1990- Age 10 put on my first diet from my mom and grandma starting 30yrs of yo-yo dieting and my belief no one would love me if I stayed fat. Probably weighed about 160 at this point.
1996- Age 16 I found out that I'm 7 months pregnant. The baby ended up coming early in Dec. The Dr messed up and took out my bladder with forceps instead of the babies head. Requiring emergency surgery #1. The new bladder wasn’t as good as my original, causing me to wear a pad everyday for the rest of my remaining life.
1999- Age 19 after 3 months of none stop bleeding the Dr does some test and a pap test to realised I have cervical cancer and require surgery #2
2001 Age 21 ovarian cancer requires another surgery, surgery #3 and a partial hysterectomy. Making my dreams of being a mom to another child slim to nil chance.
2006- Age 26 go to college and get my business management diploma
2007- Age 27 Gastric bypass in Michigan @350pds surgery #4
2009 Age 29 surgery #5 gallbladder removed due to fast massive weight loss.
2010 Age 30 Start fertility treatments, get pregnant with Jayden who dies at 6 months.
2011 Age 31 do IVF @5k and take 3 treatments before we get a positive test result with Riley. Gained a whole bunch of weight as I was terrified this whole pregnancy. During labour my heart stops from the result of the epidural and I get a massive migraine leaving me unable to speak or see for the remainder of labour. Riley is finally born and is healthy and I recover.
2012 Age 32 my mom dies unexpectedly
2012 Age 32 I decided I've gained too much weight back and Im not healthy or happy so I go to St joes to go back thru the bariatric program for RNY to DS conversion surgery. It's such a high risk surgery they do it in 2 surgeries.
2012 Aug 12th Age 32 I have part 1 of RNY to DS surgery. Surgery #6 seems to be successful.
2012 Aug 26th, Im feeling really sick and in pain so hubby drives me to Hamilton from Niagara falls. My temp is 103 and they take me for an ultrasound and find fluid around my organs that shouldn’t be there. Come to find out my stomach acid is leaking into my stomach cavity and the acid was damaging my organs. My body was shutting down. This is the first time my husband is told it doesn’t look good and you should probably know her final wishes. Rush surgery #7 to repair the holes in my stomach. Off to floor 6 I go. 2 days later my fever is even higher and I’m barely conscious. My husband was called and advised to come say goodbye. He makes the drive from Niagara to Hamilton and when he arrives he's notified that they are going to try 1 more surgery. Surgery #8 They put a stent into my stomach to block the holes so acid can't escape. My heart stops during surgery and I am reciprocated and my lung has collapsed. What was supposed to be an hr procedure is 4 hrs and my husband not given any updates during this time assumes I am dead. I manage somehow to make it through, bruised and beat up everywhere. I go back to my room with a jp stomach drain, lung drain and the stent in. I am still not conscious. I’m NPO nothing by mouth) with the stent. Now they decide I need a feeding tube inserted in my intestine colon connection so my stomach is left dry and to heal. Off to surgery #9, this time I come back with a JP drain, lung drain, stent and feeding tube.
This time 2 weeks go by and they start thinking of sending me home. Miraculously my body is somewhat recuperating. The stent is working. My fever has broken and my body has started absorbing some nutrients. The day before they are going to release me my feeding tube stops working. They try flushing it and moving it and still wont flow in. The machine they need to replace the feeding tube is broken and unknown eta on repair. So I wait and in the meantime not getting any nutrients again because there is still nothing in my mouth and now nothing by feeding tube. Another week goes by and we are in Oct now the machine has been fixed and a new feeding tube has been put in (surgery #10). All this is the name of weight loss. I’m finally going home a week before Halloween. I still have the stent, jp drain and feeding tube. The lung drain has been removed. I have a nurse from St Elizabeth coming in everyday to check the feeds, wounds, jp drain and outputs. She also weighs me and we find out I've lost 50 pds yay right after all that’s the goal. I’m so weak and all my muscles feel like pudding at this point from lying for so long. Im home and mending and spending time with my kids especially my 2yr old who missed me the most. Many trips back and forth to st joes over the next coming months
2013 March age 33 I am finally drain and stent free and down 75 pds.
2013 May age 33 I realize how grateful I am about the people coming to the house to take care of me. I go back to school for my 2nd diploma for PSW and for the next 8yrs work as a psw to pay back how thankful I was.
Over the next few years its pretty uneventful. I go to therapy work on loving myself and how I’m an emotional eater its not that I have no willpower which is whats ive heard all my life. I go to the gym regularly but the excess skin is really bothering me. I have body dysphoria and only see the 350pd girl in the mirror and pictures.
2015 age 35 I started contacting plastic surgeons in Ontario and everyone of them said I had to weigh 150 or less. If you remember my story though I was younger then 10 since I weighed this much so pretty much thought it was impossible and put that dream aside.
Covid and stuff happened
2022 Jan age 42 I started researching plastic surgery again cause I just wasn’t happy with myself. I found Florida, Alabama, Punta Cana and Mexico all had DRs that were more than happy to operate on me so I did my virtual consults.
2022 May age 42 my dad dies who is a huge influence in my life and since i'm an only child it leaves just me.
2022 July 28th surgery #11 I drove to Alabama to have surgery. I had a tummy tuck, liposuction, breast lift and breast implants. Best 24k I have ever spent. Healing is going well so we decide we are going to head back to Canada after 2 weeks. We get back to Canada and a week later because of course my surgeries are always good stories lol. MY stomach incision opens right up and I have a fist size incision where you can see inside my stomach, It was so gross . Fly back to Alabama for surgery #12 to repair it. Luckily it held and ended up healing with no other complications.
2023 Jan age 43 I enter school for my 3rd diploma. I will be graduating next year as a Practical nurse.
2023 Aug age 43 some days I still see a 350pd girl staring back at me, especially when I wear a bikini to the beach and see my huge thighs staring back. I tell her it's ok if that’s who you are or what you see because you are amazing. You never gave up and you fought like hell thru a lot of things other people would have thrown in the towel. Instead you turned it around and made it a lesson to improve your life. I love my body today, who knows what tomorrow will bring. When doing the photos Jennifer asked me if I want my scares hidden and I said Hell no they made me who I am everyone of them.
Also a happy note from my photo shoot with Jennifer I stopped wearing blue eye shadow that I really loved wearing because some stranger someday commented that I look like Mimi from the Drew Carey show that was on. If you’ve never seen the show she is a bbw who wears excessive makeup, since that day I stopped wearing eye shadow and just did eyeliner. At the photo shoot I had my makeup done and when I looked in the mirror I saw the blue eye shadow and I SAW MIMI staring at me. I started to panic but I put my faith in Jennifer that I wouldn’t look like a clown and that it was OK. You know what it was OK and since I've wore bold bright eye shadow everyday……..you want to know why? Because I LOVE and I love my eyes when I wear it and that is good enough for me. At this time there is no plans for surgery #13 lol. But who knows what the future holds.
Love loud and lots,
The Belly Love - The Perfect Canvas project is all about the celebration of all bodies, no matter who inhabits them or how they function. Bellies specifically are so often shamed into hiding, people and systems trying to fit them into a perfectly white, flat and unblemished mold - and if you are anything less, keep it all under wraps.
I'm here to say that, as someone else with a bloated, sometimes distended belly with tons of hair myself, that they've got it all wrong. Your belly supports you everyday, to keep you living and breathing. And even if it doesn't, due to any matter of physical (or even mental) disability, your belly tries its best to keep you happy and healthy despite everything it's been through with you. It deserves to be celebrated for its every detail, from the hair around your belly button to the way it spills out over your hips, or breathes around your c-section scar.
The belly project is all about this - celebrating your belly for all it does for you and meeting it where it's at. Self love is never easy, but being able to beautify an area that is so often chastised and scrutinized for all our lives is one way of taking that first step. After so much turmoil and shame, it should get its flowers too. But maybe just for this time, they'll be painted instead of given in a vase
- Sam McGowan
After being separated from my authentic
self, for quite some time, I have spent the
last 1744 days reconnecting.
1 day at a time, 1 step at a time, letting go,
trusting the process and asking for help!
My name is Terra, and I am a recovering
I choose not to be anonymous, in hopes
that my story might help others crack open
that door, to a new beginning. ( A life lived
without Alcohol. )
We all have a unique story, and it took me
many failed attempts on my own before I
was desperate enough to reach out and ask
for some help.
I have no control over Alcohol, I finally
could admit I had a problem! I always
thought that an alcoholic had to be
someone who drank everyday, someone
who has lost their job, their license, ect.
I couldn't identify with those qualifications, and this is 1 reason that had
kept me sick. Not realizing that the path I
was on would surely lead me in that
A progressive disease I am told.
But whenever I had a drink or 2 , I found it
very difficult to stop at that. And if I did
manage to stop there, I was very irritable
I was always an all or nothing type drinker.
It had a hold on me, and I had real difficulty
living in the moment.
I rarely felt content.
Waiting for the weekend so I could let
loose and be free from my thoughts, and
my responsibilities for a while.
I was living my life on repeat, on the same
rollercoaster that I couldn't get off.
Today my life is beyond my dreams. My
heart is full, self love is now something I
practice daily. The opportunities that are
arriving are refreshing and readily accepted.
I can breath! I can move with ease, knowing
where I'm supposed to be. I feel apart of my
community, I show up for my family and
friends and I am accountable. My life has
done a 180. I'm so grateful. My spirituality is
growing and getting stronger! I can look in
the mirror now and tell myself I am loved.
If you are struggling, please reach out. Ask
for help, you are worth it.
Having had done this incredible experience
with Jennifer, I now feel even closer to my
higher power, Mother Nature.
Staying grounded is continuous process
that I am willing to put my time into these
days. Thank you Jennifer for all your kind
affirmations, guidance, love and
acceptance sharing part of my story with
#recovery #selflove #addiction #alcoholism #AA #healing #photography #photographer #mentalhealthmatters
What we really have to do is stop looking for approval and validation from others. And I'm not saying this to sound like a jerk and I'm not saying it because I'm upset I'm saying it because it's true.
We need to learn how to validate ourselves. It's sad, of course we all want validation from others. But to be honest we're not always going to get that. And it's not because people are coming from a bad place it's because other people have other things going on in their lives.
And the one thing I've learned over the last few years is not everybody has the same heart and mind and thoughts as you do. We want others to treat us how we would treat them but that's just not always going to happen. And I don't mean this from a negative point of view I mean it from a reality point of view.
We can do good for others until we're blue in the face and the reality is we might not always get that back. And we have to be okay with that. We have to keep doing these good things for others not for what they're going to give back for us but for what it feels like for us to give that to them.
It's a really hard thing to digest. Trust me I know this. But never stop being you, because you're not getting validation from others. It's going to come back around. It really is. Karma is a real thing.
I know some people don't believe it but it really is. Just keep putting good out into the universe and into the world and keep following your path.
Every single person on the face of this Earth has a purpose. We all fit into a special spot that was created just for us ❤️
Everyone always thinks it is not going to happen to them, at least they hope it never will. I always thought the same thing until one night I was in the shower and found a lump in my left breast. I honestly wasn’t worried at first because I have no family history. I just thought it was a cyst and so did my family doctor. He sent me for a mammogram and from that determined I needed a biopsy. Then I started to worry. After a couple long weeks I got the dreaded news that no one ever wants to hear. I have breast cancer.
Due to no family history they recommend I have a double lumpectomy and some lymph nodes removed. After a few weeks of healing and a couple complications I started 7 weeks of radiation at the Walker Cancer Clinic. Radiation is exhausting and resulted in third degree burns to my breast.
They sent my tumors off for testing and they came back as a triple negative breast cancer so I started genetic testing. I have waited 6 months for the results and today I found out they came back negative!!! This means I get to keep my boobies and my children and siblings do not need to be tested. This makes me extremely happy.
I write this to tell you my journey and to make you aware to do self checks. If I had not caught this when I did it would have been a very different outcome.
I always made sure to stay positive and to try and keep a smile on my face. It is amazing what a positive mind can do.
I did this photo shoot to document this time in my life and at the time these were taken I wasn’t sure if a double mastectomy was in my future. I wanted to just feel like myself and feel beautiful again after all I have been through.
Cancer affects everyone around you, your family, friends and coworkers. I have honestly had the most amazing support system. I want to thank everyone from my daughter’s hockey team, my entire family, all my friends and all the wonderful staff at the Walker Cancer Clinic. You all sure do know how to make a girl feel loved <3
When I first saw Jen advertising the body positivity shoot I knew I had to do it. I have and continue to struggle on and off with body image and I knew that I would be pushed outside of my comfort zone. However I deserve to love the body I am in. When I arrived at the studio I was warmly greeted and instantly felt like a part of the Lady Luck family, warm smiles, warm hearts and a cute little feathered buddy.
At first, it was difficult to choose the part of my body to highlight, I mean, who only dislikes one part of their body. Once I decided on my stomach, I continued to be met with positivity and encouragement to be myself and be proud of who I am. I really wanted my positive body image (that comes and goes) to impact others who struggle with their body image. Having my makeup done professionally was the cherry on top of the sundae allowing me to feel so beautiful.
My body is far from the perfect beauty standards but it’s the perfect body for me. I am really happy with how my pictures turned out and I encourage you, if you are thinking about doing this, DO IT!
Women’s bodies are complicated. We are our own worst enemies.
We can look at another woman and wish we had her “perfect” body, while the owner/occupant of that body secretly hates her __________ (fill in the blank).
We all have our thing. Almost every woman I know hates at least one part of her body.
For me it was my belly for years. After having two babies 18 months apart, I still looked pregnant and would be crushed when someone exclaimed “Oh! You’re pregnant again!” My responses would vary depending on how I felt that day. Sometimes it was a polite smile-not worth the conversation and sometimes it ended in tears-mine. But over time, I’ve begun to love my belly. It helped carry two babies, full term. Resulting in two healthy babies.
So for me, my least loved body part isn’t the most common reply to this question.
For me……it’s my knees.
Yup! My knees. What a silly part to be ashamed of. To hide. And hide I did.
I went almost ten years without wearing shorts because I despised my knees.
Almost ten brutal hot and humid Ontario summers spent in jeans or capris pants.
Sitting on the sidelines of many fun summer activities, family outings.
Don’t even get me started on wearing a bathing suit.
Years of being uncomfortable. Hot. Sweaty. Hiding.
But hiding from what?
What I imagined others would say about my knees. How stupid!
I’ve come to a few realizations after consuming A LOT of personal development books and podcasts.
1) What others think about me is none of my business.
2)They’re not even thinking about you!
3)I am grateful for my healthy body as it is now.
Gratitude has helped me focus on all the things I can do with my knees.
I can walk up and down stairs, hike, bike, swim, play tennis, volleyball and other sports I enjoy. My knees are healthy and strong……for now.
A recent diagnosis of Muscular Dystrophy has reinforced my gratitude for my current state of health. No one knows what the future holds and one day I may be unable to use my knees as I do now.
So however I think my knees look….they work. And they work well.
So, bring on the summer heat. Bring on the shorts!
Hi I am Vanessa Hurst! I am an International Clairvoyant Medium, Artist, Teacher, Life Coach, Paranormal Investigator, T.V & Radio personality. I dedicate my life to reading and teaching others how to find their purpose while navigating them through trials and tribulations that life throws on their path. Life is difficult and sometimes having even smallest light, love, and laughter, lighting your way can make that difference in your next steps! When I booked this photo shoot I felt depleted, stalled, looking for my light that life had hid under a bushel. I was filtering grief of my sister’s passing, trying to re-brand, feeling my age, basically everything all at once. Thank you Lady Luck from the bottom of my heart for showing me my light again and reminding me “who the hell I am!”
Just like the title says, I meet the most INCREDIBLE people, thanks to Lady Luck. Words can not express how grateful I am!
This incredible human came to see me for some headshots a few weeks ago.
We had a GREAT time.
Having your photos taken can sometimes be stressful. So I like to make sure the experience is a SUPER FUN one!
At first Leela was unsure of how to feel about having her photos taken. This is a very common feeling for most of my clients. And boy do I ever understand this feeling.
After receiving her preview gallery, Leela sent me this:
"There are so many good photos - something I have NEVER said before about photos of me!"
I jumped out of my chair and did a happy dance after reading this. I can not tell you how happy this made me! :D
MAN I LOVE what I do!
I really wanted to take the opportunity to share with you all, more about this incredible woman and what she does, so I asked her to send me her bio so I could do just that!
Here is her bio and some of the photos we took on our day together!
Leela was born into a family that believed everyone needed to do their best to make the world a better place for all. She has depended on the wisdom of those ancestors and more recent mentors to develop a practice based on valuing each person's cultural and social wealth, honoring the earth on which we live, and working to acknowledge and rectify past wrongs committed in this world.
She has lived a life between cultures and countries, one of the few multiracial children born in 1960’s London (UK). She was taught she had a duty to work for justice and use what privilege she has for good. Leela immigrated with her family to Ontario in the 1970’s when “Where are you from” was one of the most common questions.
For the past thirty years, she has worked on issues of equity and inclusion at universities in Canada and the United States. In March 2023, she was excited and privileged to be starting a new chapter with the opening of her independent consulting business. She looks forward to partnering with new people and institutions seeking to move their organizations beyond buzzwords to a holistic re-examination of their place in Canada today. It will require hard work, but in the words of Arundhati Roy “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
She loves to see these values reflected in her four children, now ages 22 through 29.
For more information: https://lmrconsulting.ca/
Thank you so much Leela for trusting me to do your photos for you! I am so glad I had the opportunity to spend time with you and I am so happy you like your photos!
I never thought I would be ready to participate in a project like this. The thing is, I don’t always love the skin that I’m in. Doing these photos, participating in Jen’s very important and potentially life altering project, was a spur of the moment decision that I almost backed out of. I am very glad that I didn’t. At the same time, I don’t see myself this way all of the time. After a lifetime of putting this body down, acceptance is beyond difficult.
I have found it healing while on my journey recovering from depression to be a part of this project. When suffering from mental illness my struggle to turn self hate into self acceptance has been one of the largest battles I've faced, once I reached a point where I could function well enough to even consider doing so. I found that after years of unbearable depression that left me feeling nonhuman, immobile, at the bottom of a spiral that I felt had no end until I hit it and was literally unable to move or think or consider any options or ways to get out or make the feelings, or lack thereof, stop. After years of back and forth and fighting with my own mind, then came the anxiety.
Then came the neurotic thinking about what others thought of me. And as I was feeling a little bit better and trying to recover from the darkest place on earth, I couldn't help but worry constantly about what was going on around me. Why wouldn’t I hate myself when I constantly formulated terrible stories about how the world sees me?Fast forward many years. Feeling better feels amazing. It also causes guilt. Why wouldn’t I be working again if I’m feeling better? When will I be fully functioning?
My family and friends are very loving when I express these concerns and tell me that this is all part of my recovery. But the stigma in society is there. “What do you do?” is a common question when meeting people and it is a loaded one for me. I often make a joke and hope they don’t persist but if it’s someone I want to meet again then my story usually comes out to some degree. I suppose it helps me weed out those individuals who are judgmental. Not caring what people think is something I still need to learn, in all regards.
And now, here I am posing for Jen. For myself. I look at these photos and I see the beauty of self acceptance. I wouldn't have been able to even entertain the idea of doing them, even just for myself, without it. My body bears the scars of a lifelong desire for an unattainable standard of beauty. The scars, stretch marks, and sagging skin are all the result of trying to attain an idea of perfection that I decided on back in grade nine. Standards I set when I was tired of being bullied about my weight and began my first battle with depression, body image and eating issues.
I have to credit self acceptance (and the help and kindness of innumerable professionals, friends and family) for the last couple of years of my life where I have made new friends and become so much less isolated. I certainly don’t accept everything. I am more accepting on some days, less on others. I accept that this body keeps me going. I’ve spent far too many years hating it, being angry with it for not living up to my standards. I try everyday not to do that. I try everyday to forget about those standards that are so very well ingrained. For so many years. A lifetime. Today, I am so happy to say, although I may not always fall into the category of “loving the skin I’m in”, I accept it and am happy with it more often than not. And that is probably the most monumental statement I have ever made.
Tell Us Your Story!
These stories belong to the beautiful people who have came in for a Lady Luck experience.