“A hero is one who heals their own wounds and then shows others how to do the same”
The question I am often asked is, “When do you know?”
When do I know what?
When do you know you are Ready?
Ready for what?
Ready to make a change,
Ready to begin,
Ready to start living your life, not someone else’s life
Ready to become a Healthy Person?
You will know!!
You will know when you can’t go another day feeling alone, sad, angry, resentful, worthless, hopeless. You will know when getting out of bed is a miracle. You will know when your two teenage daughters say, “we need you!”
My story may look a little different from the outside because I am not the woman who “looks” unhealthy. I am the woman who has held her shit together for 52 years. I wore the nice clothes, I had the nice house, I had the perfect bows in my daughters hair, I went on the vacations, I talked and said all the right things, I was the gracious wife, I hosted the best parties, I made the cookies for the f’ing bake sale. You name it; I did it – and I made sure that I did it the best.
I put everyone ahead of myself and believed that I could carry on like that forever. Why not just keep looking the part? Why not just stay stuck? Why not just live the way I believed that I was supposed to live – the life everyone else thought I should live? I kept striving to meet the expectations of my husband, my mother, our friends, and what I grew up knowing. “It’s not what’s inside Diana, it’s what’s on the outside that matters.” It’s what you provide, it’s what you do, it’s how you act, it’s how you are perceived. Why not just keep believing all of that?
At 52 years of age, I knew my forever could be today, tomorrow, or 40+ years from now – and I knew that I was ready when I realized that the pain, grief, and hopelessness that I was living was 100% not sustainable for that day, the following day, and certainly not 40+ years from now. I was smart enough to know that this was not normal. I was smart enough to know that my daughters saw me and would soon be living the same lies that I had lived because they knew no better. I was smart enough because I AM SMART!
I lost my father when I was 25 in a tragic plane crash. When I was 40, I lost my only sibling, my brother, to a rare and incurable form of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. When I was 44, I lost my mother to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). During that time, I had married twice, divorced twice, and welcomed two amazing daughters, Margaret and Katherine.
My journey to becoming a HEALTHY PERSON began because I physically and mentally could no longer suppress, push back, or bury the pain that years of grief, loss, sadness, and trauma had thrown at me. It became too hard to function; it became too hard to hide. The medications, the pills, the therapy, the alcohol, the recreational drugs, the social media, the food, the everything or anything I could find to make it feel better for a day, an hour, or even a minute, did not work anymore. This is when I knew no one and no thing was going to lead me out of this dark hole, except for me. I needed to heal myself so that I could continue living. Living my true authentic life while teaching my daughters how to live their true authentic lives.
Of course, at the beginning of my journey, I did not know anything about “living your true authentic life.” I did not know about self-care or self-love. I did not know that you absolutely must take care of yourself before you can take care of others. I did not know that you needed to be the hero of your own life before leading those you love. I did not know, and I needed help!
I saw an Instagram post about Project Healthy Body and spent a few weeks watching Jennifer’s stories. I read through the PHB blog and thought, “maybe this could be something.” I also thought to myself, “I’m not really overweight. I mean, I could lose a few pounds, but was unsure whether I was the PHB type”. I didn’t think there was anything more I could lose so I called…
She said, “are you coach-able?” I said, “YES!” She said, “you are IN!”
A HEALTHY PERSON is not just about the number on the scale or the size of your jeans. As I have slowly let go of that ingrained belief, I knew that this program was for me. I knew that I was ready. I knew that I could make the change.
I started the program in August of 2018. In the almost two years since I joined, I have completed PHB 1 and PHB 2 sessions. I have gone on the PHB retreat. I have boldly told my story countless times. I have identified and called out my negative roommate. I have lost the 17 pounds that I needed to lose, and I have changed my eating habits. I have developed a morning routine. I walk a lot every day. I hydrate myself. I think differently, I react differently, and I pause and breathe, I let go of small beliefs that don’t serve me. I set boundaries. I try new things knowing that I won’t be perfect. I am a proud graduate of The Institute of Integrative Nutrition. I don’t judge. I cry and I feel. I eat ice cream when it’s worth it. I am member of a community – The Project Healthy Body community. I am vulnerable, I am happy, I am confident, I am seen, and I see. I encourage and I empathize. I love and I am loved. I am a woman who got caught up in too many years of self – sabotaging behaviors and I am now an agent of change and progress!
When I began my healthy person journey, I was ready, but in no way did I know the path that I was taking. This is my path which can almost be scarier because it is uncharted, it can go up, up and up but it can go down, down, down just as quickly. You can get a brand-new shiny bike and then crash it right into a tree. Here in project healthy body we don’t go back to the store and get another shiny bike, we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, wipe off some of the scratches and, and then get on and move forward. We see the dents, the dirt, and all the imperfections and we learn from them. It’s OK to fall and fail but it’s not OK to forget why. It’s because we are not perfect, but we are always progress. We don’t forget where we came from because there is no there there. We just keep on riding!
I am a mother who has the opportunity to lead two amazing young women, my daughters, into living their absolute healthiest lives. What a gift I have given myself! The gift of healing. The gift of awareness. The gift of self -love. The gift to teach them what I did not learn until I was 52. To love yourself like no other. To believe in yourself like no other. To be kind, to work hard, to have fun, to love and be loved for YOU.
I am undoubtedly a HERO in the eyes of my daughters, Margaret and Katherine. If you ask them today who the most influential person in their lives is, I I hope that they would say me. That makes me so very proud, but it comes with a huge responsibility. The responsibility to take care of myself, to heal my wounds, to relieve myself of my past, to live in the present and build towards my future. It is taking care of me mentally, physically and emotionally so that I can be the best MOM I can be for them.
I continue to be the hero in my life because my life is a miracle! The realization of this has allowed me to permanently remove my head from the dark hole it liked to lock itself up in. Learning and living as a healthy person enables me to continue being the best me for me, and the best me for all the others I desire to help.