Today, January 5, 2005 is a pretty special day to me. It’s the day that my journey to the new Me began. It was the day that I walked into LA Weight Loss in Daytona Beach and I’ve never looked back. I went there, because I knew their program worked for me. Prior to moving to Florida, I had gone to LA Weight Loss in New Jersey before I found myself in the abusive relationship with Michael and gained all the weight that I had lost back…and then some. That particular day, when I went into their office, I weighed 354 lbs. My all time highest of being on a doctor scale was 389, but I’ve no doubt, I’ve I told you many times before that I was well over 400.
In going through a lot of old stuff in my house, getting rid of clutter, I came across this picture recently of myself. It is the January 2005 membership card for Sams Club. WOW…even I don’t recognize myself!
While I knew the program worked for me when I lived in New Jersey, I never in my life imagined that I would succeed in my battle with my weight, a war which I had waged my entire life.
There was something different this time, even though I didn’t know it. My mindset was changing from one of constant defeat to one of finding the positive and keeping the negative out of my life. When I left New Jersey, not only did I leave the Domestic Violence situation that I was in, I also left behind people who I thought were friends, but who really were just negative influences on my life.
The staff at LA Weight Loss were so supportive and encouraging. And, I know that it’s their “job” to do so, but these ladies were different. Kristen was the Manager there and Moira was one of the counselors, they were more like friends to me, than just simply a weight loss counselor. I could talk to them about anything, they were always supportive of whatever I might have been going through and unlike other weight loss companies, they didn’t try to continually push products on me. They were there for me and to help me succeed, just like every other client they had. When I moved from Daytona to So. Florida and transferred to a different LA Weight Loss center, they were much different. The staff there just wanted to sell me products, if I had a difficult week, they didn’t want to hear it, they gave me my allotted 10 minutes of time, or whatever it was and then I was out the door. They’d tell me “Well, you’re still averaging 2.7lbs a week, or here’ try this fasting juice for 3 days.” One day I finally said to the girl “Stop giving me that 2 point whatever pounds a week, I haven’t lost a single pound in two months!” I called my girls up in Daytona and they figured out that I had hit a new level and my diet needed to be changed. Once I did, I started losing weight again.
I remember when I moved, Kristen and Moira were kind of bummed, because they had been with me through so much and I was closing in on 100 lbs lost. Kristen said “I wanted to be there to celebrate 100 lbs with you!”. Well….The Universe works in mysterious ways, it brought Hurricane Wilma to So. Florida and I left town, going back to my Mom’s house in Daytona Beach until the hurricane was over and for the 2 weeks until power was restored in my apartment. I did indeed hit that 100 lbs mark with Kristen and Moira in Daytona.
I started losing weight immediately when I began the program again January 5, 2005. I kept all the negativity that I had control over out of my life and I made a point to find at least one positive thing every day. There was one negative still in my life, which the only control I had was to allow it to penetrate me and throw me off course, or to find a new way to deal with it. That negative force was my Step-Father. He was a horrible man, who when I was 16 tried several times to put his hands all over me. I felt dirty when he started and I knew it was wrong. I stopped spending time alone with him and when I did, he became verbally, emotionally and mentally abusive. But, it wasn’t just me, he was horrible to everyone who was in his world. Except for friends, who never saw him in action, they would never have known this was the same man. In fact, if he had died naturally, instead of some psycho chic burying him in her backyard and wiping his bank accounts clean (another story for another day), there would have been hundreds of people at his funeral or memorial service and they’d be talking about what a nice guy he was, so funny, so kind, so generous. Not many people, except employees of our family business and a couple of family members ever saw the real Arthur Sheldon.
He tried for sure to throw me off, to tear me down, but this time I was different. I wasn’t the 16 year old girl who was scared of him and who had been so bullied throughout her life before he even came into it, that I didn’t know what else to do, but to take it. I wasn’t the child who thought this was normal, because it was all I ever knew. This time I was a 43 year old woman, who had left what would have been a deadly abusive relationship if I hadn’t left. Yes, my ex would have killed me, there’s no doubt in my mind that if I had stayed then I you would not be here reading this, because I would not be alive to write it. Or perhaps I would have been in jail for self-defense. No, this time I was different and instead of viewing him through the eyes of that 16 year old girl, and being scared of him, I viewed him as a pathetic 62 year old man who needed to bully me in order to make himself happy. And, you know what???? It worked! He wasn’t getting to me.
The best part I think, other than my continued success of losing weight, is the back and forth game it became, with my always being the victor instead of the victim. The more I didn’t let him get to me (or let him see that he made me angry) the harder he tried. The harder he tried, the stronger I became and the less he did get to me. Push and pull, push and pull, it was WONDERFUL!!
There came a point where I even saw the abusive relationship that I had been in, in a positive light, because it prepared me for life with Art again. In fact, being in that relationship and actually every other experience in my life, including the bad ones and the REALLY bad ones, prepared me for that moment. That day when I walked into LA Weight Loss, morbidly obese, feeling beaten down by life, depressed, emotionally drained and more….and I left all of those feelings behind and moved forward in my journey. With each step, I lost more than just weight, I lost the baggage of the past and I moved forward into the future, to the here and now.
Today, 240 lbs lighter than that all time high, I am not that 16 year old girl, afraid of the world with no self-esteem, no self-confidence, no self-worth – nothing….I am not the 17 year old who attempted and failed at suicide and then ended up living in a group home because neither of her parents wanted her, both choosing their new relationships over their daughter. I am not the 19 year old who was raped in college, became pregnant and gave the baby up for adoption. I am not the 25 year old, who married a man, who she talked herself into loving him, but ended up realizing she never did love him, she just didn’t think anyone else would ever want her and who she divorced at the age of 37. And finally, I am not that 43 year old who left one of the worst periods in her life behind without having a clue of what the future held for her and lastly, I am most certainly not the victim that I had been all of my life. Today, I am a SURVIVOR and it is my passion to help others. I want people who are struggling with their weight like I did to use my success as motivation to know that they can do it and I want to help them. I want women who are in abusive relationships like I was to know that it’s not their fault…they do not make anyone hit them as their abusers tell them AND use my experiences as inspiration to can get out. I want kids who are in group homes and foster care and in the Juvenile Justice System to know that where they are today does not define who they become tomorrow and women who have been raped to know that there’s someone who understands, because they’ve been there too. It’s my passion to make a difference in the world, even if it’s just my little corner of the world.
I believe that all of those things that I’ve gone through were for a purpose, a reason and while they REALLY SUCKED when I was going through them, they brought me to where I am today and have given me the ability to bring a very different thought process to those who are going through the same challenges. If one thing were different, then my life would have been different and I might not have ended up where I am. It’s why I’ve become a Life Coach and it’s why I want to make a difference in the world. I believe it is my purpose in life.