Brooke Birmingham is finally showing off her bikini-clad body in Shape magazine, nearly a year after a similar swimsuit picture of herself failed to get into the publication — but turned her into an Internet sensation.
Birmingham is featured in a photo shoot for Shape’s current January/February issue, which includes a roundtable discussion with her and four other women about life after extreme weight loss.
"It’s completely amazing. There’s no other word that I can describe it," she said Tuesday on TODAY. "It’s more than I thought it would be."
Last year, after Birmingham dropped 172 pounds, the blogger submitted her weight-loss journey to Shape’s website. But she said her success story was rejected because she used a photo of herself in a swimsuit that showed excessive skin around her waist, a reality of weight loss that Birmingham wanted to reveal.
Her experience went viral and soon, she and Shape editor-at-large Bahar Takhtehchian appeared together on TODAY to talk about body image, and reveal an upcoming Shape photo shoot.
Last month, Birmingham wrote about the experience for TODAY.com as part of “2014 Voices," a special series of essays and interviews with the year's newsmakers.
Takhtehchian returned to TODAY with Birmingham on Tuesday to share the magazine's take on what happened.
"We are so thankful that Brooke helped to kick-start this important conversation about what happens when you lose a lot of weight because it’s something we don’t typically talk about in the media or in general," she said.
Shape has launched a new online section called "Journey After the Journey" that will focus on issues people face after significant weight loss, Takhtehchian said.
"We’ll have other success stories, similar to Brooke's, weight loss tips, and we’ll be tackling some issues you haven’t really seen before when it comes to this arena of weight loss," she said.
Birmingham said one of the top issues faced by people in her situation is changing personal mindset.
"It's hard to shed that old thinking of, I’m that overweight person, I don’t deserve things in life because I’m not good enough," she said. "So that was a lot of the common theme and now we worked through that and we realize, we are worth things."
Birmingham said she's grateful for everything she experienced in the last year as people learned about her personal journey.
"I would not change anything because not only did I get to share my story, I got to share my story with a bunch of other people in the magazine as well, and they’re all wonderful women," she said.
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