By Live Well 360 Guest Blogger Tracie Tipton
I am sitting in my favorite recliner, reflecting back on the past several years—specifically where I was a year ago. I’m amazed at how much change can occur in a year and I am humbled and energized by the power of intention.
Last year I declared that this would be the best year ever—even as I was climbing out of a dark and depressed season of life.
Without a shadow of a doubt, this truly has been my best year… but the best part is that it keeps getting better!
Of course, it hasn’t always been this way.
The Beginning: Food Equals Comfort
I had some rough childhood moments involving abuse and abandonment and this unresolved trauma led to depression and overeating.
My weight issues began sometime between the 6th and 7th grade. That was the time I began turning to food for comfort.
I came home to an empty house but the Mac & Cheese and reruns of The Dukes of Hazzard were always there for me.
Thus, my lifestyle of processed food carb loading in front of the TV began. It’s the American Way, right?
I packed on the pounds and the health issues came along with them. Self-loathing soon followed.
I began hating myself and my body. It was so fat and ugly, how could anyone possibly love this? How could anyone possibly love me?
Funny thing though, now that I look back I can see that God was always surrounding me with people that loved me. I just didn’t quite know how to receive it.
Over the years, I tried to lose the weight. I tried many diet plans and I would certainly drop a few pounds. But inevitably, they would come back.
At my largest I weighed around 275 pounds. I’m not sure of the exact weight because I avoided the scale at that size.
In 2007, I felt like my whole world was falling part all around me. The details are not important, the circumstances were hard and I was at the end of my rope.
On the advice of a friend, I began seeing a counselor.
The Shift Toward Weight Loss Success
About a year into counseling I began a Christ-centered 12 step program called Celebrate Recovery. Through 1:1 counseling and the safe community of CR, my emotional and spiritual healing continued.
Here’s where my weight loss shifted. I started releasing more “weight” than just what was physically on my body. I let go of mental, spiritual, and emotional baggage too.
It was the perfect opportunity for me to begin coming out of my shell. Public speaking is something that I would have never imagined being able to do before this!
The Wake Up Call
However, even with all this success, I was still dealing with lingering health issues. Chronic fatigue and achiness clung to my body.
I often felt like I had the flu and then I began having pain and swelling in my joints.
In 2009, I was finally diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
The rheumatologist gave me two options: one drug that might cause blindness or one that might kill off my liver.
What’s option number 3?!
He gave me no other options. This was my wake up call.
After identifying what foods my body did not tolerate and taking them out of my diet, I began feeling better and dropped a lot more weight.
Within four months the rheumatoid arthritis symptoms were gone and I began feeling better.
This is when I made the connection about how much my diet was affecting my health.
From 2007 to 2009 I lost about 80 pounds, started to deal with emotional baggage, address my food choices, and add exercise to the mix.
2012 rolls around and I was down anther 20 pounds or so.
I worked out with trainers, consulted with nutritionists, tried endless supplements, blood work… but the weight wouldn’t budge past the 180-pound mark.
And I still hated myself and hated my body. I could not see anything good or beautiful even though I was down 100 pounds. It wasn’t good enough. I was still fat and ugly—that’s all I could see.
The answer must be: lose more weight. Right? The problem is the fat, right?
I decided to take on a drastic diet that was very restrictive on the amount of food I could eat. It was supposed to last 12 weeks.
It was a disaster.
About 8 weeks into the program… the binges came.
I started having episodes of orthostatic hypotension (blood pressure drops when standing), not knowing where I was when driving, and I think it probably tanked my adrenals and neurotransmitters as well because months later I tested very low on serotonin and dopamine and my cortisol levels were off.
I came off of that diet overeating like I had never eaten before.
I would eat way past full—until it was so uncomfortable—but then I’d still keep eating. I couldn’t stop. I was depressed. Of course, I gained back the weight I lost on that diet plus some.
Realization: the Weight is NOT the Problem
This little detour on my path was a great lesson for me. By the time I quit this diet I had already decided that I wanted to help other people on their own journey to health and wellness.
My journey has ignited in me the passion to help others and I recognized that my leadership experience in CR gave me the confidence that I could use to teach others about health and wellness.
I enrolled in a health coach training program through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN) so that I could get the education to back my passion.
Sheila kick started my recovery and even in my darkness at that time, I knew there was hope. I remember declaring that this would be my best year.
It was a hard year with lots of ups and downs. I stumbled a lot. But each time I stumble, I got back up and kept going.
I added to and developed an amazing support system during this time… the people at my gym, CR, church, school (IIN), Precision Nutrition and most recently my Young Living team.
This year I made peace with myself.
I began challenging my old belief system. What is true? What lies have I believed?
When I looked in the mirror, I saw pain and ugliness. I saw a broken, alone, rejected, fearful and hurting little girl. My past pain clouded my view—distorting my perfection. I could hardly stand to look.
Then one day, it dawned on me…
I feel rejected, NOT because others reject me, but because I reject me.
“You are fat. Being fat is unacceptable. I don’t like who you are.”
I feel ugly because I look in the mirror at myself with disgust.
I feel unloved and unlovable because I don’t love myself.
I feel alone because I don’t want to be me or with me.
I feel forgotten because I have ignored myself. I ignore my physical body cues and my emotions.
I feel like a burden because my attitude toward my body and set backs has been that of frustration with myself instead of compassion and understanding.
I feel inadequate and insecure because I can’t trust myself.
And why should I? I’ve rejected me, bullied me, and abandoned me.
That very day, I made amends with myself. I looked myself in the eye and apologized for being such a bully… for ignoring and abandoning me and for rejecting me.
I promised myself that I would treat me better… with love, compassion and grace.
This year, I learned how to receive love, which in turn has helped me be able to give love.
I had built a fortified wall around my heart, which served to protect me from being hurt. And it served me well.
When I built that wall, I didn’t realize that keeping pain out also kept good stuff from coming in.
It’s a whole new world. I’ve been able to express to my friends that I love them and my relationships are deepening.
I have found my tribe in this journey. We share a passion and vision and we compliment each other.
I would go through every heartache again as long as I could get here and be among my tribe!
The scale doesn’t even matter anymore. My weight loss goal is peace. I’m there. And I trust that the rest will fall into place.
It just keeps getting better!
Can you relate to Tracie’s story? Let her know in the comments below!
Tracie’s areas of specialty include Emotional/Disordered Eating, Autoimmune issues (RA, fibromyalgia), Group coaching, Christ-centered Recovery – Abuse & Addictions, and using Young Living Essential Oils to replace toxic household products, pharmaceuticals and to release emotional trauma.
Learn more about Tracie at www.arete-nutrition.com.
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