Spring 2018 | Lora Grady Photography

DISCLAIMER:  be prepared for a really long and probably sappy post, because as I write this post, I'm feeling all the feels.  This post is going to be a bit more than sharing our most recent family portraits with the INCREDIBLE Lora Grady Photography, but also a reflection on the past six months and the journey I've been on with my health and wellness.

Six months ago I was a wreck.  I was on the threshold of obesity, unhappy, and feeling unfulfilled in so many departments of my life.

I grew up lean, active, and fit.  My weight wasn't an issue for me because I had a crazy fast metabolism and I was in sports all year round.  Then college happened, marriage, a baby... the list of excuses got longer and longer and I found myself living a very inactive lifestyle and making poor food choices every day.  In my head I determined that it just didn't matter anymore because nothing would ever change and there is no way I'd ever be able to feel beautiful again, in the way I dreamt about.  On my journey so many people have told me I've ALWAYS been beautiful, and I 150% appreciate their words but it's one thing to hear it from others and an entirely other experience to truly feel it.  I didn't feel beautiful, worthy, or happy with myself.  Every trip through the McDonald's drive through made me feel like shit, but I kept going.  I kept making excuses and I kept telling myself that it just is what it is.

Then I had my wake up call when I got on the scale back in December and said, "Fu** this.  This is not going to be my life anymore."

Health Risks Associated With Obesity

  • Heart disease and stroke.

  • High blood pressure.

  • Diabetes.

  • Cancer.

  • Gallbladder disease and gallstones.

  • Osteoarthritis.

  • Gout.

  • Breathing problems, such as sleep apnea (when a person stops breathing for a short time during sleep) and asthma.

Here are just a few.  I started realizing that this could very well be me, very soon.  If you follow me over on my lifestyle blog At Home With Emma Rose, you know that I know this is all so much more than a number on a scale but a very real part of every day life when you don't feel your best.  My weight and negative self image has impacted my life in so many areas including my relationships, my work ethic, my ability to teach and educate others, my role as a mom, wife, and so much more.

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So I got my shit together and changed my life.

I ate better and the MAGIC secret to all of this is... drum roll please...

I workout, every day!

Well, almost every day!  There are rest days but MOST days, you'll find me sweating it out for at least 30 minutes a day.  I work hard.  I push myself.  I grunt, moan, and sweat my ass off.  I don't count calories and I don't starve myself.  I eat a lot but I eat better.  I eat smaller portions and I'm mindful of what I put in my body.  I take a few supplements, I drink a LOT of water and I stopped letting food control my life.

I wanted a happier life.  I wanted a healthier marriage.  I wanted to be a better mom, friend, sister, and daughter.  I wanted to be a better business owner, which meant that priorities would change and for the first time in what felt like forever, I was going to truly put myself first.  In order to get what I wanted out of my life, I would have to work on me.  I would have to show up for myself and hold myself accountable.  I would have to do the things I'd been afraid of for so long.  I found strength to share my journey... all of it.  I found the courage to be real about what things were like before, during and presently on #myfighttofeelbetter.  I knew it wasn't going to be easy but I finally figured out what had been missing and that was something you can't find by just being "motivated".  We are ALL motivated, but the true test comes when you are #beyondmotivated to truly change your own life and write yourself a new chapter in this thing we call life.  I got tired of the excuses, tired of not feeling beautiful and tired of being tired all the time. 

I was ready for my second chance at my own life.

I was ready for my daughter to see me in a new light... a brighter light.  I wanted her to see me work hard and hopefully in turn encourage her to treat her body well as she gets older.  Our children are watching, taking notes in their head and establishing what's "normal".  Binge watching Netflix and laying on the couch isn't something I ever want her to perceive as normal.  Sure, we have movie nights and sometimes even during the day when we just need some chill time but the TV is off 95% of the time in our house now and I wouldn't have it any other way.  It's also nice to save $140 each month dropping our TV service!

Back in January I reached out to my friend and photographer, Lora.  I told her about the journey I'm on and how I'd like to book a session with her to not only hold myself accountable but to also have something to really look forward to and work hard for.  These pictures you are going to see below are so much more than family pictures.  These are a celebration of LIFE, of learning how to love myself, cherishing the people in my life that matter most and honoring my commitment to getting myself in a place where I can actually be comfortable in front of a camera.  I still don't fully recognize myself in pictures, I'll be perfectly honest.  For so many years I've "denied" pictures on Facebook to appear on my timeline when I'm tagged for fear of what I looked like it "real life".  You know, not posing myself perfectly for the best angle on social media.  I'm no longer controlled by those thoughts and feelings.  I'm proud of my body, my stretch marks from giving birth to our beautiful daughter and all the other little bumps and imperfections that are a symbol of my journey.  I'm not perfect but without a shadow of a doubt I can finally say I do love what I see in the mirror.  I'm proud of myself.  I'm proud of my Husband for never giving up on me, because it hasn't always been easy.  I'm proud of our love and how much we have overcome together in our almost 10 years together.  I'm falling more in love with him every day and that right there in itself makes all of this the best decision I've ever made for myself, my marriage, and my future.

Dear Lora,

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.  I believe in the power of a photograph and scrolling through our gallery brings tears to my eyes.  I know you know how important these are to me, to us, but you’ll never know just how much they mean.  There are no words.  What I feel looking through our final gallery is something I’ll never truly be able to express properly.  You are a gift to this world with your heart and your talent.  I’m grateful our paths crossed on this life journey because I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather have document this chapter in our lives. We are truly grateful and could not be happier with our photographs that will now be plastered throughout our cozy little home. Thank you!
— Emma, Shaun, and Riley

session details:

Outfits In Home



Outfits Outdoors

Emma (part 1 in jeans): Jeans | Top

Emma (part 2 in dress):  White Dress

Shaun:  Shirt

Riley:  Dress  

Hair by Alyssa Rowlett

Makeup by Haely Wiss

Photography by Lora Grady Photography