I thought that this would be the easiest post to write but it seems to be the one that I am putting off the most. For the last 3 days, I have really tried to get it done. I thought it would just flow out of me. A stroll down memory lane – but some things are hard to face. I have been overweight or thought of myself as fat as long as I can remember. I was called Fatty Patty in school. Things like not being able to wear the white leather zip-up boots like everyone else proved that I was heavy, overweight, fat…not like everyone else.
I can remember my Mom packing my lunches with a tuna fish sandwich instead of a PBJ because she wanted to help me lose weight. Instead, the kids would make fun of my stinky lunch. One time in my teen years, when I was in a hurry to get ready for church, I somehow poked my fingernail through my nylons as I was trying to put them on, and one of my parents told me that if I wasn’t so overweight it wouldn’t have happened. I learned early on how to put on a happy face and stuff those hurt feelings down, way down. I now see it as smiling on the outside all the while dying on the inside.
Fast forward into my late teens and young adulthood. Once I had my license, a job, and had purchased my own car, I had the freedom to go, to be and to do whatever I wanted. I didn’t want to be home where my parents were yelling and fighting, so I chose to eat out in between work, youth group, choir, junior high youth group staff, and campus life. Thus began my love affair with Taco Bell. I even had a friend in high school that I called my eating buddy because she’d always go with me to grab a bite on a moment’s notice. Leatherbee’s Family Creamery was one of our favorite places to frequent. Swiss Milk Chocolate and Mocha Royal Hot Fudge Sundae was my favorite. =)
In my mid-twenties I met Duane, who later became my husband. =) I remember apologizing to him for not being thinner and talking about how embarrassed he must be to be dating me because I was overweight. He would hear nothing of it and would tell me how beautiful I was and how he loved me for who I was. I would hear him say the words and think to myself that what he was really saying was “Yes, I know you’re fat but I love you anyway.”
As our wedding drew near, I worked really hard to lose weight, going to the gym daily. I had long cut out ice cream, chips and chocolate, but I didn’t understand how to eat healthfully. I often would not eat breakfast or even lunch. At the gym I was given some crazy diet to help me lose weight even faster. I was to eat 1 cup of broccoli, 1 cup of peas and 1 cup of rice for dinner. I couldn’t even choke that much food down at one sitting. At the gym I mostly did aerobics, like a crazy woman, and some toning, thinking that was the best way to lose the weight. Less calories in and a lot more exercise, and I should be skinny in no time.
We had our wedding rehearsal dinner at the very place where Duane had proposed. So romantic! =)
I still saw myself as heavy. I was so disappointed with myself that I had not lost more weight.
I was truly happy to be able to get into a size 9/10 wedding dress.
During pre-marital counseling sessions, an assistant pastor turned to Duane and said that I was as small as I would probably ever be. He told Duane that he should know that I would probably, after getting pregnant, always be overweight. Duane said he was truly fine with that. The Pastor confessed to Duane that he would struggle with his wife being so overweight and just wanted to make sure that Duane knew what he was facing. I just took in the comment and pushed it down in the deepest part of my inward being where nobody is allowed to go. I refused to go there and deal with the hurt, so I stuffed the emotions down once again. It is very difficult even now to share this pain!
Sadly, the Pastor’s words were true. I never did, in 19 years of marriage, get back down to my wedding weight. After my first pregnancy I put on over 80 pounds. Over the years we were blessed with baby after baby. Even though during the other 5 pregnancies I gained only 20 pounds, I was already starting out obese. We didn’t have much money during my pregnancies and the smell of raw meat was nauseating. So, I made tostadas, burritos, and lentils and rice that I rolled up in a tortilla. I ate home-made whole wheat bread from freshly ground wheat. I made pancakes and used our own peanut butter and raw honey. We ate yogurt and drank kefir and even made our own kombucha. You see, I was trying to do everything right, eat healthfully…but still was not able to get my weight under control.
When we moved to Idaho, Duane was flying back and forth to California for his job. This went on for 6 years. I was home with our then 8 kids. The burden was heavy with homeschooling and training all the kids. Daily I would be totally drained. I would reward myself every night with an ice cold coke and bag of lite microwave popcorn. It cracks me up that I thought that I was doing okay eating the whole bag because it was lite! I kept thinking one of these days I would figure out how I can get to a weekly weigh-in type of meeting…but it never happened. The thought of planning, prepping and counting points was more than I could do. I knew how to care for others and would do what I needed to do for my family – but when it came to myself, I had no energy left.
Duane and me at our heaviest. We had just started the program the week before.
So, actually I had already lost 9 pounds when we took this picture.
A year and a half ago, I heard about this program and how easy it was. The planning and prepping was done and there was no counting of points or calories. It sounded too good to be true, but I needed something to change. So, Duane and I jumped in with both feet. My health coach told me to trust him, that he knew the program worked. I didn’t really think it was going to work for me because I had tried so many other things and I thought to myself that I knew all about eating healthy foods. He said that I didn’t need to believe that it would work for me – he’d believe for me until I could believe for myself. I dared to dream that I could drop 50-60 pounds and set that as my goal. After just a few days, I was sold. I was fueling my body well every 2.5-3 hours, my blood sugar level was regulated and I truly felt good for the first time in many years. I had energy and the brain fog had lifted. I slept better and felt like a new person! I KNEW that I could totally do this!
What a difference a year can make!
But what I didn’t know was that, along with my weight loss, there would be those deep down feelings that I’d need to face and work through if I was going to be truly healthy and happy. I needed much more than a lower number on the scale to be truly healthy, happy, and whole. So, what at first started out as a last-ditch attempt to lose some weight has become a journey of finding health and IN GETTING HEALTHY I HAVE FOUND MYSELF. The person that God created me to be. The person that doesn’t re-write everything in her mind that people say to her. The person that can freely love and be loved…and can stand up for herself because she knows she has value and worth and is not just some fat girl that nobody wants to be around.
If you know someone that might be encouraged or touched by our story, please feel free to pass it along.
It truly is our hearts’ desire to GIVE HOPE and to come alongside and help others on their journey to find health so that they can be healthy, happy, and whole in every area of their lives. We are health coaches because we have experienced such an amazing transformation and couldn’t help but share…and then we have had the amazing reward of watching our clients experience the same!
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Tricia is a wife of 19 years, Mom to 9 children (6 bio & 3 adopted from Ethiopia) who has gone from surviving to thriving, helping others find health in their body, mind/heart, and finances. She’ll come alongside people to dream big again and to step out in faith and LIVE!
Having gone from her husband traveling all week every week to living a life they once only dreamed of…she now desires to give hope & support to those who are dissatisfied with their current situation.
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