I thought I'd share some photographs of my journey. I do want to say before beginning, though, that the judgments I make of myself do not reflect on anyone else. For example, if I say something about my horrid baggy jeans, I just mean that baggy jeans do not work on my body - I'm not judging anyone else who wears baggy jeans. Mmmkay?
Right, now let's get the "before" photos out of the way, shall we? (I can't believe I'm posting these.)
When I started Project Jen I actually asked Grant to take photographs of me for my "before" shots. I didn't do anything to my appearance. It was at the end of a regular day and this is pretty much how I looked every day.
My, oh my. No makeup, baggy jeans, unflattering T-shirt, unkempt hair just pulled back, overweight, frumpy.
About the only positive things I can say about my appearance are:
1) I had a decent bra which lifted my bust and gave me a good shape, and
2) At least I was wearing earrings.
To prove that this was pretty much how I dressed most of the time, here are some more "before" shots from my life around then. No makeup, messy hair, plain T-shirt:
This was me actually making an effort for family photos! Baggy, ill-fitting jeans, unflattering T-shirt. At least I put on a bit of makeup and released my hair from the clip.
On holiday with Grant's parents. Loose jeans, boring polo T-shirt, hair pulled back into clips, minimal makeup.
On a typical day. Before I realised that crew-neck T-shirts are most unbecoming on my body shape.
Once I had lost a bunch of weight on Weight Watchers I started to enjoy shopping.
(March 2007) This photo was taken when I got to the top end of my healthy BMI (my official WW goal). I went on to lose another 6kg (13lb) but when this photo was taken I felt like a million bucks. This top was the first size 10 (US size 6) item of clothing that fit me. You can also see that I had started to experiment a bit with my hair, pulling some pieces forward, and wear jewellery. Still in the baggy jeans but at least they were a modern colour / wash.
(May 2007) The night Grant received a commendation for his police work. This picture isn't as flattering as this outfit was in real life. I felt so good that night! And you can see that I had started thinking more about putting outfits together and straightening my hair.
(July 2007) This was when I was at my slimmest. I loved this blouse. Still in the baggy jeans (they were so comfy!) but at least they had the more modern wash to them and the fading on the legs was a bit more flattering. Started pulling my hair to the side and straightening it, which was so much more attractive than just scraped back (like in my before photos).
(July 2007) This was a photo taken on a typical day. Grant came home from work and found Noah and I asleep on the couch. You can see that although I was wearing jeans and a T-shirt they were properly fitting jeans (in a size 8! US 6!) and a pretty floral T-shirt with a tie detail. Just as comfy as my before outfit but so much more attractive.
(February 2008) Experimenting with self-portraits. (And apparently with hair.) At my slimmest. Although it's just jeans and a T-shirt, the T-shirt is V-neck, which I had learned is more flattering on me, and the jeans are well fitted and more modern.
(July 2009) Still experimenting with hair. This was the start of my coloured shoes obsession.
(July 2009) Cut my hair short. Although I'm just wearing a T-shirt I had learned to buy cute ones with a little detail on them.
(August 2010) The picture I currently use as my avatar. I had learned to do makeup.
2009-2010 is when the weight started piling on. We were in the process of emigrating (for 2 years!) and trying to sell two houses. But even though I was gaining weight I didn't give up on Project Jen and was still learning about and experimenting with fashion and makeup. Here's a pic of me in jeggings, which was a whole new thing for me:
There are no "after" photos on Project Jen, only "during" ones. It's an ongoing thing. I am constantly learning new things and figuring out what does and doesn't work for me. But one of the things I've learned is that it is worth the effort - not because people see me differently, but because I see myself differently and feel so much better.