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My Story

All my life I've dealt with feeling like the elephant in the room- literally the elephant. With peers in dance classes, I was aware I was one of the "larger ones" sitting amongst tall and thin girls my age. Do you blame me for not wanting to look at myself in the mirror as I moved across the floor?

Does this mean my childhood wasn't a happy one? No! I am blessed to have had 2 parents who did everything they could to always make my life a meaningful and joyful one. My dad and mom had a clothing store at the time and when my dad would take

his trips to Los Angeles to get clothing for the store, he was sure to pick up outfits for me. You see, there came a point where regular teen clothes did not work anymore- it was time to be wearing adult clothes. Pants were only going to be the styles for women ages 40 and up because they were wider, but of course length was an issue. No worries, a seamstress could always hem them or my mom would tack the ends up so they didn't drag over my shoes.

I can remember the first time ever going to a Lane Bryant store in Portland, OR- I did a happy dance in the dressing room because it was the first time I felt like trendy clothes fit me. The price was ridiculous, but bless my mom she didn't care. She just wanted her daughter happy. I was aware though in middle school that there were separate stores for girls my size- I didn't have to share with my friends where these clothes came from, I would normally either lie about it or just tell them "I can't remember the name of it."

At a young age I was aware of foods being low fat or full fat. My mom was a member of Weight Watchers and I can remember the foods she'd pick up at her meeting center for the week. She'd sometimes get a few extra desserts so that I could have one with her- I can still taste those strawberry cheesecakes with the red syrup. If we ate one of her meals and she didn't have anything, it was a frustration for her. Early on in high school I started going to meetings with her- I was fed up with how I looked and felt, so I went with her. My high school english teacher was a leader. I even got a job working for them temporarily- I would restock their products and even started to weigh members. I remember trying to be motivating for them when it was a tough week, but I also felt funny saying "way to go" when they had lost for the week. There were always a lot of explanations from women as they got on the scale- why it wasn't going to be the number they hoped for or what had occurred during the week. It definitely felt like confession behind the curtain.

I did end up losing a lot of weight in high school, but it was quick and never in a life-long habit way. By the time I was in college, the weight crept back on because it was a time of "freedom" as I thought of it- freedom to eat out when I want, cook what I want, party when I want and of course with that partying meant more food the following day. I mean who wants to go to class feeling hungover when you could order a meat lover's pizza before noon? That ought to fill the hole in my stomach.

Throughout college and after I continued to attend meetings or count calories. Food was never just food- it had a price-tag to it in terms of how good it was for me. If we went out to eat, I can't tell ya how much guilt there was around it. Guac and chips? No way, that's too high in points! I mean, I am not really losing weight, but I am going to meetings.

It wasn't until I had our son this year that a wake up call happened. If you've been a follower of mine for quite some time, you know how that changed my life. Our son came 5 weeks early and that was the one goal I had, to have him on time and not a moment earlier. Our first baby was early too, but this time it was much earlier. With an early delivery can come complications and luckily nothing too drastic occurred. It could have gone worse, and I am so blessed our son is as healthy as he is. With that birth came questions and research. I later found out obesity can be a leading cause in preeclampsia. Why didn't I know this? Why had no one warned me? It was the middle of the pandemic and with that meant less doctor visits in person, but still I wish I had been given a pep talk much earlier as to what can happen.

With the birth of our baby boy came the realization something has to be done and I wanted to make a big change. I didn't know exactly what I would do with the information learned, but I knew my life was changing. I would stay up in between nursing sessions to listen to physicians talk to us about the importance of getting enough sleep (ha), eating whole foods, getting movement in, meditation or "me time", looking at relationships, having a meaningful career, and positive self image. I would really find myself listening to those who talked about the obesity crisis in the US and how packaged foods were such a big factor. People like Dr. Hyman immediately made me realize the importance of having half a plate of fruit and veggies each meal. Women health specialists made me realize just how important it is to be in tune with our hormone health, especially as our bodies age.

It really was a big aha for me to realize that body weight is so much more than just your pant size or image- sorry to say those are just icing on the cake. What about your joints being more flexible and without pain? The ability to chase after your kids without asking to sit out? Getting more done in the day without the brain fog? Digestion not taking days to pass food? These are the reasons to start putting ourselves first! Our family is depending on it! This is going to sound cliche, but life is too short to not live it fully. Why continue worrying about the crap we've dealt with our entire lives? We've lost enough time as it is, why waste another moment not putting ourselves first?

Do yourself a favor and get up to make a change today! There's no "I'll start Monday" anymore because we all know that won't happen and other stuff gets in the way.

Baby steps will lead to bigger ones. Start with 1 goal and slowly bring on another. You have the tools, now you just have to put them to work. And if you need a sidekick, you know you have one!

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