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Thu, 08 May 2014 16:31:12 +0000
(NEW YORK) -- One woman says a magazine made her feel like she should be ashamed of her brand new body.
Brook Birmingham’s 170-pound weight loss was so dramatic it caught the attention of Shape magazine, which wanted to feature her success story.
“I emailed them back saying I was interested in doing the interview because I would love to share my story with people,” Birmingham, 29, of Andalusia, Illinois, told ABC News.
When Birmingham sent them her “after” photo of herself in a bikini exposing all her loose skin, she says Shape magazine asked her to cover up, citing “editorial” policy.
“I did not feel they were showing my body respect,” she explained.
Birmingham refused, saying the photo showed the real side of extreme weight loss and that the challenges don’t end after the “after” photo.
“People need to see what a body looks like after a massive weight loss,” she said.
In a statement released to ABC News, Shape magazine says, “This is a result of a misunderstanding with a freelance writer…and the comments made about Shape’s ‘editorial policy’ are absolutely untrue. Shape prides itself on empowering and celebrating women like Brooke.”
Even natural, gradual weight loss can leave extra skin that, in some cases, can only be fixed with surgery.
“While you will be incredibly fit, so much lighter, you might be left with some loose skin,” Chris Powell, host of Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition, explained.
Powell’s show offers its participants this surgery after meeting a key milestone, but he also says the excess skin’s presence should be considered a mark of accomplishment.
“When we see that excess skin, it is really a badge of courage showing how strong that individual is,” said Powell.
Birmingham, who now works as a Weight Watchers leader, says she’s excited for bikini season just around the corner with no cover up.
“This is what this boils down to, is to feel good in your own skin and knowing that you don’t have to look like the picture of the model on the magazine,” she said.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
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