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How Boudoir Photos Helped Me See My Own Beauty

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When I was in college, I knew I was insecure about my body. It was just how I was. My body was gross and my enemy. It was everything wrong with me. What I didn’t realize was that I actually had body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). I never wanted to look in the mirror because I was afraid of what I might see. Most times I wouldn’t recognize myself, and other times, I’d focus in on my zits and subtle wrinkles. All I wanted to do was hide.

My first response when I was feeling this way was to cover up—so I’d put on sweatpants and an oversized hooded sweatshirt. It was my comfort zone, my temporary relief. I just wanted to clothes I could drown in, while forgetting that I even had a body. I didn’t want to squeeze into my favorite pair of fitted jeans. And the elastic waist in my sweatpants gave me the freedom to eat and eat, hoping to fill up my feelings of emptiness.

Now 30, and a fitness expert, I can honestly say BDD never goes away. It’s always there to some degree. But you can become better at understanding your triggers and how to respond to them. You’re also able to love aspects of you that don’t involve your body at all. You fall in love with your willpower, your sense of humor, your ability to be a good friend. The parts of you that don’t wrinkle or get grey, but actually get more defined and distinguished as the years go on.


_above & top: Kit gives us a peek at the gorgeous photos from her shoot.  _

I still struggle with the disorder to this day. Just recently, I found myself again wanting to live in my sweatpants, pull a hoodie over my head, and disappear. I would wake up and put my hands on my cheeks to see if they felt puffier. And while I didn’t at age 18 or 20, at 30, I recognized the pattern. My body was taking the blame for deeper issues that I refused to address. But I decided to put my sweatpants away and do something out of the ordinary.

Instead of hiding my body, I felt it was time to pay tribute to it. Honor it for all the times I beat it up—when someone said I was beautiful and I shook my head in disbelief or when I’ve denied myself the last bite despite being hungry. So after I filled myself with leftover stuffing from Thanksgiving, I had boudoir photos taken. You know, the kind in which it’s just you and a camera, in lingerie or possibly naked. I didn’t get my hair done, put a lot of makeup on, or even get a spray tan—I didn’t want anything to hide me.

When the photographer arrived at my house, all I could think was how I wanted her to show me my beauty. I wanted the pictures to reflect the part of me I was neglecting to see. My heart was pounding during the shoot, and I felt myself wanting to stop and slide back into my sweats. And maybe my 20-year-old self would have, but my 30-year-old self yearned for understanding. Yearned to know a deeper truth. So I stayed, lying still and completely vulnerable on my bed.

With every click of the camera, I started to relax. I could feel myself slowly coming into my body. It felt like the lens of the camera could see right through me and I had no choice but to just be. By the very last click, I felt alive. I felt sexy. I felt empowered. And suddenly, I felt more beautiful than I ever had in my entire life.

Kit Rich is Los Angeles-based fitness trainer with endless exercise and nutritional know-how. Hollywood's hottest stars are addicted to Kit's unique, multi-disciplined approach that combines cardio, yoga, Pilates, and weight training. Kit's clients are immediately taken by her funny and honest approach to health and fitness. She treats her clients as she treats herself, "with a hard challenge, sensibility, sensitively, and a good laugh." Follow Kit on Twitter @kitrichfitness.