Personal-Everyday ChaosPivotal Moments

bye bye 50 pounds | personal

By June 24, 2013 30 Comments

I had no idea how I would start this post….I typed things and deleted them, typed it again and deleted them… I figured I’d just be as honest as possible and just go for it! It’s probably going to be all over the place (like usual) so grammar police, back off! haha!

I mentioned before in the very first blog post that I hesitated on talking about my journey into getting healthier on my photography blog because I wasn’t sure if it “fit”….you know, photography + weight loss ..but the more I thought about it, THIS….THIS is my blog, my little space on the inter-webber where I get to share my life, you as a reader or potential client get to see what I’m about and in some ways to decided if I’m someone you’d like to spend a few hours with during your session! hahah…..and that behind all the pretty pictures I take, I’m just a normal person with normal everyday problems just like the rest of you.  I explained how a medical condition(s) prohibited me from losing weight and how I’m on a journey to get myself healthy again in this post “big macs, whoppers and diet coke”. I’m in no way shape or form endorsing any particular diet and as a matter of fact, I have NOTHING to sell you. No shake, no video, no contraption, no exercise equipment, supplement…nothing….just my story in hopes that it might encourage someone else along the way.

This journey has had so many ups and downs, it’s hard to explain to someone who’s never had weight issues. For one, the encouragement that I have received from friends and family and even people I don’t know has been so incredible. They mean more than you might ever know!!! But……. then there are random emails that I get that throw me for a complete and utter loop. I’m not naive,  I know that after being in the media once, there are people from all over the world that follow my page, different believe systems, different points of view and different lifestyles…and I know that I will never make EVERYONE happy. I joked with someone once that if I posted that I liked the color blue, someone would email me and tell me that I was wrong and should like the color purple….so as you can see, I realize that I’ll never make everyone happy!

With that said, when I got this email below, I won’t lie-my heart kind of sank. I was actually out on my morning walk and I was 1/4th of the way thru it when I saw the message come thru. As I’m reading and walking (yes I can do two things at once) I kind of felt ashamed. I’m sure this email came from a good place in their heart…I get that, but it still hurt. I was hurt because I felt like “Oh no, was I making people feel bad about themselves because I was talking about loosing weight” and then I felt bad because I thought, “how dare someone tell me what I can talk about on my own page”. So for the remainder of the walk I let it consume me…..but then I snapped out it. This whole journey into getting healthy was about not letting anyone’s opinions of what my body should look like discourage me, being more than the number on the scale, doing this for me and not for anyone else…but here I go allowing someone else to dictate how I feel about myself.


The ironic thing is that I’ve been contacted by so many weight loss “consultants”. They want to send me their “merchandise” so that I’ll try it out, maybe talk about and then have everyone think that because I used that specific product that THAT is why I lost the weight. So in a nut shell, they would get credit for all of my hard work. I made myself a promise at the beginning…..I wanted to do this one my own. I want to be able to say at the end of my goal that *I* did it, that it wasn’t fad, that it wasn’t a product that it was my own blood, sweat and tears…trust me there has been A LOT of those. It’s been an emotional ride.

As of a few days ago, 4 plateaus, countless times wanting to give up, many emails like the one above,  I’ve officially said good-bye to 50 pounds. I’ll be honest…..I might have had a little dance party in the bathroom!! And, I do have a ways more to go, but I feel so much better than I did 6 months ago.  I apologize for the horrible iphone photos….but I wanted them to be “authentic”.


Don’t compare yourself to others….compare yourself to who you were yesterday and refuse to give up on yourself!!!! <3


  • Jess G. says:

    Good for you, Jen. I follow you on Facebook and I remember why I found out about you from the beginning. Not just to follow your talents as a photographer, which are obvious and awesome by the way 🙂 But because you stood up for what was right. Imagine that, so few people in this world do the right thing.. that is why such situations like the one you were in get so much attention. Because more people should simply: speak up! For ourselves, for what’s right and for what’s wrong in this world. Keeping quiet about what you feel passionate about.. From your business to your personal accomplishments.. Is unecessary.. it is your right on your page to speak about what you see fit. And people can look or not. Congratulations on your accomplishments!! As someone who once lost 74 lbs.. Wow what a feeling it is to achieve such things for ourselves! It feels amazing 🙂 Unfortunately I gained back half, and then the rest when I got pregnant.. But I’m on a journey to achieve my goals again! Thank you for sharing your story and inspiring those of us who strive to better our lives and our health. Keep on keepin on! 🙂

  • Chi Ebert-Pelo says:

    I love this blog post! Good for you. I too have recently lost 50 lbs! I have a LOT to go but I am also a photographer, and have also struggled with my weight my entire life. It’s a tough journey. But the journey is yours alone. And yours alone to decide if you want to share it. I wish more people would just unlike a page if they don’t like what is being said instead of taking time out of their lives to tell others what they should/shouldn’t be doing. Keep it up girl. In every way.

  • Christy Lough Hawley says:

    You look WONDERFUL! I tell my kids all the time: “You cant make everyone happy, not everyone is always going to like you, and you wont always like everyone as well. Your mission in life is not to save the world, but to be the best person YOU can be and respect the person others want to be as well – even if they want to be ugly and hateful. That is THEIR path, not yours.” I’ll pass that on to you as well. Keep it up – you are doing it for YOU – which is the only right reason you need. 🙂

  • Christina Nicole Gliozzi says:

    I shouldn’t be reading this at work, but you just made me cry at work! GO YOU Jen McKen! <3

  • Crystal Turner says:

    This made me smile huge! Good for you, girl! Keep it up 😀

  • Jennifer Rigby Lima says:

    Great job Jen! I feel bad that you have to deal with the negativity. It would be one thing if you were like, “BEING SKINNY RULES!”, but, like you mentioned, people just feel the need to give their negative, opinionated, two cents. (Thanks internet for turning everyone into an expert on everything.) Keep on being healthy and happy! <3

  • Erica Tunnell Biggs says:

    Congrats on the weight loss. That is no small feat, especially with hypothyroidism (which I have too!) but, good grief….next thing you know they will tell us not to use red ink when correcting a students paper because it ruins their psyche…..oh wait…..they are doing that.

  • Stephanie Turner says:

    Congrats Jen! You look amazing. Keep your chin up. This is YOUR journey. YOUR body. YOUR life. Own it. 🙂 “Is it Helpful, Hopeful or Healing? If not, then don’t say it.” <-- words some followers need to live by.

  • Theresa Lollis says:

    Wow I guess I would have never thought a negative thing could come from an inspiring journey it’s hard for us all no matter what size! I am too on a healthy journey I had to take the weight loss stigma off of mine because I gain muscle and lose weight very slow and for me concentrating on a number makes me upset even though I see great visible change. That does not make me angry at you for losing weight though I think it’s wonderful that you took the first step and you feel so much better! CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU!

  • Emily Piper Combs says:

    You go girl! Don’t let the “haters” get under your skin. More than likely they aren’t local and aren’t potential clients that you are “losing” talking about your personal struggles and goals on your business page, so who gives a rats behind, know what I mean? It’s your page talk about what you want, it’s not like some businesses that are out there bashing other people or calling people out on their personal page, now THAT is unprofessional! I say if it makes you feel better to share and keeps you motivated and could possibly help others than go with it! Congrats!

  • MsYvonne McAdams Peramaki says:

    Good for you, you should feel so proud of yourself for committing and sticking to your goal. I’m sorry someone felt it necessary to chastise you for posting something so important on your blog and page, but when it comes down to it, if they don’t like it, then just skip over it and move on. Congratulations and you look beautiful.

  • Sue Anne Ward says:

    I didn’t think your face could have ever been any prettier…..I was 50X wrong! I am so happy for you. You look stunning!

  • Miranda Cornett says:

    I became a ‘fan’ and follower of yours thanks to your ‘I don’t photography ugly people.’ You’re an honest and truthful photographer and woman. You’re amazing and you should always be proud of your work and what you accomplish in your business and personal life.

  • Katie James says:

    I almost said I can’t believe someone would send something like that, but actually I can. Apparently some people have nothing better to do than nitpick others. That’s what the unlike button is for. I don’t get why people have to be so judgmental. We will never like, or even agree with every single thing another person says or does, but since when did it become our responsibility to dictate others?

  • Owen Stanley McKenrick says:

    I retired on Jan 01,2001 carrying around 226 pounds and with in the first year I was up to 234 pounds ( +8 pounds ). I promised myself that I would never reach 235 pounds so I went on a 7PM to 7AM diet and ate nothing during these 12 hour also never order 2 Big Mac’s just one at a time. After 3 years I was down to 208/210 pounds and at 12 years my weigh is still around 210 pounds height 6’2”. As for what other people say or think of me an old saying come to mind “The bird is the Word”.

  • Sue Anne Ward says:

    Oh BTW…..your sharing has already helped two of my friends. They have both lost 30 lbs+!

  • Lauren White says:

    There is no reason for you NOT to share your journey and success with your weight loss, Jen. You are doing such an incredible job and if someone can’t handle that, that’s their own problem. Like you said, this is YOUR blog. That means you get to write about and share whatever YOU want. I never understood why people feel the absolute need to share their negative opinions when they could just simply not read something that they don’t want to see. I applaud you! And keep sharing because for every one person that feels negatively, there are about a million that feel proud and happy for you. =D YOU ROCK.

  • Deb Roy says:

    You are right, your blog is yours and you can’t please everyone. As someone who is currently struggling after a 60 lb. weight loss (gaining) I find your blog an inspiration and encouragement not to give up. We can all use that. You feel good and that is what is most important! Your wedding photos are beautiful as well!

  • Jeremy Sale says:

    You rock, Jen!

  • Amy Totin says:


  • Donna Kelly Carnahan says:

    Don’t let ANYONE rain on your parade Jen. You look wonderful! Forget the posts that try to bring you down, think of how many people you might have encouraged to lose weight. Why do people always have to analyze everything. I don’t think anyone will end up in therapy because you post about your weight loss. I have the exact opposite problem. I’ve always been so skinny, and believe me I’ve heard it all too! From elementary school till the present and I’m 66 years old. So hang in there girly. If they don’t like your posts show them where the “unlike” button is.

  • Kelly Press says:

    Jen, I have been following you for quite some time, and I admire you so much! From your stand on bullying, to your amazing photography and really connecting to your clients, to standing up for yourself and realizing you are so worth the effort you’re putting into getting healthy and not letting anyone bring you down about it. Thank you for being you! Oh, and I’m stealing that last line and putting it on my fb, lol.

  • Tiffiny Franklin says:

    This entire article brought me to tears. I am one of those followers who liked your page that one time you were in the media spotlight. Since then, however, I can come to LOVE your work and appreciate your talent. I would not have gotten the opportunity to get to know your work and enjoy your funny little quips and photos, or revel in the emotional impact of others. I am also on my own weight loss journey and I think there is something innately strong and beautiful about being honest. You have the right idea; work hard, stay motivated, be proud, don’t let anyone else define who you should be, that is up to you. And, dare I say it? YOU GO GIRL! 🙂

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