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.