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Humble Re-Beginings

Nov 26, 2020

The ring is a continuous circle - it has no beginning and knows no end - unless there is a break in it. Even that though, can be repaired with the right tools. 

Fortunately this is not my original wedding ring. No, I purchased this one some years ago as I outgrew the one I was given by my High School sweetheart 25 years ago. It was 2 sizes larger than the original, because, well, I was almost 2 times larger. I found the power of a genuine community and together we change my life - I lost 91 pounds and looked and felt great. This ring felt like a hula hoop.

I remember the joy when I proudly marched into the Jeweler to have it cut down to meet my new svelte self at 179lbs. I weighed less than I did when I got married. Had I been the one that wore the dress, I bet it would have fit again! I was on top of the world. I wanted you all to follow me to this fantastic place!

I shared my story - encouraged every single person I met “to just try”!  “You too can change your life” I said and I sure as heck meant it. I was on multiple TV shows raving about my new self. There were magazine articles, interviews and praise from all around the world. I went on an international tour to spread the joy and encourage you, as if I were the example of success.  I thought, since I had it all figured out, I’d just let you learn from my experience! “If I can do it, so can you.” was the message I wanted you to embrace! 

I accepted every single person for who they were, because I didn’t care where they came from. What mattered to me was where we were headed - together. The word was spreading, the community grew.  Hundreds of thousands were watching. I created a podcast and celebrated when it reached over 3 million downloads. It was spectacular. I was making a difference. I couldn’t have been more proud.

I had a genuine love and appreciation for the community I built and truly believed in every single person who dared try.  “I believe in you” I often said and to this day I still mean every word of it. I had huge plans for us. 

In the shadows though, my life began to change. I started slipping back to the habits that were deeply engrained in my head. Slowly but surely, that ring started shrinking.  Then my words began to haunt me. “If I can do it, so can you” became a curse. It was supposed to be a motivator but as my scale continued to climb, I no longer wanted you watching. I wanted better for you. For the love of God - “Stop following me!”

Fading away made complete sense to me. Yet so many of you refused to let me go. I just wanted to fix it by myself, but that wasn't how I fixed it the first time.

I took a back seat. I dimmed the spotlight while trying over and over and over again to "just do it", as if those words alone were the answer. 

I had a lot of things piling up. I don’t call them excuses. They were legitimate life experiences. I quickly learned I was ill equipped to handle them while balancing the role model lifestyle. One by one, I noticed some of you have had similar experiences. This comforted me. Even as I was creating distance, I never felt alone. 

I asked myself “what can I do about the past?” I used to think you couldn’t do anything about it so I only looked forward. “What’s done is done” they say. But I now know that to be false. The past gives you something to reflect on, to learn from, to grow out of.  It gives you a chance to repeat some things while leaving others alone. Learning and adjusting are valuable byproducts of a proper reflection. Looking back shows you just how far you’ve come.

As I begin to look back, I see so many familiar faces with their arms extended in support.  Many of those faces told a story strikingly similar. The ups and down and ups and downs along the journey to better health are real. You get me. I get you. For so many of us, this is how the journey unfolds. I guess someone has to tell this part of the story - it might as well be me. Maybe this is the part that needs the spotlight?

I don’t know where the path leads. I don’t know how the story ends, but I do know my story will never contain the words “I gave up”.  For weeks, I’ve tried to take this ring off by becoming a smaller version of myself.  It didn’t work. For a while now it has been hurting mentally but when it began to hurt physically, I humbly embraced the change. 

I slowly walked into the jeweler, thank God I had to wear a mask. I quietly whispered to the fit, trim athletic sales person who greeted me at the door, “I need to have this cut off”.  There was no further discussion. A quick glance and he knew.  A few short minutes later I walked out with a new plan.  

It’s now time to reconnect the ends. I have all the right tools. I just need to use them to make myself whole again.