My Boudoir Journey: Thoughts and Feelings

My sixth boudoir shoot is fast approaching (2 days from the time I’m posting this). I’m traveling to Las Vegas to shoot with my friend and outstanding boudoir photographer, Stacie Frazier of Haute Shots. And, I’m having some thoughts and feelings about the past 6 months since I decided to do another boudoir session.

This is Part 5 of a series about me doing my own boudoir shoot. Read the other posts here:

Part 1: The Journey Starts / Part 2: Setting Goals / Part 3: The Work / Part 4: Shopping

I’m proud of myself and how hard I’ve worked

It took me two full months after I booked my boudoir session to decide I was not going to be photographed in my state of physical health at that time. I had not been that big since after my daughter was born 16 years before. I hurt. I was out of shape. I had high cholesterol. I was exhausted from a few really shitty years in a row. And I knew that I felt to sluggish and lethargic to do anything about it unless I had a reason to.

In December, stared going to the gym once a week. In February, I started going twice. Now I’m getting up at 6:25 am (no small feat for this night owl) to go to a HIIT class at 7 am 3 days a week. Some days I don’t want to go, so I skip and don’t beat myself up and go another day that week. I can do so many things physically now that I couldn’t do on New Year’s Day, such as hold a plank on my toes for 30 seconds, or do 2 real burpees with full push-ups in a row.

I’ve also consistently eaten a moderate fat, moderate protein, low carb diet for the past 90 days. I “cheated” every once in a while, the discovered I feel better mood-wise if I take 1 day a week to “carb up”. It’s been really hard, but the results so far are worth it:

Weight: 211 to 186 pounds

Chest (boobs): 46 to 42 inches

Ribcage: 39 to 35.5 inches

High Waist: 37 to 32 inches

Belly Button waist: 39 to 33 inches

Hips: 46 to 42 inches

Bra Size: 40DDD to 36DD/E (depending on the style/brand)

Shirt size: XL to L

Pants size: Tight 16 to comfortable 12 / XXL to L

When I look at my progress photos, I don’t see the change. I still struggle with body dysmorphia as I have since my teens. I’m guessing that part of it too is that while my body has gotten smaller, my shape has stayed the same so it’s a little harder to see.

I went through a 4-week stall, where my weight and measurements yo-yoed in increments, making me want to say fuck it and quit.

I didn’t quit.

It’s been a long, long, long time since I put my mind to doing something and stuck to it. In fact, I think it was when I left my job to start this business in 2012. I’m really proud of myself. Really proud.

I could not have made this physical progress without booking my boudoir shoot

Isaac Newton, the physicist, described the law of inertia: An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

I was an object at rest, physically, mentally, emotionally. That unbalanced force was paying my session fee when I had no money to pay it with. I booked my flight using precious points, and found a really sweet Air B&B for my session location at the Palms. That tapped out my personal savings.

So I changed stylists–finding someone I adore–to save myself $150/month. I went from salon products to (good) non-salon products. I stopped getting my shellac manicure every 3 weeks. I stopped eating out for lunch. And when my daughter started driving in December, I started saving about $40/month on gas. All told, I stopped spending about $350/month and started putting that money away for clothes, hair & makeup, my prep appointments and anything else I needed.

I had to show something good for these changes, so I changed my eating and my energy exertion. I know myself. Without putting that initial money on the line, I would not be in a size 12 right now.

Prepping for a boudoir session challenging in several ways

I just wrote a post about my adventures in finding my boudoir outfits. (Read it here.) Shopping was the biggest challenge for me because, first, I had no idea what my body would look like on my session day and second, I was going to be shopping online.

Another challenge I’ve encountered is a little flareup of bulimia. For about 2 weeks, I found myself paying a little too close attention to the exact grams of cottage cheese on my plate. I also found myself on my exercise bike when I ate that extra 2 grams (which equates to like 0.002 calories or something). This was in February, which is typically a dark time for me with bipolar depression. Somehow, I noticed I was doing it and made myself stop. This was about the time I switched from high protein to high fat Keto, and that helped my brain stop freaking out.

But one thing I’m still noticing is negative self talk, especially about my stomach, the lines on my neck and my eyebrow/eyelid area. One day, my husband told me that I’m so, so sexy, and I shot back, “Right …” and rolled my eyes.

I’m saying things to and about myself that I would stop a session for if you were saying it about yourself. This is our way as women, right? We are trained, hard, to pick ourselves apart. So I’m back to doing my LOVE exercises in the mirror, which helped me work though bulimia, and it’s helping again. Look at my tummy in the mirror. Say I love you tummy because … because you carried my beautiful, healthy daughter … because your roundness shows my life is rich … because I can laugh deeply into you … because you protect me as best as you can.

Would I be having these thoughts and issues if I weren’t prepping for a boudoir session? Probably. But because I have a hard deadline, I think these issues raged up with more fury.

A boudoir session is expensive

Not only did I pay my session fee and hair & makeup, but also my boudoir outfits x 3. (I actually spent about $1200 on lingerie and sent back $800 of it.) My session is not in Denver, so I had travel expenses. I also needed to do all the prep appointments, plus some extras that I thought would make me feel better if I didn’t reach my goals. Finally, there are my boudoir photos, which I’ll spend around $1800 on.

Session fee + hair & makeup $440

Travel $300 + airfare points

Lingerie & accessories $400

Lash lift & tint $80

Facial with dermaplane $90

Mani Pedi $60

Brow wax & tint, bikini wax $60

TOTAL $1430

I have about $1500 saved in cash, and I’m doing some side-gigs to pay for the rest. My lingerie and travel costs went on a credit card. At least I’ll be getting points.

Final thought: It’s all going to be worth it

I’ve struggled with the idea of being 1 year away from 50. I’m exhausted. I haven’t really liked myself many days. I spent last year telling myself I was lazy and on the way down as a woman, as a mom, as a business owner, as an artist. Getting ready to do this shoot on April 19 is flipping this thought. I’m not longer an object at rest. I’m aware of and working to release my body dysmorphia and self-cruelty (again). I feel more connected to my body. And with my new classic bob haircut–which makes me feel more like me than I have in years–plus new lingerie and being able to do those 2 burpees, I’m feeling sexy again.

I feel proud of myself. And I cannot wait to be in front of the camera.

Want to watch me? Go to my Instagram story on Thursday, April 19!

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