I am one of those people who have been a number of different shapes and sizes. As a very young child, I would describe myself as somewhat average, but it wasn’t long before that all changed…
In my primary years, I didn’t have a very good understanding of food, nutrition, or exercise. When we’d sit down to the table as a family, I remember always being encouraged to finish my plate, but what I really loved was the “treat” that came after that plate was cleared. I have always enjoyed sweets – cake, ice cream, ICING…I loved it all and never really developed that concept of moderation for food and definitely not for sweets.
As you can imagine, my lack of restraint pretty quickly caught up with me, and I began gaining weight. Through all of my childhood years, I was heavy, not just heavy, I was overweight. While I never experienced any bullying or direct mistreatment because of my size, I always felt different. I knew my weight was an issue, and I knew I was bigger than all of the other kids my age. But, I didn’t know what I could do about it.
Once I hit middle school and entered that phase of adolescent transition, it sparked in me the idea that I needed to do something. I had to do something about my weight. This was also around the same time that I began dancing – a passion that I had always wanted to pursue. But, like any other dance studio, mine was filled with thin girls who had been dancing since before they could even walk. Still feeling like I just really didn’t “fit in,” I began making changes to my eating and exercise habits. I drastically reduced the amount I ate each day, and I first began walking and then running each day.
These changes automatically began to transform my body. I began losing weight, and I loved feeling “in control” of my body. It was that “control” that I thrived on, that I fed off of. I was seeing the pounds come off and my body getting smaller, and it was exactly what I wanted.
And then, other people started noticing and making comments. I remember one of my teachers asking me in class what I was doing to lose the weight. While the recognition was positive, I remember still feeling like I just didn’t “fit in.” I wasn’t the “overweight girl” anymore, but I was the “girl who had lost all the weight.” I just desperately wanted to be “normal” and for some reason thought that if I could lose “just a little more” or be “just a little smaller” that I would find that “fit.”
So, the process continued. To keep losing, I kept reducing my food intake and increasing the amount of time I was spending working out. I remember sneaking into my room at night to do extra crunches and jumping jacks because one of my family members had forced me to eat an actual serving of food at dinnertime. I remember collapsing in a heap when I was running one afternoon after school because I just couldn’t go any further but I “had” to get my workout in. But the real moment that I realized I had a problem was when I sat down to dinner and ended up throwing away three quarters of a turkey sandwich because a sandwich was too big of a meal.It was around this same time that my family intervened and began regulating my eating and exercise habits. I started following a meal and exercise plan that was calorie-balanced, and I found my way back to a healthy weight with the support of all of my family. But even still, I didn’t really develop a healthy relationship with food or my body.
Through high school and college, I continued working out regularly and eating what I thought then was “healthy,” but again because I didn’t have a good understanding of nutrition or a very strong self-image, my weight fluctuated all over the place. I’d lose a little and then gain and then lose a little more and…While I was successful and had a positive self-concept through those years, I still didn’t really accept my body as beautiful.
After college, I got married. This relationship was one of the initial sources of healing for my body image. My husband encouraged healthy habits but poured love on me no matter what size or shape I was and whether I was dressed up with my hair and makeup down or lounging on the couch in sweats and a topknot. That unconditional love and the insight of how someone else viewed me poured into my spirit, but there was still a part of me that just didn’t accept my body…
After 3 years of just the two of us, we decided to begin our family. In the months leading up to the birth of my daughter, those same issues with my self-image began rearing their ugly heads. I saw my body growing and expanding and rather than appreciating it for the life that it was creating, I couldn’t help but pick it apart for the changes that it was undergoing.Once my sweet baby girl arrived, though, I realized I needed to make a change. If I didn’t want her to go through all of the body shaming and self-loathing that I had done, I knew I needed to teach her to love her body and to make choices to honor it and keep it healthy. It was at this point that I decided to reignite my own health journey but to do it the right way this time.
I started following the 21 Day Fix, and I immediately began experiencing a transformation from the inside out. I was learning how to eat to actually fuel my body and that I didn’t need to just eat as little as I could get by with. I was beginning to work out and seeing my body do things I never thought it could. As I continued with the program, I didn’t just lose weight. I gained self-acceptance and self-love. The process didn’t just transform my body. It healed my heart and allowed me to start seeing myself as my Creator made me – strong, capable, worthwhile, valuable…beautiful.
After experiencing this type of transformation myself, I decided I just couldn’t keep it to myself. I HAD to help other women find their healing, too. So, I signed up as a coach, and I got started.
While the income potential is a nice benefit, the real reward is being able to help others CHANGE THEIR LIVES!!! It started with life change in me, but now it’s about changing as many other lives as I can because NO ONE should go through life not loving and honoring the one body that God has given them to do all that He has called them to.
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