Photographing Your Weight Loss Surgery Journey

July 24, 2013

About two years ago I opened a photography business. I always had a love and appreciation for photography. My grandfather’s past time was photography. He took a lot of black and white images and developed the film in a dark room in his house. I loved to be in there with him and watch him work his magic.

As I got older and had a family of my own I loved to be the designated photographer at our family gatherings. It was fun to get candid shots of the kids and group family pictures, but it also ensured I wouldn’t be IN the pictures. As much as I loved photography, I hated getting my picture taken. Seeing me in pictures made my obesity real. I couldn’t look at a picture of myself and tell myself that I wasn’t that big or that it was just a bad picture, it was real and it hurt to see it permanently captured in a photograph.

So as much as I love photography you would think that I had photographed my entire weight loss surgery journey. Funny enough, I did not. I took one official “before” picture, and did not take a single picture until 6 weeks after my surgery.

From that point I would take one picture every few months to compare to the previous. Just as a picture made my obesity real to me, a picture made (and makes) my success real to me.
I really wish that I had documented my entire journey in photographs. From before pictures as I was losing the required 10% to be eligible for surgery, to the morning and day of my surgery, in the hospital, the amount of food that I ate those first few days and weeks post-op, to weekly pictures of my progress. Now that I am more than five years out from surgery I think of how awesome it would be to have all those pictures and have an album of this important event in my life. Weight loss surgery has been life changing. It’s become a very big part of who I am and aside from my few pictures from that first year, I don’t have much of a documentation of that time in my life.

Once the weight came off I started embracing myself in pictures. That is one way I celebrate my success, taking pictures of myself, either in a session with my amazing mentor and photographer friend or self taken photos. I can look at those pictures and think, “Wow, I’ve come a long way.”

So I have a suggestion, from someone who has had weight loss surgery AND from a photographer, PHOTOGRAPH and photograph often! Even if you do not like getting your picture taken, when you are two years out and you are no longer XYZ pounds, or when you are having those days where you feel down on yourself and maybe feel like you are not a strong person, you can look back at those pictures from the last years and SEE your determination, your courage, your strength, right there in front of you; captured history of your accomplishments and how amazing you really are.

Editor's Note: Come Meet Jessica At The OH National Conference! Click here for more information.

Enjoy this beautiful and inspiring video journal of Jessica's journey!



Jessica Mowles Stockton is an 8 year post-op and has been an avid member of ObesityHelp for over 6 years. She is an advocate and a strong supporter of the weight loss surgery community and enjoys photography as one of her hobbies. She has a weight loss surgery support page on Facebook.

Read more of Jessica's articles!