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Diary of a Former Fat Girl

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

Before I start getting shade thrown at me for this title, please understand that I am aware that the word "fat" can mean different things to different people and this is in NO way meant to shame a single reader. It's simply my story and it is my sincere hope that it would inspire others to make positive changes, not for the sake of the approval of society, but for their own health and well-being. Also, for those not interested in the content but you wanna see the progress photos, those will be at the very end. Go ahead and scroll on down! Haha.


With all of this, we are going to go way back. Almost all the way back to the beginning, actually, because the truth is, so much of how we move and operate as adults has a lot to do with our "formative years" as children. Hence why they are called that in the first place.


I feel like while there is so much to say, it still only scratches the surface. So I hope you enjoy the overview of what will likely become a full-on book one day! I have done my best to say only what needs to be said for now!

THE TRAUMA:


If you know me in real life, you probably already know a good handful of what I'm about to share with you. But for those of you who don't, part of my story includes the fact that after my parents divorced when I was four, our family was figuring out all the pieces that come along with divorce including childcare for working parents. So when I was five or six, I was sexually abused by a babysitter and with that came blocked memories (in fact, to this day, my memory has a lot of voids and "black holes," if you will.)


If you're a person with any kind of moral compass at all, I think you can agree with me that this is a horrible thing. We all have had horrible things in our lives. I don't mind acknowledging that, but I don't want to live there and I promise the story gets WAYY better, but it DID happen. And there are consequences I have had to live with. So let's talk about that first and then we will get to the good stuff!


I can recall some memories, though peppered and a bit fuzzy. And in those memories, I remember things like becoming unnaturally afraid of men. My dad was and is an incredible man and father. When we were kids, my brother and I would sometimes take an afternoon nap and curl up on the couch with my dad. I remember both of them sleeping at times while I stayed wide awake in "fight or flight" mode thinking something might happen to me. That part kinda hurts my heart because I developed fear towards people who loved me and cared for me and were not a threat. But you see, my babysitter was also not supposed to be a threat, so my brain was struggling to process this part of life.


In addition to that trauma, I also was exposed to a relative (who himself was abused as a kid) inflicting sexual abuse on other relatives. We were ALL children. Most of us lived in the same house at the time. And in addition to THAT, I remember another babysitter who watched me off-and-on from maybe eight years old to like eleven or twelve? (Forgive me, as I said, my memory is still foggy, particularly in regard to an exact timeline.) But I remember him commenting on my body, OFTEN, in a sexual way. Often grunting and moaning at times when he would make those comments. And you know, so much of my memory is blocked that I could not tell you in good faith what happened in the spaces I don't remember, good or bad, and even THAT will mess with your brain. Concocting all kinds of potential scenarios to try to fill in the gaps.


THE LIFESTYLE:


My mom worked HARD. Still does, as a matter of fact. And I am GENUINELY blessed with the best parents possible who, though imperfect, did their best to make sure my brother and I always felt loved and supported by both of them and even when it was hard, would speak well of the other parent when speaking towards us. It's interesting because I actually remember OTHER relatives saying negative things about my parents FAR more than I remember either of them speaking poorly about each other.


Anyway, I just wanted to make it clear that my parents worked hard and were present and did co-parenting as best they could. That being said, incomes were tight. And that meant that we had food stamps, "Goodwill clothes" (before thrifting was actually trendy), and LOTS of moving around. If any of you have ever been in a similar situation, you know that you'll choose Ramen noodles over Progresso soup ANY day because you can get 12 meals for the price of two, and that matters! You'll buy boxed and canned goods over perishable goods because they last longer and don't necessarily require electricity if the power gets cut off for a day or two. Not to mention that Kool-Aid and sugar are cheap and you can make a lot of drinks that your kids like with those!! And of course, if you're from the South, you MUST have a gallon of home-made sweet tea in the fridge at ALL times!


Now, my Mama worked HARD. Multiple jobs. And she WOULD cook for us as often as she could! And she made sure that there were simple foods for us/whoever watched us to make and eat when she was working. We also had a lot of aunts or grandparents watch us who would cook at times. My dad, no offense, was a typical bachelor who lived on a few staples and it became my role to master the art of "Kraft macaroni and cheese" when we would go to his house.


If you're wondering where I'm going with all of this, it is simply to say that I didn't have the first clue about nutrition. I don't think I even heard the words "carbs" or "proteins" until my health class in high school. I knew candy wasn't good for you, but I thought it was primarily because it made you "hyper". So I felt proud of myself when, instead of eating ice cream after dinner, I would go for a second serving of pasta, pizza, or mashed potatoes instead. And the truth is, none of those things alone are horrible for you, in the right portion. I just believed the lie that you ate until you were full. And "full" meant being almost miserable because you literally couldn't get any more food in!


I also think it should be noted in this section that I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church that taught us "modest is hottest" and while I DO agree with dressing your body in a way that is respectful to God, yourself, and to those who have to SEE your body and be exposed to whatever you're wearing/not wearing... I also think that sometimes, we spend way too much time and energy telling people, especially women, what they can or cannot do in order to "protect" men from falling into sin/lusting after our bodies...while at the same time, not always calling MEN to a higher standard themselves. I remember that when we would go on trips and go to a pool, girls had to wear t-shirts and knee-length shorts over their swimsuits while the guys only had to wear a tank top. (I don't know if you've ever swam fully clothed, but it is zero percent enjoyable. Lol.) The point is, I was conditioned to believe it was MY responsibility to control how men looked at me. But that is only half of the equation. The whole "boys will be boys" mentality needs to be addressed and dealt with JUST AS MUCH as the way women dress themselves is. But I digress...


THE HEALTH:


When I was about 21 or 22, I was told by my doctor that I had a condition called "polycystic ovarian syndrome" also commonly known as PCOS. In short, it means that you get lots of cysts on your ovaries. Sorry for the TMI, fellas, but symptoms of this range greatly from excruciatingly painful periods, rapid weight gain, difficulty losing weight, facial hair, difficulty getting pregnant, infertility, and the list goes on. You may not have all of these symptoms, but you will have some, and you are told that the condition is lifelong and irreversible. An early indicator that you or your child may have this is rapid weight gain somewhere around the 7-9 age range. I was a poster child for this indicator. See the photos for evidence.


Also in my late 20s (I'm currently 31 as I type this), I noticed that there was a lot of cancer history in my family and the year my aunt and cousin who was just a couple years older than me BOTH got diagnosed with breast cancer, I decided to get genetic testing and take a preventative approach. In doing so, I learned that I do have a higher cancer risk, though I don't have the breast cancer gene. That being said, I still have to get yearly breast MRIs. Especially since my "baseline" screening showed a mass. But praise God, at the 6-month follow-up scan, instead of seeing growth or changes, the entire mass had just disappeared!! I'm incredibly grateful!! I also now take my health very seriously and intend to maintain regular screenings/scans, as my doctor recommends.


THE COLLISION:


I know we are really getting into the details here, but it's all connected in one body (mine) and it all matters. So just bear with me!


You know, I have a memory of my grandmother PRETENDING to put "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" spray on my bread when I started gaining weight because she thought I was getting too fat. Not long after, my grandfather told me when I was maybe ten years old or so that he thought I was going to need lipo suction because I was getting too fat. I didn't even know what that was at the time.


Not long after my trauma, I started gaining weight. I thought maybe it was genetic at first, and maybe that did have a part to play in it. But what I later began to realize, especially after I was a teenager, was that as I "developed," I started getting attention. I did not know what to do with attention, but I definitely knew that I did NOT like it when guys, especially grown men, would comment on my body. I covered up as much skin as I could, as often as I could. After all, this was modest, right?


And as much as I didn't LOVE being bullied for being overweight and even though I was tired of hearing people call me fat and laugh, I also liked that I got less unwanted attention when I was fatter and covered up all my skin. ESPECIALLY in baggy clothes.


I didn't realize it at the time, but what I was actually doing was a method of self-preservation. Deterring danger by deterring men altogether. (As best I could. No matter WHAT you look like, EVERY woman still gets hit on occasionally.)


IDENTIFYING THE PROBLEM


My memories started slowly coming back when I was about 13 years old. And then even more so when I was 16. I remember thinking maybe I was imagining things or making them up, but I would fact-check the surrounding pieces with other people who were present, and as it turns out, I wasn't crazy. Memories were actually coming back. And they were not all good.


When I was sixteen, it really became an issue. I had a car and my dad wanted me to take it to get an oil change...by myself. This was terrifying to me. Do you know how many women work in any kind of auto shop? Definitely not the majority. This meant going to a place where I may likely be the ONLY female in a building full of men. I had panic attacks. I was trying to grow up and be mature, but I would break down being asked to do any kind of task that would expose me to a lot of men. But this was a turning point for me. I started asking the question....WHY? Why did I have this fear and how could I overcome it?


I'm not sure I started the process well, but I'll still tell you what I did. Up until this point, I had not shared with anyone the fact that I started remembering my trauma. I didn't want to stir up guilt or anger from anyone, but more than that, I also was afraid it would change how people viewed me. Like my worth and identity were directly correlated to something someone ELSE did to me. But one day, I got bold and just couldn't carry the weight of it anymore. I also wasn't QUITE strong enough to have multiple repetitive conversations and didn't want anyone being offended about where they were in the list of people I told first, second, or third...so, I wrote a blog. I shared everything I remembered. And then I sent it to everyone who needed to know at the same time.


It was public, so I could no longer hide behind it. From this point forward, ANY relationship I would have would be a little more authentic because they would know my deepest hurt and still love me anyway. HOWEVER they would view me, it would be based on the REAL me now.


That was a difficult first step. My parents had to navigate a lot of emotions. I definitely did as well. But the freedom, oh, the FREEDOM of being open...there was nothing quite like it!!


FIRST BABY STEPS


After this, I actually found myself start really caring about my health. It helped that at the same time, I was taking biology in school and my teacher, Mrs. Jacoby, was teaching us about what is in the foods we eat. To this day, I cannot eat McDonald's food and it is very, VERY rare I will ever eat a hot dog. Google it if you wanna know why.


I will say that my stepmom has always been pretty health conscious and would encourage me to go low-carb, but I wasn't a big carnivore and didn't understand and process how it worked and didn't like the meal plan enough to really give it a fair shot. I had just kind of accepted my fate.


Our high school didn't have sports and didn't really have a legitimate P.E. class either. My only sports experience was cheerleading in kindergarten and 5th grade (to be like my cousin!), and then in 7th grade, I joined one of those softball teams where every kid gets to play and you can't kick anyone off...but I was SO bad, my coach stopped telling me when practice was. So, I had ZERO confidence that my body could ever accomplish much. I'd have to rely on my education and being a good person and friend!


I think I weighed over 230lbs when I was in the 10th grade. (I'm 5' 6"). I remember seeing 230 on the scale and I just stopped weighing myself after that. But that health class made me think about what I was putting INTO my body and how my body received that. With cutting out soda, McDonald's, and most fast food for a while, I lost about 20 pounds or so that year.


After high school, I decided to move to Thailand as a missionary and originally, I thought I would be living in a remote village and physically building a school. I knew I was in no shape to accomplish this task, so I hired my very first personal trainer. If you read my blog post from about a year ago, you'll hear about a fear of treadmills that I developed during this season because I literally fell off of one and slammed into a wall of mirrors in this gym. Everyone looked. It was embarrassing and legit gave me some PTSD. I already felt like I didn't belong and that definitely didn't help!


I worked with that trainer for several months and lost maybe 5-10lbs. I definitely was stronger, but I didn't feel like there was much I could do to get the weight off and keep it off. But I tried to trust that even if the scale didn't reflect it, I HAD to be healthier than I was before I started going to the gym!


Once I reached Thailand, I walked a LOT. And sweat a ton as well. Thailand is gorgeous, but it is tropical which means heat and humidity become the air you breathe. There is little escape! Haha. Anyway, while on this trip, I had an epiphany moment and wrote a blog called "Why Being Told 'You're Fat' Can Actually Be a Good Thing" where I shared a story where a local Thai man literally told me I looked like a cow. He thought he was giving me the greatest compliment in life! And it really did cause me to see...beauty is SO subjective. So centering my behaviors around appearance really isn't the best way to live my life. It was another freeing moment where I started to feel confident in myself in that, as long as I knew I was doing what I COULD to be healthy, I was going to choose to love the way that body looked! I am fearfully and wonderfully made and do not want to complain about the body that God gave me to take care of!


Not long after I got back to the USA, I moved to San Francisco for missions as well. I didn't have a lot of knowledge and I didn't have a gym, but tried very hard to develop healthy habits. Some of my favorite moments were early morning workouts with my best friends, Chelsea and Vanessa. Chelsea and I used to walk from downtown to the Ferry Building every morning before the city woke up. Chelsea helped me a lot with understanding nutrition more and Vanessa helped with exercises. In the almost 7 years I lived there, I tried so many different diets and exercise plans to try and see if I COULD get healthier. But I really just started to believe that this was the body I was destined to have and if nothing was changing with it, God had a reason for it!


JESUS + THERAPY


While in San Francisco, I had, what some may refer to as a mental breakdown. See, I am the oldest sibling and since my baby brother was born when I was 10, I kinda stepped in like an additional parent and really, from that moment, realized there had never been a point in my life where I was not responsible for the well-being of another human being. From high school and onwards, I have always found myself in some form of leadership and at the time of my breakdown, I was a live-in mentor in a women's home trying to help another woman navigate her own abuse and trauma. And one day, in front of a bunch of leaders, I broke down. I was suicidal. I quit everything. And I got help.


You know, it's funny, because I really did not feel like I had the best therapist. She was nice, but she didn't seem to listen to what I wanted to work through. But she DID pray sometimes before our sessions. And I could tell the days when she did and the days when she didn't. The next part of this will probably be glossed over by the skeptics, but please continue anyway as it is what I consider to be THE most pivotal part of the whole journey.


Part of my root issue that led me to therapy was that I felt like I had been holding on tightly to God my entire life. Afraid to mess up. Caring more about His opinions than about His heart or His nature. I really wrestled with the thought that God could be ALL of His attributes ALL of the time. I couldn't reconcile that with the fact that I had been abused. Surely if God is Who He says He Is, then He wouldn't allow a small child to be harmed, right? Maybe He is good, but not all-powerful. Or all-powerful, but not all-knowing. Or all-knowing, but not just. Or just, but not all-present. Because if He IS all of those things, then WHY did bad things happen to me? What did I do that angered or displeased Him enough to allow it?

I REALLY struggled with those questions. And I grew up in church, LOVED Jesus, and truly loved serving Him! But I was tired. And I remember saying to God "I'm pretty sure You're real and it's not all been for nothing, but I feel like I've been holding onto You and I just can't do it anymore. I'm letting go. And if You ARE real, you're going to have to catch me, because I give up." And I meant it. I was ready and willing to end my life if God didn't catch me.


I don't recommend saying those words to God, but I did. And you know what? In His grace and kindness, He DID catch me. And it happened in therapy. One day, my therapist came in, and she was talking but I didn't hear her. It was like the Charlie Brown teacher type of scenario. I couldn't hear her because I was focused on what felt like the tangible Presence of Jesus Christ Himself in that room.


I had questions. SO many questions. And I wanted answers to every single one. But in that moment, that holy moment, I felt the presence of Christ cover me and almost AUDIBLY heard and felt chains fall off of me. Spiritual chains. Spirits that had attached themselves to me through my abuser all the way back when I was five. In that same moment, I had great peace and joy! And though I couldn't explain it, somehow, I had peace in knowing that...I'm not going to get all of my answers in this lifetime. And I have the choice to be mad about it and pitch a fit, OR I can trust My Creator to handle all the things I can't understand and just know that no matter how I FEEL about the truth, the truth IS the truth. It does not change. God does not change. But feelings do. So instead of dwelling on my emotions, I chose to trust that God's got it under control. It wasn't something I did. I still don't have answers for all the questions. But I don't require them anymore either.


I went back for one more session with the therapist but at that time, felt like I didn't need it anymore. God already healed the part of me that was broken! I DO believe therapy is a wonderful tool, but it should never become our crutch. But when used appropriately, it can really help guide you to freedom you may not have ever even realized you needed!


SHIFTING GEARS


After experiencing intense breakthrough during my time seeing a therapist, I realized it was time for me to kick things into gear. I had quit everything and I just KNEW I was built for more than this. So, I went back to work and resumed being involved with my church family in San Francisco. I also met with my best friend Vanessa regularly to stay on top of health and life.


Something I realized along my journey, and a thought that stays with me now as well, is that at one point in history, God met mankind in temples that were built, maintained, and treated with incredible amounts of respect. Not only that, but temples were/are buildings that required maintenance and so it is no surprise that the work to up-keep these holy places would occur all year long. When Jesus came, scripture tells us that He tore the veil that separated us from the Holy Spirit of God our Father, and with that, allowed us access to Him and has made our bodies the temple of the Holy Spirit.


If God cared about the management and up-keep of man-made buildings where the Holy Spirit dwelled, how much MORE does He care about the management and up-keep of a God-made entity that He designed for the Holy Spirit to dwell in? My body, this temple, is something that is borrowed. It does not belong to me. I don't have an ounce of input in my ethnicity, my height, my birthdate, or my death date. Whatever traits I have inherited from my biological roots are of NO surprise to the God who created me. So therefore, how can I justify NOT putting the work in to take care of what has been entrusted to me? And beyond that, as I AM fearfully and wonderfully made by God, how dare I speak poorly about something HE created and by doing so, has attributed worth to? Not talking about glorifying problems that need to be fixed because "that's just the way I am"....no. While made in the image of God, we ARE still broken because of sin and sometimes we see evidence of sin on our own bodies that DOES need to be addressed. For example, being obese is often a reflection of the sin of gluttony. And it should be addressed as it negatively affects one's health. But as long as I am doing everything I can to take care of the body that God has entrusted to me, I can walk in confidence knowing that no other opinion of my appearance truly matters.


THAT BEING SAID... I came to realize that God had offered me SO much freedom and all I had to do to walk in it was to simply walk in it! One step at a time.


I knew God had been putting it on my heart to go to Nepal for a while. (For a real look at how I looked in 2019, CLICK HERE for a video about God sending me to Nepal). And as much as I LOVED my church in San Francisco, I felt from the Lord that I had gleaned everything I needed to in order to take the next step on MY journey. That was really hard. I loved San Francisco. And I knew I could stay forever and be fully content...but I'd be resting in the safety of the faith of OTHERS when I knew God was calling me to step out in faith MYSELF. And so I made the preparations to move to Nepal!


In preparing to live on a mission field, you start looking at your body a little more closely to see if you are physically capable of doing whatever may be required of you in the space you choose to live. I started working out some more and did a couple of different diets and food plans. (This was largely in part to try to find out what might be triggering an auto-immune reaction called psoriasis that my body had been battling for years).


I didn't see much improvement with all of the diets and later learned I had an egg allergy, of all things! But in all of this trial-and-error, I started doing intermittent fasting.


INTERMITTENT FASTING


Now, I'm no pro on what you should or should not do with intermittent fasting, but just to give some brief insight on this, what I did was I would only eat within an 8-hour window each day, usually from like 9am-5pm. There were no restrictions, though I did try to avoid sugar as I know I have a sugar addiction. The reason for this is to allow my body time to actually burn fat as opposed to storing it up to be burned later.


FITNESS


In addition to changing my eating routine, I also got a gym membership and hired a personal trainer. I became dedicated to being physically healthy, regardless of what the mirror or the scale showed. I wanted to be able to hike in the Himalayas if I needed to. And I just really needed the knowledge on how to do basic exercises as I definitely did not get that through sports growing up! Not to mention, you really tend to take your health more seriously when you have a financial investment as well as accountability. Getting a group of people to go with you regularly can be a useful tool!! You know, as I type this, I actually think I hired the personal trainer before my massive breakthrough. But I started going back to the gym again and I got my friend Vanessa to help me with some exercises!


I had moved back to North Carolina to spend some time with family before moving across the world...I'll give you ONE guess as to the year that happened. Correct. 2020. So while my plans to move had to shift, I still stayed active by watching workout videos at home, walking up and down the mountain by my house, and planning hikes whenever I could. Then I ended up going to a church where a TON of people happened to be into fitness, including the pastor. He helped me create routines and exercises I could do in Nepal.


OVERSEAS


While in Nepal, I didn't really eat a lot of processed foods because everything was fresh. Like we legitimately would buy live chickens from a neighbor and then that chicken would be dinner. I learned what it means to pluck a chicken and have never had more respect for my food! In addition to eating a pretty whole-foods type of diet, I also kept my intermittent fasting schedule. It totally shocked the family I lived with as they usually eat dinner at around 8pm and it's the biggest meal of the day, but I still stuck to it. I


In addition to eating more cleanly, I taught the kids exercise routines and would do them daily, with or without the kids. Probably didn't hurt that I lived on the third floor and would go up and down the stairs multiple times a day.


I didn't really look at myself much when I lived in Nepal and believe it or not, had no idea I had been losing weight. But one day, someone said something to me about my pants being too big for me and we realized that I had lost about 20 pounds since moving there!


This was incredibly motivating. I never really cared TOO much before because I thought my body was in the best shape it was ever going to be in. I imagine it would be like old-school temple keepers discovering marble or new gemstones or maybe even vacuum cleaners for the first time. You appreciate what you have had, but are also excited to see what it will become! That's how I felt.


CREATING SYSTEMS


Upon returning back to America, I did not want the newfound progress to be reversed by American lifestyles. It's easier to eat clean when the whole country eats that way. And it's also easier to eat junk food or processed foods when the USA eats that way. But I was motivated and determined as I learned there IS more I can do to take care of this temple!


I got back into having a personal trainer and would meet with him twice a week. Some of you may be great self-motivators! That's awesome and I seriously applaud you!! For myself, however, I have learned that I do better when I am being challenged or held accountable. So it's worth the investment for me. Having a trainer really helped me to set the RIGHT goals and to do the right things to reach those goals. Not to mention that when you are paying for any kind of service, it generally makes you want to get the most out of that service. For example, how many of you share a Netflix account with someone else? Why? You want the most for the money you put in! And in the same way, when you put money into changing your lifestyle and habits, it makes you think twice about skipping a day at the gym or eating that thing you're craving late at night that you KNOW will cause you to go up in weight!!

You know, one thing my trainer had me do that I wasn't sure I was a big fan of at first was weighing myself every day. (I LOVE the Renpho Scale on Amazon and it's really affordable!!) This is very counter to American culture of "embrace yourself" and "love yourself" and I thought I might start having an unhealthy attachment to the number on the scale, but like with ANYTHING really, it's all about how you use it. Weighing myself every day helped me to notice trends in my body. I learned I weigh more on Fridays because the night before, I eat a meal later than usual with some students I invest in. So instead of beating myself up about it, I just know I can expect it. And it's true that the number that morning WOULD influence my decisions that day. If I didn't love the number I saw, it encouraged me to make better choices throughout the day so that the number tomorrow might be better. By "better choices," I absolutely am NOT referring to any kind of eating disorder, but truly making better decisions about what KIND of fuel I would put in my body that day. If you are a person who has wrestled with eating disorders in the past, please consult a nutritionist or professional on whether this is a good idea for you or not. We want you HEALTHY. In every way!! The scale is just one small piece of the greater picture.


I did listen to my trainer and though the weight wasn't coming off as fast as it did in the beginning because I didn't have as much to lose, I DID notice some changes on the scale, but more importantly, I noticed things like being physically able to do things I couldn't do before like running (RUNNING) on a treadmill (which if you've read my previous posts...you'll understand why that's a big deal). My body shape started shifting. My loose skin started tightening. I started actually SEEING muscle formation start to show up under my remaining "fat" layers. And even as I type this, I'm not to. my final end result yet, but I am SO proud of how far I have come!! Which reminds me...take before and after pictures and measure everything!! I've lost inches in places I didn't even think about like my calves! Record yourself at your worst so you can see how far you've come at your BEST!!


In addition to getting solid on what to do for exercise (which I'm happy to share what little I know with you, but I'd really encourage you to get a professional trainer! And I happen to know quite a few I can connect you with! And who knows, maybe ONE day I'll be on that level myself!), I was encouraged to do some basic things WELL. My pastor calls them the "fab 5" and they will be out of order, but Those are as follows:





SLEEP. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night, if you can help it!! This one requires discipline and actually leaving when you need to in order to get to bed on time. Not only that, but NOT staying up mindlessly scrolling social media or watching TV. Put on some nature sounds and put that phone down!


WATER. Drink at least half a gallon of water every day. Honestly, try to drink it as your primary drink. Our bodies are made up of at least 70% water. That alone is a good reason. to drink it. Limit sodas, diet drinks, juices, sugary drinks, energy drinks, etc. Water really is needed to live and it helps to flush out toxins in your body daily!! NUTRITION: This one is honestly where most of us get it wrong. Everyone has an opinion on what is or is not healthy which is complicated because every single one of our bodies is different in some way. I learned that my insurance covers 30, yes THIRTY, free visits with a nutritionist each year. And I've been taking advantage of that! I encourage you to talk to one about your specific needs and challenges, but in the meantime, make the best decisions you can with what is in front of you. Eat smaller portions, less often, not too late, etc. And when deciding what to eat, try to eat at least 80% clean, meaning foods that have as many things grown from the earth or non-processed meats, etc. Foods that are not dripping in grease or are 90% carbs. I can also give some guidance on this, but essentially meat/protein, veggies, and some small form of healthy carbs (fruit or sweet potatoes for example) is a decent guideline when filling up your plate.


TRAINING THE BODY: We've definitely already touched on this, but set some goals for yourself and seek out the help you need to reach them. There really are TONS of people who want to help and so many free videos online you can watch to just start getting your body moving.


INNER LIFE: Lastly, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, work on your inner life. I understand not all of you are Christians and I will hold the stance until I die that following Jesus is THE best decision a person could ever make! But Christian or not, you need to work on yourself from the inside out. Talk to SOMEONE about that hurt and trauma from when you were a child, like me. Put yourself around people who build you up and don't tear you down. Spend time in prayer and meditation and Christians, I encourage you to practice MEMORIZING God's Word (something I myself need to get better at). Don't be afraid to go to therapy...and yes, I'm talking to the men here too. Therapy is not a weakness. It's actually a sign that you are SO aware of yourself and willing to do whatever it takes to be the best person you can be. So take that stigma that somehow entered this conversation and go ahead and throw it away. It's ridiculous. Also my church is AMAZING and you should totally check it out. Hope City Fellowship has a HUGE part of my heart!!


CONCLUSION:


Life is complicated. There's not really a manual for these things on every single piece and no one gets it exactly right. If you find yourself looking in the mirror and realizing you need to make some changes, welcome to the club! Embrace the challenges you've overcome, but don't allow conquered valleys to become excuses for former successes. For example, in my case, I conquered forgiving my abuser and genuinely became content with the person I saw in the mirror, but could have used the excuse that because I hadn't seen "success" before, I'd give up trying. And if I had done that, well, that would be a shame, because God has brought me SO far from where I was!! So don't get complacent and don't be afraid of change or the WORK that YOU will have to put in to get there.


For my journey personally, I've physically lost somewhere between 50-75 pounds. Definitely 50 since 2020. Around 75 since my heaviest weight when I was about 14-15 years old. I've healed from deep traumatic wounds. I have seen God take an unexpected breast mass in MY chest and cause it to COMPLETELY disappear. I reversed PCOS (which we're told is impossible, but I once had a diagnosis I no longer have, so...) I've been able to contribute more physically when help is needed. I don't get out of breath like I used to. The asthma I had as a child and teenager is completely gone. I've spent SO much money on new wardrobes simply because my clothes keep getting too big. I can't shop at Lane Bryant or Torrid anymore, but I CAN fit in an airplane seat without my thighs going under the armrests and encroaching on the passenger seat next to me.


My heart is filled with peace and JOY! I have an actual love for health and fitness whereas before, it was just a part of life. Much like brushing your teeth. You do it because you should. But now I love doing it because I FEEL good, not just about what I look like, but just in general I have more energy and feel more vibrant! My relationship with God is the strongest it has been in a LONG time, dare I say, ever. And I just so deeply want to see other people experiencing those same freedoms and breakthroughs! I really could keep going on an don and you know what, I WILL write a book one day. But for now, as unpolished as this may be, I hope at least something encouraged you or challenged you to take whatever steps you need to be a better YOU.





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