What’s Your Breaking Point?Of all the scary, intimidating, frightful things in this world, who would have thought a “Mommy and Me” pool party with friends would have caused me to cower in fear? Normally, the idea of cooling off from the blistering triple digit Phoenix weather in a refreshing pool, sipping an iced tea as my children splashed and played would have sounded lovely. But to a few, summertime brings dread as we are on full display in tank tops, shorts and swimsuits. Swimsuit season strikes fear in the hearts of many women, and at one time, me included.
I used to be that poor woman who wore the heavy clad coverups year round, even when the temperatures reached scorching levels way over 115 degrees.
Black was my color of choice, not because I liked it, but simply because I thought it would camouflage the 100+ extra pounds I carried around. Family vacations were especially stressful while toting around all the extra weight. No way would you ever catch me at the beach or public pool! Summertime was miserable for me as I watched my friends and family slip into shorts, tank tops and swimsuits to enjoy the sunshine and summertime fun. The truly sad thing was, the worse I felt about my weight, the more I would binge on unhealthy food and then the bigger I got. It was truly a vicious cycle where I was imprisoned by food and by weight.
Being over weight was nothing new for me.From my early childhood on up, I grew up in an over-weight family, where being big was the norm. Struggling with obesity was a generational stronghold that passed down from my grandparents, to my parents, to me. Even our pets struggled with being over weight according to our veterinarian! No joke! I was submersed in a culture that only taught me that obesity was a way of life.
Like many over weight children, I endured countless occasions of being called demeaning, hurtful names, like “Fatty”, “Lazy”, “Ugly” from other kids.
I lived through decades filled with taunts from complete strangers and even abusive treatment from teachers and classmates. There were times when I was over-looked for class projects or opportunities to public speak because of personal prejudices of the teacher. Well meaning adults would frequently tell me, “Christina, if you only lost weight, you would be pretty.” Once, In high school, I was told by a boy I had a crush on, “I would probably like you if you lost a lot of weight, but until then, I don’t date fat chicks.”
Every comment, every snide remark broke my heart and my will to do anything about the weight.Over the years and decades, I learned to live within a prison of weight and allowed food to control me. I bought into the lie, and little by little, I allowed my true self, who God created me to be, to slip away and take backseat to who the world said I was: Fat, ugly, undesired, friendless, lazy and worthless. There were so many nights I cried myself to sleep, praying that in the morning that somehow, someway, I would wake up and be normal. You see, at that time, I had no idea that no matter what I looked like or how much I weighed, that I am truly a person who is valuable, loved and adored. Today, I know the truth, that I am loved, I am valuable and I have greatness inside me that will allow me to accomplish anything I set my hand to, and that truth has set me free!
As I am sure you can see, today I’m no longer just “living with the weight”.I’m so happy to tell you that I have shed over 100 pounds and 16 dress sizes and have kept it off for many years now! If you have never been a hundred pounds over weight then let me tell you it’s literally like cutting yourself in half. Losing 100 pounds was equal to me carrying around a 5th grader on my back and then finally they hop off and I’m free to run, jump, dance and live my life. Losing the weight has been one of my greatest accomplishments. My life is totally transformed from the inside out! I feel wonderful! I have energy to run my race in all that I am called to do and I feel alive! I now love swimming with my children, wearing little sundresses on date nights with my husband, going on vacations to the beach is my favorite, and I now wear such array and variety of colorful clothes in celebration of my freedom! I have the confidence to boldly speak in front large crowds without fear or worry and I now have a voice in this world! I discovered my value and from that discovered my strength! My life will never be the same and I am never going to settle and buy into that lie again! I have discovered that life is so much more pleasant, exciting and enjoyable without the extra weight holding you back!
So what changed in me you ask?Everyone has a “Breaking Point”. Your “Breaking Point” is that specific moment where you are no longer willing to believe the lie and you say, “Enough is enough!” I have no idea what your’s is, but I found mine. You can thank Mickey Mouse for helping me discover my “Breaking Point”. Well, perhaps not Mickey, but the Disney theme park helped me discover that extra spark I needed to get myself going in the right direction towards physical freedom. It all started while we were on a fun, family vacation to our favorite place on earth: Disney Land!
Disney Land is an overweight person’s dream!Delicious sugar and fat ladened food carts as far as the eye can see! You can only take a few steps before crossing paths with the next vendor of deliciously sweet goodies and savory snacks! I was loving it, until the unspeakable happened! Perhaps it was one too many churros? Or maybe the chocolate covered frozen banana and white chocolate covered carmel apple I’d ate that morning? It could have been the three slices of cheesy pepperoni pizza, basket of greasy french fries and the large soda I gulped down for lunch, but we will never know! That was the one day I will never forget and it pounced upon me like a hungry girl, ummm, I meant lion, and it left me dizzy with regret, embarrassment and shame!
As my family and I loaded onto our favorite ride, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, I discovered that for some reason my safety belt would not fit around my bulging stomach and thighs.
I cleared my mind and thought reasonably, “There’s a logical explanation for this, my safety belt is obviously cut short.” My sweet husband noticed my dilemma. With concern in his eyes of what could come next, he quickly came to my rescue by kindly offering to trade seats. We swapped places and I prayed (I’m sure my poor husband was praying too) that this would be the answer. Hmmmmm, this safety belt was cut short too! What in the world was going on?! It was then, at that moment, that the pure horror and embarrassment flooded me! Oh no, how could I have gotten this big?! When did it get so bad?! I quickly realized the safety belt was not too short, but rather I was too big! The young man working the ride looked at me and with his face reddened with embarrassment he said, “I’m so sorry ma’am, but you are too large to ride this ride.” I bolted out of the “Temple of Doom” as fast as I could, with my poor family in quick pursuit, only to find that my robust hips would not fit between the spinning people counter! The second young man had to open the gate and let me out like a cow lead to the slaughter house. This was truly one of the most embarrassing days of my adult life in what was supposed to be the happiest place on earth!
When you are trapped in a prison of weight, there is no place, no person, no amount of things or bank account big enough to make you happy when you are so desperately unhappy with yourself.
Being the person that I am, I wiped away the tears and put on a “happy face” for my family. I’ve always had the attitude that a smile can fix anything and I spent the rest of our family vacation trying my best to hide that deep down inside I was secretly depressed and disgusted that I had let myself slip so far away from health. I made sure to avoid any more rides that required those pesky safety belts and vowed that when I returned home I would get my weight back on track!
I would love to tell you that when I returned home from that horrible “Temple of Doom” trip that I immediately found the perfect plan and I instantly began losing weight.
If only I could say that I lost several pounds that first month… But I can’t, that would be a lie! For the year following that horrific Disney Land experience I found myself stuck in a rut with diets, diet pills, weight loss doctors, expensive personal chefs and a personal trainer that left me thousands of dollars short and up in weight another 22 pounds! I tried everything and nothing helped! In fact, my health by the end of the year had plummeted. I was diagnosed as borderline type two diabetic with severe hypoglycemia. I also had severe joint and arthritic pain and I began to have breathing problems from all the extra weight I was lugging around. Things were not looking good!
It seemed like the harder I tried the more mountains popped up to prevent me from reaching my weight loss goals!By the end of the year I had gained even more weight, outgrew every item of clothes in my closet and my personal trainer fired me because she presumed that I must be sneaking junk food behind her back! I promise I was not sneaking food. I was literally starving all the time! Can you believe it, I was actually fired by my own paid personal trainer? Now this makes me laugh now, but at the time it was a little discouraging as I am sure you can imagine.
I also tried several different weight loss doctors, you know the kind, they operate out of those run-down, dirty office buildings and act more like infomercial salesmen (no offense if you are an infomercial salesmen) than medical providers.
They offered me grand promises and then told me to eat almost nothing and take different diet pills, which I only took a short time because they left me feeling like my heart was going to burst out of my chest! It was not healthy and very expensive! One doctor even charged me nearly $450 just to tell me, “Yes, Christina, you are over weight and it doesn’t appear to have a cause.” A word to the wise, seriously do your research if you decide to go this route and be sure to partner with a well respected medical provider who has adequate experience with weight loss. Many times it never works out and you could be placing yourself in harms way. Needless to say, nothing worked for me that first year! The only slimming that happened was with my wallet.
I found myself physically bankrupt.I was over 100 pounds over weight, sick, tired and now facing a diagnosis of life threatening illnesses. I’d hit rock bottom! I’d tried and failed over and over again, spending hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars with nothing to show for it! I was even farther from my goals of reaching a healthy weight. I was tipping the scale at 271 pounds, heavier than, Mike Tyson, the once Heavy Weight Boxing Champion of the world! I was even pondering my options to trying risky surgeries- until I heard the sad news of one of my close friend’s father bleeding to death during the exact surgery I was contemplating. I was a desperate woman, who so desperately needed to lose the weight!
The morning finally came when I opened my closet and found that absolutely nothing fit, not even my size 22W jeans!Yet again, I was at my “Breaking Point”! I had enough of this weight telling me what I could do, what I could wear and how I was going to feel or live! I could not understand why this was happening! I’d done the diets, taken the the diet pills, worked out for hours a day with a personal trainer and nothing was working! I was ready to book my surgical appointment, when a friend stepped in and offered me encouragement in my darkest hour. She said, “Christina, before you go get cut up, why don’t you give it one last try at losing the weight naturally.” I thought about it and I decided she was right. I would give myself one last try and see what happens at the end of one month.
With the encouragement from my husband I chose to keep going.By the end of my first month on my new plan I was already down 37 pounds! I felt great! I continued to seek out wisdom from top experts on weight loss, I spent hundreds of hours personally researching and finally created a the ONLY weight loss plan that ever worked for me! Thank you God!
I was like a sponge with all the health and fitness books- still am! Even today I read everything I can get my hands on about living healthy, longevity, anti-aging, weight loss and fitness.
I submersed my life into seeing this one mountain in my life move! I even began working for one of Arizona’s top weight loss clinics and before long ended up becoming their spokes person. It was on my journey that I finally realized that I had to stop looking for other people and outside circumstances to help me lose the weight and start looking at myself to create my own plan!