This past January, the folks over at PEOPLE.com invited me to take their readers behind-the-scenes of our “Half Their Size” photo shoot. Read more below or check it out HERE.
Half Their Size Diary: Candidate Kodi Seaton Shares How the Experience Has Changed His Life
BY KODI SEATON, Half Their Size Candidate
When putting together Half Their Size, our team pours over all the submissions we constantly receive from diet brands, workout programs and online weight-loss support groups. We turn to social media and find success stories using #halftheirsize on Instagram and Twitter. But what we love most is coming across emails from readers nominating themselves or their friends, family or colleagues because they have been inspired by a past issue of Half Their Size.
Ultimately, narrowing down our choices to the lucky folks we feature in the magazine takes months and it is always a difficult process — let’s face it: There is no such thing as a “bad” weight-loss transformation. In fact, most of the stories we hear are incredibly moving. There have been times someone’s emotional journey has brought us to tears in a meeting and we often break out into spontaneous applause when we see shocking “before” and “after” photos. In the end, we always aim to pick a wide variety of inspirational stories that we hope will resonate with all our readers.
This year, the five people featured in our Half Their Size cover story (or the “Fab Five” as they were known in the office), were flown to Palm Springs, Calif., in December for a weekend filled with pampering from our first-class glam squad, showing off their new figures in front of the cameras and, most importantly, forming friendships with one another.
– Catherine Kast
Growing up, my family always had People on their coffee table. My mother and sister still devote a weekend day to reading it. It’s a “thing” in our home. In fact, it is where I first saw the Half Their Size issue nearly a decade ago. Each year, I would read the issue and wonder how people found the strength to lose weight. Now, I’m that person!
My “before” photo was taken by my friend Dan Moran in November 2007, at possibly the lowest point in my life. That morning, my back and knees ached, my face was scattered with acne and I hated how my clothes fit. There was nothing I could do. I was trapped inside of my own body, and each day I had to put on a brave face and step out into the world, facing people who would assume that I was just lazy or sick.
Now that people have seen and heard about my weight-loss journey, my mind is blown by the reactions of friends, family and complete strangers across social media, many of whom are already sharing their own personal stories and asking me for advice. It’s very humbling.
Aside from taking photos and being featured in the magazine, the greatest moment of this entire experience has been welcoming the other four ladies into my life. Since meeting, we have had some form of communication daily. Being able to sit with them during the shoot and speak about shared experiences was one of the most touching experiences I have ever had.
Each of us came to the shoot with the hope of making a connection with someone who could relate to this extraordinary accomplishment, and everyone came in warm, inviting and supportive of one another. It wasn’t rare to see us cheering each other on during our respective shoots or tucked into a corner together to recount a story about how we got to this point.
Meeting Kait, Sharee, Ginger and Debbie was healing in a way. Each time we speak, I feel as if I’ve known them for a long time and I am continually surprised at the ease and comfort between us. Each of us came to HTS in a different and inspirational way, but our success binds us together — and I have found myself rooting for them during the whole process.
During the shoot, I made wisecracks about all of the hair, makeup and accessories the ladies were being showered with. I was clearly outnumbered by these beautiful women! People‘s photo editor James Miller passed by and said, “I don’t want to hear it, Kodi. We have something very special just for you!” The next morning, I was asked to come outside, where I saw a 1957 Chevy Bel Air sitting. Someone said, “How do you feel about posing with this?”
My dad is a huge car enthusiast who collects toy model cars and dragged me to every car show in town while I was growing up, so it was unreal. To have People pose me with a vintage Chevy was icing on the cake. I knew I would be sharing this achievement with my family, but between the magazine itself and the gorgeous car, I actually felt like my parents were with me during the shoot. I kept thinking, “When I finally tell them about this, they are going to flip!!!”
I gave the stylist my measurements before the shoot, and was surprised to see all of the different options for us to potentially wear. At one point, at my heaviest, it was such a burden to try to find clothes that fit, let alone clothes that I liked or made me feel good. I found myself in a pair of size 31 pants for the first time in my life (I told the stylist 32 was my size). To be in that moment with the lights and the cameras and to be at my absolute best was incredible!
Photos courtesy of People.com.