I was always an athletic girl. If there was swimming, running, jumping, or climbing you could count me in. I was short, fit and cute to boot. However, all this changed when I left home for college. About two semesters in, I began to gain weight. Exercise did nothing. The scale ticked upward and I began to lose myself. It wasn’t the weight gain that weighed me down; it was the gnawing feeling that something was wrong. Doctors used the freshman fifteen justification but I wasn’t buying it. I ate like a champ, carefully following the food guidelines provided by my dietician. Adding to my frustration was one doctor’s assertion that I must be lying about my food intake and exercise regimen. I was ticked off, but more hurt. Subconsciously, I accepted that he must know more about me than I knew about me. Although I still went to physicians for yearly physicals, I stopped sharing my concerns. I stopped questioning their assertions – even though my spirit knew they were wrong. I had lost my voice.
For years I wandered lost, steadily gaining weight and growing increasingly sad about my inability to fix this aspect of myself. I was an accomplished professional, but this had become taboo – until…
It was my 30th birthday. In less than a month, I would be conferred my Doctor of Health Education degree, but I wasn’t happy. How could I possibly begin to advocate for others when I hadn’t been an advocate for my own health. Why did I not deserve the same attention, passion and fire that I brought to other people’s causes? Why was it easy to speak up for others, but not for myself? In the quiet of morning, staring at me in the bathroom mirror it all became clear. As a result of frustrating and hurtful experiences with medical professionals in my early college years, I shutdown. Still, it was that very experience that fueled my desire to fight for others and to encourage them to fight for themselves. It was time to fight for me. I decided that this is my body, my life, my promise and no-one – not even so called experts – would rob me of that. With tears in my eyes, I promised myself “I will fight for me.” Three shouts and a scream later my husband came running into the bathroom. I was crying but happy. He was confused. We laughed. I did some research; eventually found a great listening physician. Today, I am 50lbs lighter and more alive than I’ve ever been. I discovered my voice.
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