The Weight-Loss Secret That Saved My Life

woman standing on scale to check her weight
Love, Self

A woman ditches her toxic relationships—with food and men—after learning to love herself.

In life, I have always known my station. I am the funny and "cute" friend who makes people laugh. I'm the comedian, always good for a laugh and an outlandish outburst.

But no matter how comfortable I felt with "the comedy bit," I was always left feeling like I didn't measure up. If you had asked me to list the pros and cons of myself, the negatives would always outweigh the positives. It was so much easier for me to go there. But that all changed when I fell in love with myself. First, let's look back.

I was a kid who according to my mother was "always skipping, smiling and laughing." I loved my life. Then middle school came and with it puberty, and that's when everything changed.

These new hormones turned my life upside down. I went to bed one night a perfectly average middle school girl, and woke up to find that I had boobs. And a "training bra" was NOT gonna hold them. With my period and boobs came belly fat. All I could see that remained of the old me was my humor and wit. It left me hoping that if I had them laughing, maybe they wouldn't notice that I was also gaining weight.

As I went through high school, college and got my first "dream nursing job" my relationship with myself remained in the toilet. I ate my way through all of the hard times that happened to me. If kids were on my horizon, the extra belly fat would make it difficult to ovulate and conceive. But worse, my life was in peril—all the extra weight was moving my Triglycerides, LDL, and HDL into the dangerous zones. I was literally on my way to a stroke before the age of 30. To top it off, my constant self-loathing left me looking to please others at my own expense. Body Image: Do You Lose Weight To Feel Sexy?

My first marriage was a disaster. I got married right out of college to a man who had a promising future, but in the end had no follow-through. I allowed my inability to respect, love, and stand up for myself to grow into a one-sided commitment. I worked two jobs while he sat at home and played Xbox. That was when he wasn't on the internet trolling for women and porn. Seven years and chronic IBS later, I was at the brink. I ate whatever I could to smother my emotions. Finally, one day, I realized that this man-child was not going to change. If I wanted to survive, I had to get out. I had to learn to love myself first. So, I packed my things and left.

On that day, I was reborn.

As many others out there, I can say that I have tried diet after diet but none helped me really deal with my pattern of emotional eating. So I started reading up on the subject. I read that most food addicts choose to eat instead of allowing themselves to actually FEEL those uncomfortable emotions. That struck a chord with me. I can recall countless instances when I was mad, sad or anxious, but didn't want to feel bad for myself. I would eat because, in some twisted way, food made me happy. But later I would realize that I had just ingested hundreds of calories. That, in turn, would cause me to feel even worse, to get angry with myself and to experience more self-loathing. It was a cycle that needed to end. Nobody's Perfect: 7 Beauty Myths Secretly RUINING Your Love Life

I found out about a program that forced me to break the emotional connection that I have with food because the bottom line was that food and I had to break up. We were in a toxic relationship.

I started a regimen called the Ideal Protein Diet, and in 15 weeks, dropped 53 pounds (from 265 lbs to 212 lbs) and 10 inches from my waist. I recognize that I still have a long way to go, but this weight loss has absolutely changed my life forever.

In addition to losing the weight, I started to rewrite my "self-worth" list. Thinking back, in my teens I wanted to be like everybody else; truth is that I wasn't. My inability to look like others lead me to hate myself all through my 20s. Now that I'm in my mid-30s, remarried and a heck of a lot wiser, I made a pledge to myself that I would change. I decided to make a personal contract with me—the real me.

Every day I follow these Self-Love Rules:

  • There is no one on this earth like me.
  • Be my own best friend.
  • I am more than what the scale says.
  • Sexy is an attitude, not a dress size. (You can find shoes that scream "sexy," however. Just sayin'.)
  • There are pretty people out there who have very ugly spirits—don't be them or want to be them.
  • Feel whatever emotion you are feeling; eating through it will only make you hate yourself later.
  • Try and be as honest as you can as often as you can.
  • Surround yourselves with friends who love you even at your worst hour.
  • Don't live your life afraid—you will regret it when you look back.
  • Boundaries are your best friends—establish some.
  • You are worthy of massages, pedicures and cute shoes.
  • If any man doesn't support or enhance these commandments, find another man.

And, I did, indeed, find another man—a wonderful one. The reality of a functional relationship is freeing. I can finally take a deep breath because I know that he is there no matter what, and I am not in this life or marriage alone. Jamie is different in many ways from my first husband. His love and dedication to our life together is something that I can count on. Our relationship is one that betters the both of us. This is most evident in his extraordinary support of my decision to take control of my life, and get my body and mind healthier. His support helps drive me to stay the course even when I hit a temporary low in my motivation. I can honestly say that he is the love of my life and that is a remarkable thing.

Today I feel free to be as sexy and pretty as I want to be because I see more than an overweight girl in the mirror. In fact, I see less and less of her every day. I can walk up the stairs and not be completely out of breath. I can respond to emergencies at the hospital, run down the hall, and not feel like I need oxygen. I can go to an amusement park and not worry that I will not be able to fit into the rides. I can reach something on the floor of the car without having to take my seat belt off and grunt or groan to reach it. I can fly on a plane and not need an extender or be worried that I am encroaching into the seat next to me. I weigh less than my new husband. It's the little things. Oh, and I'm still pretty damn funny, too.