I'm a wedding and portrait photographer living in Vancouver, BC with my husband Randy.  I photographed my first wedding when I was only 17 years old - and I've photographed over 200 weddings since! I am an avid bookworm, lover of green tea, pretty nail polish & my Labradoodle Harley. Thanks for visiting!

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the girl i once was: part 2

July 2, 2012

personal


[The Girl I Once Was is a series of blog posts compiled from real-life journal entries from my teenage years. If you’d like to read the story from the beginning, you can find the introduction here.]

 

 

July 18, 2004: I am excited to dye my hair! I hope I look good as a blonde. I didn’t work out today. Well… I did “fat burning pilates” before church but I didn’t lift weights or anything. One day at a time, step by step. If you fall, keep on going and pick yourself up. Tomorrow I’m going to do Day #3 of weights, 25 minutes of cardio and Tae-bo after. I have to stay positive. Six weeks left until school. Just think, I could be X pounds* soon. 

July 19, 2004: I don’t notice myself getting smaller but my pants are looser and I’m losing pounds. Today was supposed to be my rest day… so I only did Pilates. I’m excited to see how much weight I’ve lost on Friday. I’ve done more exercise than usual this week. I read online that Britney Spears is 130 pounds — she’s 5″4. That seems weird… her weighing X pounds* MORE than me couldn’t be right.

 July 22, 2004: I feel so bad. Today, I had five pieces of candy and a cup of ice cream. I tried to get on the treadmill and I got off. I can’t do it. I can’t. Then I went to my room and put a Tae Bo tape in. I did that for 15 minutes and shut it off. I’m depressed. I’m crying right now, too.

I know exercise is helping me but I feel like SUCH a failure.
I can’t stop sobbing.
I hate my body.

These last two days have been horrible, absolutely hell. I’ve eaten terribly and haven’t exercised. I feel ugly, fat and lonely. I need to have friends over, but when I do, I eat junk food and can’t work out. It’s not fair. Why is everyone so skinny? Why do I have to sit here sobbing and in pain? I know other girls probably hate their bodies too but who cares? They have NO REASON to. You have to admit I have a reason.

I’m crying too hard to write properly.

 August 2, 2004: I’ve refrained from writing the last two weeks because somehow it always comes back to body. I hate reading negative things. I’m 14 years old as of yesterday. I took a bunch of pictures of myself yesterday afternoon and put one as my display picture. I’ve got TONS of attention from it. Joe* said I looked nice. Becca* said I looked very old and good. Danielle* said I looked different in a good way. Tiffany* said I look “omg, so cute!” Sara* said I look really pretty. Riley* said “that’s a REALLYYYY good pic.”  [*names changed]

 

 

 

When I lifted the box of journals off my shelf and began to read through them, I found a gap — no recorded words between August 2004 and 2005. My first year of high school. I can’t imagine a year without journaling. I don’t know where those words went… maybe they were destroyed in disgust. Thankfully I remember enough about that year to fill in the gaps. I felt like I fit in for the first time. I loved going to school. I was thin — well, my friends called me thin — and their words gave me confidence. I was the queen of self-tanning lotion and my hair was never blonde enough. Boys of all ages started to pay attention at me. I was ecstatic when a friend told me her grade 12 guy friends were taking notice. I hit my lowest weight that year… making my total weight loss 30 pounds from the beginning of grade 8.

I didn’t understand how twisted my body image had become. Conversations with my family both frustrated and confused me. Over breakfast one morning, Dad asked my weight. When I answered, his reply was “Don’t lose anymore.” At an extended family gathering, my cousin threw her arms around my waist from behind, “Where did Jamie go?!?” she asked. I forced a smile, “She’s still here.”

I missed my period one month, then the next and the next. After one-too-many unhelpful diagnoses by the medical community [“You have IBS. Find out what bothers your stomach and then don’t eat it.” Cool dude, everything I eat bothers me.] Mom took me to a new naturopathic doctor. On our first office visit, the doctor asked for my weight. I answered, “X pounds.*” I was proud of that number but I could feel my Mom’s eyes on me. “You told Dad more than that last month.”  Yeah. I lost a few more. Sorry.

*Due to the sensitive nature of eating & overexercising disorders, I have decided to not publish my weight. Different heights and frames carry weight differently and I would never want my “number” to be an unhealthy motivator. Thanks for your understanding.

 

  • Thanks for sharing this. You’ve come so far and you’re beautiful! God’s grace is amazing!!! :)

  • Sarah

    Thank you so much for sharing. I too went through a period between my sophomore and junior year of high school where I struggled with my weight and body image. I played sports all through high school, and felt that losing some weight would make me faster and better. I started working out more, eating less, and soon lost my period too. As my weight dropped and I ate less and less, my parents too became worried. I dreaded the conversations, the inquiry about how much I’d run that day, and how much I’d had to eat. I hated going out, hated team feeds and bus rides. I even stopped eating birthday cake at my siblings parties. Because my calorie intake was so low, eventually my will power would give put, and I would sneak bowls of ice cream, christmas cookies, anything sweet. And then I would hate myself for it. I would make myself run more, work out more, and eat less until I felt better. It was a vicious cycle, and one that put both myself and my parents through a lot of pain. I’m so thankful that with a lot of help from them that I came through hat dark time. I still run, referee, and work out. But now I. understand that my body is meant to carry more weight naturally then some skinny girls. Now, I just appreciate how strong and amazing my body is, and I’m grateful every day that I can wake up and sweat. Thank you for sharing your story, and being braver than I could ever be. May God bless you and all who continue to read your story. I know I’m gonna share it with my younger sisters, and hope that they can avoid the pain I went through. Keep up the amazing work girl!

  • I hope you know just how amazing this is. I’ve been struggling with this same thing for the past four years, I just graduated high school, and knowing you dealt with the same kind of body issues instills a great confidence in me as I admire you a great deal. Please continue to inspire people through your photos AND your words.
    xo

  • You’re so courageous to share this from your past. I’m kind of glad you’re not sharing weight numbers, too many people get caught up on that and not the true point of the story. Looking forward to the rest of this series.

  • Thank you so much for sharing Jamie. This must be hard opening up in this way but I know you’ll do an incredible amount of good.

  • Christine

    Wow.. You are so brave to share all of this. I have struggled with body image as well for the majority of my teens and now into my 20’s. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to reflect on the part of my life too.

  • Michelle V

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I have struggled so much with things like this and you’re an inspiration!

  • Alison

    I can’t explain how grateful I am to read this Jamie. Your transparency is a blessing. I have struggled with weight and body issues for my whole life and it’s been getting pretty rough as of late. Today was a hard day and this was encouraging. You are beautiful. Thank you.

  • thank you sososo much for posting this. I’m not the only one!! much love!

  • Oh Jamie, these posts have made me cry. My heart aches for all the girls that go through this. I’ve had one of those girls living with me for the past seven months, and it has been so hard! She has been doing this for over eleven years now, and doesn’t want to change. I’m praying that the truth of the Gospel will give her a new heart!

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