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In the flesh

Before I lost weight, I thought about taking out my digital camera and taking off my clothes in the bathroom to take a naked photo of myself in the mirror. Clothes add a layer of uncertainty to progress photos. Do you look better because you’ve lost weight or because you’re wearing better fitting clothes? And even though I disliked all the excess fat, it was somewhat fascinating to see how all those inflated fat cells shape a human body.

However, I decided the best way to prevent naked photos of myself from being plastered on the Internet was to never take naked photos of myself. Playboy, please stop offering me millions of dollars. I simply won’t do it, Hugh. So I kept my clothes on. I’m a modest person and have never felt completely comfortable being naked around other people. It’s not necessarily because I think I look bad or good, I just don’t think people should look without my permission, period. People who don’t have this level of modesty never understand us people who do. I could never quite explain to my high school friend the tiny explosion of shock I felt one evening in her bedroom when she changed her clothes in front of me. I’m glad she felt comfortable in her body, but wow, I didn’t need to see the T&A without a warning about the alphabetical onslaught.

For a college art class, we were required to attend two nights of figure drawing to sketch a nude model. One night the model was an obese woman who was fatter than I was at the time. I admired her bravery for taking off her clothes for a room full of strangers who might possibly find her body disgusting. But I also knew I’d never do the same no matter how many spare dollars attendees tossed into the entrance fee bucket. I’d rather spend a day working a counter at Starbucks for the same money. I know dancers and models lose this sense of modesty early out of necessity. You can’t be changing clothes in a dressing room full of people and be concerned about who sees your nipple rings. But I’m not a dancer or a model and I somehow have managed to go through 26 years of life without once having to use a communal shower. And I don’t even smell bad, I swear!

So I’m pretty sure I would have kept my clothes on, even if Mr. Spock had asked me to take them off for his “Full Bodied” photography project. No Vulcan mind meld could have changed my mind. However, I’m glad there are same fat women out there who were willing to toss off their t-shirts in the name of art. Fat people have bodies too (warning: link not safe for work). I’m sure there are some people who will snicker at the naked fat ladies. But I bet most people will just be fascinated, like I was about my own obese body, by how many different shapes the human form can take yet still be a human body. Boobs and butts and bellies come in so many different varieties, like all the different types of pears I can buy at the market.

I don’t recall seeing many fat people on the starship Enterprise, though the crew’s weight did seem to increase right along with the numbers following the movie titles. Maybe in the future there will be a cure for obesity. I’ll have to ask Mr. Spock about that.

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22 Comments

Lily • May 18, 2007 at 10:05 am

Wonderful link! You’re right, the human body is facinating. Especially when they’re real bodies. The only nudity I see are my husband’s pornography and by no means are they “real”.

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Kate • May 18, 2007 at 10:30 am

I don’t think I could do naked pictures either. Although my husband and I are taking underwear pictures for ourselves only, so we can see the small changes, (along with fully clothed pictures for everyone else) because you’re right, clothes do add uncertainty.

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Fatslayer • May 18, 2007 at 10:33 am

I read about this project and thought exactly what you did – congratulations and kudos to those that have the courage, but it would take WAY more than a vulcan mind meld to get me to model for nude photographs.

These photographs are beautiful – as are the models. I love the fact that Leonard Nimoy said that though the women are not his sexual type, he does think that they’re beautiful. I hope his book is a bestseller!

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Hilly • May 18, 2007 at 11:15 am

You know, I fancy myself to be less modest than other people…running around in a bathing suit in front of people I don’t know, taking before pics in my bra and panties, blah blah.

HOWEVER, you will nevah evah catch me in a naked photo. I just don’t have the guts those other lovely people have!

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Heather • May 18, 2007 at 11:22 am

I used to have that same sense of modesty. It frustrated my mother. I guess socialization– now my attitude duplicates my mother’s…

It’s just a naked body; it’s most natural… it doesn’t have to be sexual, it doesn’t have to be aesthetic… it’s no more than a tree or an animal… the natural order of things.

Now it’s more– I don’t care who sees me naked. The only reason I censor naked photos of me from showing up on the internet is because the general social stigma on nudity– and regardless of my opinion on a societal convention, I still have to operate within the rules of the society I live.

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Oinkstop • May 18, 2007 at 12:21 pm

All I can say after looking at those pictures is that it gives me even more motivation to lose weight.

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Kimberly • May 18, 2007 at 3:09 pm

I have to say that I think this exact same thing everytime I visit my surgeon’s office. It never ceases to amaze me how different people carry weight.

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Kimberly • May 18, 2007 at 4:44 pm

I have the same sense of modesty as you do. And I enjoy it. I love my husband madly, and I love saving some sights for him alone. =) I think it’s a very subjective issue.

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Debbie • May 18, 2007 at 5:12 pm

Overweight people on the Enterprise? I thought a lot of people made weight comments about William Shatner during the show’s initial run.

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Andrea • May 18, 2007 at 6:01 pm

I loved that website. It was so refreshing to see the pictures done in such a tasteful fashion. I was also a huge fan of the tattoos on some of the women. :)

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Marla • May 18, 2007 at 6:21 pm

I love those pictures! I loved seeing the variety of bodies, and it’s so unusual to see a naked body in a nonsexual situation. It’s nice. And I would SO take my clothes off for Leonard Nimoy – I’m sorry, I’m just a total geek and had a huge crush on him when I was a kid. But other than that, NO WAY am I getting naked in front of anyone else.

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K • May 18, 2007 at 6:56 pm

I’m like you as regards nakedness – I’m not particularly embarrassed about my own body, but I’d rather not see other people’s uninvited. On the other hand, I don’t think I’d exactly curl up and die if people saw photos of me in my sports bra. (My underpants, however… no.)

Actually I really wish I had taken “before” photos of any kind now. At the time, it felt like tempting fate: what if I didn’t ever lose any weight? But it would be good to have something to remind myself (on days when I feel really fat) that in fact I have changed. Often it doesn’t feel like it.

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KP • May 18, 2007 at 7:29 pm

I used to feel squicky about changing clothes in the locker room at the gym. In the beginning, I used to step into the restroom, or the lactation room, or whatever, but these days, I just say “F**k it” if there are other people in there. But most of the time, I’m in a state of half-dress while there are others around. I’m in too much of a hurry to get to work or to get home to care. I guess I got past my modesty out of practicality. But, no, I would never take pictures or myself nude, or have them taken. Like you, I just don’t think people should look without permission.

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lulu • May 18, 2007 at 7:40 pm

hi pasta queen,

this is somewhat off topic. okay completely off topic. but i check your site everyday and always find you to be well-written and compelling. my question for is which weight loss blogs do you check every day? you’ve got quite a few listed on your site, but i was wondering if there were 2 or 3 in particular that you found yourself consistently reading.

also, i wonder what happened with fatty mcblog. they haven’t posted since 02/14. i always found them to be quite hillarious and i’m saddened that they’re no longer posting on a regular basis…

take care

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Shannon • May 18, 2007 at 8:35 pm

Hey there Pasta Queen!

I have begun to follow your blog and LOVE it! You are a huge motivation to those of us beginning this LOOOONG excruciating process. I have a question for you….I stumbled upon an advertised program, “FitDay (dot) com” and was curious if you use or suggest a program to help track calories/food/progress, etc.

By the way, LOVE your shoulders! ;-)

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Lauren • May 19, 2007 at 2:40 am

This is the first time I have visited your blog and it’s awesome. Also I look at all the weight you’ve lost and I’m inspired, you are my new hero. I also started out at about 380, and lost 50 pounds. Only recently I’ve joined OA and I’ve started counting. My first week weigh in is tomorrow. I do it all myself, but still it’s scary. I know people must ask you all the time. and it must be irritating, but how did you do it?

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VegasGirl • May 19, 2007 at 9:58 am

Once again, an amazing post =)

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Cindy • May 19, 2007 at 10:40 am

This post brought up many things for me, especially concerning issues of body image and how I see myself (now, as well as “before.”). I never did before photos, thought there are pictures of me that exist ~ family get-togethers, work photos… The trouble I tend to have is NOW photos—they freak me out and I can’t really look at them. I still see myself much as I looked 130 pounds ago. Those nude photos make me think that that is how I look, even if I am a bit different now. I am struggling with way too much extra skin, as well as the last 20-30 pounds that I should lose, so I feel disgusting. I have some stuff to think about, clearly…

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Patty • May 19, 2007 at 12:50 pm

I didn’t know he took pics of women. You know, some people say this is disgusting but I don’t think so. It’s just bodies! And some of these women’s bodies might resemble some of us out here that have a few pounds to loose. I think it’s cool that they are comfortable in their skin and will bare it all for the camera. Awesome but something I couldn’t do either, darn modesty.

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bazu • May 19, 2007 at 9:12 pm

I’m with you on this one… I thought I was pretty comfortable with my body- I change in front of my friends, I change in locker rooms, no big deal. But one night I had my husband take naked pictures of me, one sideways and one frontal, for the purpose of a before/after type thing… but I was so mortified by those pictures, I erased them right away and have never thought about taking naked pictures again. Ack!

Mr. Spock! How did I not know about his crazy artistic nude phtography side? Cooooool.

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Junky • May 20, 2007 at 7:21 pm

I always thought those girls who pull the surprise “show” are a bit…. ummm… mean? They know they are thin and you are not and they want to show off? Or…. hmmm this is not coming out the way I mean it.. somehow they enjoy your being uncomfortable. It’s almost assaultive in a way… to make someone see something they weren’t expecting and didn’t want to see.

I remember feeling that way watching Michael Moore’s Farenheit 911, when he inserts a gratuitous shot of the planes hitting the towers. It was not expected at that time in the movie, and it was a low blow.

Keep your sh*t to yourself!!! Nobody wants to see it ladies, except your lovers. Keep it for them.

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jae • May 22, 2007 at 12:26 am

I too loved the pics. I never see any plus sized model with my body type. But there was one model that was close to my type. And she was smiling! She was frolicking and smiling and looked beautiful! Good for her and the other ladies. I wish I could be so brave. ~j

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Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog JenFul.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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