julia-weight-loss-carousle

LIFE AFTER EXTREME WEIGHT LOSS

Julia Kozerski lost over 160 pounds (73 kilograms) – half her weight – in just one year. But her extreme weight loss was not the positive, triumphant experience the media tends to portray it as.

After getting married in 2009, Julia made the decision to lose weight and through simple lifestyle and nutrition changes, completely transformed her body.

A photography student, she documented her physical and emotional journey in a series of confronting but honest pictures and eventually published her work online.

 

All images by Julia Kozerski via her website: juliakozerski.com.
 

She explains on her website:

“Both in front of the lens and not, I struggled to come to terms with my changing body. As the weight came off, the shape of my body shifted dramatically and the monumental task of maintaining a well-fitting wardrobe ensued.

“I felt lost, not understanding the person looking back at me in the mirror. My physique was always in a state of flux and, in an attempt to strike a balance between how I felt and how I looked, I ventured out to stores on a daily basis, piling my arms full of clothing of all shapes and sizes.”

Julia admits that losing all that weight was not a psychologically easy process, noting that her experience was very different to how the media often presents cases of extreme weight loss like hers. Even after she’d reached her ‘ideal’ weight, she didn’t feel like the ‘perfect’ person she expected she would.

“We all have at least one attribute about ourselves that causes us to be self conscious; something that causes us to feel as if we are not “normal.” For myself and countless others, our weight is a constant source of such insecurity.

“While I genuinely believed that my hard work and dedication would transform me into that “perfect” person of my dreams, the reality of what has resulted is quite the opposite.

“My experience contradicts what the media tends to portray. While it is easy to celebrate and appreciate the dramatic physical results of such an endeavor, underneath the layers of clothing and behind closed doors, quite a different reality exists.”

People who lose a significant amount of weight are often left with excess folds of skin – Julia is no exception. In a revealing interview with The Guardian, she confesses that while she ‘hates’ the skin, it serves as a strong reminder of how she once lived.

“I hate the skin… I don’t want to fill it back up… [But] this is where I came from, it’s the baggage to show I’m not trying to be a model.”

A brave – and inspiring – woman. 

 

You can visit Julia Kozerski’s website to view all of her photographs and writings.

Read her story at The Guardian here.

 

 

29 Comments

  • Reply December 11, 2012

    moorie

    She is a young woman who would do well to investigate cosmetic surgery. The skin does not just automatically shrink back after such a dramatic weight loss but good things can be achieved by going under the knife. Good on her for losing the weight in the first place….

    • Reply December 11, 2012

      Jackie

      No she should not investigate surgery, we should start telling fat women their bodies are beautiful, and encourage health at any size rather than weightloss with disappointment and supporting a corrupt industry.

      • Reply January 21, 2013

        good on her

        No, No, No! We should be educating from an early age not to get fat in the first place, It is not beautiful being morbidly obese as she was. It’s just become normalised with so many fat people shuffling about.
        We need home economics back in the class room. I don’t know anyone that honestly is happy about being morbidly obese. I couldn’t even tell what part of her body the last pic was of. She needs surgery. Good on her, it must cost a fortune to get so fat, so the cost of surgery would be less than getting morbidly obese again.

    • Reply December 12, 2012

      Cindy

      You are right, and in countries like Canada the surgery is free for residents. It is a health issue to have the loose skin. I have worked in a day surgery where they did this type of surgery. The results are amazing, and to see the women happy and smiling because they were rewarded with a lovely body after all the work they did losing the weight. It is a good thing and a right thing to do.

  • Reply December 11, 2012

    Wendy Green

    One thing is for sure, Julia is an excellent photographer! And I’m afraid I have to disagree with Moorie, surgery would just set Julia up for more pain and heartache. She is beautiful as she is.

    • Reply December 14, 2012

      gardnerm

      Please explain! I have a friend who has had the surgery and she has a new lease on life and I am 100% sure I would feel amazing and more comfortable in clothing that fits well, instead of buying jeans to fit the extra skin in around the stomach and then them being extremely baggy around the legs, or pouring you boobs into a bra and they still wobble and having to always wear sleeves, not to mention the cost of specially designed clothes, oh and then there is the Excoriation under your boobs and stomach apron

  • Reply December 11, 2012

    RobynMaire

    Wow…that is really confronting. She looks so unhappy. And where is her fab new life?

  • Reply December 11, 2012

    Simone

    The surgery is quite major and isn’t always the fix you’d assume. We need more education on that. There is only so much skin you can remove before blood supply becomes an issue.

  • Reply December 11, 2012

    FerrylBerryl

    Radical, painful, expensive surgery is a ‘good thing’ is it Moorie? What if she’s a bit more nuanced a person than the rest of us mugs who prescribe to a uniform aesthetic?

  • Reply December 11, 2012

    neeter

    I too have lost a large amount of weight and when I got to my goal, instead of being overjoyed and gaining the super powers of thin people, I got diagnosed with depression. It is now six years later, and I am still on medication, back to my former obesity. Functional though, paying my taxes, working hard and enjoying my life. My heart goes out to all the people funding the weight loss industry with their insecurity fuelled motivation.

  • Reply December 11, 2012

    Miranda Muer

    Well done Julia and sorry to hear of your unhappiness post your weightloss. You could take comfort in the fact that your insides are far healthier than when you were dragging around an extra 73kg. Your heart, lungs, liver kidney and gut as well as your bones are under far less pressure and stress and the rewards for that will be with you for a much longer life. It’s still saddening to hear that “image” still plays a big part in one’s psysological health and well being. I agree with Wendy don’t go down the surgery path, at least not right away. it’s a big stress on your body to cope with that surgery and is a very high risk of complications. Take some time for adjustment to your new self and you may be surprised. You may come to accept you are beautiful just as you are.

  • Reply December 11, 2012

    Lisa N

    I have lost 25 kg over the last 2 years. I am still finding it strange in many ways, and my head has definitely not caught up to my body in terms of the “new” person that I have become. The thing that bugs me a bit is people saying “you look fantastic” – so my mind says “so what was I before? Awful?” While I do not have the quantity of excess skin that Julia has, I am conscious of bits of my body looking saggy and older than they used to (I have been joking to myself about my “old lady bum”!) I too believe that those saggy bits are part of the journey and have no wish to change them – they are part of me. While I, like everyone, am insecure in my own way, I feel lucky that I have very few hang-ups about my body, and really want to embrace the ageing process, which I can now do in better health. I feel fortunate that my health is now greatly improved (particularly as I have a couple of underlying health conditions, and the weight loss will help them enormously long-term), and hope Julia, that you do too. You are very brave to document this huge change in such a personal way, and I hope it inspires others to know that the end result is bound to be not what you expect, in many ways.

  • Reply December 11, 2012

    Pauline

    What a brave woman, showing us how life really is. Good for you, and here’s hoping the skin does retract somewhat and you’re able to find comfort in who you are. I applaud you!

  • Reply December 11, 2012

    royce

    Time to dump the mirror….
    Take up a sport if you can.

    You are lovely.

  • Reply December 11, 2012

    Natasha

    You are extremely brave and strong showing us these pictures. My heart is breaking for you that you are still not happy in your skin. I am currently your weight now, and still trying to lose another 8 kilos. After having twins, my boobs are also saggy, and my stomach is probably permanently wrinkled – I hate my partner touching it! I wish you all the strength and happines xxx

  • Reply December 11, 2012

    Ranty Pants Cate

    I applaud Julia’s honesty and bravery and congratulate her on improving her health.

  • Reply December 11, 2012

    Nicole

    My belly never recovered after having twins 20 years ago and looks much better fat than slim.
    But Natasha, don’t let it put you off. If your partner is like mine, he loves you and your body for its intrinsic beauty and astonishing strength.
    You are amazing Julia.

  • Reply December 11, 2012

    Irene

    Julia congratulations on losing so much weight, in yourself you have to be feeling a lot healther … I have lost 38kgs with another 20kgs to go, like you my skin looks like your, I’m not letting it upset me because of the health benefits I am feeling. I have been taking myself out in the backyard & sunbaking nude to give myself a bit of colour & it seems to look better … One thing I look great with my colthes on, my man loves me anyway & that’s all that counts, love yourself you have done well :) X

  • Reply December 11, 2012

    Jenna

    I go to the gym with a decent cross section of humanity undressing in front of each other and this woman looks more “normal” than Victoria’s Secret models. This is just what people look like.

  • Reply December 11, 2012

    ro.watson

    Oh the power of pictures, and a personal story. Well done.

  • Reply December 11, 2012

    Yelsel

    Julia..you are an amazing, wonderful,beautiful and caring person. All of this comes not only your photos but the story of your journey. The words ‘weight loss’ have so much more meaning than someone going off and loosing the kilos. For people like you and I the journey from where we were to where we are today is an incredible process.
    Do you know, I lost 50 kilos 18 years ago and my body looked just like yours. For me it was the right thing to do to have a tummy tuck. It certainly didn’t creat the “perfect” body, but I felt comfortable with what I was. It took a while for my head to catch up with the consequences of the weight loss journey, even though my head and my free will made the decision to move the body to a healthier place.
    If it helps you to know, the comfort you feel in your body and your space will increase with time .. look at yourself and see the beautiful person that shines out your eyes! Life is good, love every day and love your life. Best wishes on your journey.

  • Reply December 11, 2012

    alison vigne

    I try hard not to be “fattist” and to understand the many issues behind one’s appearance. Congratulations to Julia for her courage, on all levels.
    Julia mentions shopping for clothes, while trying to come to terms with her new shape. I am rapidly approaching 60 years and trained as a coursettier many years ago. You can create miracles with a good bra and without being constrained in tight corsettes. There are some amazing garments available now – to smooth and support.
    I am a big fan of the art of colour coding too – there is a scheme and style for everyone. So, you can achieve over all confidence on a budget (nearly all my clothes are recycled – but the right colour). Don’t forget the hairdresser and also good shoes. You can look fab not drab regardless of your shape, while being budget conscience. I understand it is not all about appearance and that is not exactly her issue – you can also change your thought patterns. I killed off self induced stress migraines with hypnosis. Enjoy the journey – be kind to yourself.

  • Reply December 11, 2012

    Tara

    I lost 60kgs about ten years ago & have managed to keep it off.
    If I hear one more person say ‘all you need is a bit of toning up at the gym to get rid of that loose skin’, ill SCREAM.
    No, I’ll never wear a bikini, but I feel 1000x better- I can actually get out of bed in the mornings without a bad back & aching knees.
    But it came at a personal loss. I lost my husband, who thought I’d changed, & a bunch of friends who don’t believe I DIDN’T have gastric banding.
    A guy I dated broke up with me by a TEXT that said ‘all that loose skin is gross- you look like an old elephant’.
    So NO, it’s not the miracle cure-all that the industry has us believe. But I appreciate all of my life experiences… Carry on!!

  • Reply December 11, 2012

    Rosie

    Just read the Guardian article in full. God, this woman is honest. And right.
    I kind of feel that some of the other comments have missed the point. It is not about looks, weight, fat or thin.
    It is about us as individuals and how we see ourselves and what our expectations are. It doesn’t make a blind bit of difference whether you are fat, skinny or average. It is our health, our mental health and our self image which is what makes us happy. You do have to look deep though, just like Julia did, and that is the hard bit. We don’t like to see ourselves as greedy, selfish, vain or mean but these things are all there, right next to the amazing, confident, kind generous, happy bits. Extra skin be damned.

  • Reply December 11, 2012

    elli

    Wow! A powerful photo essay! Julia is a brave and incisive artist, great work.
    I’ve been there too, and my skin emptied out in the same way… People would notice my flabby skin and suggest I ‘tone that up at the gym’.Which I tried. Which failed. Youknow why? Because lifting weights at the GYM CAN ONLY TIGHTEN MUSCLE, NOT SKIN. When I finally figured this out, I vowed never to believe the lies I was told by the weightloss and fitness industry.

    • Reply December 14, 2012

      gardnerm

      Right on Elli, it is only people who have never lost a substantial amount of weight whomthink a gym works.

  • Reply December 13, 2012

    gardnerm

    Take it from someone who has lost weight and has loose skin, no amour of gym workouts remove it. Yes she is beautiful but it’s bloody hard work to lose the weight and then you aren’t rewarded with a fab new body, just another reason to dislike the reflection in the mirror, you say she should love herself, throw away the mirror, believe me you know the skin is still there mirror or not, you know when you tuck it into your jeans, or when your exercising and you feel your faduppiters (tuck shop arms) flapping. I remember the first time I really looked at myself after my weight loss, I got in the shower and felt saddness then wrote a poem to cheer myself up, it goes as follows.
    OH WOE IS ME
    Oh! Since losing weight,
    They all say I look great
    Oh sure! In my clothes I look ok,
    But underneath, I look like a Shar Pei.
    Oh the boobs are heading south,
    And all these lines around my mouth.
    Oh the folds of skin above my knees
    The back fat remains, oh woe is me.
    My love handles I have cropped
    And now there’s no bum to drop.
    OH don’t get me wrong for I am pleased
    And with my pushup bra I can tease
    I tell myself it doesn’t matter
    That I look better than when I was fatter,
    Oh! But if there was a Mr Right,
    He might want lovin’ in broad daylight.
    Now I do ten pushups instead of only one,
    Now I like to exercise, it’s fun.
    Now living is fantastic ,
    I only wish my body was molded plastic.
    Oh, my stretch marks and my wrinkles,
    I wish I could iron my birthday suit crinkles.
    Let me say to you this day,
    I wouldn’t have it any other way,
    Oh! I think I just told a fib,
    ‘Cause would change it all if I had a quid.

    Oh and I have put on a lot of what I lost

  • Reply December 13, 2012

    gardnerm

    You go Julia and I understand.

  • Reply December 13, 2012

    ro.watson

    Yoo hoo on Shar Pei motif. See him walk by most days. Oh well~ at least we have skin than can wrinkle.xx

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