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Cracking the Weight Loss Challenge of My Life – A Client’s Story

June 9, 2017

Today, I am pleased to have a special feature within my blog series. One of my clients, Leigh, is a successful executive who has been struggling with a personal issue for 20 years. She has agreed to share her story with you here! Thanks, Leigh.

Leigh’s story:

I have struggled with being overweight most of my adult life. So much precious time and energy has gone into thinking, worrying, (arguably obsessing) about the number on the scale. Also, I have realized my obesity is compound by emotions, such as shame – the kind I feel when I can’t fit on a ride with my daughter. So I watch the roller coaster take off with her sitting alone, feeling a little scared and I’m not beside her to comfort her while at the same time she’s excited and I’m not there to enjoy it with her.

Missing out on important life experiences, coupled with my milestone birthday of turning 40 last year, brought me to a breaking point on the weight issue. I committed to not spending the next 40 years in the same way, which led Carey-Ann and I to work together to help me tackle this once and for all.

When I started working with Carey-Ann, I was forced to consider what would define success in this area of my life. Will it be weight loss? Having more energy? Sleeping better? Fitting into the size ‘X’ jeans you’ve been hanging onto since high school? Running for 20 minutes without effort or simply making it up the stairs without feeling winded. These are the questions you’ll find in almost any opening chapters of ‘diet’ or ‘weight loss’ books, articles, websites or apps.  And certainly the questions any personal trainer will ask you.  I’ve gone through these questions a hundred times throughout the years.  And if you’re as familiar with them as I am, then you know the answer is always “yes, yes, yes, how about, all of the above.”  But the real answer is, “I want this to be the LAST time, I ever have to answer those questions again.”

To fully understand my journey, I want to take you back to where it all started. When I was in my 20’s, I started working full-time, making money, seriously dating my now-husband. I gained and lost the same 15 pounds over and over and began the real struggle with weight. I remember ending my 20’s fairly unsatisfied with my body. Although, now I’d do anything to be even 10 pounds heavier than I was back then. But, I had success in many other ways. A good marriage, lots of friends, healthy parents and a great career. And, we were a couple of European trips away from wanting to start a family.

And so at the age of 31, I had my daughter and gained 70 pounds in pregnancy and only lost 40. But, other priorities took hold.  I refused to believe I couldn’t have it all. ‘All’ for me was work and family. It was not about health or wellness. A few years later, ‘all’ was having another baby and we were fortunate to have our second. Another 70 gained and only 30 lost this time. I don’t have to do the math for you for you to figure out what’s going on.  But, I had it ‘all’.  I rewarded myself with food and wine and the good things that I worked hard for.  I commuted far and put myself fully into work and spending time with my young family. Life became busy and the last thing I was going to do was deprive myself of some wine, cheese or a baguette.

So that brings me to one year ago when Carey-Ann and I turned our professional relationship (she was my executive coach) into something more personal when I signed on with her with one goal – to lose weight. And since then, it’s been quite a journey.  For the first time, I’m digging deep, emotionally invested.  But it’s hard.  Really hard. There have been weeks I have dreaded my check in with Carey-Ann. Knowing I had not done what I was supposed to do – what I had committed to her, to myself.  We’ve spent hours talking.  We’ve talked about my resistance to let anyone know how I really feel about myself, and this massive gap in my life. The one goal that I cannot conquer.  We’ve talked about playing it safe and taking the easy road – when I can only stick with something for so long before I need to reward myself and start that downward spiral again.  And we talk about grit, and how sometimes, growing up protected, in a loving and safe environment, facing very little adversity or tragedy means you have to work harder to develop those deeper layers of ourselves that helps us deal with challenges in life.

So, I’m sure you’re wondering – what’s the progress? Well, I guess that depends on how I define success.  A year ago, success was to lose 70 pounds.  And against that goal, I’m at 25 pounds down.  But my definition of success has expanded. Sure, I still plan on losing those 70 pounds and I celebrate I have made a good dent in that weight loss goal. But, there is also a deeper personal understanding I am gaining about myself through this journey that is invaluable. I haven’t given up.  Thankfully neither has my coach.  We take it week by week and month by month. And every few months, there’s a breakthrough.  Another layer peeled back, another look into the real essence of who I am in that moment. I am really learning to live in a way that embraces the saying, “life is about the journey and not the destination.” I plan to continue to enjoy every day of my beautiful life as I work towards being the healthiest I can be – for my husband and children, my employer and most of all, myself!


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