This is Me
“You have such a pretty face”… gosh if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that in my life. Yeah, well… unfortunately the “face” has been connected to a big fat body since I was about 10.
My story is familiar to many. My mom put me on my first diet, sent me to fat camp, never had any cookies, cakes or sweet cereals in the house, but I became a food addict to escape and comfort myself at an early age and figured out how to get my fixes. My addiction swiftly snowballed into a lifetime of yo-yo dieting resulting in a grossly obese adult who always smiled on the outside but was miserable inside.
In my 20’s and 30’s I always knew I wanted to fall in love, get married, have a family, but I didn’t love myself enough to get serious about my health and my weight. Although I dated a bit, I seemed to attract men who liked big women. This was a safe zone for me to be in because I didn’t want to chance being rejected for having a big body that accompanied my pretty face. It was limiting as you can imagine, and even though I thought I had good self esteem, I was awestruck when a few guys dumped me because I wasn’t big enough!
Eventually, God & The Universe led me to Dave, and my dream came true– I got engaged! At my highest weight ever, I married my love. Wearing a dress that had to be custom-made for me, my prayers were answered..we were one. We celebrated, danced, laughed in the most beautiful park with a stone pavilion and I can’t bear to look at any pictures from that day. This is heartbreaking for me. I was huge. Even knowing I met my soul mate and wanting to live a lifetime with him I didn’t have a glimmer of self love to set me on the path to health.
We tried to start our family and failed miserably. I was fat, my hormones were out of whack…nothing was happening. Finally I was pregnant via drugs and IUI and I was determined to be THAT fat woman who was able to carry a healthy baby to term. I wasn’t. I had a miscarriage that tore my heart out and broke me further. But it was in this rock bottom dark place that I decided it was time to get healthy.
Since then it has been a long journey. A failed weight loss surgery leaving me back at square one. Educating myself about healthy eating, cooking, growing organic vegetables. Deciding to go back to school to get certified as a Health Coach and learning even more. All good stuff, the weight started coming off again but then I found myself stuck. As a health coach, I was coaching people to take the best care of themselves – and loving it– but I still wasn’t able to take the best care of me.
One day, not sure how it happened, I came across a blog post from my now friend, coach and mentor, Jennifer Joffe. I read her story and it felt like we were kindred souls. I felt compelled to reach out to her, to say thanks… to ask for her help, advice, not even sure. But I was too scared and embarrassed as a fat health coach to reach out to a fellow coach for help. It took me a couple of months and I finally pressed send. I joined one of Jen’s first groups and life as I knew it has never been the same. I found self-love, and my life changed. I move my body from morning until night. I workout at a gym that I thought was just for “Barbie Athletes” and I run on the treadmill right beside them & smile. I have a growing coaching business because I believe in what Project Healthy Body has taught me and want to share it with the world!
Addiction is the Opposite of Connection
When I learned that Addiction is the opposite of Connection, it was my aha moment. My fat years are a blur, I don’t remember how I got fat and am mortifyied and really embarrassed at how fat I was. I wasn’t a drive- thru gal, I didn’t order 3 pizzas pretending I was having a party. But I did eat out at many fancy restaurants in my years in corporate marketing , many pints of ice cream weekly, and more than my share of chocolate, cookies and sweets. Food was my companion, it comforted me when I didn’t have anywhere to go, didn’t want to go out because I was the token fat girl, pretty much all the time. My addiction enabled me to distance myself from connecting with everyone. I always thought I was friendly, but often had a hard time making friends and forging relationships.
I blamed everyone else. Turns out it was me all along. Food was more important to me than friendships, relationships, neighbors, co-workers. I see it now. It makes me sad, but now that I love and respect myself, I truly notice how different it is for me to meet people, enjoy time with friends and even end friendships that are not healthy ones.
So when I decided to go bold and tell my story one of my obstacles was actually physically finding pictures of myself at 325, 300, 275, 250, 225 – for you see, I am a great and talented body -hider (trust me it is a thing)!
I have learned how to stealthily stand in the back row, position my daughter to shave inches off my hips, and crop every picture on my phone so that you only see me from the shoulders up.
It feels scary to post these pictures, but it is an important part of my healing to be transparent about my journey. I have to own who I was if I want to continue healing..
I am living Project Healthy Body everyday and will for the rest of my life. I am learning, growing, challenging myself daily. This is ME! I am Vibrant, beautiful, healthy Beth.
I AM Beth, and I AM GRATEFUL.