As I sit here, just days from watching my episode, reflecting on the past year, I am amazed at how much my life has changed. Yes, I weigh a lot less, but more importantly, I have a peace of mind that I haven’t had years. My relationships with my family are better, I feel stronger than ever, and I have a confidence that I never had before. The overwhelming sense of failure I felt because I couldn’t seem to “fix” myself is gone. It would be impossible for me to tell you how many times I beat myself up because I could not lose the weight or commit to making the changes I knew I were necessary. Have you done the same thing? Beat yourself up for staying stuck somewhere you don’t want to be? Have you ever asked for help?
I knew being on the show wasn’t just going to be about the weight. Facing my fear of failure and acknowledging I was ready to tackle my weight was a big step for me. My weight had become the one subject I chose not to talk about with anyone. I knew my husband Scott, my family, and my friends could see my struggle. 315 pounds is not easy to hide. However, I never asked for help until I decided to reach out to the show. Considering doing the show was scary. It was the first time my husband and I had a direct conversation about my weight. And he was nothing but supportive. He just wanted me to be happy.
Finally addressing my fears, my self doubts, and being vulnerable enough to tackle the area of my life where I felt like a failure was brand new territory for me. I always had a running dialogue in my head about my weight, but never had an actual conversation about it with anyone. Talking to the casting directors openly about my weight was strange. Saying, “I am obese” out loud, was horrifying. No one wants that statement to be true, but I had to face the facts. At 5’7”, 315 pounds, I was medically considered morbidly obese. Not a place I thought I would ever find myself. And certainly not a place I wanted to stay.
Throughout the casting process, Scott and I were forced to have conversations that we should have been having for years. We should have looked at each other and said, “we can do better”. Part of the reason we didn’t was that I doubted if I could. I was overwhelmed, scared, and unsure of how to get started. So, I stayed paralyzed. I could not make myself face the stares of the fit people at any gym, so I never went. Once, I pulled into a gym parking lot just to check it out. I could not even get out of the car. I searched online for gyms to try and figure out what I might be able to handle, but never went. Staying stuck was not helping me in any way.
Once the conversations started, it got easier. I didn’t know if I was going to make the show, but for the first time in years, I had a glimmer of hope that maybe it was really time to do this. Maybe I could lose some weight? Maybe I could admit that I needed help and not be judged by anyone? Maybe I could take the time to focus on me, and my family and house wouldn’t collapse around me? Maybe I could actually become the person I felt like I was supposed to be, that God was calling me to be? Maybe I could finally conquer the voice in my head that had been telling me I was a failure for years?
Maybe you feel the same way? I have had so many people tell me that they are afraid to change. They are afraid to ask for help, to reach out to someone and admit, “I don’t have it all figured out.” I don’t know why we all seem to have such a hard time waving the white flag and just saying “Hey, I need a little help here.” It is okay to need help. It doesn’t mean we are weak. It’s actually quite the opposite. It means me have the courage to say we are not perfect. It means we are smart enough to know we can’t do everything alone. I am so glad I finally opened up and asked for help. I know when I did, it changed my life, it changed me, and it allowed me to find a peace within myself that I craved for so long.
Even after the lights and TV cameras went away, I had an amazing year. Most importantly, I have found an incredible support system. Sure, being on a television show is a novelty, but true friendship is not. Scott and I have always had a wonderful church family, and this year they have shown themselves faithful. I have received so many messages, cards and notes of encouragement, smiles, pats on the back, and prayers, that I couldn’t help but feel like success was my only option. My at home trainer and so many people at the gym, made getting up at 5:15 worth it. And it wasn’t because I was on a television show. They truly cared about me.
Had I not asked for help, I would be in the same rut I had been in for years. But because I had the courage to lean on those around me, my life is forever changed. Maybe it’s time for you to do the same thing? What area of your life do you feel stuck in? For many of us, it is our weight. For others it’s a relationship or feelings of insecurity as a parent. Does anyone have it all figured out? No. And it’s ok to admit that. We don’t need to be perfect. We just need to be real. Who is someone you can reach out to today and say, this is me, and this is what I am dealing with?