ANDALUSIA, Illinois (PIX11/CNN) — An Andalusia, Illinois woman’s successful weight-loss story has gone global, after Shape Magazine in New York, denied posting the fitness blogger’s picture in a two-piece bathing suit.
It began when Shape magazine told Brooke Birmingham, who has lost 170 pounds, that they wanted to feature her in their “success story” column. She agreed, but just days after she sent the photo of her in a bathing suit, she received an email from the Shape reporter asking for a different photo.
When the magazine’s reporter spoke with Birmingham, she said her editors told her it’s company policy to show success stories of woman wearing a shirt; however, Birmingham said there are several success stories in the magazine featuring women in bathing suits.
The photo of Birmingham shows excess skin around her waist, something common in rapid weight-loss.
Since the story released, Birmingham’s Facebook page: Brooke: not on a diet, has gotten thousands of follows. Every day, dozens of people send inspiring messages to Brooke.
“It seems like they are punishing her for what she actually looks like and who she is,” said Tracy Johannsen of Moline, who has lost nearly 50 pounds in the past year and a half.
“I know how difficult it can be to lose weight. The magazine should be rewarding her,” Johannsen said.
Since the incident, Birmingham has been interviewed by media outlets around the world. She said she hopes to continue motivating others.