Here on BGG2WL, y’all have told me the “awesome” diets y’all have heard about. The “All Grapefruit Everything” diet… the “All Mashed Potato Everything” diet… the “All Spongebob Everything” diet… I hear y’all…

…but nothing is better than The Photoshop Diet. Allow me to explain.

While I was losing the bulk of the 150lbs I lost, I often wondered what my body would look like once I’d arrived at my “final destination.” Really, I wondered what my “final destination” would truly be, to be honest.

Serena Williams – one of my fit idols, with or without The Photoshop Diet: even at the height of fitness, she had her face “made up,” her tummy tucked, her booty lifted and shaped as well as cellulite (and muscle!?) airbrushed out.

And then, I started to question why my final destination was what I’d set it out to be. I mean, make no mistake about it – my body is a temple that I have the distinct honor and opportunity to rebuild, and that’s how I approach it. But the decisions I make in regard to what it looks like once the rebuilding process winds down to its final moments also become a set of standards to which I hold myself. I can’t have an 18-inch waist (which is actually what my toddler measures right now… yes.) and a 40-inch booty. It just… it just ain’t sensible.

…but that’s what we’re fed every day. Every single day. Women with insanely tiny waists and much larger hips. We’re fed “curves” – women with extremely low body fat percentages whose waists are so much smaller than their hips, that you can’t help but wonder what diet they’re on.

I’m here to tell you. They’re on The Damn Photoshop Diet.

Skin… nipped and tucked. Booties… lifted. Make-up… applied with the brush tool. Apparently… we’re so disgusted by the human body that we need altered views of it in order to survive every day. Why does Serena not have a stomach?

Kourtney Kardashian, after giving birth to her first child

Apparently… we’re so disgusted by a woman’s body directly after she gives birth to her first-born, that we haphazardly just drag that “erase tool” across her post-pregnancy belly… like no one would notice that giant space in between her left arm and her baby (in the after pic), and no one would recognize that her post-baby belly used to rest there. No first-time mother would hold her child like that.

Retouch notes: forehead filled out, hair thickened, cheeks lifted, chin lifted, breasts enlarged and filled, arms made more muscular, stomach shrunk, lower back/upper booty area toned, butt cheeks lifted, calf shaped, ankles on left leg toned. From heiesuke.com; click to view larger comparison.

See, a while back, I had a conversation with a magazine columnist and we had a long, hard talk about magazines and their habit of not showcasing enough of reality on their pages… and I cannot lie. What I was told was profound, frustrating and realistic:

If magazines sold you reality, they’d never make money. You go to magazines for fantasy – beautiful clothes, beautiful shoes, stories that are so amazing that you wish they were you, beautiful scenery and, unfortunately, bodies that are enviable. People are just more likely to buy something that’ll inspire them than they are to buy something that they can – and do – see every day.

Though I paraphrased it a bit, the nuts and bolts of what she said is still there. If the only image I’ve ever seen of the body I want to have is in the magazines and that’s what I’m aspiring toward, am I literally focusing my efforts on a fantasy?

Back fat removed, cellulite erased, booty lifted, face cleaned up, thighs CREATED OUT OF THIN AIR. No, LOOK at them - they look like two blocks of straight brown pillars.

See, it’s easy to allow myself to get caught up in the foolishness of “thinspiration” and “thickspiration,” but what about “fitspiration?” That’s not something you’re going to see in the magazines… because that requires work. Work isn’t “fantasy-like” enough for all that.

I’m not going to allow myself to be caught up in the swirl of imagery of women who’ve had 4 kids and 40lbs erased from their bodies. If magazines and media are meant to sell me a fantasy, and they genuinely believe that’s what it takes to get my money… why would I aspire toward looking like a fantasy? Something that is so rare, apparently, that the only way that even their own models can achieve that look is through The Photoshop Diet?

I’m over it. The strangest thing about it, though? I’ve said before:

The amount of stock we put in this is crazy to me. I’ll even fire a few shots – some of the booties that I’ve seen women claim to want to protect… could use a lot of work. No one seems to notice that the booties belonging to these video and magazine girls don’t have creases… or dimples… or clumps of fat. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to denigrate anyone, here. I’m trying to understand why we would cling to a misconception of what a “great booty” truly is, to use as an excuse to not put in work. Three particular things can actually enhance the booty we all have: 1) decreasing the “spare tire effect” around the tummy actually increases the slope from the back to the booty; 2) decreasing the thigh fat increases the curve in the booty; 3) squatting, lunching and hopping for your life actually picks up your cheeks. But for some reason, we’d rather believe that proper booty shaping comes from being cornfed and allergic to the gym. I mean, I could assume that it’s simply because we don’t want to put in work… but that’s nothing new.

How does this affect our body image? How does this affect the way we look at ourselves? How does this affect the way we treat ourselves? Not even the women we see in the magazines have these ideal bodies… they have the same problems we have. If we’re clinging to these bodies (and booties) in the hopes that we’ll someday look like women who don’t even look like this… all the while, health problems are piling on? It’s a lose-lose situation.

Look how many booty lifts took place on seemingly normal women with figures we see every day. Serena, even in all her fit glory, even had to be “modified.” Look how much cellulite had to be erased from thighs. Look at the arm adjustments, breast lifts, forehead and face adjustments… maybe its time to let these fantasies go.

When we tell each other that we’re beautiful, that’s true. It might not be the kind of beautiful that attracts everyone, but as long as you have a happy and healthy perception of yourself, what difference does that make? Besides, there’s no better feeling than loving and being happy with yourself (and being strong enough to make changes for yourself in order to make yourself better). It’s a feeling that emanates and causes you to glow… and that glow is far more attractive than any booty could ever be. For real.