What will it take for you to make a change? In 2004 I made a decision that would change my life forever. I think it’s better shared through an excerpt from my first book titled, FAT CHICK TO COVER MODEL. It’s titled, Truth in the Mirror.
Fat Chick to Cover Model – Chapter 1 – Truth in the Mirror
“You never find yourself until you face the truth”
When I entered the studio at the lower level of the Trainer’s Club in Portland, Oregon, everyone was gathered around in a circle chatting softly exchanging stories of the past week. They were so lively and energetic and beautiful. They were some of the healthiest looking people I had ever seen. Everyone looked so young and I felt so out of place, yet I knew I was in the right place. Despite this knowledge, I was not prepared for what would unfold later.
The circle opened up a bit and there she was, in the center, shuffling through her music collection with the biggest smile on her face. A welcoming look my way let me know I was about to enter a journey of a lifetime. The conversation was about many things all at once because everyone was so excited. I had never seen people so excited about exercise in my life. My past history of Jane Fonda DVDs and crazy maniac out of control step classes was how I viewed exercise, so seeing these people so pumped up and expectant was something totally new to me.
Victoria welcomed me to her class and explained that I would do well and if I got tired, to just stop, step back against the wall and just march in place. She said not to worry, but to just have fun. Then the music started.
The three-hour class began with stretching. The moves were so soothing and every muscle, from the muscles surrounding my neck and shoulders to the bottoms of my feet were stretched for flexibility. The music was soft as the lighting in the room. All through the routine, Victoria explained each stretch and purpose of each stretch, explaining the benefit of all the moves. The moves were cleaning, revitalizing and energizing. We focused on breathing techniques and asked to release the cares of the week as we entered into a new week of joy and expectancy. I stretched muscles I never knew I had and the music was soothing and comforting to my spirit and emotions.
I was tired from being overworked and lonely from being single and I felt empty. At a recent check-up, I was informed that I had high blood pressure and was pre-diabetic. My doctor suggested that I lose weight, but every plan I would try ended in failure. Most of my energy was spent on my job and numerous community, social, and volunteer groups to avoid having to work on myself I suppose.
Bouts of depression led to emotional eating and I didn’t know how to stop the constant struggle with unhealthy food. I didn’t know how to change my situation. I knew I wanted more from life, but didn’t know how to go about getting what I desired. Pouring my energy into work was an escape mechanism allowing feelings to be stuffed down deep. I didn’t know where to turn.
The calmness of the studio allowed my mind to flush out all the stress with each stretch. The music lyrics spoke to the inward places in my spirit helping me to open up and absorb the positive energy. When we finished stretching, I felt revitalized and ready for whatever was next as the lights were lifted. But I wasn’t prepared for what I saw next.
The walls of the studio were mirrored. There were mirrors in front of me. There were mirrors on the side of me. The reflection I saw looking back at me was not the woman I thought I knew. She was HUGE! She was Fat! She was, ME It was as if scales had been lifted from my eyes and for the first time in years, I was seeing myself as I really was, unfit and unhealthy. My body was very large and it was difficult finding workout clothes to fit me. I had to wear my regular street clothes. I chose a soft pull-over top and a pair of jersey wide-legged pants to be my workout uniform. Not being able to wear normal exercise wear made me feel embarrassed and it was humiliating.
A thousand thoughts came to my mind all at once like a flood-gate rushing in. In my mind were many negative thoughts about myself.
I knew it was not good to compare myself to others, but when I saw myself along side all the other participants where who were so fit and beautiful, my eyes were open to the truth about my situation and at that moment I had two choices to make.
Either I would run away in shame, never to come back to the class again, or stay, face my hurt ego and pride, and toss then both in the garbage so I could be healed once and for all. I had come to learn later after my dramatic weight loss that very few people, once faced with the same truth, would have chosen to stay.
My staying in the room that day and for many days afterward, was one of the greatest things I had ever had done for myself and I learned that it is the people who can face the truth that can become free.
I wasn’t prepared learn how inflexible I was or how I couldn’t keep up with everyone. I would get out of breath easily and could not get through the workouts without numerous breaks. I would have to stand against the back of the room and march-in-place many times while watching the others participating in the exercises with ease.
Just walking normally caused me to sweat, so doing aerobic exercises unleashed floods of perspiration that was embarrassing. Tears are streaming from my eyes as I am writing this chapter, because it brings back memories of that day, but I am so glad that I didn’t run out the room and stayed to face the truth.
A Masterpiece at the End of the Journey
For you my dear friend, it will be the same. You will have to make the same decision I made many years ago. When you finally face the truth of your situation, will you run away in shame? Or, will you face the truth and allow the truth to set you free?
The marvelous conclusion is this. Allow humility to enter your life. Know that you are in the right place at the right time. Know that today is the first day of your new life and the beginning of the unveiling of what will be a masterpiece at the end of the journey.
Every move you make is a move toward a better you. Every move in the right direction is like one stitch in the garment of your new being. Each move is like an individual stitch. It takes thousands of stitches to complete a garment worthy to be worn with praise. So know that every effort you make and every goal you reach is taking you to the ultimate goal. Keeping on the journey ended in an unexpected reward.
The unveiling for me was the day I appeared on the cover of People Magazine on the May 21st in 2007. That issue, like all issues, went nationwide. Can you imagine? Billions of people read that issue! Perhaps the president of the United States read that issue! Internationally, people read the article and saw for themselves that it was possible to lose 100 pounds without surgery and without a fad diet (which was People Magazine’s requirement to be in the article).
The five other women, who were featured in the magazine along with me, didn’t lose the weight quickly either. It took time. For me, it took 3 years. To some people, this may seem like a long time especially, if you think losing weight is agony. I do admit, it was very difficult the first 3 months, but after the initial months of becoming adjusted to the new lifestyle changes, it become easier and this will happen for you as well.
Any new endeavor takes some adjustment. You will be successful some days and some days you will not be as successful. Know that every step you take toward the goal is a step well taken. Your effort will not go unacknowledged.
You’ve got to be willing to do anything! You’ve got to be willing to do what it takes to reach your goal of weight loss success. If you don’t, you will always find yourself on the roller coaster of yo-yo dieting and never reaching your goal of being fit and trim.
Besides the ultimate benefit of looking great and improving your health, imagine the impact your life will make on others? That’s just how powerful this change will be not only for you, but also for others.
Realize and face the truth! Your truth! Don’t give another excuse why this time it won’t work. Take action, and know that his time you will reach your goal. Make it work this time and do all that is necessary. I know you can do it.
And don’t let what you see be the ULTIMATE TRUTH. The REAL truth is you are a victorious person who is capable of reaching your goal if you will put forth the effort. Don’t let anything stop you.