I’m nursing a photoshoot hangover this morning.
Typically I would spend weeks getting ready for a shoot, and the prep is never fun (think SUPER restricted diet and 2x/day workouts). The day of the shoot itself is a hectic, exhausting flurry.
Hair, makeup, more hair, more makeup, outfits strewn about. Sometimes you’re changing in a car, other times a not-so-glamorous beach bathroom. I forgot my lotion and called my husband to bring some on location. I sweat through one of my outfits. I lost one of my favorite earrings in the sand.
Apparently when you lose something in the sand, it’s gone forever. All of this to say, photoshoots are wild.
This morning I’ve got more leftover pomade and product in my hair than is ever advisable, and I am completely exhausted from yesterdays shenanigans. But the one thing I’m not doing, that I always used to do after shoots? Binging on junk food.
Why? Well, simple. I just didn’t prep. And it’s the severe, restrictive prepping that almost always leads to a post shoot (event, vacation, etc) binge.
I kept thinking I was going to prep. I kept saying, “Okay Neg, you have two weeks. Keep it tight.” A week would roll by and I was still living my normal life as usual, no tweaks to my nutrition or exercise. “Okay Neg, you’ve got one week–you can shed some bloat in a week!”
And it’s true, I could have. I know what to do to shed water and I easily could have tightened up my diet for a week. The thing is…it just didn’t work out that way. I was traveling, socializing, and eating dinners out with my family. The week of the shoot I ate Chinese food, BBQ, and Mexican food–all in the same week!
Talk about anti-photoshoot prep.
So the day of the shoot arrives and I’m still strutting around in the exact same physique as two weeks prior. I don’t know how much I weigh because I just don’t do that anymore, but it’s safe to say I am nowhere near my leanest ever. The truth is, I haven’t been my “leanest ever” in over three years, and at some point that became totally okay with me; my preferred lifestyle just doesn’t fit in with the “leanest ever” model anymore.
As I was getting ready for the shoot, which was primarily intended to get some new images to rebrand my website, I had this moment of panic: “I’m not ready.” I experienced a sudden emotional hit that sent me reeling into thoughts like:
Why couldn’t you just tighten up your diet for two weeks?
What’s wrong with you?
Why aren’t you more disciplined?
I sat with the feelings. I didn’t judge them or label them as “bad.” I just got intimate with them, as uncomfortable as that was. I took the time to let the feelings run through me, and as a result I discovered this:
I didn’t prep for the shoot because prepping for a shoot takes me way out of my integrity.
So instead of stressing out over my body I poured a glass of Sauvignon Blanc as I got my makeup done, and just settled into the mood. Photoshoots are exhausting, but they’re also fun as hell–as long as you relax and aren’t body-conscious the entire time.
I was only able to relax, however, because I affirmed that my lack of prep had nothing to do with discipline or desire–it had to do with the fact that the entire idea of prepping makes me feel icky inside. It’s inauthentic to the person I am today.
Sure, I could have spent two weeks restricting my diet so I’d be a wee bit “tighter” in my photos, but how is that authentically me? It just isn’t. And the purpose of this shoot was to rebrand my website to reflect the woman I am today; the woman I have evolved into thus far does not feel in her integrity or in her power when she’s prepping for a shoot.
Instead, I want my website and my brand to reflect who I am, imperfections and all. This is scary, of course, because vulnerability always is. But if I’m consistently authentic in my business, then I’ll always feel as though I’m on the right path.
There’s nothing wrong with prepping for a shoot, of course. Tons of people do it, and I am all for everyone doing what works for them. But the message that I want to portray is that I don’t need to prep; I’m ready NOW simply because this is who I am–and I want to give women everywhere permission to be ready now as well.
If you want to prep for a wedding, an event, a vacation, or a photoshoot–go for it! But I want you to know and believe that you don’t need to. Yes, I encourage you to make regular exercise and healthy eating a part of your normal lifestyle, but I also want you to believe that you are ready NOW.
Why? Because you are worthy NOW. Simple as that.