December 8th, 2017 was a day that forever changed my life. This was the day that I made the decision to save my life. But let me back up a bit.
I’ve been overweight my whole life. And by overweight I don’t just mean I was a pudgy kid. I mean I was well over 300 lbs. before I even reached 7th grade. I remember being in a women’s size 20 at the age of 10. I often joke that I started out as a 10 lb. baby and never looked back. Basically, I am an overachiever. Now, don’t let the numbers fool you. I was well-liked, had plenty of friends and excelled at school. I was a pretty well-balanced and successful kid, aside from the number on the scale. There’s certainly reasons that caused my massive weight gain, but we can leave that for another blog.
By my 30th birthday in November 2017, I tipped the scales at close to 525 lbs. I was in constant pain and found just moving from room to room winded me. I avoided stairs like the plague and was constantly exhausted. However, this didn’t deter me from the rest of my life. I worked a full-time job I loved and attended college full-time as well, taking online classes to finish my psychology degree. On the outside I was the smart, funny, fat girl. On the inside, I was in constant fear. Afraid that one night I’d fall asleep and never wake up. I was terrified of who would have to find me and how on earth they’d get my body out the door. These were only a couple of my very morbid, extremely real fears that constantly took up space in my brain. So, in one of these episodes of fear, I penned the letter that later got forwarded to “The Doctors” and eventually brought me to where I am now.
Within days after sending this letter to the show I received my first phone call from the producers and another four days after this initial call, I was in Los Angeles filming my first segment of the show. The first few days of filming consisted of “back story.” The most memorable shooting moments included me, sitting uncomfortable facing two cameras, being asked some of the most probing, personal questions I’ve ever been asked. It was terrifying, painful and humiliating. I likened it to someone ripping off fresh scabs and tearing open old wounds and scars then poking at the open, festering wounds repeatedly, all while filming the entire ordeal for the world to see. It was bearing the ugliest, most insecure parts of who I am and allowing my vulnerability to shine from all of the most unflattering angles. In my head, I was painting a portrait of this poor unfortunate soul that needed to be saved – And I didn’t need saved! I couldn’t be saved! I was doing just fine on my own!
Fast forward to the in-studio portion of filming. There I sat under the bright lights, the faces of perfect strangers in an audience looking at me with pitiful eyes and feeling sorry for me. I was a deer in the headlights. I struggled to find coherent words that expressed my gratitude for this ill-advised gift. I had been offered 6 months at an all-inclusive fitness camp in beautiful Southern California. While the cameras rolled I timidly agreed to go, but not a moment after I stepped off the stage the water works began. I absolutely lost it. I sobbed, angry I was given this ultimatum. You see, with this 6 month gift comes a cost. There was no financial assistance while in camp. To put it blatantly, I had to walk away from everything. My home, my car, my job and all my other financial obligations. I had to sacrifice everything and let countless other people down if I wanted to take this opportunity. I sat in the dressing room, hysterically crying because I knew that if I said yes, everything I’d worked so hard to build for myself would be gone. Not only would it be gone, it would financially destroy me in the process. No credit. No car. No job. I had nothing in savings and without a steady income, no way to keep my life together. But as I sat there sobbing, a more terrifying thought came to mind: What if I go back home and nothing changes? I realized that I was living on a dead end street and very, very soon I would reach the end. I would have my credit, my car and my “stuff,” but I would die without ever having children, ever seeing another continent and without ever experiencing true love. What good is “stuff,” if we’re not around to enjoy it? It was on that day, I realized I’d asked for change. I had asked for something huge. I wanted to save my life and yet because it wasn’t packaged exactly like I had planned or dreamed, I was going to turn it down because it might hurt my credit. Through tear-filled eyes I agreed to go that very night. I loaded my bags into that van and headed towards my new life. It was the longest 6 months of my life…
Stay tuned for how incredible living at an all-inclusive fitness camp can help change me inside and outside!