New York, New York!

Last time we met, I was on my way to New York to do a piece on the Today Show about all the awesome things that happened with Shape magazine.

I got into New York on Monday evening and made my way to grab some grub at District Tap House. They had some pretty delicious tapas and I had such a hard time deciding, that I ordered 3 of them. All were worth it! I then ran around and caught all the sites I wanted to see. I even witnessed a couple get engaged on the skating rink. It was cute! I didn’t stay out too late though as I had an early morning!

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I was up early for the Today Show as I needed to be ready by 6:30am. Thank goodness they provided hair and makeup! 😉 While in the green room, I “mingled” with the stars. Basically Nicole Kidman walked through and smiled at me. But, we did breathe the same air. 😉

The segment was quick and painless. I didn’t say anything dumb or have a coughing attack (I was getting over a sinus thing), so I’d say it was a major success!

In case you missed it, here’s the video:

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I’m so pleased with how everything turned out. I really think that Shape is doing a great thing by including the new “Journey After the Journey” hub on their site. Head there and share your story, because as I said before, people need to share their stories for those who need to hear them. I know a lot of you have some incredible stories to share!

It was then back to the hotel where I got ready to go grab some food when Bahar texted me and told me that Inside Edition wanted to do an interview. I hopped in a cab and headed to the Shape offices.

I got to Shape and hung out in Bahar’s office until the people from Inside Edition showed up. The Inside Edition interview was great and the producer was super nice! He asked some great questions that of course (as with most media) weren’t part of the final piece, but I’m pleased with how it turned out.

After the interview, Bahar let me hang out and do some work in her office. I also had a chance to meet the Chief Content Director and Executive Managing Editor of Shape. We chatted about what is to come of the Journey After the Journey hub and I really hope to working with them on things in the future!

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I’m glad things weren’t as crazy as they were back when this all started last year. I have a couple of more interviews coming up, but nothing to send me on a whirlwind trip. And I’m okay with that!

Now it is back to life with Mr. B, eating meals at home, and regular workouts!

How are things in your world?
Did you catch my interviews?

Media Whirlwind and a Resolution with Shape

Wow.

Where do I even begin with everything that has happened over the last week?

I never thought that when I posted about me deciding to pull out from a story with Shape that it would go completely viral on the internet. I posted only to explain the situation, never for attention, never to bash Shape, and never because I felt like I needed to whine. (yes, there have been people who said I did it for those exact reasons) I just felt like I owed my readers an explanation and wanted to start a conversation.

And start a conversation I did….WOAH.

I can’t even keep track of all the places my story has shown up, but it has been all over the world quite literally.

It all started last Tuesday when I had interviews with several websites including BuzzFeed and Yahoo Shine. Huffington Post reposted my blog, Refinery29 did a interview, you could find it on Cosmo’s website, and even E!News.

I had gone viral. The views on my website went through the roof and crashed my blog several times.

And that was just the beginning.

Wednesday was more phone calls from The Today Show in Australia, Good Morning America, HLN, and NBC’s Today. I was busy on the phone trying to get travel plans made, rescheduling travel plans, and setting up times to do interviews.

Then it was off to Chicago to meet up with Mr. B who had flown in from Minnesota (he was there for work). I cannot tell you how great it felt to finally see him after everything that had happened. He is my rock and after feeling so overwhelmed with everything, I needed his hug. (Seriously cannot sing enough praise for that man!)

It was a late night in Chicago filming for Good Morning America. Which was done in a hotel suite at like midnight.

Suite where GMA was recorded

Suite where GMA was recorded

After that we hit the hay for a busy day in Chicago on Thursday.

Thursday started off with watching my story on GMA, then breakfast before anything else. we went to Wildberry’s and I had this amazing waffle!

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We got to relax at the hotel for a short time before my LIVE interviews with HLN and then The Today Show in Australia. Those were interesting to do and you can tell I was super nervous during the HLN one. I was super happy with the Today Show in Australia one though.

Interviews were done and after talking with the editors at Shape, we were taken to the airport to catch at flight to New York! We got in late and headed to bed since the TODAY interview would be happening early in the morning. There wasn’t too much sleeping on my part since my mind was racing with everything that was going to happen the next day.

Friday arrived and it was off to TODAY! There was hair and make-up with the cast of Mama Mia and a quick chat with Bahar (editor-at-large from Shape). Then we were taken upstairs where we waited for our segment.

This is what happened:

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I am so happy that it all turned into this. When I posted the blog post, I wanted a conversation to happen and wanted to spark a change in magazines today. That is exactly what happened. I’m excited to now be working with Shape to feature women who have gone through an extreme weight loss and showing their readers what can happen not only physically, but also mentally when doing just that.

This is a good thing.

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I want to say thank you so much for all of your kind words through all of this! The positive response I have received has been overwhelming and I can’t even keep up with all the comments, emails, and messages. Thankfully the positive has far outweighed the negative, which is great to see. You guys rock and made this small-town girl feel pretty amazing over the last week. I’m glad to have been the girl who brought this conversation to the mainstream media and to have so much support throughout it all!

As for the negative people, sorry that you feel the need to bash people who are doing great things for this world. Nobody has time for that.

I will of course keep you updated with everything that is to come! Along with a more extensive, fun look at the day Mr. B & I spent in the Big Apple!

As always, share your thoughts below!

And remember, keep it kind. I appreciate honesty, but do it with tact. I do reserve the right to delete anything that doesn’t adhere to this.

(Links are included for most of my online/TV appearances)

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.

bikini

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:

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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:

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

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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:

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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

SHARE BELOW!

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