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Simple is never simple

March 21, 2017

I got asked a simple question the other day, "how did you get started on your health journey?"  I got the sense that they wanted a short, simple answer and the question was easy enough but my answer was not short and it required a level of self-disclosure that was uncomfortable.   However the more I put it out there, the easier it becomes to tell my truth.  

As a morbidly obese person, I was anything but honest with myself.  In fact, at the age of 36, I told myself a lie.  I knew it was a lie but if I didn't say it out loud that it made it okay.  Fast forward a year later and that lie was still nagging at me. That was when I finally decided to stop lying and to acknowledge the truth. The truth was that I was nearly 260 pounds, I suffered from acute episodes of medically unexplained edema, I was considered pre-hypertensive, suffered from chronic low back/hip pain, and had no energy.

 

In my daily life, I recognized the looks of apprehension when I would walk down the aisle of a nearly full airplane with people suddenly looking away as if to signal-- oh dear God, please don't have her sit next to me.  I pretended that I stopped engaging in social events because I couldn't be bothered or didn't have the time to attend when in truth, I was afraid of the judgment mixed with pity in people's eyes.  I was embarrassed by the wide birth I was given by strangers whenever I walked down the aisle of a store.

 

Insert positive self-talk, yes, I was a blessed individual.  I had a wonderful boyfriend (now he's my wonderful husband), a steady job, closets of beautiful clothes, a house, etc. but inside, secretly, I was ashamed.  I was ashamed of how I got to that state of being.   It was that shame, fear, guilt and embarrassment that led me to hire a personal trainer and with her help, I began to weight train for the first time in my life.  After a while, I talked to my doctor and she referred me to a dietitian and slowly with some stops and starts along the way, my journey to get in shape- took shape.  

 

That was more than 5 years ago and looking back as to who I was then and trying to imagine me now, is incomprehensible.  This isn't a brag but to say that as a 22/24W (if you are an overweight woman, then you know exactly what that means) that I am now considered small and often referred to as tiny sounded like an impossibility.  I dreamt of this current reality with no idea of what it really would be like.  Now my life is not all rainbows and sunshine because that's not real life, that's a Lifetime channel movie but knowing that I am mentally and physically strong, that I can push my body to do new things and watch it respond to new goals.  Man 'o man, that still amazes me and that is my current truth and I love it.

  

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Photographer: Frank Rebelo. No content may be used without permission.