How a single photo shoot helped this actress overcome her body image issues

For many women, it can take years, decades even, to undo the negative effects that unfair body image standards have on the mind. We hear subtle encouragement when it looks like we’ve skipped a meal or dropped a pound or two. Or we get bullied when we dare to accept our bodies exactly the way they are, no matter what size they come in.

But a moment of awakening and DGAF-dom occurred for actress and singer/songwriter Kathryn Gallagher when she decided to do an impromptu photo shoot with her friend and photographer Tyler Shields. Gallagher says the shoot helped her to overcome some major body image issues she’d been struggling with, and shared her experience in an essay for Cosmopolitan.

In her essay, Gallagher talks about her constant struggle to lose weight, and how she thought reaching a certain size would suddenly make her happy and solve all of her problems. As expected, it didn’t. “I lost weight, I gained weight — and my happiness didn’t change! There was no correlation. None at all,” she wrote.

“I’ve learned that I get to decide whether or not to wake up and look at my body like it’s something awesome, or terrible, or fine, or disgusting — or as my favorite seventh grade troll typed it out, “disgutsing.” And that decision changes. I don’t always wake up feeling confident every day. Not even close! But what doesn’t change is that this, my body, is the only one I’ll ever have,” she added.

The consuming pressure to change our appearance is such a real obstacle for women that it’s actually considered “bold” when a woman stops listening to her critics and learns to love the body she was given. While it’s certainly progress, it’s also outrageous that we aren’t yet instinctually doing what’s best for our body and mind from the start. Perhaps by sharing more empowering messages like Kathryn Gallagher’s our daughters finally will.

To conclude her essay, Gallagher said simply, “Figure out what you love about being you and embrace that. And the things you don’t love so much, embrace them too. Because life is so much better when you do.”


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