazines. And I would wear a shirt. Why? Why not? You would still see my weight loss with clothes on. I don’t see why there is a need to buy a bikini just because one is at an ideal weight. I don’t care if I never wear a bikini and my weight has nothing to do with it. I want people to see how far I’ve come and how happy I am and look. You can wear clothes and still see your weight loss. I know you are trying to show a point that all women should be happy in their own skin but we can still be happy with clothes on too.

    • You’re right, Jamie. The weight loss is about the inner stuff as well, which some of the article was to focus on. Sadly, it wasn’t the full focus of the article. If I could do a story in a magazine about that, that would be great.

      For me weight loss started out because I wanted to look good, but it then because much more than that once I realized that I already did.

      I also agree that we can be happy with clothes on too and quite honestly I probably would have reconsidered sending a different photo if she would have stated the policy up front and didn’t word her request the way she did.

      Good luck to you on your journey! You’re worth it!

  • I agree and admire your outlook. No one wants to see the truth who live day to day working to make themselves a better person. You look beautiful and God bless

  • charlotte

    This is terrible. I won’t be buying another issue of Shape again.

  • Lori Krausen

    I completely agree with you wholeheartedly on your outlook in regards to this! People only want to see the “skinny” side of things. They wanted to show that you lost weight, make it look like it was easy and that anyone could do it, and be “perfect” in the end. I think you look AH-MAZING! I am on my own weight loss journey right now and admire you a great deal. Much love to another GGS sister!!

    • Thanks for the love, Lori! 🙂

      • Lori Krausen

        You are very welcome dear (and definitely didn’t need that negative comment that WAS below mine!)

  • Wow. This just goes to show how superficial the world is out there. I am glad you did what you did and I think if Shape gets enough complaints you will make the headlines of another huge media outlet!

    Good for you girl. I am so proud of how far you’ve come. You look amazing in that photo.

  • Allison Lee Ann Phillips-Page

    I have to say, I am in the process of losing weight. My weight yo-yos thanks to a medical condition and bad habits. At my heaviest, I weighed in at 350 lbs. I absolutely love your bikini photo. It is honest. I have read before and after articles where the women are completely covered from head to toe, and I have always wondered what they really looked liked- not to judge, but to really see the differences. I think many plus size women would prefer to see the honest photos like yours. You are very brave for posting this photo. Thank you.

    • People in your position are the reason I posted this. I to wondered and wish the truth would have been given. I didn’t know my body would look like this until I go here. I know that if I would have seen photos like mine I would have dealt with it a lot better when I realized that it could be this way.

  • Esther McNary

    Way to go! I am so over pretty much every magazine these days! Everyone looks ‘perfect’ but not real! I am proud of you for taking a stand!!!

  • Tracy

    I love how you responded to Shape, and how you handled your situation! I had gained considerable weight, and lost it. I have been sliced and scarred from two c-sections, three fistula surgeries, and a kidney transplant. I will never rock a “SHAPE” body. However, I ran my first half Marathon while going through dialysis, and my second half 4 months after my transplant . No matter what lumps and scars my body exhibits, it has succeeded in goals that I previously found impossible . You are an amazing role model, thank you for continuing to encourage and inspire others!

  • Alison McLennan

    Congratulations! I agree great response to Shape magazine. Reading your story is helping me come to terms with my body lumps, bumps and stretch marks from having kids. I’m usually so embarrassed but your story has helped! We definitely need more mags showing real women! So pleased to read your story!! Thank you for sharing!

  • tmfife .

    I appreciate your honest picture. Time and time again you see pictures of people with massive weight loss and recently post-baby pictures where they look “perfect” with tight skin and toned abs showing through (or it is at least hidden and photoshopped). After I lost 80 lbs as a teenager I still have a flap of belly skin I am self-conscious of and it made me wonder what was wrong with me? Why didn’t my body fix itself and “go back to normal” like those people. Reason tells me that I was not alone in that, but it would be nice to see realistic photos represent the truth more often.

  • therealjeaniebeanie

    Congratulations on your weight loss. I appreciate your principled stance, on the one hand, but frankly, you do not look amazing in a bikini. That’s perfectly ok. Neither do I, so I don’t wear one. I don’t hate my body, I just don’t expect everyone else to love it as I do. Looking good in a bikini is not the most important thing in the world. It’s also OK for a fitness magazine not to want to feature that photo. It certainly would be gutsy of them to show “warts and all” photos of bodies dealing with various issues, and I think your blog is the perfect place to do this, but, this is not what Shape’s audience is after, at least they don’t think it is.

    • I appreciate you opinion, which is exactly what it is, YOUR opinion. You may not think I look good in a bikini, but I don’t wear it for you. I wear it because it makes me feel good. Same reason I wear leggings as pants.

      • Carmen Sandiego

        Frak yes!

      • Guest

        she lost weight, she didn’t do anything that extraordinary. get a grip people. a heavier person without the skin would look much better in a bikini. the message I’m getting is still that “being thin is a license to wear anything.” why can someone not wear a two piece while overweight? to me this is more body hating that led to weight gain in the first place. I overcame an eating disorder and body hating. that doesn’t mean I am blind to what looks bad on me now. I buy the bigger size. I can’t pull off a crop top. accepting that and still loving how I look is healthier than living in a fantasy world where everything looks “freaking amazing ” on me. it doesn’t have to. not looking fab in a bikini means nothing. she chooses to see shape’s request as an attack on her worth. it’s not that deep, darling. it’s about not looking ridiculous. which you do. you are delusional. why is letting it all hang out a good thing? no one would judge you for dressing in a flattering way. because people don’t like seeing your stomach does not mean they think you should be ashamed of it. you shouldn’t it’s natural and a result of weight loss. that doesn’t mean it looks good. and being in a magazine in a Biko is not a civil “right” as you refer to it. and I find it hard to believe you were shocked by their response to your bikini photo. sounds like baiting for your outrage piece to me.

  • Mark McDaniel

    To hell with shape! You’re right to be proud! Thank you for sticking to your guns and not compromising. The world needs more “real” people and less plastic and photo shop. They can’t handle the truth! Just because you’re not a specific size or shape doesn’t mean you are broken.

  • Brianna

    Hi there! I just found your blog post via the blog post “popular posts” tab. This post is so powerful and inspiring. I wish that I could write you a powerful, awesome, supportive comment in return, but I don’t quite have your eloquence. Thank you so much for being a real, honest inspiration to us other real people. The media NEEDS to see more Success Stories like yourself – and to see the WHOLE story, not just the Cinderella fantasy version. Thank you again for being awesome. You just gained yourself a new reader. 🙂

  • Sarah

    First congratulations on your weight loss! I think it is an amazing accomplishment and no one can take that away from you! Shape should have included the picture to be honest. I really think it is important that women, and men, can actually see what it looks like when someone looses that much weight. You can’t just show ‘perfect’ bikini pictures. That’s just not the reality. And Shape should show exactly that. You are healthy and beautiful. I love your blog and your story really is inspiring. I am on my personal weight loss journey right now and reading your blog and seeing your pictures are giving me confidence that I can do it.
    Thank you!

  • Amber

    Brooke, YOU ARE INCREDIBLE. First off, your weight loss journey is amazing, kudos to you for doing it ALL ON YOUR OWN and the healthy way! Not only are you an inspiration to OTHER women, but you are brave. As a female, our stomachs tend to be our “shame spots” or places we forget to give self-love, and look at you glowing in a bikini, proudly showing off your figure you busted your butt for. How you handles the issue with shape with such tact, is impressive, I would not have been able to keep my cool like you did! Thank you for sharing this post, keep spreading your good vibes <3 xoxo

    • Thank you, Amber! It was hard to keep tact, but I knew it would be better in the long run to do so. 🙂

  • dontblamethekids

    Wow, way to take a stand! I have read Shape for years, and I am so disappointed by this. I think you are absolutely right. They have even shown the scars from cancer survivors, so why not this? You have nothing to be ashamed about!

  • Thank you, it feels good when you stand up for what you believe in!

  • Thank you, Pam! I much rather have this skin that the fat it was filled with! 🙂

  • Thank you! I much rather see a real body than an airbrushed one!

  • It actually says “rockstar” on my business cards. haha.

  • Thank you, Mona!!

  • You are right, I did ask for your opinion and I knew that there would be some who didn’t agree. And that is okay, because that’s the great thing about being individuals.

    You do you and I do me. For me, wearing a bikini makes me feel fabulous and if that offends others, that is their issue, not mine.

  • Thank you, Anne Marie for you kind words! I hope that your daughters always love themselves and embrace however they may be unique!

  • Thank you, Joanna! You saying that I’m a role model means a lot! 🙂 Good luck to you on your journey!

  • Thank you, Kerri! <3

  • Thank you, Steph!! Good luck to you on your journey! You’re worth it!

  • This is why blogs are amazing! I love connecting this way and you’re right, there needs to be more articles showing REAL weight loss!

  • Thanks for coming out of hiding to comment, Heather! 🙂 Their policy sounded like crap to me. And maybe it is there policy for Success Stories, but like I said, they need to have that policy throughout the website then.

  • Haha! I have a lot of non appropriate words as well! And thank you!

  • Yes, she was caught in the middle and she was great to deal with. She understood where I was coming from and I understood where she was coming from as well. And I do sleep great at night. 🙂

  • I wouldn’t say the were shallow, they were stating their opinion. And they’re correct about the sales, which is what the business is about. I just decided not to give into it.

    And you’re right, not all people are aesthetic, but the majority are. Oh well, at least I have this platform to share my story. 🙂

  • Thank you, Janine! If the media started spreading stories like this, the word would be a better place!

  • I’ve never been willing to sell my soul to the devil. No publicity would ever be worth that. 🙂

  • Thank you, Thor! You’re so right about them just wanting to sell the quick fixes because that’s what most of the world is looking for. Which is why the majority of people continue to be overweight, because there is no quick fix.

    And I like my reality a hell of a lot more than their fantasy! 🙂

  • <3 Thank you, J! You know me, never one to go with the crowd! 🙂

  • Thank you!

  • Thank you! I hope that the idea of a ‘perfect’ body someday changes. And it will once stories like mine get told.

  • Good for you! I don’t have children yet, but I know that the types of articles these magazine tend to share won’t be shared in our household.

    I much rather read a craft magazine. 😉

  • Thank you, Tracie! I did this to try and show what a real body can look like without airbrushing. Sadly, it didn’t go as planned. Lol. Thankfully I have this platform to do so!

  • Lynda@fitnessmomwinecountry

    Brook I have read this story twice now and will share it…I applaud your courage and wish I could be close to as brave as you. Taking a stand and being true to YOU is what we all achieve to do in life. We teach our children to be themselves and brave everyday so why not us? Bravo and inspiring 🙂

    • Thank you, Lynda for sharing my story. I feel good knowing that I stayed true to myself!

  • Great job standing up for what you want! It is true that the real body after weight loss is not the ones in the pictures where they probably had some work done. Being real is the catalyst that will set you apart and bring more readers to you than any high profile magazine will! People flock to true, honest people! Keep it up! Virtual Hugs!

  • I’m not so sure they’d want to work with me now. Lol.

  • The machine is broken and sadly some people just don’t get it yet.

  • I don’t think it is a load of crap. The reason I think I look amazing in a bikini is because I have the inner beauty to feel confident in one.

  • I appreciate your opinion, Erica. I’m okay with not reaching Shape readers because I didn’t feel like I was being able to share MY story, which is what I wanted to do.

    In the end, I won because I stood up for what I believed in. And my story is still inspiring others without needing to be put on Shape.

  • Thank you, Donna. And you are SO right about needing to be confident and loving your body AS IS.

    I’m all about having no regrets, life is entirely to short to have any!

  • Just because you don’t find it motivating or inspiring doesn’t mean others wouldn’t. And yes I did spend years abusing my body because I hated it. But now that I love it, is it wrong for me to feel confident in a bikini? I don’t think so. I don’t wear it to flaunt my body at anyone, I have a husband to flaunt it for. I wear it because I want to, just like any other clothing item I own.

    As for the side show comment, that was rude, try to be a bit more respectful.

  • Thank you so much, Lesa!

  • Thank you!! And thanks for starting the link up! 🙂

  • You got my point of my post, Jacy. Thank you! 🙂

  • Thank you, Esther! Magazines are all about the sales now.

  • Thank you, Allison. I hope that magazines will begin to realize we deserve the truth!

  • I’m glad that I have maybe helped you feel not so alone in this. Reason will tell us lots of things, but we don’t always want to listen.

    Kudos to you and you’re weight loss!

  • Though I disagree with it, I understand Shape’s decision. The average person is pretty shallow/superficial, and I imagine that their readership is on par with that or worse. I wish we lived in a world where a massive organization like Shape would stand up for and share your difficult achievement, but the above mentioned audience probably would find it “disgusting.” IMO, it would help people be more informed about all the possible outcomes. Not every weight loss journey/transformation ends the same.

    Two congrats and one question — first, congrats on the tremendous health gain / weight loss! Second, congrats on maintaining your integrity, and sharing it with us. For my question — does the excess skin not go away for some? Or does it just take longer? I’ve seen a lot of “transformation” pictures (some as much as 400 pounds shed) and there didn’t appear to be any leftover skin. There are probably some ways, aggressive and holistic, to shed the extra skin. Which, to me, seems worthwhile for health, personal hygiene, and aesthetics (though that last one is very subjective).

    • Libby Woodward

      I know weight loss shows, in particular, typically provide excess skin removal surgery because after a massive loss the skin does not, generally,
      shrink back.

    • You are right Ideen about the average person being superficial, which is the group that Shape is probably trying to reach. Someday I hope it becomes different and it will if we keep trying to change it.

      My excess skin will eventually need to be surgically removed. Skin does spring back some, but not to it’s original shape. My skin actually can be painful due to flapping around and I tend to get a rash around my belly button from it. I don’t plan on the surgery for a few years though due to the fact I do want to have children.

      • Hmmm, I had no idea. All the transformation photos I’ve seen (and I feel like I’ve seen a bunch, especially from bodybuilding.com) never revealed this aspect of serious weight loss. Thanks for sharing, and congrats again. I’m sure it was a tough, but rewarding process.

        • Leslie Funk

          Hi Ideen, I have worked with thousands of people to lose weight (as a Nutritionist/Exercise Physiologist) and can confirm that very few people that lose over 50 lbs can expect their skin to return to match their new weight. Skin is stretchy, however the damage is done on the inside of the skin layer, which leads to not just loose skin, yet also to the stretch marks and bumpy/rippled appearance. How well your skin rebounds depends on genetics primarily.

      • That’s the part that upsets me the most–what you are experiencing is exactly what happens to people who lose a ton of weight–it does need to be surgically removed. This is a real side effect of significant weight loss and they missed the opportunity to showcase it. They could have put a note saying what you just said here — about how it can be painful, how you want to wait til after you have kids to have it removed). You are amazing, Brooke. And you’re reaching so many — love it!

  • Amanda

    I respect you so much for standing strong in what you believe in. Shape was wrong in asking you to send a pic covered up and they lost out on featuring an incredibly inspiring person. I’ve pinned and tweeted this! You are an awesome role model for women everywhere! Keep doing you!

  • Guest

    I lost 70 pounds over 6 years ago through healthy lifestyle changes and kept it off. I also have excess skin all over. I canceled all fitness magazine subscriptions months ago because I would get down on my self and wonder what I am doing wrong when I would see the before and after pictures of extreme weight loss, and the after pictures showed no extra skin or stretch marks.

  • Kelly Coffey

    BROOKE. BRAVA! F- those double-standard-pushing, bullshit body-image-pedaling, filthy girl-hating lie mongers. You’re beautiful, you’re ballsy and you’ve got too much self-respect to be lumped into a herd for some cheeky, it’s-all-coming-up-roses before and after spread. If you were in Western Mass, I’d buy you coffee and cover you in compliments and high-fives.
    Thanks for doing what you did, and thanks extra-special-a-lot for posting about it. I’m following.

    • Janis Mara

      I like your style, Kelly!

  • natalie broussard

    Thanks Brooke for sharing!! After an almost 100lb loss myself and in a size 6 now, I thank you for being brave. I just started hitting the gym hard in an attempt to avoid the 40k+ in body lifts that I will need to wear a bikini( and that’s with all of the ugly scars.) while I understand that society may prefer a bikini clad transformation, realistically, it may never happen. It IS up to the MEDIA industry to show realistic views of success stories. My heart sinks every time I hear one of my fitness instructors shout out, “Do it for the bikini!,” because I know that even if I come to 7 classes a week, eat clean, and switch it up, she will NEVER truly be talking to me. I believe that we have the power to change out bodies and our lives, but it gets exhausting trying to help people to understand that my SIZE 6 is really a size 2 with non-returnable baggage. How about Shape lead the way , with the mantra of , “Be the Best You, YOU can be.” instead of reminding those of us who have followed their workout plans, and eating plans that we will still never be good enough. Shape has lost a customer.

    • woodka

      I dropped out of Bar Method because of this. I loved getting stronger, hated being told it was so I could look good in a bikini or had to participate in contests for who could do the most classes a week or be a “Bar Star”. I just want to be fit and healthy for me.

  • Thank you so much for writing this. I find your picture very inspirational and your interaction with Shape to be indicative of our larger cultural narrative that equates “fitness” more with a particular standard of beauty than with work and health. Good for you for standing up in the face of a hypocrisy that constantly insists people lose weight but then doesn’t want to show the impact on a person’s body when they achieve those goals.

  • Liz

    I think this post has decided that I’m happy being fat… and I’d rather love myself, and stay fat.

  • TrishDaDish85

    You are BEYOND inspiring! Please don’t EVER change, you’re incredible. I, too, have *unlike* SHAPE magazine on FB and have cancelled my subscription. We need more REAL role models like you! I’m saving this blog for my daughters, I want them to read this when they’re a bit older, so they learn that not even a “popular” magazine can bully someone into submission or shame. You rock, thank you for being you!

  • Thank you, Mark! Everyone is beautiful, no matter what.

  • Thank you, Melissa! I am glad that I have the platform I do to share my story and have so many people who are supportive.

  • Thank you for sharing my story, Amanda! And thank you for your kind words.

  • Eliot Hochberg

    I think Shape should have shown your photos for two reasons: 1) because they are the truth, and people who follow their advice should get a complete, realistic picture of how things will change for them; aesthetics aren’t the only reason (or even the main reason) for weight loss, and I can imagine how disheartening it could be to think things will go one way and find out they went a different way; and 2) young people especially need to understand that gaining a lot of weight and losing it, even after dieting and exercise, doesn’t mean you just go back to how you were before gaining weight.

    All of our actions, and those things beyond our control, have consequences, and having bad or misleading information only leads to incorrect assumptions and potential pain and suffering.

    Congratulations on your accomplishments to improve your health, and good for you that you didn’t let them misrepresent you and that you understand yourself enough to know what is most important.

  • Kelsi

    After having 3 children and an epic battle with gravity that has lasted decades, I listen to my mom talk herself down from getting a bikini that looks stunning because she has excess skin on her stomach. It is heartbreaking. So, thank you. Thank you for standing up for not only yourself, but for
    pretty much everyone who has fallen victim to the media’s definition of
    beautiful (when the focus should solely be on healthy).

  • Jane

    You are a legend Brooke! You look nothing but happy, fit and healthy! I want to give you a huge high five, for standing up for yourself and what you believe in. For being honest. For thinking how it would affect other women. For wanting it to be YOUR story, not Shape’s! For so very many things. You are my new hero Brooke – GOOD ON YOU!!!!

  • Imgoingtobeok

    I think I needed to see you more than I ever realised. The one thing that I think has constantly held me back is that I know I’ll never have a ‘normal’ body by society’s standards. I’m getting to a place where I am starting to accept my body and even like it – but it’s always felt a bit odd; like everyone else goes off and gets a tummy tuck or has their bodies hidden away ‘after’ so it seemed odd to maybe just be ok to be me….now there’s you. You’re proud of you too.
    Thank you.
    I think you just helped change my world.

  • Robz

    Good on you for sticking to your guns. Clearly they don’t understand that their request for a more aesthetically pleasing photo completely undermines the entire premise of the story.

    As a young woman doing battle with a lifetime of being over weight – 105 kgs (231 lbs) two months ago, currently 95 kgs (209 lbs) and aiming for 85kgs (187 lbs) – I applaud you. Yours is truly a story that should be celebrated, so that others might follow in your footsteps and we can all be truly proud of our achievements.

  • You GO gir! Just wrote a post about this — so proud of you for sticking to your guns. You look amazing. Screw Shape!

  • Angie

    Hopefully Shape will rethink this and ask you to reconsider working with them and SHOW THE TRUTH. Real life weight loss should be featured and if people can’t handle that, they can flip the page.

    • Zane264705

      I think they should get real and do a ‘true faces of healthy weight loss’ feature. I actually have no doubt that they will want to do that. It is obviously time.

  • Loose skin doesn’t follow any “rules.” Factors like age, how much weight lost, how long the skin was stretched out, how fast weight is lost, and genetics all play a part. But being old means you’re going to have a lot of loose skin. Just look at Betty Lou Sweeney (Google her) she lost over 100 pounds. At 70 she set the Guiness World record for planking. And being young doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to snap back. Brooke, you’re so young!

    If you have a lot to lose, don’t let the fear of loose skin stop you. You really won’t know until you get there. We’re not all meant to be the same size, just like we’re not meant to be the same height or color.

  • EmmaK

    Wow! I guess Shape didn’t want your real story after all! Brooke I really admire that you stuck to your guns and didn’t bow to the pressure to appear in a shirt. You look fabulous and Shape should have showed the real you. You are an inspiration to others trying to lose weight.

  • Claudine Gandolfi

    Good for you! As a fellow woman who lost 172 lbs (on WW) people would always ask me if I was going to have skin reductions. NO. That’s dangerous as any surgery is. You can’t deal with a little jiggle? Body shaming for any size, shape, or interim stage is horribly psyche damaging. It made me feel like my 2 yr struggle to get healthy meant nothing because I had loose skin on my belly and arms. Losing weight doesn’t make everything beautiful. You are beautiful within no matter what your size/shape. Strength of character, determination and emotional well being is far more important. You are an inspiration – remember that.

  • organic_mama

    Good for you, Brooke. Bravo for taking a stand and sharing the real truth about what happens when you lose a lot of weight.

  • Jama Munson

    You’ve done amazing work, and I feel like Shape magazine has lost out on more than just subscriptions. They have lost integrity, as well. You deserve the spotlight for the obstacles you’ve overcome. I’m glad that I have seen your blog because you are a great inspiration for me. Society doesn’t allow us to like our bodies as they are. They strive too far for their idea of perfection and we are perfect just the way we are!!!! Go Brooke!!!

  • GOOD FOR YOU!!! You look fantastic and I absolutely LOVE the title of your blog “Brooke NOT on a diet”. You’re amazing, mad props for stcking to your guns!

  • Lisa Shreve Brown

    Shame on them and CONGRATULATIONS!!!! You are my new inspiration! I have lost about 47 lbs and want to lose another 60…..I am going to bookmark your story and look at it anytime I am feeling frustrated! Thank you for sharing!!

  • Martha Glantz

    Good for you and big congratulations on your success. One thing to be thankful for is that Shape didn’t take the photo you sent and then photoshop it!

  • Heather

    Wow. I have been a fan of Shape for more than 20 years – I actually interviewed one of their old editors in chief for a college project in the ’90s. This is truly disappointing and sickening that they not only asked you to put on a shirt, but then told lie after lie after lie to cover up their goof. That is SO NOT their editorial policy and anyone who has ever picked up that magazine knows that for a fact.

    Shape lost a reader in me for good. I won’t be supporting magazines that exist to make real women feel badly about themselves. But I am definitely bookmarking your blog! You are awesome!

  • Mel Jolly

    Also telling them where they can shove my subscription to SHAPE.

  • Bonnie McDowell

    I saw this link on facebook because a friend of mine liked it. After reading the story and seeing your before and after picture I am so happy for you for success you have made!!! You are AMAXZING and you look beautiful. I wish you all the best in the future. Stay strong, keep empowering! 🙂

  • theotherkindofmeat

    Thank God this is getting out in the open. I lost a lot of weight and have loose belly skin too. I’ve spent 9 years in shame and hiding, comparing every magazine image and before and after photo to my own body, scanning women in public to see if someone somewhere might also have this flabby belly, and, well it seems that no one did. Upon first time sex with a new boyfriend I had to explain my belly and hid it as much as I could (usually they stared at first sight of it). I have lived in a prison with this and the babies and weight loss at times has
    seemed hardly worth the feeling of self hatred. I even spiraled into an eating disorder with the notion that if I became anorexic skinny that eventually the skin would retract (I was desperate). We need this, we need to talk about the realities of weight loss and childbearing. We need to expose the nuances of the human form and most of all we need to love and accept our own bodies, because to the degree that we can accept our bodies, it is to that degree that we can accept the bodies of others.

    • have2comment

      I just saw the Yahoo blurb and had to find this blog. Thought I would look at comments and the very first comment I read could have been written by me! Thank you theotherkindofmeat and Brooke Birmingham! I too have lost a substantial amount of weight (150 lbs), have had children (2) and have saggy, flabby skin – everywhere. I really didn’t expect it to be this bad. In clothes I look great but I unfortunately would never have the courage to wear a bathing suit – let alone 2 piece suit – in public. So courageous women – Thank you! Let us all unite and learn to love ourselves and then teach our daughters to love and accept their bodies at every stage of life.We only get this to live our life once and we deserve to do it appreciating ourselves for the intelligent, compassionate and strong women that we are.

    • Zane264705

      You’re so right. This incident might allow more people who have successfully lost weight to share their stories and true results.

  • Lyn Williams

    I just want to say “You go girl!”

  • Helene Schmerin

    You are an amazing woman and a great inspiration. It’s nice to see the true self of someone after all her hard work. I find this magazine trying to cover up her true beauty a shame. Keep sticking to what you believe in. You are beautiful inside and out.

  • Yvonne

    I think it is amazing what you have done and as someone that has had a problem with their body since the age of 11, I find it awesome that you have that confidence I have never had. I’ve never really been a really big person but I have always had the insecurities and pregnancy brought along more. So screw Shape magazine. You look great and they don’t deserve to use your story in their magazine. I personally have no use of their articles with celebrities with perfect bodies who are able to “buy” their body. You are most definitely an inspiration to women everywhere…for the hard work you have done and for showing women that it is ok to love your body with all of its imperfections. Thank you!

  • Rebecca

    Brook, thank you! After losing 90 pounds, I have skin laxity on my thighs and arms, but I’m gorgeous. Thanks for being an example of a healthy, beautiful woman and showing your own skin laxity. You made me feel normal and in great company. I needed to see someone who looks like me. I can’t tell you how truly healing and helpful this has benn for me.

  • Barbara

    If your loose skin turns away someone from working to lose weight…well then, they are just not yet ready to start.
    I give you a lot of credit for wanting a truthful photo of yourself; too many people would go the other way & insist on airbrushing! Life is too short to waste on such nonsense, and if your experience can motivate someone else, good for you!

  • Cat

    You are an inspiration!!! I wish I had the courage you do!!! Don’t ever let the jerks of today’s society bring you down!!! You are gorgeous!! 🙂

  • BrandiMarie88

    Cannot tell you how proud this article made me. I don’t know who you are, just discovered your blog because of this, but so admirable to stand up for yourself, your body and your beliefs. This is definitely a “win at life” moment!

  • stacie olsen

    Good Job! I’m glad you stood up for your principles and I’m going to give ‘In Shape’ a big thumbs down. They missed an opportunity here, wouldn’t want to offend all those 110 pound beauties that regularly purchase their magazine!

  • Anne Connors

    What an inspiration you are! I am in the fitness industry (20 years now) and am saddened by the many women who feel they need to look “perfect” by our societies standards. Seeking health and strength has always been my motivation- and the motivation that lasts. Way to go- you look AMAZING and REAL. I applaud your honesty and courage.

  • Guest

    Congratulations on your weight loss Brooke! I really admire your gall: both in rejecting SHAPE and in posting a bikini picture that our superficial society considers to be not ideal to what a woman in a bikini should look like. I wish I had your bravery. I used to be underweight for my height (size 0, which is now marketed as a size 00 as stores shrink their clothing sizes to make women feel obese – another thing that annoys me), and was bashed as much and as often as overweight people for being too skinny, lacking curves, lacking a full chest. I am now at my ideal weight, a size 4. I now look great in the RIGHT clothes. However, if I wear something form fitting, my belly protrudes out, as most of my weight gain went to my waist, and the rest to my butt! Total strangers have asked if I’m pregnant. My (size 16) sister and husband harangue me when I wear form fitting clothes. My husband tries to put me on a diet anytime he knows we’ll be going somewhere where I’ll be wearing a bikini. He seriously does things like hiding the cookies and the ice cream. Putting my arm around my waist to hide my belly has become a norm for me. I wish I had your courage, to just put myself out there as I am. You are a true inspiration. Please never become a conformist. I’d like to see REAL women in magazines – not the ones who can afford hundreds of thousands of dollars on personal trainers, personal chefs, and plastic surgery. I hate when I buy a new outfit and have to throw it out with the tags still on because it looks NOTHING like it did on the model displaying the item. It’s time to bring real women back onto our magazines, catalogs, runways, etcetera. It’d be an honor to have someone with your bravery and spirit leading this crusade!

  • Zane264705

    I guess the bad incident had some good results: You have great exposure to share this honest process and your story with others in need. The loose skin is beautiful, and it is evidence of what you accomplished. You look as healthy as can be. May you live a long happy life!

  • Heather

    Hi Brooke! I came across your story on Yahoo Shine today, and just wanted to stop by and tell you you’re amazing! Society needs to change the way it treats women’s bodies, and I admire your standing up for yourself and your beliefs.

  • Carmen Briggs

    You are most definitely an Inspiration not only to me but, to so many others as well. And it is very true that society has this ideal beauty thing. The fact of the matter is that many magazines such as Shape magazine give false impressions to it’s readers in regards to what loosing a lot of weight really looks like. The same goes for commercials on weight loss that depict a woman who lost 100+ pounds and have a perfect body which I know is false. I do not know you but, I am proud of you for standing up for what you believe in. Cudos to you!!! You look Great!! I have always hidden my body ever since I gained weight after having a hysterectomy because I felt uncomfortable about it. I am currently trying to lose weight and you have inspired me in a way no one has ever had and I thank you for that. God Bless.
    Sincerely, Carmen Briggs ♡

  • Wow! I am so proud of you! I have the same body as yours! Wrinkly and flabby – I got it from pregnancy, and it’s been 3 years now and it’s not getting any prettier. As I was reading your post, I needed a Kleenex, it made me shed a tear. 3 years of hiding my true form and I have been really shy about my body. I learned that every women should not be afraid to flaunt and should be proud of their body in all shapes and forms! You’re an inspiration! You made me regain my confidence and self-esteem!

  • Jennifer Long

    You are nothing short of AMAZING!! The world needs more people like you to inspire and be a TRUE example to others just as you have stated. If we had more people like you, sharing honest & empowering stories, I’m sure it would have a positive impact on the world. Todays so-called “ideal” body is unrealistic for most. Barbie & Hollywood portray an image which causes people to idolize the wrong image. Maybe we would have less depression, bullying & suicide if truths such as your story were more common. Thank you for being a true example role model for many. You are a very honorable person. SHAME on SHAPE magazine. Lots of Love to you!!

  • sheeney7

    This is coming is coming from someone who has personally lost 115 pounds-so I do understand your journey and thought process here-but I do believe you are being a bit too harsh on Shape. They are a magazine who features amazing bodies on their covers. That’s their thing. Like it or not….they want to inspire with the best of the best bodies. Now that said, your story IS amazing and very inspiring-and it does say something that they wanted to feature your story. But you can’t really fault them for not wanting to feature every part of your body…because truth be told all the loose skin is not desirable by anyone (am I right?). That’s the harsh truth. And again-this comes from someone who had and still has a TON of lose skin after loosing over 100 pounds. I get it. But it’s not pretty. It’s not ideal. It’s not something people want to aspire to have…so I understand why they would want that covered up. I don’t think they were malicious about it all…or even deceitful. I’m sure they could have included in the article itself a section on how massive weight loss takes a toll on your body and its skin. But don’t be mad at them because they didn’t want it shown. It’s their magazine. I think for the most part, plenty of people realize that when you lose a lot of weight, you are left with lots of lose skin. I don’t believe they were trying to paint some unrealistic result of you…they just didn’t want your stomach shown…plain and simple. I also found their responses very gracious-even apologizing for offending you. Most magazines wouldn’t do that you’ve gotta understand. I think they treated you very respectfully. But they’re still a magazine! Also, who’s to say you know what their policies are or were. We don’t know the ins and outs of the company so it’s a complete assumption on your part that they suddenly changed their policy for you-or you’re really implying that they lied. You don’t know. That’s just a guess. Maybe right, maybe wrong. But you’re not on their staff-and so you can’t say for certain. After I lost all my weight, I opted to have a surgeon remove my excess skin from my stomach and I am so glad I did. If it’s something you’re ever interested in…feel free to read my journey about it. I documented my whole surgical journey on the online cosmetic surgery forum realself.com. Just go to the homepage and I am on the cover and you should be able to read through the process I went through. Let me know if you have any questions. No shame in considering something like that. And hey if YOU like your stomach like that…than by all means….love it, embrace it, walk around in a bikini all summer. Go for it! But that’s you. For me, even though I was so proud of what I had accomplished-I didn’t care for how my stomach ended up looking afterward and all that loose skin, so I had it fixed…and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that either 🙂 I agree with them-that you should have reconsidered…because you still lost out on an incredible opportunity to share your story (tummy shown or no tummy shown).

  • Kim

    Amazing story. It is indeed too sad for words that there are so many bikini/bra/whatever/pics on the website and they don’t want to post yours… you look amazing and please never let anyone tell you you don’t! I have deep respect for you!

  • Marie Sousa

    Holy Shit bricks! You’re my new favorite person. (Please excuse my profanity) I hope you get 100 times the amount of publicity by being true to who you are and what you believe. Its crazy, I’m a fairly small person if you saw me in jeans but I have so much extra skin/stretch marks around my belly I never ever ever take my shirt off…I don’t have the balls to even wear a bikini…by the pool…with just my friends…or even my husband…(and I know how sad that sounds, but its true) so for you to take it off for all of cyberspace (please excuse me while I shit another brick) and shape magazine….I bow my head to you. Youre amazing. I’ll be coming back to read all about you and your journey in hopes that some of your gorgeous confidence will find its way into my life. I know this is a long comment already, but I for one, wouldn’t have “shared” a post from shape magazine on success stories, but I’ll be sharing this!!! Keep changing the world with your amazingness!!!

  • Marie

    THANK YOU! I am so appreciative that you stood up for your body and shared your story. I have been feeling very self conscious about my body and skin lately, which is sagging and covered in stretch marks after my own weight loss. Reading your story reminds me to take pride in being healthy and that we are gorgeous!! You are beautiful and an inspiration!

  • fish

    You look great and thank you for standing up for yourself, and in turn for all of us, all of us who don’t have a great plastic surgeon on speed dial to get rid of every roll and pucker, who don’t have a trainer in our closet, who cannot sit home and do 600 crunches and 500 pushups because we have real lives to live and are not supported in such a fashion that we can stay home with our trainers all day…in other words, thank you for sticking up for all of us real women who have real lives and not fairy tales. Shape magazine and all other fitness magazines do indeed portray unrealistic expectations. For the few who get the results, by any means necessary, that they portray, there are a million more who are doing it the right way and having to feel bad about it because they “don’t look like the picture,” and therefore become depressed and are more likely to give up. Those magazines hurt more than help. Thank you for being real, for trying to show women that this is the more realistic version of what you will see when you hit your target, and that its okay, it can be dealt with as well. Your before and after are incredible, bikini and all, and truly inspiring. Thank you.

  • lisa

    i appreciate the fact that you are proud of your weight loss journey. i AM completely impressed! we all wish our stories were so successful!
    i work at a hospital and was told about a “skin bank” by a lady with a similar story to yours. they paid for her trip and 3 days in the hospital and their payment? the extra skin she was happy to get rid of to boost her self confidence!

  • jk

    Wow, inspiring principles, mindful intelligence, plus the stunning girl-next-door good looks, and the whole genuinely touching lives across the nation… your hubbie kinda lucked out with the being he found to call his partner in life, didn’t he? Rock on, Brooke, you’re on fire and you’re awesomely killin’ it! 😀

  • Carmen Sandiego

    I honestly and sincerely think she looks great physically, not that it matters. I think she’s gorgeous and I know legions of men and women who would genuinely agree.

    Beauty is a relative thing, sure, hence your differing opinion; but don’t try to speak for all of us.

    It’s not a load of crap. And you are trying to impose your personal tastes on the entire population, which is pretty clueless.

  • Lucie

    Thank you, Brooke! It so saddens me that so many of us feel ashamed of our bodies, hide them and limit our life and happiness just because we don’t live up to standards set by someone else. This is exactly what we need to see – real pictures of real women who are proud of themselves and the way they look. What you did was important and truly inspiring, Brooke. Thanks again!

  • You do look amazing and I want to say congratulations on your weight loss, weight maintenance, and being altogether an inspiration! I also lost over 60 pounds with weight watchers over a year ago and can relate immensely to your story! Sending much love your way and not going to pick up a “SHAPE” magazine after hearing about how their apparent body shaming policies! You go girl!!!

  • KC Napowocki

    First and foremost, can I just say, from the bottom of my heart, just how beautiful and touching your story is??? You not only have inspired “us” who feel that “nothing will ever be good enough” as far as looking and feeling beautiful (outwardly), especially when it has to do with losing weight as well as eating healthy, exercising, etc… but… you have ALSO (personally) motivated and awakened the beauty within me, that I KNOW is in there somewhere underneath all the pain and suffering….

    A few days ago, I went to go see my doctor for a check-up (I haven’t seen him in at least 4 or 5 months) and, . . . whatdya know?!? I am the heaviest I have EVER been in my ENTIRE life! This time last year, I was at LEAST 20 pounds lighter. . . 🙁 …. . .anyways, since that day, I have been obsessed with losing weight, on top of negatively talking down to myself, because of how ashamed and embarrassed I feel. .. . . and, to make that even worse, I feel as though it will/would only be that much more difficult NOW to lose weight than it has ever been for me in the past… I have NEVER weighed this much! I STILL cannot get over that fact… :-/ …howeverrr, I am truly starting to view things differently now, after reading this article! 🙂

    Annnywayssss….. 🙂 … Sorry about that! I really just wanted to tell you though, just how MUCH it truly means to be able to read your story though — the REAL story!!! 🙂 I cannot commend you enough for being so selfless and empathetic to what millions of other people, including myself, are going through, every single day, by standing up for what you believe in!! Which, by the way, I think you look AMAZING in your bikini and I hope you post MORE!!! 😀

    One last thing — as I was typing this message to you, I happened to read the response (below me) from the user ‘sheeney7’ and I just have to comment on one thing here….

    1) “…because truth be told all the loose skin is not desirable by anyone (am I right?).”

    —I LOVE what the user ‘fish’ said in regards to that statement (in my opinion, of course.)… “…all of us who don’t have a great plastic surgeon on speed dial to get rid of every roll and pucker, who don’t have a trainer in our closet, who cannot sit home and do 600 crunches and 500 pushups because we have real lives to live and are not supported in such a fashion that we can stay home with our trainers all day…” When I think of this part of Brooke’s story, I can’t help but to think of my fiance who is 5 years clean from self-harming herself… In other words, it’d be like me saying “honey, I love you more than ANYTHING, and I am SO PROUD of you for all the HARD WORK you have been through to be where you are today…. BUT…. when we go out in public, you have to PROMISE me that you’ll wear long sleeves, even if it’s 100 degrees outside, ok??? It’s nothing personal…. I just don’t want people to STARE and JUDGE me because we’re together…. But I STILL LOVE YOU!”…………It doesn’t work that way. I fell in love with my fiance even BEFORE I knew anything about her past.. So.. the same goes for anyone out there who has lost a significant amount of weight (i.e. BROOKE!). Just like my fiance should never feel ashamed of the scars on her arms, Brooke should never feel embarrassed of the
    loose skin. In my eyes, I don’t see “loose skin” or “scars”… I see a person who has been to hell and back, maybe even more than a few times, and is STILL STANDING STRONG! A fighter. A survivor. A TRUE warrior. A hero, to say the least!!!!

    With that being said, THANK YOU BROOKE!!!!!!!!!! Don’t forget to post more bikini pics!!!! 😉

    Much Love from MI!

  • Achelois

    That is it in a nutshell. She looks great, but that’s not really what I got from this story. Lots of people look great and die young due to unhealthy habits. What I took from this is that this is a woman who has had the guts to make positive changes in her life and she’ll live longer and happier because of it. Not only that, but she’s refused to succumb to the body-shaming that women are frequently subjected to. That is, or should be, inspirational to everyone.

  • MommaAdams

    Youre amazing. Not to mention absolutely gorgeous, inside and out.

    Ive lost 182lbs (and counting!) and you are so inspirational, really really. Ive had so many issues with all of my loose skin, all the while trying to hide my negativity about it from my young girls (2 and 4 yrs old) because I dont want them to have any of the body issues that Ive always had. And after reading this, it dawned on me. I do that for them….I dont want that for them…but why should *I* be ashamed and displeased by my body?! Its MY body. Ive lost so much weight and Ive carried 2 kids. I should be nothing but proud. 🙂

    So really…I just had to say Thank You for opening my eyes.

  • Michele

    I wonder, if Shape would be willing to include the photo that you sent them in your initial email to them, would you still be willing to be part of their story?

  • oldosguy

    Great story but it would have been even better with the “before” photo. You say you want to portray an accurate picture of weight loss… There’s surely a shirtless before photo here somewhere, but looking for it with this mobile browser is tough.

  • Derrick George

    I don’t usually post comments on things like this, but I had to say something! I’d like to say thank you for helping me realize I’m not the only one who is dealing with the after-effects of weight loss. Over the last year and a half I’ve lost 200 pounds, and while I feel amazing, when I look at myself in the mirror I still saw the fat guy looking back at me. Until I read this story!

    Thank you so much for sticking to your guns, and being proud of what you accomplished! You go girl!!!

    • Kelli

      That is amazing Derrick! Congrats!

  • Marie Jirousek

    First of all, congrats on losing so much weight, it’s a great achievement and you SHOULD be proud of yourself. However, a little self-criticism wouldn’t go amiss…honestly, even if there probably is a huge difference between you “before” and “after”, it still doesn’t mean that you look “amazing” in a bikini. In your case it might be because of the flap of skin hanging around you middle..but lots of women (myself included) just don’t look good in a bikini and should have the common sense to dress accordingly to their figure. It’s just a question of good taste, is all. Noone wants to look at a disgraceful body put on display ON PURPOSE!!!

    • KA

      Whoa whoa whoa lady. It’s her body, it is what the story is about, and it looks fucking fabulous in a bikini. Don’t you think that the less we focus on the ‘ideal shape’ fabricated by advertising and marketing industries there will be no need for ‘self-criticism’? You, my dear are perpetuating the problem.

      • Marie Jirousek

        I’m not agreeing with the “ideal body” image that the magazines are trying to imprint on all women, however let’s be realistic. Nobody in their right mind can call this lady’s body “amazing” or “attractive”. I think people let their admiration for what she has accomplished blind them to the fact that she definitely does NOT look fabulous in a bikini and shouldn’t wear one unless her whole point is provocation.

        • Karen Diane Avella

          You ma’am are a disgusting human being and people like you are the reason that teenage girls puke after eating, starve themselves, and have terrible self esteem.
          Want a bikini body? PUT YOUR BODY IN A BIKINI!
          She does look amazing! She worked her ass off (literally? haha) to lose that weight. So unless if you are going to pay for the surgery to tighten her skin, GO AWAY.
          My mother always told me its easier to hate someone than admit jealousy, and I believe you fall into that category. Its easier for you to shit talk her and her acheivement because you cannot do what she did.

          • SloRunner26

            Here here Karen! Couldn’t have said it better myself. 🙂 I hate that women have to be held to such a high standard of beauty, but men can let their hairy beer guts hang out at the beach and the pool.

          • sinistersai4d

            You speak about hairy beer guts as if they’re not desirable or beautiful. Are you implying not everyone is beautiful? Would you like if someone referred to this woman as having a saggy beer gut? Hypocrite.

          • Marie Jirousek

            I don’t need to do what she did because I never abused my body the way she did and weigh over 150kg! So I don’t really see what I have to be jealous of… And I said earlier, even though I don’t look like her, I would not wear a bikini simply because I don’t think I have the right body for it, so read before you comment and before you insult people.

          • Jessica Fox

            I can’t believe how hopelessly you’ve missed the point. The idea is that media outlets (including
            Shape) need to show more diversity in the bodies they display. By choosing only to show bodies that you deem not
            a “disgraceful
            body” due to a “flap of skin hanging around you middle” they are making
            it so women like you who “never abused my body the way she did” still feel like they “(myself included)
            just don’t look good in a bikini and should have the common sense to dress
            accordingly to their figure.”

            These statements are perpetuation the idea that only a narrow range
            of bodies (out of the whole range on the planet) are “amazing” or

            You said: “let’s be realistic. Nobody in their right mind can
            call this lady’s body “amazing” or “attractive” Yet
            people are, because we see beauty where you can not. Our perceptions of these words are not narrowed
            down to a few ideal definitions, we’ve had to fight against the constant barrage
            of images of beauty and decide for ourselves what these words mean to us.

            Your statement of “I would not wear a
            bikini simply because I don’t think I have the right body for it” is exactly
            the sort of mind set that this displaying of only a ideal bodies in media creates.
            You are a victim of it and Brooke’s
            story and brave actions are trying to free you from it.

            Instead of celebrating with her and standing up with her (and
            for yourself) you felt the need to tear her down. What does that say about you?

            You could chose to wear a bikini and not be ashamed but you said
            in two separate posts that you will not. And that is fine, that is your choice. But it is Brooke’s choice to and your hateful
            and misguided words can not take that choice away from her. Not you, not Shape magazine.

          • Cassie

            “I don’t need to do what she did because I never abused my body the way she did and weigh over 150kg!”

            So even after she made this huge transformation, did all that hard work, you shame her for having gained the weight in the first place. Which is obviously futile – it’s not like she can go back and undo it. SHAME ON YOU. You should feel like absolute shit about yourself for being a horrible person.

            I do agree that she doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing in that bikini though.

        • Kerry

          I think you are missing the point. Your opinion that she looks “not fabulous” in a bikini is influenced by many factors – yes, it’s your personal taste (why should everyone have the same as yours?) but your perception of beauty is also influenced by history, and cultural standards (what society tells you is “amazing” or “attractive”). You’ve grown up seeing women portrayed in a particular way and being told that this is beauty. But not everyone’s idea of beauty is the same, and it shouldn’t be. And, unfortunately, the cultural idea of beauty in our society today is actually harmful to women (and men) who don’t feel like they measure up. They have eating disorders, depression, are ashamed of their bodies, and feel hopeless. Not showing pictures of “real” people perpetuates the idea that real bodies aren’t beautiful and is harmful.

    • Leslie Funk

      Did you really just call her body “disgraceful”?

    • Angie :3

      Wow Marie, your post was absolutely disgusting to read. It just reeks of self-hatred.

      • Marie Jirousek

        Whatever…tell me, since you obviously also find her “fabulous”, would YOU want to look like her?

        • Sara Benner

          I look like her. I have loose skin from the horror I did to my body- it sucks! The loose skin is a badge of honor though, Brooke and I made it! We are be able to say, “hey we’re healthy, so shove off if you cannot take how great our bodies look!”

        • Beth Ann Zumwalt

          And yes I would want to look like her.I will be the first to admit I need a massive kick in my fat ass to get motivated to get started to have that body. Did I shock your morality Marie? Good. My job is done here.

          • Marie Jirousek

            Well, obviously, people who look as SHE did before losing weight WOULD find this an improvement…I’m talking about “regular-sized” people.

          • Kelli

            Trying to find your way back to Oz? Had to post it three times? And might I ask just exactly what “regular-sized” people look like? Who appointed you to determine “regular-sized?” Are there “regular-height” people too? “Regular-hair”, “Regular-skin tone?” You don’t mean regular at all…you mean the less than 1% of the world population that looks like Barbie.

          • Marie Jirousek

            Well, obviously for people who look like SHE did before she lost weight, this WOULD be considered an improvement, but I was talking about “regular-sized” people. If you saw any 29 year old woman (without knowing her dieting history) on a beach looking like this, I bet your first thought wouldn’t be “oh boy, how FABULOUS she looks”.

          • Marie Jirousek

            Well, obviously, for people who look like she did before she lost weight, this WOULD be considered an improvement. I was talking about “regular-sized” people. If you saw any 29 year old woman (without knowing her dieting history) on a beach looking like this, I bet your first thought wouldn’t be “oh boy, she looks FABULOUS”!!!

    • Beth Ann Zumwalt

      Perhaps you should look up disgraceful in the dictionary before throwing it around. “Bringing or warranting disgrace; shameful”. Let’s look up shameful shall we? “Deliberately violating accepted principles of right and wrong”. You start with a compliment and then rip her to shreds? And don’t tell me that it is honest criticism. That was just pure mean girl because she doesn’t meet your’s or media hypnotized society’s idea of amazing. Bravo to Brooke I say for breaking the rules and showing us what our bodies would/could look like after a massive weight loss and we shouldn’t be ashamed of that new body.

  • Lyla Sweetness

    This is why society has gone to shit now days…Seriously why does someone (editor) have to go out there way to make some one feel bad when they have accomplished so much. She lost 170 pounds that’s amazing and she did it with out going on a reality tv show to do it and she posts real photos and yet gets criticized for not being toned enough…that is bullshit first of all she put away her insecurities to post a photo like that knowing already she has flaws and then for someone to tell her to put a shirt on due to (rules) is like slapping her in the face and making her feel rejected that is bull shit and yet people wonder why so many females have eating disorders these days.

  • Don’t let them make you feel bad, you look great:) It’s their loss!

  • fortunes4

    I’m not sure if I am missing something or not, but I wanted to find out what the fuss is all about. So I went to shape.com and looked at the success stories on their weight loss section. Low and behold, not a single person in a bikini top. All featured people are clothed. I understand your frustration over the way “society” view body image, but I think that your frustration over the request for your picture to fall in line with their “policy” is over the top. Sure they do have models that are in bikinis but they are professional models. The place for your real life after photo is here on your blog, not in shape magazine. I applaud you for bringing light to the issue, but do not condemn shape for it.

    • Rosanne Farewell

      i dont know what you were looking at but..there were many featured success stories that had women in bikini tops i think you need to re look

      • MissM


        Pretty sure she’s looking at this… the success stories, where the people are ALL fully clothed.

        • Kerry
          • sheeney7

            These are not massive weight loss people. There is a significant difference and perhaps Shape magazine puts them in different categories so to speak.

          • Kerry

            I don’t see the stories on the website broken out into “massive weight loss success stories” and “non-massive weight loss success stories.” I think it’s unfair that there’s a double standard. But it’s clear from all the comments here that people have bought in to the “ideals” of beauty (and weight loss “success”) and perpetuate the discrimination. Sad,

          • MissM

            Fair enough. I was thinking that Brooke would have been included with the “they lost over 100 lbs!” people, the six of whom were pictured mostly in workout gear. Therefore, the request for a different “after” photo wasn’t out of line, or because of her excess skin. It would have been to preserve the continuity of the piece on the website. And also, because it’s a magazine who likes to have flattering photos… why wouldn’t they ask for a more flattering one? Furthermore, why wouldn’t you want a flattering photo of yourself in a magazine? I don’t think these things are unreasonable.

  • dj_1973

    They made the wrong choice – you are amazing, and look beautiful! Good for you!

  • Matt

    Brooke, great job on the weight loss. I do have to ask: If you’re looking for honesty in the weight-loss process, why are you fully clothed in your ‘before’ picture, but rocking a bikini in your ‘after’ picture??? By not allowing Shape to tell your story, you’re denying thousands of women the chance to be inspired. IF Shape agreed to publish your bikini photo, I would bet many women would actually be turned off from losing a large amount of weight (“so I have to deal with all that loose skin AFTER I lose weight???).

    • Chris La Mantia

      Matt, as someone who is also working on losing weight, I can tell you we don’t always think to fully document the beginning of our journey. Some of us tend to avoid cameras entirely at that size. I know I did; there are only a couple of pictures at my top weight, and certainly none with my shirt off.

      • My weight loss journey. Biggest Loser taught me to take before and after pics. They are so motivating. I saw what my body was doing. I even have a personal collection. Which I may consider having out, once I lose the weight. Weight loss seriously sucks, but I’m winning the battle. Alphabravocharlie77@blogspot.com

    • Leslie Funk

      Matt, I am sure that Brooke was not “rocking a bikini” prior to losing such a large amount of weight. Plus, when you start your journey to lose weight, wearing a bikini is not usually the motivation…

      • Matt

        Thank you, Leslie. I just think the focus has been brought to such a micro level (loose skin) when the big picture calls for a celebration of weight loss and the chance to inspire many people who are trying to lose weight. I think Brooke’s focus has taken a negative turn when she has the chance to use her weight-loss for the greater good. The loose belly skin, contrary to her opinion, is not attractive at all. Only certain women are fortunate enough to wear a 2-piece bikini, and although Brooke looks fabulous, she’s still not one of these women.

  • AH

    Well done! Congratulations on your success and effort for weight loss! You are an example and you should be proud no matter what.

  • Beth

    Shame on Shape!! Well done for making them publish REAL women or not you at all!

  • I have before pics to be released once I hit my goal weight. Started at272.4 March. Currently 240. Fighting the daily battle, to make good eating choices and exercise as part of my life. I am happy to see that smile on your face, and I’m with you. THIS is real, the celebrity images we are fed, not real. The scars of weight loss and gain are very real. The skin is developing on my lower abdomen.. it’s not attractive, but I welcome it. It’s like a rite of passage. That one day I hope to chop off. Alohabravocharlie77@blogspot.com

  • discolust

    Where are the bikini pics on this page or the next 7 most recent? Where’s your “real” story on your own blog? There are pics of you, but not showing anything of your “real” story. I think you’re a hypocrite, Brooke. If you didn’t bring up your “real” story in pictures with Women’s Day, I don’t see why setting up Shape like this is warranted.

    You’re still fat on the inside, aren’t you? And you blame others for not presenting your “truth” even when you refuse to do it yourself.

    • Willowwoo

      Just gross. You’re whole attitude and critique is gross. “You’re still fat on the inside, aren’t you?”
      Yeah, maybe she is, would she be a different girl if she was skinny on the inside?
      Stop attributing value to weight.
      Or maybe just go apply to Shape.

    • Brielle Soesbe

      You are a horrible rude and disrespectful person! Shame on you! You must really hate yourself deep inside to still discredit this woman’s amazing progress and story.

    • Brielle Soesbe

      @discolust wow! People like you make me sad! Always trying to find the negative in someone’s huge success! I bet you have lived such a “perfect” life! This woman’s story is absolutely superb & how dare you try and discredit her journey onto a healthier & better life.

      • discolust

        Screw you Brielle! I didn’t discredit anyone’s journey, just her rather blatant hypocrisy that on her own blog she wasn’t as “honest” as she wanted to be on Shape. Frankly, this woman’s shape is UGLY. Only someone who chose to appreciate a human being, regardless of their shape, could appreciate hers. Someone who buys Shape or any other fitness magazine because they aspire to aesthetics, health, and the appearance of health would not be impressed with Brooke’s. Why even bother with Shape when everyone loves you just the way you are? Oh, that’s right: because people are ambitious and ACTUALLY WANT TO LOOK GOOD. I don’t read Shape, but I seriously doubt anyone looking that UGLY is in their magazine unless there is an EXTREMELY good reason for it, like they got into a car accident and recovered from it like a hero.

        If Brooke actually reads this little comment, I don’t really think you’re ugly. I simply don’t care about your aesthetics. But in reply to some punk girl ( 🙂 ) spouting bullshit at me over your “huge” success I think being blunt and rude is right on. But Brooke: You DO NOT look like anyone in Shape magazine. If you don’t know that or wanted to force your “honest” appearance on them when you don’t regularly or prominently show it on your own blog, then you’re dumb and arrogant… a punk yourself.

        Back to Brielle: It’s sad people like you can afford to be so stupid :-p

  • Marie Jirousek

    Kerry, while I agree with you entirely about the fact that REAL people don’t look anything like the perfect Barbie dolls the magazines show in their pages, and I think that’s absolutely fine and normal, you have to admit there are cases when a person does NOT look exactly normal, perhaps because he/she has been in an accident, or in this case, because she lost a lot of weight and has a kangaroo pouch on her belly. When that’s the case, I don’t understand the need to show off that “abnormal” feature and insist that it’s beautiful. And I find it highly hypocritical to agree with the lady that it “looks fabulous”. If it does, would all the people who think so swap with her? I doubt it…

  • WaspQueen

    I worked for a direct competitor of Shape magazine for over 2 years. I was paid to know their editorial product, and their audience, inside and out. Shape is an aspirational and superficial magazine. They are not about showing the reality of the kind of significant weight loss that you achieved. They do not want to show how this type of reality leaves behind such significant extra skin that surgery is required. Surgery not just because of appearance, but because this extra skin is difficult to live with, as you mention in your blog. Your journey is remarkable and commendable, it is too good and honest for a magazine like Shape. I am glad you did not send them another picture, I think that would have been hiding your reality. The best news is that you are healthy, and you are working to help others.

    I would love to see you stick to this message of health and helpfulness, and not veer off into the wear whatever you want message. It clouds the real amazing story of your hard work to get healthy, and how you can inspire and help others. This is part of the reason why I disagree with your quote at the bottom of the yahoo news story:

    “Everybody has a right to wear what they want to wear, and if they think they look good that’s all that matters.”

    I don’t agree with this, when it comes to going out in public. Going out in public means you should take public opinion into consideration. Dressing in public without regard to what others will think is self centered and not polite. We should be a thoughtful and respectful society, not a “take me as I am and if you don’t like it too bad” society. What has happened to modesty?

    Should everyone and anyone wear a bikini in public? I don’t think so. For me, this isn’t about what is perceived as beautiful vs not beautiful. This is about drawing attention to yourself when you have very little clothing on in public. I know I don’t want this public attention. I don’t wear a bikini in public, I am an age where it would draw too much attention. I prefer to sit in my lounge chair and read, relax, enjoy the fresh air, and just be a part of the back drop of the scene. I don’t want to be the scene. In your situation, your extra skin is not the norm, people don’t see it often, and they will notice, and look, maybe stare, maybe ask you about it. I don’t think strangers should be shunned or criticized for reacting to something unusual. This isn’t fair either. So why wear a bikini in public? More people should ask themselves this question.

    • OnStar

      (1) Your weight loss is an inspiration. I’m sure most people will agree.
      (2) Beauty is subjective. I’m glad that you find your after-bikini photo to be AMAZING, but I think most people in society will disagree with you about the photo. Again, it’s amazing how much weight you lost, but the bikini photo is not amazing. I’m sorry to say that it’s not very visually pleasing.
      (3) I agree with WaspQueen that not everyone should be sporting a bikini. People don’t want to see all that skin. Men with beer belly: keep your shirts on. Guys showing butt cracks: wear a belt or get better fitting jeans. There is certain kinds of skin that most people don’t care too see, and unfortunately (for you), too much skin is one of them. If you are comfortable, then great for you, and that really should be enough.
      (4) Question: why do you say you are “not on a diet”? You say you did Weight Watchers. That is a diet. Unless you mean you are no longer trying to lose or maintain your weight, in which case, please ignore this point. I started a diet this week. I am 5’8″ and 220 pounds, and I limit myself to about 2500 healthy calories, and I exercise. I plan on losing about a pound a week until I get to a more healthy weight. I’m proud to be on a diet. I hope to be on a diet for the rest of my life. Your tone suggests that “diet” is a dirty word. I hope that’s not the case.
      (5) Ok, going for an afternoon walk now. Thanks for the reminder.

      • Links2

        People have the right in this country to wear, or not wear, a shirt to cover up their bellies, or to wear a belt to protect your precious little eyes from seeing a butt crack. You sound very snobbish and feel you have the right to not have to see real people in public. Snap out of your fairy tale world, and your “entitled” world. Very shallow!
        You are what makes this Shape magazine popular. Very sad indeed!

        • MissM

          How is it snobbish to not want to see someone’s butt crack or excess skin or fat rolls? I’m not skinny, but I have clothes that fit me properly that I look good in. “Real people” are the ones who look in a mirror before they leave the house to make sure they look presentable. Because I’m pretty sure that if you have an actual job you have to go to everyday, there are dress codes and they need to be followed. A chubby lawyer can’t show up in court wearing a leather mini and a bikini top and say “What? I love myself and I think I look great!” Get real.

          • Links2

            Again you make yourself look foolish…when people hold a job and have to dress a particular part, then the company wants you to look a certain way, and it is the employee’s responsibility to follow those rules. We are not taking about having to follow your rules. We are taking about people, real people. Not all jobs require a “dress code”. Just like not all people fit, fat, black, white, German, Indian, etc. We are talking about the general population who are just walking down the street or playing on the beach. There are no dress codes and people can dress as they please. Grow up and get over your intolerances!

          • MissM

            You do realize that two different people were replying to your comments, right? I can’t make myself look foolish “again” when that was my first comment to you. But anyway, you’re right that walking down the street doesn’t require a dress code (other than following basic public decency laws, ie. no nudity), but in this particular instance, Shape can ask their models to dress however they please. And if they don’t like the way someone looks, they can request a new photo. Simple as that. In this situation, there was, in fact, a dress code, and she didn’t want to follow it, so she declined to participate. Good for her. But I don’t really see how Shape is in the wrong here, when a) the person who she spoke with isn’t even employed by Shape, and b) they just wanted a picture in a t-shirt. It’s a fitness magazine. The whole point is to look fit. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. But I’m pretty sure the whole magazine isn’t going to tank because a few hundred people get their knickers in a knot about something that shouldn’t have been blown out of proportion like this. I’m sorry if you think I’m a “snob” or “foolish”, but I live in the real world. You’re welcome to join us if you want.

          • KellAC

            I am not sure how you can say that there was a dress code at Shape, when they feature women in bikinis in every issue? Was it a dress code just for Brooke? Also if you read the messages from the freelance writer she stated that the request for a clothed picture was coming from the editor. The editor who is an actual employee of Shape magazine.

          • MissM

            Dress code was referring to the other people featured in the “I lost over 100 lbs” segment, as they were all in workout gear in their after photos. And the person sending the emails to Brooke wasn’t an employee of Shape; the article online (not this blog) contains a statement from Shape that states the person is a free-lance writer who is not employed with Shape.

        • OnStar

          I don’t read Shape, so I don’t see how I can make it popular. (2) I
          agree that she has every right to wear whatever she wants (“If
          you are comfortable, then great for you”). But that doesn’t mean that
          the public has to like it. Brooke says that she thinks she looks AMAZING
          and that’s great. I honestly applaud her for that. I think everybody
          should have that self confidence. But she cannot expect society to agree
          with that view. Beauty is a relative term and is defined by society. In the American society of 2014, wrinkles are less beautiful than smooth
          skin (this is why people spend millions every year on anti-wrinkle products).

          • Links2

            So people with wrinkles should not be in public or should have to apply anti-wrinkle products? Beauty in America and certain parts of the western world is dictated by air brushing and ridiculous magazines like Shape.

          • OnStar

            Whoa. Who said they shouldn’t be in public? I said I was ALL FOR IT.
            However, they don’t need to be featured in a magazine. Apparently Shape
            doesn’t find wrinkles to be too appealing, and that is just fine because
            most of America doesn’t find it appealing either. And I never said that
            they HAD TO apply anti-wrinkle product; that comment was only to show
            how much society doesn’t like wrinkles, as evidenced by the millions
            people spend to try to get rid of it.

          • Links2

            Fair enough, I apologize…

          • Gee

            Although I don’t necessarily disagree with what anything being said here, I cannot help but wonder why we in today’s society don’t find it appealing. Although as human beings we are intrinsically conditioned to find an athletic body more desirable than one that isn’t, I keep thinking that we have also been conditioned to accept that it’s ok that health magazines and the like aren’t hypocritical when they refuse to show someone who has succeeded in an extraordinary feat of health, just because the result might look a little unsightly.

          • tbwb

            I don’t think their point was that she or “wrinkled” people shouldn’t be seen in public, but that they shouldn’t be put on display as the most beautiful thing ever. What about the “real” women who actually do look like what we always see in magazines, are you saying that they aren’t beautiful. Fat shaming may be unintentionally abusive and/or implied, but skinny shaming has become so verbally abusive and people are publicly claiming that being skinny is “ugly” or “real women have curves”.

            I do believe people are blinded by her amazing success of all the weight she lost, but I believe if this was the before picture, none of you would find it attractive to be seen exposed like that. Plus I’m sure exposing her stomach makes her look like she hasn’t lost as much weight as she actually has, making her appear larger, and un-fit than she would look in a shirt.

            But like someone else on here stated, real life doesn’t have a dress code, true, but Shape magazine does, if you don’t want to partake in their rules/opinions you aren’t being forced. It’s their magazine and they want it to look a certain way. I do think they could have at least lied better and said it was to keep continuity with the others, but the magazine isn’t really in the wrong.

      • MissM

        Re: #4, Weight Watchers isn’t a “diet”, per se. It’s a lifestyle change. That’s the whole point. Most weight loss programs and nutritionists and dietitians, etc, steer away from the word “diet” as it really sets most people up for failure. Plus, the whole point is to change your life. Diet=temporary fix. Lifestyle change=permanent solution. 🙂

        • OnStar

          Hmm. I’ve always used “diet” to mean to make a lifestyle change where you have a proper diet, to eat well balanced meals. And exercise is another part of the lifestyle change. And sleep. And drinking water. Anyway, I guess it’s just semantics. I love the word “diet” as it reminds me to eat properly.

          • MissM

            Semantics for sure!

    • Because we live in a free country where people have a right to wear whatever they feel comfortable in. If you’re that intolerant that you can’t deal with other people’s fashion choices then perhaps you’d like to live in the Middle East where women are forced to hide their skin entirely as some men believe that women’s bodies are shameful.

  • Melodie

    I gained weight rapidly my first couple years of college. As a result, I have pretty gnarly stretch marks on my midsection and thighs. Though I have dropped some of that weight and have toned up, stretch marks are still there, and I dreaded wearing shorts this year more than I did at the peak of gain.

    Brooke, you’re an inspiration to me. You look awesome and when I read the article about this, I had to go back and look at the photo to notice the extra skin- all I saw was a really happy, fit woman.

    It made me realize: I have got to quit beating myself up over the stretch marks. No one is really looking at them. They probably see the energy I have running around at festivals and chasing my nephew at the park, not the “flaws”.

  • Bonnie

    I wrote a comment regarding the Yahoo article. I’ll repost here what I wrote:

    I applaud her for taking control of her health and losing that weight! I’m not bothered by her loose skin. In fact, I have some of my own. It’s not from losing weight, per se, but from having a huge ovarian tumor surgically removed from me in 2009 when I was only 30 years old. My tumor was very large and filled up my abdominal cavity quickly. Luckily, the type of cancer I had was rare and carried a 99% survival rate, so beating cancer, at least for me, was way more important than worrying about my loose skin. This woman is healthy and happy, and at the end of
    the day, that’s all that truly matters. 🙂

  • MarlisB

    Hi from the Quad Cities! (Iowa side), I think you achieved something amazing and I wanted to thank you for posting your REAL picture. I think you have encouraged more of us that you can even imagine!

  • Elizabeth Woodward

    Dear Brooke,

    You are an inspiration. Your story was beautiful & although I don’t know you.. You go girl!

    A curvy girl from Colorado

  • Brooke, this is such an inspiring story, and it looks like you got the word out without the help of Shape.

    One thing I want to point out is that I have seen women fully clothed in Shape before. I’m not saying that you should have given into it, but it makes me wonder if THOSE women sent in fully clothed photos due to extra skin/stretch marks/etc.

    But this is your story, not theirs, and I think it’s wonderful. Props on sticking to your guns and showing what you look like without hiding it. I think girls need to see more pictures like this. Congrats on the weight loss, and thank you for being so brave in your body.

  • Laneay Yates

    Thank you for your inspiring story! Seeing the REAL photo of you is even more inspiring to me than the photos of heavy people who achieved the flat stomach. I have a daughter, and have had major abdominal surgery. I know my days of a perfectly flat stomach are gone. But losing the weight will be more healthy for me. You have shown that even without the flat abs, no airbrushing or cover ups needed, a real woman can be beautiful!

  • oldsettler

    I want to say congratulations for your successful weight lose. Your picture is wonderful to see because it shows you are a winner. To those who complain about seeing it I will say I would rather be able to see my wife with extra skin that the reality I have that the complications of her extra weight means I can only see her in photos. People should only cheer & celebrate successes that keep our loved ones with us.

  • Biz

    Brooke, I am so proud of you! I’ve watched your journey for the last few years and was so excited when you made goal – and now that you are a WW leader? Icing on the cake! What bothers me is that I have seen other “success stories” from bloggers I read – and guess what? Most of them lost the weight with weight loss surgery and skin removal, which somehow didn’t make it in the articles – huh?! The fact that you sweat and fought your way to your loss, through nothing more than sheer will and determination, you LOOK AMAZING in that bikini – and I am so happy that you are getting the exposure you need – without Shape magazines help! Hugs!

  • Thanks for keeping it real Brooke!!! Yes, I will admit, I do think looking at “perfectly” shaped bodies is more preferable, but it’s just not realistic. Your photo inspires so many more women who think something is wrong with them if they don’t look “perfect.” High five, girlfriend!!! You got my support!!!

  • Melanie

    Girl! Goosebumps are running all up and down my arms for your amazing story and powerful message to SHAPE! Go on with your bad self! You are truly an inspiration.

  • Jemelene

    Thank you for all of this! Just thank you.

  • Sheri Logan Tillett

    Keep on doing what you are doing! You are an amazing strong woman. Not only have you shown you are stronger than your appetite (a HUGE accomplishment, kudos!) but you are stronger than media peer pressure. A true force to be reckoned with. Thank you for being a perfect role model for our young girls today. 🙂

  • Tara

    I shared your story and my way of interpreting how we should all feel after the journey is that we fought a long, hard battle… and our battle wounds are our victory reminder! You are amazing and I am so happy that your story crossed my feed.

  • Marcy

    I think that there is a lot of ignorance around “beautiful” that I continue to read in the comments. Brooke IS beautiful. I’m glad she knows that. She can help us learn if we are open to the possibility. If we are not, we will continue in our ignorance. It’s sad for those individuals who refuse to open their minds to all the different human forms of beauty. I feel sorry for all who stick with such a limited scope.

  • Lonny Carr

    As someone that has lost over 170lbs. This is huge. Thank you for taking a stand and not just doing what they asked to enjoy your opportunity to be in Shape! I have and still do struggle with image issues brought largely in part what society thinks is acceptable or preferred. The emotional and psychological changes are something few of us never imagined when we set out to become healthier. Keep it up! You’ve been an inspiration to me!

  • Jessica Ortiz Robinson

    you’re awesome!

  • Christine Haight

    Brooke, I am with you. As a self-professed “professional dieter” who has gained and lost 50 lbs. 3x in 15 years finally at 45 I have figured out it is not about the way I look, but how I feel and being healthy. I still have 20 lbs to go for the fourth time and it is not coming off as easy as previously, but what’s important now is how I am doing it. Encouraged by friends who began running, I ran my first half marathon last month and though I was not prepared mentally or physically what that did for me psychologically changed me forever. Weight lose is a challenge and hard, but when you reach that goal, no matter what weight or size, flaunt it. We have earned it. We are beautiful!

  • Cyndi Lou

    I so admire you and you are so beautiful!! Thank you. We are all so different and have our struggles and stories, and no one should have to hide that.

  • dimas

    Bold stance against the cowardice of the magazine. Congratulations!
    Your new fan from Brazil

  • Brooke, you are lovely and don’t let anyone tell you differently. Congratulations on the terribly hard work of losing all of that weight. There is a reason that I stopped buying Shape and a few other similar magazine YEARS ago, and you now know why.

    I wish I could say that keeping that weight off gets easier as one ages, but, believe me, it doesn’t! Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

    Good luck and best wishes!

  • Tracy Carroll

    Brooke, it doesn’t matter what a silly magazine says. YOU ARE AMAZING! That is all. *hugs* =)

  • Jennifer Rodriguez

    Pretty sure this will spread like wildfire and what bad pr for shape! There needs to be more sites dedicated to showing a real perspective of what major weight loss does to a body and people willing to embrace their bodies. It’s funny how we think that once the weight is gone our bodies will look “perfect”. Thanks for sharing your story and lol im positive you’ll get more exposure because of being true to yourself than you would have ever received off their website. Who knows maybe it will start a new movement about giving people realistic goals and expectations. You’re amazing and thanks for sharing.

  • Ashley

    This is awesome! Good for you…if they can’t accept the reality of what a body looks like after that much change, then it isn’t worth being featured.

  • Meagan

    First of all, you look wonderful!!! Oh my word you are so pretty. I applaud you for losing 170 lbs! You go girl! I agree with your whole article. I too have always been (and still am) self conscious of my body because society has constantly told us how we need to look and if we don’t look that way then we are automatically ugly or ignored. And I have always been a petite person. My body did change after I had my first and only daughter six years ago but I guess I am still considered small. But to be honest I feel like I’m not acceptable to society. I have a lot of imperfections on my body, therefore I have given up bikinis, certain shorts etc. I have learned to embrace it. So when I saw your story I was immediately attracted to it because you are an awesome woman who has come so far and all you’re trying to do is show your success. You’re a REAL woman. Not a fake photo shopped, botox filled celebrity. (I remind my husband of that very thing. My stretch marks and cellulite mean I’m a real woman. 🙂 )
    I am so sorry that you had to deal with that magazine and so called protocol. I applaud you for standing up for yourself and defending real women everywhere. You have nothing to be ashamed about and I’m glad you didn’t publish anything with Shape magazine. The fake stuff sells I guess and because you are honest and real, those people didn’t want to publish the truth. You look so good. You just keep your chin up and be darn proud of yourself. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It gives a person who has no self confidence like myself, reevaluate myself and try to be happy with who I am. I’m a tiger who has earned her stripes. 🙂 You have inspired me and I thank you.
    Sincerely, Meagan

  • Anon

    Wow! Brooke, you have no idea how much your story has touched me. I lost a lot of weight when I was in my late teens and my breasts suffered tremendously as a result. I always felt ashamed – but your post has shook me up. I can´t believe I spent so much time feeling inferior about them when I should have been celebrating what they represented – a magnificent achievement. Thanks so much for sharing – people like you help make the world better 🙂 You look amazing and many congratulations on your extraordinary success!!

  • Angela

    Perfect! Not many people have the guts to stand up for themselves like you did. Thank you for being an inspiration for all of us.

  • dukeofurl

    If you’re thinking of dropping your scrip to Shape, make sure you tell them WHY you are doing it, because otherwise dropping them will have no impact.

  • Sarah

    I think you’re amazing. I’m in awe of you and your strength. Keep doing what you’re doing.

  • Shawna

    So sad that this story hits the news because a magazine wouldn’t share your story the way you want it shared. So incredibly amazing that your story is all over the news because you did something truly amazing for yourself and then stuck to your guns! You rock! And you are an inspiration to women everywhere! Good job on the weight loss, and congratulations! Kudos to you for being a beautiful and classy woman on the inside and out!

  • emiweelee

    Thank you for posting this pic. I had triplets and didn’t know i wasn’t the only one who looked this way. I really admire your courage and honesty. Thank you.

  • I lived in Hollyweird for a while. Once, while working as an “extra,” I fit into a size 4 skirt–size four!–and was told I was a little on the “big” side but they could use me anyway. In case you don’t know, extras are people cast in the background of scenes for TV and film. We’re barely and sometimes not visible at all to viewers. Yet we were expected to be rail-thin–my guess is to appease the men working on the production so they had some eye candy to view while filming.

    This objectifying of women has been going on for ages and is why so many girls and women get eating disorders. It’s time someone stood up to it. I hope more women have the courage you have and start standing up for their bodies. Yes, our bodies are beautiful just the way they are. Frankly, I don’t think most men want “perfect” airbrushed bodies ’cause they don’t look natural.

    • What I meant to say is that a lot of men prefer voluptuous women. It’s the Hollywood/fashion industry types who keep trying to convince us to be emaciated. It’s time we stop letting them tell us how to feel about ourselves and our bodies.

    • sheeney7

      Same thing happened to me one time as an extra on a set in Hollywood-I remember it very well. The Production Assistant lined up all the female extras as the director walked down the line and looked at our hip size. She pulled me and several others whose hips were too large. They handed each of us a $100 bill and told us we were no longer needed on set. I remember being a little bit mortified in the moment, but then we all went and had a nice lunch at the Ivy haha. It is what is it though…this is America…and I don’t see it changing anytime soon.

    • VanderDam

      I am one of those men who doesn’t like airbrushed plastic women – one of my motto’s is: “plastic is for toys, and toys are for boys” – meaning I don’t like fake anything. In fact, I even prefer no, or at least very little, make-up.

  • BTW, I also agree that people should be free to wear whatever they want. Our bodies are beautiful the way they are. If you feel comfortable in a bikini, then you go, girl! Wear that bikini!

  • Renee

    Hi. I’ve also lost a lot of weight. My stomach is similar to yours for the same reasons. I’ve even sent an email to this photographer willing to be photographed so people can really understand what happens after massive weight loss. http://www.thenuproject.com/ Someday I might have a tummy tuck so my clothes fit better and my stomach doesn’t sit on my lab when I sit ! : ) but, overall I’m not that unhappy with it. Feeling good trumps the extra skin any day! Thanks for sharing your story

  • Mel

    You are inspiring! Its amazing to see people stand up for what is really true and beautiful. The ‘objectification’ of women is a disgrace and the world should see the beauty of ALL women, not just a selected few that have been categorised as beautiful. This scenario is the reason why so many women punish themselves and their body and brainwashed to think it is ok.

  • Gee

    Hi Brook, most of Australia is now reading about your story as published in news.com.au this morning and most people here would be completely congratulatory and sympathetic to your beef with American Media, Inc. The image projected by it’s fitness and health magazines of a healthy ‘success’ story is one of near physical perfection, and sadly not the reality of this world. Not mine or yours anyway.

    Although I like to occasionally check, I’ve long since given up listening to mainstream media and it’s ridiculously unrealistic expectations on what it says is “normal” and socially acceptable. Magazines such as these tout that they are portraying an ideal of what people want to be like, providing an argument that people don’t want to see someone with “tuck-shop” arms but rather aspire to something more “idealistic”. It’s wrong.

    I totally agree with your plight and btw, think you look fantastic. A hearty congrats on your fat loss, keep up the good work and may you help change the unhealthy image culture that these so called “health’ magazines portray.

  • tacones27

    I’m so glad that you stuck by your principles. Women’s magazines create such unreasonable expectations for women in every area of our lives-beauty, career, sex, everything! I gave up reading them years ago and instead switched to male-targeted magazines but started noticing recently that they are also starting to get similar crazy messages thrown at them.

  • Desiree Calderon

    Good for you. As someone who has lost over 160 lbs, and am 30 years old, I wish I had the balls to be in a bikini for shape magazine! You’re an inspiration to me.

  • VanderDam

    Well said! No compromises!

    Thank you for being a voice of real people, not airbrushed commercial rating booster Barbie and Ken dolls.

  • Donna Gettings Apperson

    Appreciate you keeping it real.

  • Inner Fit Studios

    You go girl! I never liked that magazine. It’s all fake and photo shop. You standing up for yourself is going to have an immense ripple effect! We need more women like you celebrating what weight loss does look like. As the proud owner of a fitness studio this is very common with the skin and it’s time to celebrate instead of being ashamed for shamed by someone. Well spoken!

  • Carolyn

    I can’t really express how your story made me feel. I often feel that I hate myself because I am not good enough now that I lost weight. My extra skin feels like a constant reminder of my failures. I hate that I have to carry it with me everyday. It hits me when I run, I have to move it out of the way to do yoga poses and it makes me look so much bigger than I am underneath.

    When I saw you in this photo the first thing I thought was “wow, her arms look great I wonder what she lifts!” I have to say I was sort of surprised by myself immediately noticing just how great you look. Now, I have to wonder, can I look at myself in the mirror and feel the same way?

    Your story really just starting me to question if I can think differently about myself. I just always feel that everyone sees my skin as a sign of my failures and not my success. I still want to lose more weight but I just can’t move past where I am now. The skin only compounds my wall by reminding me that no matter what I do I will never wear a bikini or look normal.

    What I want you to know is that when I looked at you the first thing I notices is that you succeeded. I admire you for holding fast to yourself. I hope that someday I can find peace with my body as well.

    Thank you.

  • I wanted to thank you for sharing this! I am a personal trainer who doesn’t have a 6 pack. I have stretch marks from my babies and even when I bust my butt I don’t get a 6 pack. I use to be so ashamed of my body but have learned from people like you that what your body is, is what it is and you should be proud of the body you have.

    Congratulations on your success and thank you for inspiring!


  • Campbell21

    You know…I really had to check myself when it came to this story. Before I had read the full story or seen the photo, My initial thought was “perhaps Shape didn’t want her to be embarrassed having to show her body in a bikini.” (that’s my personal issue being projected on to you!) Now that I have read about your experience and seen that amazing photo my thoughts are “Embarrassed about WHAT?!” Your weight loss and your journey is INCREDIBLE. It’s real. It’s what happens when someone decides to embark on a journey to health. Your body changes and does what it does in all its amazing glory. Hiding your body or giving you a subtle shame vibe was just so wrong on their part. What a missed opportunity. It’s part of the hate culture that is heaped upon women from the time we are young girls. I have always been on the scrawny side. (I know, poor me) but I have always hated my body b/c it wasn’t perfectly toned and cut the way I wanted it to be. I’m a runner and I’m healthy and I can do so many things, but more often than not my thoughts about my body are negative. I refuse to wear a bathing suit b/c I KNOW people will judge me. It’s a very sad state of affairs that I can’t be brave, I can’t be who I am and just feel okay. You are THAT BRAVE. You are amazing such an inspiration. Truly. Thank you for standing up and telling Shape to stick their policies where they belong. You are a warrior and a champion and I’m so grateful to you. God bless you.

    • Cheryl Monson

      Well said!

  • Nancy @kindred-kitchen.com

    Amazing! As someone who has lost 100 pounds (and kept them off for 20 years), I have often pondered whether or not to reveal the reality of losing so much weight on my own blog (stretch marks, extra skin, and all)…but I don’t possess the courage you do. Thank you for keeping it real and for proving that a weight loss journey is a profound and complex path that is so much more than the sum of its parts!

  • Michelle Kreuter Archibald

    You look amazing! I’m on my own quest and it’s so tough. And I’m proud of my battle scars showing my transformation and I’m glad you are too. You are so right that body image is such a sad thing for us women. And once we have children, it’s so tough to regain that youthful body we once had.

  • + Raven Faust +

    much respect!

  • Cheryl Monson

    You are my new hero! You are changing the world because you are absolutely right. We NEED more reality in this airbrushed, Facebook profile world. I am soooo happy that you aren’t ashamed. You give me hope and inspiration. Hope and inspiration!

  • You go girl! Such an inspiration!

  • Sara Eide-Altman

    You are so amazingly brave! I’m not sure if you knew how viral this blog post would become, but when Buzzfeed got ahold of it, you’re blowing up on my Facebook! I am currently on my weight loss journey and have lost about 25 lbs so far. My goal is to lose at least 100 lbs, so I’m a quarter of the way there! I have a fear of how my body will change by the end of this journey, and reading your outlook has really inspired me not to be afraid. You can follow my journey on my blog: whiteroseblossom.wordpress.com. Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Clintyboy

    Brooke, the bottom line in this whole story is that you absolutely did the right thing.
    I’m not specifically referring to cancelling the subscription or withholding the “after” photo. – although I do totally approve of your actions here!
    What I am speaking about is your decision to lose the excess weight that you needed/wanted to lose. The dedication that you had to shed 170 lbs is totally amazing. The physical benefits are obvious. They are ALL considered good and do nothing but improve your quality of life – physically AND mentally. How we view ourselves is quite often unrelenting, exhausting, tormenting, and just plain tough. The old cliché of us being our harshest critic is often bang-on.
    So, aside from the numerous physical benefits, I feel that the mental benefits that you are experiencing are, and should be, nothing but positive! I am sure that you were probably extremely upset with your physical appearance prior to losing the weight. The daily grind of beating yourself up is horrible. It drives you crazy and it NEVER ends!! What you have accomplished must bring you peace of mind, because I am totally sure that you look amazing now that you did what you said you were going to do. Ya, you’ll have to work to maintain your “new life”, but that is awesome! You’re already there and you did it!! Massive congragulations are yours!!
    Do NOT let this magazine dictate ANYTHING to you!! Their point of view(s) are irrelevant and basically speak for themselves. I have a feeling that this story is going to cost them a hell of a lot more than the price of your cancelled subscription!

  • Pratima Cranse

    You are amazing!!!! Thank you for being real in a world of airbrushed, photoshoped madness.

  • Kellie Hatman

    Good for you! I’m glad you lost the weight, I’m very glad you denied them your story. I think it’s terrible that society thinks you have to have a photoshopped body in order to be “pretty” I’m struggling with weight loss and already have a bunch of “less than attractive” excess to deal with and I’m terribly self conscious about it. Your story gives me hope and inspiration to not be afraid and to feel more comfortable in my own skin… no matter how much extra I have 😉 Thank you so much for your dedication and morals. And boo on Shape magazine. They should be ashamed of themselves, especially the person who asked you to put on a shirt. I think you look fabulous!! Congratulations on the weight loss and kudos for sticking to your guns!

  • Thank you so much for sharing your story. I myself have lost 70 pounds on weight watchers. I have loose skin on my stomach that I notice the most when I bend over. You’ve inspired me to try to be more confident when I rock my two piece.

  • lainnj

    Yup, bravery. These magazine editors are such cowardly *holes. Their emails just reek of false sincerity. They have no interest in honesty. They are all about giving everyone a false view of reality. It’s their job, after all. You are awesome in every way — but not what our photoshopped fake culture is looking for, apparently. Too bad. I’ll take you over the crap they are selling any day!

  • Anthéa

    Hi Brooke,

    First of all, just “wow”, you look great… and at the same time I feel, how can I put it (I’m French, if it’s an “excuse” for not finding the right words to express my feelings and not hurting yours) well, that loose flesh on your belly… I always thought that there wouldn’t be any if the body lose weight regularly over an enough span of time, well, there would be not loose flesh. I’m sorry, I just read your article because it was published (poorly translated) in the French version of the Huff Post so I didn’t follow your path in this adventure of loosing weight on your blog.
    So here my questions, if you don’t mind to answer :
    – Is it “logical” to have these loose flesh when you lose so much weight ?
    – Is it because there’s no sport practice beside the lost of the weight ?
    I ask these questions because I’m surprised, I always thought that if I lost my overweight kgs, well, of course my body wouldn’t be the same as when 20 but I wouldn’t have known or guess for a sec that this is the reality of loosing weight.
    I gain weight after a long and painful sickness. Now I would like to lose that weight for my health (have some cardiac and thyroid problems) and well, for me because I don’t recognize myself.
    I never expected it would, could, have that much loose flesh, and yes, in a way, you can say that I’m shocked, but not because of “you” and “your” body, but because I feel cheated by all those promises that the body would look like the same or so, as you were “before” if there was a “before” or like the top models.
    Which, I can understand now, is a lie, at least without any surgery. Right ?


    • Kelli

      THIS post right here is the reason I think the photo should be allowed! Some people do not understand that their body isn’t going to go back to what it was before they gained the weight. It is because they only show people with the very BEST results that many people do not realize that their skin will not act like a rubber band and go back where it once was! They want to do a story on the reality of weight loss well, there it is! It might not be “pretty” but it is REAL! It wouldn’t give people the false hope of, in Anthea’s words “like the top models”, that THEY want you to believe. There isn’t a weight loss program out there that actually shows people the reality of excessive weight loss! Only the women that get down to a size 2 or 4 are shown in bikini’s and only the guys with the ripped abs gets to keep his shirt off.
      There are hundreds of reality shows on television. Not ONE is REAL! They are all set up and the people on them are set up by the producers to get ratings. Why are people so afraid of the truth? Because it isn’t always perfect? It isn’t always the storybook ending? The guy doesn’t always get the girl? Reality is messy and ugly but it’s real and I would rather see the ugly truth than a beautiful lie!

  • Bonnie

    I applaud Brooke for taking control of her health and losing that weight! I’m not bothered by her loose skin. In fact, I have some of my own. It’s not from losing weight, per se, but from having a huge ovarian tumor surgically removed from me in 2009 when I was only 30 years old. My tumor was very large and filled up my abdominal cavity quickly. Luckily, the type of cancer I had was rare and carried a 99% survival rate, so beating cancer, at least for me, was way more important than worrying about my loose skin. Brooke is healthy and happy, and at the end of the day, that’s all that truly matters. 🙂

  • Amanda

    Brooke, you’re an inspiration to me, and hopefully to other women out there who struggle daily with the pressure to conform to what we’re told is “beautiful”. For the record, I think that YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. It gives me hope and strength to find that beauty in myself. Thank you so much.

  • Pat Gazzoli

    Good for you Brooke.. Congrats on the weight loss

  • coolchick

    If Shape was REALLY actually interested in showing and inspiring people to do INCREDIBLE weight loss like you did…they would showcase the absolute truth. That with weight loss of a major kind, you will have excess skin.
    Trying to hide it is buying into the myth that you will go back to the body you had in your early twenties or late teens.
    Which, maybe they think will sell more of their magazines.
    I stopped reading Shape magazine because I was constantly bombarded with fitness models and not real people images. Fitness models who work out several hours a day and are a size 6. You never see real people size 12 or 14 that are physically fit. They exist…just not in the world of Shape magazine.

    I would have applauded Shape if they used your actual photo..now I shake my head that they didn’t. You are INSPIRING. BRAVE. WONDERFUL. and wow I am so glad you published this story.

    • Cassie

      How do I put this delicately? Most people would not be inspired by that bikini after photo. There are many people who are actually afraid to lose weight because they think they’d look better fat than thin with excess skin. And seeing a photo like that would just confirm this fear. The magazine needs to, unfortunately, pander to its own best interests and appealing to its readers rather than do the politically correct thing.

      Brooke, you look great, and you should ABSOLUTELY be proud of that weight loss. That is a huge feat, and most people couldn’t do it. Out of all the overweight people I have known, most spend a ton of time talking and talking about losing weight, but only a handful have actually DONE it. And I don’t know ANYONE who has lost as much as you have – that is AMAZING. But I think you should understand that this magazine is a BUSINESS, and they will understandably make decisions in their own best interests rather than pandering to your feelings.

  • Skerrib

    I think you handled the situation fantastically. The choice was yours to make (duh), and I thought you responded with class and conviction. Thanks for sharing!

  • Priscilla Carvalho-L

    Thanks for this. I have only had baby weight to lose, which was never very much, but I have always hated the lose skin on my stomach which was not enough to stop me wearing a bikini. You are strong

  • Rachel P.

    I don’t follow you- just a random person who stumbled across this article. You handled the situation fantastic! I would of done the same thing. If you didn’t get exposure from Shape- you sure got a lot of exposure from this article. Thank you for sharing!

  • Trudie van Dyk

    Brooke, you are an inspiration to me! I’m also on my own weight loss journey, having to still loose 60 pounds. I love your pic, I love the fact that you stood up for your believes and that you did not back down. Thank you, thank you for being you, for standing up, for saying what your heart felt. You are inspirational, you are precious and yes, you look freaking AWESOME in that bikini!

  • Jo

    I think what you have done is an inspiration, I’ve never been very big but I think we need to see the skin, and see it as normal not something you should have to hide. Great legs by the way!

  • Guest

    Yes, she lost 172lb. That is more than I weigh. Since when is that considered “reality” or a “real” body in the sense that it reflects the average person? And why should it be celebrated? Newsflash- in most of the world outside the overweight United States- an average weight and even “thin” (by american standards) IS the norm. Thin women and women who look good (actually good) in a bikini ARE REAL too. The fact that seeing them makes overweight people jealous and feel badly about themselves doesnt change the fact that theyre real. Yes, they do exist. they walk among us- i’ve seen them. Buying into a delusion that it is “unrealistic” to maintain a normal weight and not look repulsive in a bathing suit is just a sorry, warped, cop-out. This whole outrage over Shape’s decision is part of the warped diet/body image mentality in this country which just contributes to people being overweight and self-loathing. Don’t blame society because you don’t measure up to what, in much of the world, is standard. We want to believe that it is impossible to look good so we demand that society find our imperfections “beautiful.” this is another form of the “every kid gets a trophy for showing up” culture. Do not deny thin or healthy women without weight struggles their very existence by claiming they are “all photoshopped.” i am not denying that everyone in magazines is retouched, but there are real people with great bodies, and theyre not walking around the world “re-touched.”

    My second problem with this is that a heavier person without the extra skin would look much better in a bikini than someone with extra skin. The message I’m getting from Brooke is that ‘being thin is a license to wear anything.’ why couldnt she wear the bikini when she was overweight? why was she hiding her fat but has no problem hiding the skin? I think the mental change should come before the physical change. Brooke is putting out the message that she has “earned” the right to wear a bikini only after extreme weight loss. to me this is more body hating that leads to weight gain in the first place for many individuals.

    My third point is that this is not about society “shaming” individuals whose bodies have undergone changes, leaving them transformed. Sometimes it’s simply about good taste, tact, class, and self-awareness. If we are crying out for “realness” why don’t we start from within? dump the delusional thinking. Accept that you don’t look good in any article of clothing you like and ACCEPT that there’s nothing wrong with that. There is a reason why grandmothers don’t walk around in hot pants. It doesnt mean people should be ashamed of their age. it’s just not appropriate. This “anything goes” and “if i like it i wear it” mentality doesnt empower anyone. I overcame an eating disorder and body hating. that doesn’t mean I am blind to what looks bad on me now. Instead, i learned to buy the bigger size. The empowering part is not letting that make me feel like loser or disgusting because i have to by a medium instead of a small. This whole article suggests that i instead should squeeze myself into a size thats too small for me, announce that i look “freaking AMAZING” and expect society to applaud that decision. accepting that i can’t wear everything a model wears and still loving how I look is healthier than living in a fantasy world where everything looks “freaking amazing ” on me. it doesn’t have to. not looking fab in a bikini means nothing. Brooke, rather, chooses to see Shape’s request as an attack on her worth as a human being. it’s not that deep. it’s about not looking ridiculous. why is letting it all hang out a good thing? no one would judge you for dressing in a more flattering way. because people don’t like seeing your stomach does not mean they think you should be ashamed of it. you shouldn’t. it’s natural and a result of weight loss. that doesn’t mean it looks sexy. These are my opinions. If she wants to wear it and think she looks great- fortunately that is her prerogative and her right to do so. She’s an individual. my comments here are more directed towards this way of thinking in general.

    and being in a magazine in a bikini is not a civil “right” as Brooke refers to it.

    • Barb

      I agree. The look of your body or others’ desire to look at your body has nothing to do with the worth of a person or the value of their accomplishments. Shape simply requested a different photo.

    • Silver_Witch

      Wow you have some really strong self-loathing in this post. Why so angry with Brooke…what has she done that so offends you. People can wear whatever they want – whether you approve or not. Please note that not once do you celebrate her success – you only spend your time chiding Brook for her own self-valuing of the success she accomplished – all proof this is about YOU an your judgment of others.

      We are not “stepford” women who must do as society proscribes.

      You are much like the woman who chided me after my double mastectomy because I did not have reconstructive surgery. That I was “disgusting” to look at and would be frightening other women by not “looking okay” after my surgery.

      Well you and she can both take a hike. Reconstructive surgery is worse than the mastectomy and I am secure enough in myself that I don’t have to “look” like a woman to be one.

      • averageweight

        it’s hilarious that you take my post as self-loathing and chiding of Brooke. i made a point to say it’s her right to wear whatever she wants. my point is that there is no need to internalize others’ taste preferences when determining your own self worth or valuing your accomplishments. Brooke accomplished something extraordinary- if you read my post carefully you would have gotten that from the first couple of sentences. it is unusual to lose such a large amount of weight- a whole person worth in fact. you’re making this all about you and your double mastectomy. i would never judge someone’s appearance from going through something like that. I also never referred to Brooke as “disgusting,” so you comparing to some woman who obviously had a huge and lasting effect on your self esteem is quite far fetched. it’s not my job to praise Brooke for her accomplishments. for what it’s worth- i think she looked good before she lost the weight.

        • Silver_Witch

          “And why should it be celebrated?”

          “We want to believe that it is impossible to look good so we demand that society find our imperfections “beautiful.” this is another form of the “every kid gets a trophy for showing up” culture.”

          ” I think the mental change should come before the physical change. Brooke is putting out the message that she has “earned” the right to wear a bikini only after extreme weight loss. to me this is more body hating that leads to weight gain in the first place for many individuals.”

          Your words speak for them-self. Perhaps you should re-read your post.

          • MissM

            Perhaps YOU should re-read the post…

          • Silver_Witch

            I re-read the post several times before responding…in fact I quoted several of her statements in my response.

            Cute image though.

          • MissM

            I know you did. But you clearly missed the meaning behind the words, or read them and misconstrued the meaning, which was then clarified a couple of times by the original poster. But most people on this thread seem content to just be internet trolls who call out people who dare to disagree with Brooke’s views. So whatever. I’m sorry that your life is so miserable you feel the need to attack people online who disagree with you.

          • Amber Mann McLean

            Actually, it seems to me that YOU are actually the one with the problem, since you continue to carry on, needing the last word. LOL By all mean, continue. You convict yourself with every word. 🙂

          • MissM

            Ok. 🙂 You kinda set me up there! Either I don’t reply and ask wtf you’re talking about re: convicting myself with every word or I reply and you get confirmation that I do, indeed, need the last word. I do like to have the last word, but in this case, I’m genuinely curious how I’m the one with a problem when all I said was that I felt like perhaps that witch person was not actually understanding what the original poster on this thread said.

            My only problem is that the vast majority of commenters seem to be focusing on anyone who isn’t a sheep.

            I await your response with baited breath! I’m sure you have something witty to say.

          • averageweight

            i stand by my views. Does not mean i find Brooke disgusting or think i can tell her what to wear. i’m asking a question- why SHOULD the physical effect of wreaking havoc on your body be celebrated anymore than someone who is fit and looks “unrealistic”? i don’t think that question has been answered. And i don’t see why a pre-weight loss brooke was not proud to wear a bikini. this is saying that overweight women shouldnt wear bikinis.

            i’m sorry that someone was rude and judgmental of your body. that is really horrible. i’m in no way suggesting she or anyone should have to have reconstructive surgery to please others.

            yes, some people are hot and they get to be on tv, in magazines and on runways. boo hoo. get over it

          • Silver_Witch

            Guess we will have to agree to disagree. Don’t feel sorry for me…pity is does not well serve anyone.

            And I don’t care boo hoo over pretty people that get to be on TV…especially when they only are on TV because of their looks – more power to them.

          • averageweight

            you’re obviously just an argumentative bitch. so i will stop being polite and attempting to empathize with you.

    • MissM

      I absolutely agree with mostly everything you said. And now I’ll just be over here, watching the fallout as the crazies take on your comment and call you a fat shamer or a self loather or a snob or whatever else they can come up with.

    • sheeney7

      Thank you for your honesty and transparency here 🙂

    • Marie Jirousek

      This is the best comment I have read here so far…absolutely agree with you!!!

  • Silver_Witch

    Hurray for you Brooke. You look great and I am so impressed not only by your efforts to loose weight but also by your very heartfelt belief that women should be able to see how women look in the real world.

    Thank you for your strength and you really did a great job and are an inspiration for women everywhere.

  • Daniela Schluck

    Great, I know how hard it is. I lost 27 KG during the Last 2 years, which was a Bit More then 1/5 of my original weight of 125 kg…
    I wish you all the best, that you will keep your weight. Let everybody Talk what they want. It’s your archivment enjoy it!!!!

  • Kimberly Alberico

    Thank you THANK YOU thank you … this is EXACTLY what I needed to read today.

    As a fellow-excess weight loss person (190+ lbs total /
    140+lbs on WW – ha! Depending on the day) … I’ve struggled with my own body
    image. Knowing that my size would allow
    me to wear a bikini, mini skirt, etc. is the hardest thing ever when I am so
    self-conscience about the excess skin that is left behind. Girlfriend, you are ROCKING that bikini and
    Shape lost a lot of respect when they refused to post it.

    As a WW leader, I would LOVE for everyone to hear your
    story. So many members, like myself,
    struggle with body image and how to see ourselves post-weight loss. Your story is TRULY inspiring!!

  • Andrea Zambrano

    Brooke, you really moved me, your whole story is very touching, and of course, you reacted as you should do it, Im glad you’ve done it in that way. From Argentina, I would like to say, Thank you to share this reality to the world! 🙂


    I can understand why Shape asked for a photo in which she isn’t exposed the way she is.  There’s nothing attractive about flab.

  • B Andersen

    So, wait…You were approached by Shape to do a feature on your awesome weight loss and THAT is the picture you sent? Excess skin aside, it’s just an awful photo. It’s badly lit, poorly posed and you’re wearing an ill-fitting suit. The top is not supportive at all and the bottoms are about 2 sizes too small. By all means, wear a bikini, you’ve earned it! But get one that fits.

    It just seems unlikely that someone who worked so hard to accomplish such an amazing feat would send in that picture. I think you’d heard about the recent Self Magazine Tutu-Gate snafu, and when approached by Shape you figured you’d get some exposure for yourself by sending in a deliberately provocative picture you KNEW would get rejected. That had to be the outcome you were hoping for when you selected it. There is no other explanation for why someone so proud of the way they look would possibly send in a picture that is so unflattering.

  • Anon

    It is not uncommon for magazines to want options in photos, I think you should have ignored the shirt comment and offered another bikini picture to see what they said. Or asked to speak directly with the editor who was claiming it to now be their policy, in this instance the writer is just the messenger trying to do their job as they are told.

    I think you look great and have done an amazing thing. My only problem with this whole scenario is that I have seen your journey featured on several other weight loss blogs over the years and never once has a bikini picture been included. Granted in some instances it wouldn’t have been relevant (the weight loss wedding blog for example), but why not on any of the other blogs? I imagine the authors of those blogs would have been more than happy to include it in your story. Even looking through the photos on your Facebook page there is only this one photo of you in a bikini, though there are some of you in a sports bra, why not offer one of those photos?

    I know I will probably get shredded for this comment but: it seems like you were intentionally baiting Shape magazine for the opportunity for national publicity.

    • B Andersen

      I totally agree. I’ve seen so many beautiful pictures of Brooke and it just doesn’t make sense why she chose that particular photo, unless she was hoping they would ask for a different one.

  • SterlingStory

    I’m going to catch hate for this, but I would like to be completely honest: Brooke, I don’t think your body looks “amazing” in a bikini. If I saw you at the beach wearing one, I would find the sight slightly off-putting.

    I agree with you wholeheartedly that we do belong in a society that raises us to believe that a certain set of aesthetics make up the “ideal body.” This is why I don’t find you attractive, and also probably why Shape exerted its editorial rights and requested a different photo. You are fighting an uphill battle (along with other body-image activists) to change people’s definition of “beauty”; as much as you rail in indignation about being treated unfairly or differently, the sad fact is that you just can’t change people’s opinions and perceptions of what looks attractive just because you said so. The change must come from within each person.

    All that being said, this shouldn’t be about aesthetics. By getting angry about Shape “not respecting” your BODY, you’re pandering to the same type of shallowness that runs society as a whole. Bodies are just sacks of flesh, organ and bone that function in concert to keep a person alive. They come in all shapes and sizes, which people might find aesthetically pleasing, or not. People are entitled to think what they like or publish what they like, the same way you’re entitled to wear whatever you want.

    By being angry over how others might perceive your body, I feel like you’re focusing on the wrong thing, thus under-valuing your very real and highly inspirational achievements. You’re sending the message that yes, body-shaming is effective, otherwise you wouldn’t be so angry or sound so defensive. Someone who is not still ashamed of their body and who values their attractiveness at a deeper level other than skin-deep wouldn’t rant and rave against the evils of society’s standards for beauty, because they honestly wouldn’t care what others think.

    tl;dr — you shouldn’t get so angry over what is skin deep. The real success is all the weight you lost and the number of people you have inspired. So what if some of us don’t like the look of saggy skin? We shouldn’t be telling you to cover up, but you can’t tell us what to think or what others should want to post on their websites/magazines.

    • Amber Mann McLean

      Thank you! You have done a bang up job demonstrating exactly what’s wrong with people’s thinking. Bonus points for doubling down and saying that it’s perfectly OK, too!!!! “We shouldn’t be telling you to cover up, but you can’t tell us what to think or what others should want to post on their websites/magazines.” <—-SHOULDN'T be, but did it anyway!!!! LOL

      • SterlingStory

        Yup, touche. Admittedly wrong choice of words in retrospect by writing “shouldn’t”, but I didn’t know how else to express that it’s really not the superficial that matters in this, no matter what people like me think. Also never claim that I hold the “right” way of thinking. Just giving my perspective, if not particularly nice nor politically correct.

    • Respect Your Own Body

      I couldn’t have said this better myself. I agree with what you have said and thank you for putting it so eloquently.
      As a person that is, by society’s standards, overweight, I sometimes envision a day that I am slender like models in magazines. However, I am not ashamed of my body and I think that it does look good for the size that I am(I get plenty of attention from the opposite sex as well). Even though I am not ashamed and I think that I look good I am still not going to walk around in clothes or swimming suits that do not flatter my current body. Instead of wearing what would look good on the size that society says that I should be I am going to wear what looks good on my current body. This makes me more visually appealing and it makes me feel better about myself. When you put on a swimsuit that is too small, unsupporting and not flattering it does not make you look good regardless of the accomplishments that you have made. You should not wear a bikini just because everybody else is wearing one, that makes you just as superficial as you are claiming they are.

  • TheVoiceHere

    Telling a magazine what they will print because it meets YOUR
    expectations is arrogance. Shape Magazine isn’t in the business of
    documenting reality. For that, one would focus on National Geographic. It may be possible that they will run a story about dramatically successful weight loss and include your chosen before and after photos to illustrate the story.
    Shape, however, is in the business of selling magazines to its audience.
    Believe me, if they thought that by posting your bikini photo on the
    cover of the magazine would be the best choice to increase sales, they
    would have done it in a heartbeat. The fact that your bikini photo is the real you doesn’t change the fact that most of Shape’s readership will not aspire to look like you do in a bikini. Therefore, the result may be less sales rather than more sales of their magazine.
    Congratulations on your tremendous weight loss. You should be proud of the achievement. Kudos in getting the message out that people CAN recover from being morbidly obese and regain a more healthy body weight. That is truly inspiring and a story worth telling.
    It is absurd to assume that anyone besides yourself should find your figure to be ‘freaking awesome’. Although I see the same mentality often when I visit stores like WalMart. You can dress how you please, but you can’t demand that others admire anything about you simply because it’s real.

    It’s unfortunate that Shape was unable to publish your inspiring story and even less fortunate still that you found it necessary to assume the role of victim to get blog publicity.

    • discolust

      I only skimmed your comment TheVoiceHere, but I agree with what you’ve said. I also don’t see any such revealing pics of her on this first or the next 7 pages of her blog. If she wants to tell her story so prominently in Shape, how come it isn’t promiently displayed here in a similar way?

    • MissM

      Amen, sister! …or brother.

      Also, your comment about Walmart dressers made me laugh!

    • Amber Mann McLean

      Could you possibly be any more condescending and superior? No, I think not. But hey, congratulate yourself on showing others your ‘tude!

      • B Andersen

        Guess what? Sometimes, people are going to have opinions that are different from yours! *gasp*
        This is an unfortunate fact of life, so you’ll just have to put on your big girl panties and deal with it.

  • MissM

    yessssssssssssssss. exactly.

  • discolust

    :-p Hm. You know, I think a lot of fat people have serious issues as far as dealing with reality. Brooke showed them by wanting Shape to post her picture as an after shot and you show it by getting torn up by my comment. I don’t hate myself. But you know what? Fat people sometimes bother me that extra bit for wanting that much more because they’re that much less. They can be a kind of bloated stupid. I think you’re probably like that, Brielle.

    This has been my introduction to Brooke’s “story”. Learning like this makes me think less of it already. Shape magazine simply didn’t want to do things her way and for understandable reasons. On her own blog, this story and this picture are the only signs I’ve seen of her real appearance in the mid-section. She’s wearing shirts everywhere.

    If she’s that ashamed of her appearance in the first place, might as well wear a bag over her head, especially if she has any awareness that showing her face after trying to manipulate Shape and playing victim while not telling the “honest” truth on her website is REALLY hypocritical.

    Screw you both!

  • discolust

    No. I don’t attribute value to weight. Even appearance doesn’t determine intrinsic value to me. But Brooke has played the game and become known for her huge weight loss. What are you doing on this website if weight has nothing to do with it? Or perhaps you just don’t like people who are thin and appreciate relative thinness over relative heaviness.

    Perhaps if she wasn’t still carrying around the baggage of being fat and the attitude that went with it, she’d show more integrity instead of walking around like the former Marshmallow Man only without the girth.

    Brooke is unrealistic, and I’m not just talking about society’s standards. I mean what to do about them. I hear so much complaining about people wanting others to be thin, thinking people attractive. So? Some like heavy people, too. And it’s not so much the complaining but how irrational they are about it.

    If people don’t want to care about their appearance AND expect others to accept their apathetic approach to their appearance, they can go screw themselves. I will do as I choose. I live in a society where I’m allowed that and I will defend that right.

    I’m about as tolerant toward fat people as I am stupid people. Fat and stupid isn’t the same, but they’d better work within their limitations. Smart people have to work within the limitations of a world full of stupid people. Thin people get to run into fat people and deal with them. It’s normal. But I like what I like and I am a reasonable person.

    If Brooke can’t begin to see where others are coming from, like Shape, a successful magazine which is very much concerned with aesthetics among other things, then she doesn’t deserve that respect from me. Why relate to someone who was humongous, lost 170+ lbs of it and still looks like THAT? Then BLAMES Shape for not wanting to publish a picture that, unlike her own website, shows such big folds of skin that it _looks_ unhealthy. She could just wear a shirt LIKE SHE DOES THROUGHOUT THE FIRST 8 PAGES OF HER BLOG, INCLUDING THIS ONE.

    She could stand to be “skinny” on the inside, trim away the excess insecurities, and do what works… or perhaps just present her less-than-perfect appearance with some CHARM instead of as a threat to Shape for not accepting it.

    Screw you both 😉

    • Willowwoo

      YOU perceive the apathy in appearance, and the negativity. That’s on you.
      Let people be comfortable and content with themselves, accept it and leave it.

      Present with some CHARM?
      Do you actually read what you write?
      It’s useful. It prevents you from coming across as completely insensitive and backwards, which I’m so sure wasn’t your intention.

      • discolust

        I do read what I write, but it’s on the fly.

        YES, CHARM. If this has anything to do with how she LOOKS then she should make the effort to LOOK nice. It shows when people TRY. If she wants to use the picture she has, showing a bit of class about it matters instead of turning politically correct victim.

        By the way, political correctness is ass-backwards, the way it’s being used. Being polite and sensitive makes sense amongst those who deserve it.

        I’m sorry, but I have other things to do. She should consider her sins before acting like this, for the night is dark and full of terrors.

  • Jessica Nejström

    Am applauding you !!! Love that you are real and proud of it !! You rock!!!!

  • charmedalpha

    It’s great that you have accomplished what is so hard for many. But I do understand where Shape magazine is coming from when they request another picture. Part of their magazine platform is inspiring people to lose weight. I think extremely heavy people would be deterred from starting a weight loss regime if believing that their body will appear as yours when the weight is gone. However realistic it may be that this is in fact how they would look, I think part of the motivation is the fantasy they have of what they will look like after the weight has been shed. Just like you, they will be happy when the weight is loss but why take a chance and detour with a picture that in all honest is most notable because of the deflated, scarred skin? That’s the first place my eyes went. Not your thinner face or slimmer legs.

  • Merisa Bowers

    Eek! Brooke, you’re even more courageous for keeping comments open! I never thought I’d see such negativity! As a woman who feels like she can’t celebrate her achievements because of the imperfections, I applaud you and thank you for bravely telling your story. You go girl!

  • fioriah

    Thank you so much for being an inspiration to those of us who are also working to loss weight in order to have a more healthy life.

  • gettfitt4life

    First of all congratulations on your weight loss Brooke ! you are an inspiration and should be proud of your accomplishments. I think declining from the story was the wrong thing to do, you can still wear a bikini and be in the article but just choose a different swim top. like this one..


    If I loss what you did and had your body, realistically this is what I would wear out on the beach, I personally am more self conscience though. but I just would have compromised and still wore a bikini but one that is more stylish.

  • Amber Mann McLean

    You’re AWESOME, and you ROCK!!! All the comments to the otherwise are entirely nonsensical, and some of them are not only condescending, but unbelievably insulting. Their superficial blatherings defending Shape demonstrate the exact reason for Shape’s actions. THEY are the problem. They can all go suck rotten eggs and eat burnt toast. 🙂 Good enough for ’em.

  • Amber Mann McLean

    So, I’m guessing you’re omniscient, since you know everything, including all of the author’s motivations and intentions. LOL Somehow, I think NOT.

  • Wolfgang Vetterolf

    YOU HAVE A GREAT SOUL and a very good intention!!! It is absolutely okay, and you can be proud about your lost weight … the “body” is not all, it is the character of a person. The way of true life is not easy to find and to go, but the beginning is: To realize our own truth.
    I hope, you understand my thinking, and my writing, I am german, have seen your photo and have read the german translation from your emails to “Shape”. The best to you and your way for the future: Wolfgang

  • Anne Oliver

    Good morning brook,

    I just saw your amazing story on our morning TODAY SHOW and a big huge massive CONGRATULATIONS on your weight loss your are beautiful in that bikini SHAPE magazine should be ashamed of themselves and showing people the real look from weight loss just the way you are you are my inspiration, I’ve just lost 20+ kgs and I feel amazing so you must feel awesome !!!!

    From anne – in wollongong NSW Australia !!!!!

  • Sunny

    You are my new hero. I just saw your story today and my heart broke. I wish I could be more like you, but years of conditioning has taken it’s toll on my psyche and I’m afraid I’m a lost cause. I’m 57 years old and have been overweight since I turned 30. I’ve lost weight and gained it back several times, which caused my skin to become loose. I began again February 1 on a “life plan”, NOT a diet, and to date, have lost 22 pounds. The more I lose, the looser my skin becomes. Isn’t it ironic that the insurance industry encourages us to lose weight and get healthy, but when we do, the refuse to help us with the resulting issues, telling us it’s merely a “cosmetic” issue. I don’t know about you, but I get infections in the folds of my flesh which smells, and I spend a lot of time applying ointments and powders trying to keep it at bay. I feel like a freak, less than human, and have honestly considered putting some weight back on so it’s not so bad.

    But YOU — you are amazing and inspiring and your attitude and self-esteem is exactly where it needs to be. I wish you all the success and happiness in the world, and if it’s your desire, I truly hope someone will step up who has the funds and pay for you to have your skin removed, if that’s what you’d like.

    God bless.

  • Kate

    I just woke up to see your story on the Today Show in Australia, I’m 24 and have recently had a baby in the past year, I’m now constantly battling with my weight and the look of my body!

    When I seek out diets I like to look at the before and after pictures to see how these diets work and usually they are nothing like your story iv never seen such weight loss to be honest, and to see how open and confident you are with your AMAZING body after a massive loss of weight I believe ALL woman should be so proud of who they are and how their body looks before weight loss and after.

    If you did have a top on in your after picture I would want to know how your body looked underneath, I’m beyond amazed with you, I’m proud of you and you are a wonderful woman that I now look up to and I hope I can change myself and my health just like you have.

    Your an inspection and I CAN DO THIS.

    You AMAZING THANG YOU xoxoxox

  • Abby Wright

    Good for you! I’m really annoyed with them for doing that to you. Thanks for showing your amazing body and congrats for losing so much weight and doing it the right way!

  • Brandy McGinnis Williams

    First off congratulations!!! You are beauiful!! Look at what you have accomplished. I don’t blame you one bit that is crazy you should be proud of what you look like so what if you are not asize 2 with flat ABS this world has gone to crap with all this you need to be small to be beautiful its BS. Again congratulations .

  • You look absolutely wonderful. You are real, you are natural. Don’t let some magazine and their “decisions” let you think you are any less. True woman, and a true inspiration. I’m so glad that you stood up for yourself to them! You go girl! 🙂

  • Shannon E

    You look great, way to go! Proud of you! It doesn’t matter if what you or Shape did was wrong or right… What matters is you did what you felt was right for YOU. So inspired 🙂 love ya!

  • Christie

    Thank you! I have over the last 10 years: lost 180 pounds, had 4 kids in 5 years, gained back 150 pounds, lost it all again, AND had 7 abdominal surgeries. To say that my stomach is a wreck is an understatement. I wish had the bravery you are showing the world. Thank you!

  • olivia

    First off I have to say wow. Congratulations on such a big achievement to yourself. You give me great inspiration to losing weight myself! Second, screw the magazine! How dare they tell you to cover yourself up! Lol I am a straight female but girl you are HOT! Plus, if you ask me healthy is a beautiful look on anyone, but healthy doesnt mean curves in all the right places and flat stomaches. I am so glad you are brave, strong, and true to yourself by standing up and telling them no! I believe it is utter ridiculousness that they could “come up with” such a “rule”!! Your story warmed my heart and blessed my soul. Thank you for sharing it.

  • Jessica Parsons

    Sad but true… “No matter what they say, the mainstream media won’t tell your story. They will use you to tell their story.” http://minimalistmum.blogspot.co.nz/2014/03/your-story-and-media-every-day-is-april.html

  • Amy

    I have bean dealing with weight loss issues my whole life. I gain it, lose it, and then somehow find it again. One thing I have learned over the years is that it is important to dress body-consciously at all times, whether you’re at the beach, the mall, at work or at church. By that, I mean wearing clothes that fit your own body, that draw attention to the good parts, and not so much to the not so good parts. Losing 170+ pounds is an amazing accomplishment, and I applaud you for that. But honestly, I think you’re reaction here was extreme. Your legs look great. Your arms look fantastic. Your middle, with all that excess skin? Well, truthfully, not so much. Perhaps that particular choice of bikini top is not the most flattering option for you. May I suggest a tankini instead? I’m not necessarily ashamed of my rolls and muffin top. I know I how they got there, and I am taking on the responsibility of getting healthier. But until I do, I know that a bikini is not for me–no one, myself included, needs to see that at the beach. Just like no one needs to see underwear lines under pants, bra straps, or yucky toes in sandals. And while your accomplishments are indeed amazing, I’m sorry to say, your body does not look amazing in the bikini–it looks, well, like the bikini does not fit you properly. Am I being too harsh? Perhaps, but I hope not, and I really don’t mean to be insulting. But by putting all this out there, for all the world to see, then you are also inviting all the world to judge. Yes, the magazine featured pictures of other women wearing bikinis. Let’s be honest. They probably did have objectively amazing bodies, that allowed the bikinis they were wearing to fit them well. Based on the pictures you have shared, you are just not there yet. Just because someone can wear a bikini does not mean that they necessarily should wear a bikini. Instead of using the magazine story as an opportunity to share your fantastic accomplishment with others, you chose to be insulted and offended by the fact that the did not have the same outlook on you as, well, you. The magazine’s decision was neither personal nor mean. They wanted to use your story to inspire others to get healthy, to show it can be done. And yes, they wanted a pretty picture to go along with that. I don’t see the harm in that. The reality is, all that excess skin is simply not attractive, and calling it “amazing” doesn’t change that. Reality can be harsh sometimes.

  • HoodooHoney

    Thank you…your brave..amazing..and as a mother of girls and a woman in this society..Thank you…Thank you..a thousand Thank yous

  • red and wicked

    Since Shape didn’t work out, perhaps you should try Jerry Springer’s show…you’re quite obviously more an attention-seeker than anything else and yours is the kind of story american audiences lap up with delight while munching on their fattening junk food. Everything about your Shape incident sounds fake, it DOES indeed seem to me you tried to set them up on purpose so you’d have something to moan about. Who are you, after all, to be such a celebrity and try to dictate what a magazine should publish or not? Just an ordinary fatso who melted away some of her fat rolls and ends up at 29 with a shapeless body that she insists on pushing into everyone’s faces. And of course all the women who have weight issues are bleating their approval without thinking for one second that if they didn’t behave like pigs in the first place, they wouldn’t NEED to lose weight. Pathetic…

    • Veronica Ang

      Well, you obviously are a mainstream product of the society where girls have to look a certain way in order to look beautiful.
      Now brooke lost 175 pounds and I think it is amazing that she can stand up for body love no matter how one looks like. Can you?
      And just to correct you, not everyone puts on weight because they behave like pigs. Some people have other health/mental conditions. Did you even know that?
      One doesn’t need to behave like a pig in order to put on weight, and you have proven that you obviously don’t need to be fat to behave like an uncultured swine (thanks, toy story).

    • who cares

      what kind of SAD and ANGRY person are you? You are the pathetic person here!

    • Melanie Sartain

      Wow, my first instinct was to not give you the pleasure of a response but I couldn’t hold back. You seem like a really sad individual. It would suck to be you and walk around with all that negativity all the time. Speaking of attention seekers, pot meet kettle.

      Bravo to Brooke for making a positive lifestyle change & for not giving in to the media’s shallow thinking.

      • red and wicked

        Baaaaaaaa…said the sheep.

    • Cassie

      red and wicked, you seem like a piece of shit of a human being. You probably lead a sad, sad life, and you have to be a troll on the Internet in order to feel good. Pathetic.

      I don’t agree with everything Brooke did, but you are horrible for shaming someone for being fat in the first place when THEY DID LOSE THE WEIGHT. And FYI, not everyone who is fat “behaved like pigs.” I gained a bunch of weight because I ate for comfort to alleviate my depression. You know, DEPRESSION, which is not simple laziness but an actual serious illness? Then, I was housebound with OCD for nearly two years, for example. I couldn’t go out and be active, and I didn’t have the option to go out and choose my own food to eat, so I had to eat the greasy crap my family bought while living a sedentary lifestyle.

      You are the one who is pitiful and pathetic here.

      • averageweight

        depression happens to weak people who don’t have anything else to focus on. it’s just another excuse. if im not mistaken LOSS of appetite is also a symptom of clinical depression. yes, not all overweight people are simply lazy- but many of them are. they use food as a crutch- to me that is laziness. instead of facing the real issue they cram food down their throat to avoid really living. i have been there. and i’m not proud of it. i WAS disgusting. And many who blame ambiguous “medical condition(s)” for excess weight have these issues as a result of an unhealthy lifestyle and abusing food for emotional reasons. why is it commonplace to shame alcoholics and drug addicts but not over-eaters? it’s still substance abuse. and you are very rude to call someone a “piece of shit” just because they have an opinion that differs from yours.

  • Brenna Paige Gutell

    good for you, congrats on your successful weight loss.

  • Roman Schneider

    Great success, you can be very proud…

  • Knopperz

    Almost 90 Kilo loss is a great accomplishment 😉
    And you are completly right, Mankind turned superficial, and the Press / Television / Advertising is to blame for this.
    They show us false / fake Pictures all day long….most likely photoshopped and tell us: This is how you got to look, or you won’t be successful. What a load of Horse Crap 😉

  • Melinda Lujan

    Thank you so much for your post. Seriously, I got more out of reading this than I would have reading the article in Shape. The decisions to cover up the affects of weight loss are misleading to people, and leave them feeling bad about what their bodies look like after losing all the weight. I struggle with my weight right now. I need to lose at least 150 to be healthy. The thing that sometimes blocks my way mentally is how I know my body will look when I’m there. I know that should be the least of my worries. Like I said though, seeing the covered up bodies in magazines after weight loss (which are probably also photoshopped) lead me to believe I’ll look like the hunchback and still not feel good after accomplishing the goal of weight loss. Good for you for sticking up for all of us women who need to know and see the truth. And its so good to see someone with such confidence. You are beautiful inside and out. It really does inspire me to keep going towards my goals no matter what. 😀

  • Wow. Simply wow. You have all my respect in this world. And congratulations. 🙂

  • Kathy Morales

    I think you look beautiful, and I support you 100%. I myself am on the road to weight loss and reading this and seeing your transformation has inspired me so much. YOU LOOK AWESOME………SHAME ON YOU SHAPE MAGAZINE!!!!

  • Aoliver

    Congrats for you success. If Shape will not feature your story someone else will. Have you contacted weight watchers? I think your story is wonderful and will truly touch more lives than a photoshoped body in a bikini. Thank you for sharing your blog. I like both the before and after pics. I have medical issues for gaining weight almost 50 lbs in the last 9 months and also need to lose about 120 lbs. Where can I find your tips and a full story of your journey I’m very interested and want to read more!!! Sincerely AOliver

  • Ann-Marie Buckley

    Hi Brooke, I saw you on Australian t.v. the other day. Congratulations on your success. I am so happy for you, it’s not just about the weight loss. I am glad that you are happy in your own skin, that you are in a good place personally and that you have such a positive outlook. Let the haters hate, there are always people that want to rain on your parade, I think that says more about them than anything else. Sad people will always want the world to be miserable with them. You are well on the way to making your dreams a reality and I wish you good luck with the rest of your journey xx Ann-Marie

  • Jennjilla

    You have earned my respect and complete admiration! Shape needs to get over themselves. They should be celebrating women of all different shapes – not just ones that look “perfect”. It’s tough being a woman, and to be told you need to put a shirt on makes me want to give them the big middle finger. I will never buy their magazine again. Love this and you! Keep on being awesome – they just can’t handle it. Cheers!

  • Laura Ayd

    Major kudos to you! I’m inspired by your self confidence!! I’ve lost 100lbs and I still have that lose skin around my mid section just like you that drives me crazy and no matter how hard I work or how clean I eat it hasn’t gone away. I still don’t have the confidence to show my stomach to anyone. In my mind it wasn’t supposed to be there still after all my hard work. But that’s what a life time of being over weight does to your skin! I sometimes think about plastic surgery to remove it, but really I need to learn to be happy with me. That’s the new phase of my weight loss journey. More people need to see this so they understand the reality of what a big weight loss looks like.

    Also on a similar note, I was interviewed and featured in a magazine for my weight loss and I told them up front I’m not doing a bikini shot because as I stated above I’m not comfortable showing my stomach (and as a photographer I know what they would have done to the picture…so it all would have been a lie). The shoot ended up being athletic clothes for all the women featured. But even though the picture was definitely me and what I look like at my size 10-12…they instead decided to twist my words and insert things that I didn’t say and shill products for quick results that I didn’t even mention instead of taking what I said about the hard work, portioning and diligence it takes to lose weight. So in the end it was still a lie because they twisted my words. They tried to make weight loss look like a quick “swap this food for that food” kind of deal when it’s really much more complex than that. Again through pictures or words the industry is trying to gloss over real life and make it all seem like a quick cookie cutter version of what it’s really like. I was excited to be in the magazine because I thought I was going to speak out about my experience and spread some truth about what it takes, but once I read the print version I didn’t even share it with my family and friends I was so disappointed. I won’t let it disillusion me though, I just have to be smarter about the next interview. I’m studying to be a registered dietitian as well so in the end I will tell people the truth, it might be one on one but at least I’ll give the right message.

    • sheeney7

      Laura I lost over 100 pounds too and thought along the same lines I you: “I should just learn how to be happy with my stomach”. Tried every day for a few years. Nope. Wasn’t happening. Saved up the $ for the surgery, had it done last year and am SO GLAD I did. I think the thought “I’ll just try to learn to be happy with it” rarely pans out for any female when it comes to body image or trouble spots. Years go by and often times we’re still unhappy. I really am so glad I set aside the cash and went ahead with it. Here are pictures if you want to see! http://www.realself.com/review/folsom-ca-tummy-tuck-after-loosing-110-pounds

      • Ally

        I went to your site and looked at your pictures – you look amazing! (before AND after your tummy tuck!) Congratulations on your weight loss, weight maintenance, and found confidence in your beautiful self.

        • sheeney7

          Thank you Ally! I appreciate that 🙂 xxoo

  • Lilybet

    I lost 100 pounds 15 years ago and have kept most of it off (also on Weight Watchers). Despite being an educated and well read woman, I always thought what my body looked like afterward was an anomaly. Why? Because no one tells the truth. I think those who peddle fitness and weight loss aren’t really selling our health or happiness – they’re selling assimilation. So ignore the haters – what you did/are doing is courageous and, to my mind, an act of love. Well done, and thank you.

  • natalie broussard

    Brooke, I sent an email to Shape and they surprising relied back and informed me that they WOULD be doing a feature saying that,..” we will be working with Brooke on a feature in the magazine about the important, and often unspoken, issues women face after significant weight loss.” Kudos to you and thank you for sharing your story for all of us who will never look great in a bikini without plastic surgery regardless of our healthy lifestyles.

  • danielle

    congrats following you now!!!!

  • Rainne Tindall

    Thank you for doing what so many can’t! That took guts to tell them to take you as you are or leave it. So many woman think that they will look like people on TV with tight abs (Spanx more likely) after losing large amounts of weight. By setting unattainable goals, we are more likely to give up. You prove that the problem isn’t always the weight…..it’s the self esteem. GOOD FOR YOU!

  • Alicia Garza

    Dear Brooke, My husband showed me your story today! Congratulations on your weight loss! You are such an inspiration!! I’ve always been too preocupied with how I will look after I lose my goal of 85 pounds that it has sabotaged my trying to lose weight. You’ve set an example for me! You are my heroine!! I’m glad _Shape_corrected their error. It’s success stories like yours that are the push we need to set upon the journey to living a healthier lifestyle! Thank you Gorgeous!

  • Sara S

    I am so thankful for your honesty. It makes me feel so good to see that picture of you. It helps me realize that the loose skin around my belly isn’t just going to disappear one day. Who cares if I never have the confidence to wear a bikini. At least I lost the weight the right way through eating right and exercise.It’s a reminder of my past and how I never want to be unhealthy again. I feel like Shape is misleading people if they only show people with the “perfect” bodies. We need to start being less judgmental and more loving of our bodies. I feel like you are a great example of this.

  • Mary McNeil

    congratulations on your win in standing up for what is right! You are an inspiration and REAL woman.

  • Congratulations on your weight loss! It represents a LOT of hard work. You should be proud of yourself and the way you look. You’re beautiful! I have over 100 pounds to lose. I know that my body will be far from perfect when I get there,but I will be PROUD of it because I will have worked darn hard to get there. I’m going to turn 50 this year so I might not be bikini material no matter what my weight, but once I lose this body is never going to wear another swim dress or baggy shorts and a a t-shirt.

  • Hammer

    You’re an awesome woman, and I applaud you for standing up to the fashion idiots of today! You are to be admired for who you are and what you’ve done! People need to realize that they need to be happy with themselves and stop fantasizing to be what Hollywood and the Media portray as beautiful! I wish you nothing but the best in your endeavors and hope to see more of you making headlines of showing what’s right!

  • Richard J D’Souza

    I admire your courage. Make a stand for what you believe!

  • lf

    You are an inspiration to women and girls everywhere, Brooke! Thanks for being YOU! No more issues of SHAPE magazine for me. 😉

  • Ich sag ja

    Hey. Your story made it to a German newspaper. I have a big respect for what you’ve done. Keep on showing magazines like Shape that we are lovely women and not sick and anorectic photoshopped models! Hugs from Germany!

  • Wow this is so inspiring! Way to go girl! That almost shows more bravery and courage than what you went through to decide you were going to lose all the weight. Incredible. Keep being you:) Beautiful inside and out!

  • Karen J. Robles

    I love the fact that you have integrity; a quality that most humans in this world have chosen to forget. I love your article. Thank you for being an example of a woman with integrity and courage.

  • Barry Good

    Brooke: I think you have done fantastic and should be proud. You are real and there is no reason to hide anything. That was part of the journey. Very proud of you.