Without a pill to swallow, a quick fix to reduce excess pounds, or a fat shredding program, I discovered the key to unlock the weight loss secret. No easy way exists but boot camp classes, community support, and consumption of real, “clean” food lead to success. Decades delving through diet discoveries, spending money to pay for fake food, and weight loss programs meeting and greeting the masses of unhappy, hefty humans fighting the persistent pounds, my final wake up call arrived. Feeling desperate to heal from the hollowness of self-doubt, low self-worth, and the self-deprecating response of an overweight body, my searches led me to look within and reevaluate “real” food. Uncomfortable in my skin, wanting to shake my exterior from everyone’s visual, disappear and alleviate the pain of the past, I felt rock bottom beneath me.

My maximum weight leaped upward by a dozen pounds while writing my first memoir. Although my editor gave me two thumbs up for writing ability, the manuscript needed major editing with its organization, dialogue, and a reduction of 25,000 words. Immediately I started the editing process with hopes of completion within a few months, but stalled within three weeks purely paralyzed, inactive, and dead-ended. Reacquainting, rehashing, and repeatedly revisiting my past to complete a second draft felt overwhelmingly disabling. My attention and focus diluted quickly from the memoir to motherhood, volunteerism, and friendships, establishing a great distance from my writing and prevention of releasing my past into the hands of readers.

Gravity of failure weighed heavily; excess pounds plagued my inner peace, refusing their release. Depression, a downward spiral of disappointment, damaged and delayed my writing career. The dangling inspiration of my book lay dying, my inner strength dissipating, and the weight, a symptom declaring my resignation, wore itself upon me, a reminder of healing needing resolution. My extensive work to mend the broken pieces of myself lay dormant, ready to leap forward when the healing came knocking. Yet I sat in squalor with my thoughts, numbing the emotions in need of expression. While my writing took a rest, my passion shadowed into darkness, the shining light of community volunteerism, motherhood, and fostering friendships were illuminated. From the outside, life looked favorable, while the inner healing waited once again.

One year later, the sun shining and spring awakening, I requested a sign and support from anyone, anything, and any avenue, to thwart the inner pain that beckoned healing. Feeling despair, depressed, and drowning just below the surface, an angel in the form of a stranger spoke honestly and openly with me about her journey to shedding pounds, joining a community of like-minded souls, and eating “clean.” A clearing beckoned, I answered the call, and have engaged with this supportive community since. The healthy lifestyle she espoused I have embraced wholeheartedly. No shortcuts existed, but simple, not easy processes strengthened my mind, body, and spirit. Connection between those searching for meaning, healing, and personal growth has made the journey welcoming, while my patience for shedding pounds increases, and the journey has no official ending. Healing the shattered pieces of my inner self, returning to my passion of writing, and accessing self-love, self-acceptance, and self-respect for all that I am, supports sustainable weight maintenance long after the weight is gone, allowing a lifestyle to transpose itself into everyday well being.