Brooke Birmingham Shape Magazine

Have you ever stood in front of your mirror, naked, and looked at your body? I mean really looked at your body? I have. I’ve stood there and picked apart all the flaws and imperfections, wishing away my loose skin, willing my ass to be back to the height it was in my twenties and missing the flat tummy I rocked before a baby. I eat a clean diet, exercise and yet for whatever reason I can’t seem to reach that flat belly status I long for. Blame hormones, genetic issues or my bum thyroid, but my reality is I probably won’t ever rock a hard body on the beach. And I’m learning to be ok with that.

But it’s not easy.

Recently I heard about this amazing blogger who shared her story of what it was like to lose 172 pounds and wished to share it with the readers of Shape Magazine. Can you imagine? 172 pound weight loss – that blows my mind. Not surprisingly, Shape agreed her story was inspiring and would be a great feature for their magazine. But it turns out they didn’t like the reality of her post weight-loss body. Brooke Birmingham Shape Magazine

Shape rejected lifestyle blogger Brooke Birmingham’s photo  because her stomach looked, well, normal. That is, normal for such dramatic weight loss. Or normal for a woman who’s had a baby. Normal for someone who might have hormonal issues causing weight fluctuations. Yes, normal for many of us.

Birmingham ate right, worked out, lost an incredible 172 pounds and still had loose skin on her belly. Apparently, showing that real stomach terrified the editorial team over at Shapemagazine.

Shape was totally down to tell 28-year-old Birmingham’s story as part of its monthly Success Stories feature. A reporter contacted her by email, and they had a perfectly normal interview after which Birmingham sent over an image of herself rocking a bikini to accompany the story.

“My editors were hoping you could send over a different after photo. (You look ah-mazing, of course, but they are looking to include one with a shirt),” Birmingham’s contact wrote.

Birmingham, who blogged about the experience on her website, wasn’t buying it. “Really? Have you logged on to Shape’s website lately?” she wrote. “You can find MANY women in bikinis on the site.”

Just none without perfectly toned, flat tummies. And she wanted to show what a real body looks like, but after some back and forth with Shape, they wouldn’t budge. So she backed out and chose to write about it on her blog instead. And then everyone found out.

“This is the type of body they should have featured, because it can give people hope,” she wrote. “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.”