HEALTHY LIVING
09/15/2015 07:00 am ET Updated Sep 15, 2015

One Woman Shows The Unretouched Reality Of Major Weight Loss (NSFW)

"Underneath the layers of clothing and behind closed doors, quite a different reality exists."

Julia Kozerski

When Julia Kozerski lost half her body weight while a photography student at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, dropping from 338 pounds to 178 pounds, she turned the camera on herself.

"It didn't start as a 'project' per se," she told The Huffington Post. Instead, Kozerski was trying to capture for herself the physical and mental struggles tied with body image and weight loss. Her nude self-portraits include close-up shots of Kozerski's post-weight loss skin and stretch marks, as well of a portrait of the artist in her wedding dress, now several sizes too big.

"I was at nearly 100 pounds lost before I let another person see my images and, even then, I released them only to my husband and my fellow classmates," she said. "Eventually I realized that the story I was telling had a greater, more universal message and I decided that the photographs were best shown openly in public."

The strikingly candid photo series, entitled "Half," explores Kozerski's battles with food, self-control, and self-image, she wrote on her website. The series gave Kozerski a new outlook on beauty, the media's treatment of weight loss and a refreshing perspective on the idea of "normal." As she wrote in her artist statement for Half:

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.  

Kozerski said the project will be a success if other people see her photographs and realize that they are not alone in their body image struggles. 

"We are all 'flawed' in some way," she said. "But if you know that you are not alone and that there is no 'normal' -- no 'right' or 'wrong' -- you can live openly and freely."

Amen to that. 

See Kozerski's photo series, Half, below and on her website

  • Julia Kozerski
  • Julia Kozerski
  • Julia Kozerski
  • Julia Kozerski
  • Julia Kozerski
  • Julia Kozerski
  • Julia Kozerski
  • Julia Kozerski
  • Julia Kozerski
  • Julia Kozerski
  • Julia Kozerski
  • Julia Kozerski
  • Julia Kozerski
  • Julia Kozerski
  • Julia Kozerski

Do you have your own story about the realities of body image after weight loss that you want to share? What do you wish people knew about your "before and after?" Email success.stories@huffingtonpost.com.

Also on HuffPost:

PHOTO GALLERIES
Body Image For Men

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