I am sure at some point all decent Canadians have the urge to quote the Barenaked Ladies. In fact, I believe there is a verse in the national anthem that reads, “with glowing hearts, we quote these guys, the bare nae ked lay deees.” So it was of no surprise that when I finally committed to turning my writing into something more than a Facebook post, I woke up with these lyrics repeating over-and-over in my head…
“I had a dream that I was 300lbs – and though I was very heavy, I floated till I couldn’t see the ground. Somebody help me, I couldn’t see the ground.”
Only it wasn’t a dream. I woke up on January 1st, 2017 and was just shy of 300lbs. How did I get here – and, even more challenging, how to I begin to unpack the years of slowly but steadily piling on and carrying around this extra person? All previous attempts at cracking the code had failed, though not completely. I suppose my journey really started in February of 2016, when I committed to one year of running. I will write more about my year of running later, but sufficed to say that one of many lessons I learned (and there were many lessons) was that I could not outrun my weight issues.
The proverbial other shoe wouldn’t drop until December 17th, when I stumbled upon this this [click to read] article that Sheryl Sandberg shared on Facebook. Jennifer’s bold and courageous story drew me in like drunk person (me) to Taco Bell. In many ways, she was me – only she had discovered the road map to regaining her health and vitality. After a few hours of binging (punny, punny) on every word she had ever written, every article she shared, and [stalker alert] her personal and professional Facebook pages to learn as much as I could, I took a leap of faith and reached out for help one more time.
Please, let this be the last time, I thought.
I just spent the last hour pouring through your story and your coaching site, after reading Sheryl’s post. What an inspiration you are – particularly because I can relate to it. I would be super interested in setting up a consultation when you have time.
Now, I realize that the “few hours” that I admitted to you, and the “one hour” I noted to Jennifer do not exactly match up – but [stalker alert] this is no different than the universal data manipulation one finds on any online dating profile.
Single woman: I am voluptuous [I am 50lbs overweight]
Single man: I am 6 feet tall [I am 5’9”]
I was hopeful that Jennifer would agree to help me, and she did. I was cautiously optimistic that she would give me the road map and the tools to help me lose weight, and she has. But it’s honestly so much more than that.
On our first phone call, she told me that she looked up my BMI online and that I was literally fighting for my life. Of course, I burst into tears. I had never thought of myself as unhealthy. Fat, obviously– but not unhealthy. I ran 3.6 miles a day for 10 months – and on the days that I did not run, I almost always got my 10,000 steps in. I have never had high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, and I am not pre-diabetic. YET. All of those data points had only been reinforcing the lie I had been living.
Healthy people do not weigh 300lbs (which, incidentally is the equivalent of 1361 blueberry muffins). It does not take healthy people 30 painful steps before the joints and tissue loosen up enough to walk normally. Also probably good to include on this list: healthy people could never even fathom spending $100 at Taco Bell. [insert photo of fanning money outside a taco bell]
It has now been three months since I have been working with a health coach, and life for me looks very different. I AM A HEALTHY PERSON. I can eat anything I want, but I choose to eat whole, vibrant foods that support my vitality. My skin is clear and youthful, and my hair is thicker and less brittle. I have gone from wearing a size 22 to a size 20, and even those are getting roomy. Oh, and did I mention I’ve dropped 30 pounds? I have also gone from a BMI of 46.4 (which basically made it impossible for me to drown, or dive down to the bottom of a lake) to a BMI of 41.7.
The changes I am making aren’t just physical. My life, my house, and my health all looked pretty good on the outside. I have a fulfilling career at Facebook, a beautiful home filled with love, a smokin’ hot and supportive husband, and I spent almost all of 2016 gluten-free and physically active AF! Everything passed the sniff test with flying colors. Unless you looked under the hood, opened a closet, or slid open the wrong drawer – where much of my life, my home, and my body was a mess.
10 of the 12 women in the Project Healthy Body(the group my health coach leads) rated their lives a 10/10 in our first homework assignment. When Jennifer told me that, it stopped me in my tracks because it meant that I was no different than any other over-weight person. My situation wasn’t unique. Looking back, it seems so transparent and obvious that a) no one’s life is a 10/10, and b) mine certainly was not! I am not minimizing the wonderful life that I have built. I have been living the absolute best life I can possibly live, given the tools that I had. Now that I have the tools, I’m chipping away at the one thing that has been keeping me from living my best life: self love. How am I getting there? I am melting the layers of fat and uncovering my true authentic self. How am I melting the fat? By learning how to love myself.
Self-love: regard for one’s own well-being and happiness
Some of the changes and progress that I have made thus far have been easy. Eating only whole and healthy foods that support my vitality has been shockingly easy. Even shifting to proper portion sizes has been easy. Other changes have been more difficult. Confronting an unbalanced dynamic in my marriage has been more difficult. Exploring the reasons why I started filling empty spaces with food in the first place has been difficult.
It takes courage and humility to truly own where I am at and where I have been. And even that is easier than the courage it takes to share those things with my husband…and still more to share it with you. But I know that I can’t rebuild what isn’t fully exposed (figuratively, not literally – unless I end up really, really, super good-looking at the end of this journey…then, maybe literally, too). I also know that the helper in me gets a great deal of positive energy and inspiration (and accountability) from connecting with others who can relate to some or all of my own experience. I will say it out loud so that you don’t have to!
Project Healthy Body is three months long, and ends in April. However, I won’t be short of material to write about because I have just signed up for a year long extension of this program. I can only imagine what my life will be like one year from now. The clarity of mind, shrinking of body, and wholeness of being that I have gained thus far feels incredible – but I know it’s just the beginning of something truly amazing. I just know it.