The Ups and Downs of Being a Cover Girl

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cover girl

My journey as a cover girl. Or, how I ended up staring you down from your local grocery store’s magazine rack.

Several weeks ago, the assistant editor of Woman’s World magazine emailed asking me to participate in an interview for an upcoming article on the topic of “How to find your carb-tolerance level.” I would be featured as the “zero” end of that spectrum, based on what she had read on my blog. It felt like an exciting opportunity and I immediately texted James to tell him the news.

I wrote back to the Woman’s World editor to ask how high I could fly my “freak flag” and she said to let it soar. According to her, the magazine had featured many “low carb” articles in the past, and they were ready to move on to discussing a more extreme Zero Carb diet. She said they were interested in doing something “REALLY DIFFERENT this time. Something unusual that people haven’t heard of yet.” (Well, you’ve come to the right place then. Pull up a chair.) She sent a list of questions.

Since she said I could be completely blunt, I broke the news that I’ve only eaten meat, eggs, and cheese for the past several years. I wrote how much better I felt when I removed all carbs from my diet.  I explained how sensitive I am to carbohydrates and that even the small amounts of carbs found in vegetables cause my blood sugar to rise and cause me to have sugar-cravings and gain weight. And yes, I’d lost more than 100 pounds using my diet–and kept them off.

After sending all of that, I fully expected Woman’s World to thank me for my time and go with someone more…mainstream. So you can imagine my surprise–and excitement–when the editor wrote back with a glowing review of my interview.

A few nights later, they asked me to do a photo shoot. It would take place the very next evening and had oddly specific instructions on what colors and styles of clothing wear. The photo editor said to go shopping if I needed to and to text photos of some dress options, which I did from my dressing room in TJ Maxx.

It was surreal, but exciting–certainly not how this mom-of-three normally spends her evenings. I mean just to be shopping alone was a thrill!

After we settled on an outfit, the photographer showed up the next evening and took pictures for two hours. My children stayed with my parents while I did my best to remember all of the advice that Tyra Banks had given in those early seasons of America’s Next Top Model. Honestly, I mostly just tried to not sweat through my clothes or fall over while standing in awkward positions with heels on.

After a few days, I was at my son’s soccer game when the magazine’s photo editor emailed to say that he liked my photos and that one had been selected as the cover photo.

The photographer sent a picture from the back of her camera to show me which one they’d picked. (Not bad, I thought. A little sweaty and shiny, but I was totally okay with it. The cover! Crazy! My heart raced.)

 

original cover photo

 

Fast forward to this past week, when my advance copy of the magazine arrived in the mail.

I ripped open the large, manila envelope to see my dress on the cover. With the word “ATKINS” across it.

And…was that someone else’s face? What is happening? What did they do to my FACE? And why is there an avocado next to me?!

Upon closer examination, I’m pretty sure they photoshopped my smile, changed my eye color and jaw line, and removed all signs of a collarbone.

I showed it to my mom first who agreed that they had done…something. My children still aren’t convinced that the woman on the cover is actually their mother. In fact, my baby frowned at the picture. All great news, of course.

 

before and after

As if having my face digitally stretched wasn’t enough, the article itself took several liberties, too.

They wanted to use my weight loss image, but they didn’t want to use my weight loss story. While my direct quotes were all accurate, I was disappointed that the article included so much veggie-talk and focused very little on the zero part of my ZERO carb diet. It seemed like just more of the same low carb stuff that I’ve seen for years. It was annoying to see pictures of avocados and lemons and to read meal-plans that include mushrooms and peppers. This is NOT how I eat. This isn’t my diet. Not even close.

On the positive side, there was a nice quote or two from a couple of doctors who were supportive of lowering carbs as much as possible. And there was a great line from my friend Rachael Adams (who has lost well over 100 pounds on a zero carb diet) about how she feels her best eating this way.

The whole article was fluffier than I had hoped for, though. I really wanted people to know that a zero carb diet is not only possible, but that many of us are thriving while eating this way.
magazine rack

 

It’s true I found my way to a zero-carb diet by starting off with the Atkins version, though, and I’m hopeful that people will be able to also use that as a starting point.  There is much truth in the article, even if the menu and pictures are misleading.

At the end of the day, I’m still glad I had the opportunity. My hope is that someone will read the Woman’s World article and truly consider the possibility of lowering carbs without ever feeling required to climb some imaginary Atkins “carb ladder.” I hope that people will be exposed to the idea of a zero-carb diet, which may send them searching to find amazing Facebook groups like “Zeroing In On Health” and “Zero Carb Health” to get more support. My hope is that someone will find this blog, and that someone who is struggling would be able to find freedom from obesity and carb-cravings. I also hope that those of you who read this blog will know that I tried my very best to spread the word about the beauty of a Zero Carb diet. Even if it did result in me getting the most bizarre photoshop job of all time.

Be sure to pick up your copy this week before they’re gone. And then, please write to Woman’s World (DearWW@WomansWorldMag.com) and let them know you’re interested in more articles about an actual ZERO carb diet. Let them know how your life has been changed by eliminating carbs without eating Atkins bars or plant matter.

Also, please ask them what was wrong with Kelly Hogan’s actual face. And when you find out, please let me know. Thanks. 🙂

 

40 Responses

  1. Jen sims

    I’m so sorry things did not work out the way you expected them to like I said in the earlier, if you need help legal help I might be able to help you depending on what kind of contract you had with them

  2. Todd Kedes

    You really put yourself out on a limb for the sake of all of us ZC’ers and we all appreciate that. Magazines like that are risky. I salute you, Kelly.

  3. I got that you did the zero carb diet. It explained why you needed the zero carb diet. They explained a diet “not the one they suggest ” that will get you to zero carb if you need it as well.

  4. Girlfriend, we all love that you put yourself out, so out of many people, the hopes to help a few comes through.

    We have enjoyed being able to meet each other, so you already know my story, and my husband’s.

    We came to ZC because of this blog back in Feb 2015.
    Within 6 weeks my high blood pressure was normal! No medication needed.
    My blood sugar a1c has dropped into the normal range.
    My arthritis pain in my knees and hands is gone.
    My husband has strengthened his legs (he has crushed vertebrae and it affects his legs).

    ZC has made us feel 10 years younger than our ages (59 & 63)

    So, even though the article distorted and lumped ZC into a common low carb article, I hope people reach out to your blog to discover the benefits of ZC surpass any other low carb diet.

    Love you. ❤

  5. Nathalie

    Congratulations ! But of course, you are so prettier than this photoshoped picture.
    What I don’t understand is that the man(or woman) who did that to your face really think
    that you look better with all those transformations…Where are we going!!!

  6. Your photo is beautiful. I’m not sure why they felt the need to ‘shop it; it’s not even a good ‘shop job!

    Having been interviewed about a variety of topics over the years, I can relate to having words that were not my own appearing to come from me.

  7. Well, your actual picture looked way better than the photoshopped one. One wonders what they were looking for. And that is a key phrase. What were they looking for and what was their agenda? Someone writing an article always has one so they jimmy you in wherever you fit or where they think they can make you fit. Still, if the story interests someone they can look you up and find out what you really think and do AND what you really look like.

  8. Hi Kelly
    As a fellow ZCer thank you for putting yourself out there to tell your story which is the story of so many of us who hav found freedom from the falsities of the Food Pyramid and their recommendations that plunged this nation into obesity and ill health.

    Brick by brick we will continue to tear down these standardized recommendations of high carb, low fat which clearly has failed the general public.
    Love you my friend… your blog brought me to ZC almost 2 and a half years ago and I will be forever grateful.

  9. You looked better before the crazy retouch! The way they stretched you & got rid of your collarbone, you appear heavier! Makes me wonder about those making these choices. So bummed they skipped mentioning true zero carb. My faith in anything published (besides blogs) has been lowered even further.

  10. Roni LaPlante

    I so sorry this happened to you Kelly.

    ZC has made a huge difference in my life and that’s in part because of people like you.

    The ZC groups have made a positive impact on on thousands of lives.

    I will pick up a copy & let the editor know that you and their readers were done a disservice by not publishing your TRUE imagine and COMPLETE stroy.

  11. I saw that at the grocery store today! I thought it was you but your face looked slightly wrong.

  12. Elizabeth

    Thank you for trying! Also, I’ve followed you, and was so confused when I saw the magazine… I was like, that is not her!

    ZC saves live. My friends thinks it’s disgusting that I can eat 2-3 pounds of meat in a sitting…and still be so tiny, healthy, and have so much energy!

    I try to tell them….

    Biggest thing is that living this way keeps my Crohns in remission.

    Yay!

  13. Stacy Melton

    I think you are prettier than the face on the front cover!! I’ve been researching zero carb myself before I read your article. I’m intrigued by it. I just don’t know if I have the willpower to do it! But congrats on your weight loss and you’re more beautiful than the face on the cover of the magazine!!

  14. Charles

    Enjoyed your blog post. As I said in the Forum, all publicity is good publicity and those who want to find the information will find it. They will also see the real pictures and learn who you are and what you stand for. I am very proud of you and our entire community respects your contributions over the past decade. Love you, Friend!

  15. Jackitm

    I was at the grocery store today and I picked up the Woman’s World article. The term Atkins breakthrough caught my attention. When I read the article it said something about a zero carb movement. I started looking online and I had been reading a few of your posts. I then went to the beginning of the menu and read your talking about your experience with Woman’s World! I can’t believe it. Don’t feel bad. The article has done its job. It drew someone like me to your site.

  16. I was at the grocery store today and I picked up the Woman’s World article. The term Atkins breakthrough caught my attention. When I read the article it said something about a zero carb movement. I started looking online and I had been reading a few of your posts. I then went to the beginning of the menu and read your talking about your experience with Woman’s World! I can’t believe it. Don’t feel bad. The article has done its job. It drew someone like me to your site.

  17. I think they wanted you to look like the Matrix transitory part of becoming an Agent Smith.

  18. Joyce James

    Just read the magazine and saw the reference to this site. So glad I looked it up! You are fabulous, your blog is fun to read! I understand the zero carb thing, and it is about the zero!! I look forward to getting on the plan! Thanks for sharing! Brava!!

  19. You look absolutely gorgeous in the original photo. I can’t comprehend for the life of me why your pic needed photo shopping. I’m seriously confused by it. Keep up the great work. You do an amazing job of spreading the ZC word.

  20. I think it’s a win. People understood the concept, and the only reason they changed your face (aside from taking away the shine, which is a good thing) is because it’s standard practice to fit a geometric formula in advertising. There are focus groups who choose faces they would rather see. (It’s not about the most attractive, it’s a simple math formula that is deeply subconscious.) Don’t take it personally. The point is you wished to help others and you did!

  21. Wow, that must have been so disappointing for you to know that your basic message was not conveyed. This is also a good lesson to everyone to take articles in magazines with a huge grain of salt. But, I do agree that this article would definitely have promoted a low-carb diet, which is a message that more people need to hear.

  22. Well, the article got me to this blog, so that’s a good thing! I too wish it had been more informative about an actual zero carb diet, but now I’ve found this blog so I hope to learn a lot more! I’m so over every other diet, and when I tried Atkins in the past, though I lost initially, I actually gained. I’m thinking now it’s due to carbs. So I’m going to try total zero carbs and see if it help, and if I can do it! Thanks for agreeing to do the article so that I could find you!

  23. Nancy McShane

    Well hello there! I also found you from the Woman’s World article. I enjoyed it but I have to admit since I know what zero carb is I was a little confused at the recommendation of eating 45 carbohydrates! I knew there must be more to the story and that they must had taken some Hollywood license there with the facts and your personal experience. But I am very thankful they put your website on the bottom and I can’t wait to dig all through it! I think this is typical of all kinds of media. I remember reading stories by people who were on different reality shows Like My Strange Addiction and Extreme Cheapskates. There is absolutely no reality to those shows and they twist people’s stories. I’m sorry they photoshopped you and made you feel awkward but you are just gorgeous either way and I know you are proud of all you have accomplished, as you should be. Thanks for the inspiration and I think your website might be the next step I’m looking for. I’m already mostly ketogenic with intermittent fasting (lost 30lbs. but still have erratic BG) ) but I hadn’t really considered going all the way with zero carb until now. Rest assured those of us really looking for information in that article will find you and you
    & truth by checking out your website. Without that article we would not have found you!

  24. Oh my goodness – when I saw your face I wasn’t sure what had happened. You’re such a pretty girl and whoever does their photo-shopping should be fired. They stretched out and made it look nothing like the beauty you are!!! I work with photoshop professionally and I would never do such a poor job!!! I’m glad you got the recognition, but like you, I wish they had told the whole truth and not bits and pieces.

  25. Christina Lemay

    So glad you posted your experience with Woman’s World. I have always noticed that menu’s are compiled with nutritionists and are not from the person who has lost weight. Keep up the good work . I plan on starting zero carbs tomorrow.

  26. I always buy Woman’s World. I have never found a solution to my weight problem in any edition. And then I saw the cover of WW(June 12) with your beautiful face and the bold letters ATKINS BREAKTHROUGH. Needless to say, I immediately bought it, brought it home and read the article. I thought, “I can do this.”
    I read the small print and here I am.
    Where do I go from here? Is there any recipes or more menus to follow.
    I’m 87 yrs of age. I’m in good health. I need to lose 100 lbs to ease my high BP, Arthritis and fibromyalgia
    Please continue to help. I will always be grateful.

  27. Tell me I hope they didn’t photoshop the picture with you in your shorts. That was untouched, right?

  28. Jill Bonanno

    so glad i found your article in woman’s world! and the original picture is definitely prettier than the edited one!

  29. stephanie lilley

    Your article gave me hope again. Congratulations to you! Fifteen years ago, I was on a low-carb diet supervised by a company. I had eggs and bacon, steak salad with dressing, chicken/broccoli with butter and cheese. They required me to drink a half cup of pink grapefruit juice at every meal. The first 2 weeks I had a bad headache–from the lack of carbs. But it was like a miracle to me–no cravings. Absolutely no cravings and it was like a drug addict being set free! After a year, no exercise, I lost 125 lbs. I was over 400lbs. now below 300. I’ve kept it off for 15 years but have gone no further since I succumbed to the “you MUST have carbs hype.” But, my cholesterol was 166!! My psoriasis went away (it came back with carbs). I’ve just been thinking this spring that I want to go back to the meat diet. I love meat. I hate fruit, always have. Now, reading about the zero carb movement and your experience, I’m so happy about starting this again. I had just said yesterday to a friend, I don’t care if it kills me eventually, it’s the best I ever felt. And then I read your article! It was meant to be. I highly, highly recommend this book for explaining why so many doctors are convinced (including mine) that you must just lower calories and avoid high fat meat: The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet by Nina Teicholz (Author). I’ll be 65 next year, had no insurance since 2011 and yet, I’m healthier than all my friends and my six younger brothers & sisters. I consider that that ONE year of almost all protein fifteen years ago is still making a difference!

  30. Wow that doesn’t even look like you on that cover!! You are so pretty and have done a fantastic thing for your health! Why on earth did they do that to your face😡

  31. I was brought to your blog, via the women’s world mag, which I only buy once every couple of years. Question? Dr Mercola and Dr Rosedale, who influence Dr. Mercola worry about so much protein. how has this fit in with your understanding of what working. congrats on finding out what works for you!

  32. Hi, first time on your blog. I found it through dietdoctor.com. As I was reading this post, I scrolled down far enough to see the photoshopped and non-photoshopped pictures. I read the paragraphs just above the pictures and they describe the whole story of the magazine’s liberties with your cover picture. Well, I scrolled down far enough to see the pictures but not which one was which. I actually that the one on the left was a prettier pictures and thus I thought it was photoshopped one. Your face has more tone (?) than the other one. I think the magazine messed up.

  33. I totally got that you went zero carb and that they were using a different diet plan (which is why I read the fine print and clicked on your blog). When I first did atkins, I did no veggies. Only meat and cheeses. That was the best the diet ever worked for me. When I went more “slow carb” is when it didn’t work as well. After putting on 30 newlywed pounds on to an already overweight body, I’m going back to no carbs. Wish me luck!

  34. BARBARA CUMMINGS

    I came to your blog due to the Woman’s World article.I wondered what was wrong w/your face,and after seeing the before and after pictures,I agree you looked better before.I have not tried the zero carb diet,but it looks interesting.I am 74 y/o.Barb

  35. I would be SOOO mad, especially since the picture is so unflattering! Like you need any help in the 1st place looking GORGEOUS! And then the article does not even represent your way of eating, which was the whole purpose in the 1st place!
    UGH! You are taking the whole thing quite well! Kudos

  36. The purpose is to sell magazines, not necessarily do any good. After all, if people do slim up for good how will they keep them buying a magazine that always has two things on the cover. 1) a diet AND 2) cake . Zero carbers dont need cake or diets. So glad you tried and you did it, you got people to come find your blog and Facebook group. There will be so many more healthy, happy people out there because of you, Kelly, so keep up the awesome work. Your blog opened my eyes back when i discovered it from your other magazine article and you continue to inspire me. What a beautiful dress. You look stunning in it.

  37. Chris Pyle

    Hi Kelly,

    Glad I came across your blog. I also went zero carb to allow myself to lose 90 pounds. I am almost 68 now female ,and this took me about 2 years. I do not exactly remember when I totally went down to Zero as you stated you did I also started do Atkins extreme at 5 carbs or less per day. But to finally lose the last of it I had to drop to zero except what was in eggs and cheddar cheese.

    And then I got a little lax and let a wee bit of vegetable come back into my life figuring this would be ok because the weight was gone now and I was holding steady and I did not want to be on a weighing and measuring diet for the rest of my life. And I gained back 10 pounds over a years time. So I did go to my PCP for another reason and he was kind of upset with me for gaining the 10 pounds back and asked me if I was eating my vegetables and I told him YES and this is probably why I gained the 10 pounds. I know insane as he is rolling his eyes at me. He still does not grasp I was eating only meat to lose the weight. While I was there he decided to run my yearly blood panel. My cholesterol is way high bla bla bla But my metabolic ratio when I was at 230 pounds was 7.5 is now down to 4. Right on the edge but my tests say <5 is great. Triglycerides are still high at 112 down from 417 in 2014. and HDL is now 83 up from 36 in 2014. No problem with blood sugars. But chloresterol numbers make me so upset 318 and this is way up from when I was heavier and still eating carbs. Sooooo Was it the small amount of carbs I did allow myself to eat that reacted with all the fats and meats? Over all I have the amazing high energy and feel wonderful. Doc is still talking statins and I am saying NO. I have lost the 10 pounds again by going right back to meat and wonder if it would be better to have another blood test run before my September appointment to see if this dropped my cholesterol numbers? I absolutely LOVE the all meat eggs fish cheese butter way of eating and no plans to ever go back. Believe me I learned my lesson just eating a little carbs is not working at all for me. i am back on meats and only lightly restricting. Instead of eating 6 OZ burger with one oz cheese I will ear 5 oz. Never a slice of tomato and no lettuce wrap kind of deal. Sorry for the book. Thank you for being here. I need ammunition for my doctor.

  38. Hi Kelly – because of your article in WW, I have been zero carb for 3 weeks, starting week 4 tomorrow. This past weekend, I gathered up all my non zero carb foods and have boxed them up to go to the food bank! Of course, there are several diet foods in the box as I have tried basically everything.

    I am keeping pretty quiet regarding letting others know as the “deer in the headlights” looks will begin if I let out my secret too soon. When I have lost a significant amount of weight, they will all want to know so I’ll wait for that.

    THANK YOU THANK YOU for doing the article although WW was not willing to the article justice regarding how you actually do your WOE. I never knew about this and would have continued to do diets, fail and start again probably for the rest of my live. Because of you I have found the other zero carb websites and am 100% confident this is for me!

    I toast you with a medium rare ribeye!

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