Over a year ago, Jodi decided enough was enough. She felt down, depressed, out of control around food, and joined Break Free with hopes to develop a healthy relationship with food and find the peace and calm she craved. While she is down eighty pounds, that pales in comparison to “seeing the light” as she calls it. She has learned some amazing lessons after living a year free from food obsession and agreed to share in this intimate interview with me. This is Jodi:

I want people to know there is no pill or quick fix. All day long I hear comments about how “good” I am being now. They will say, “Jodi has been so good for the past year.”  “She always passes on desserts” Or I will hear a friend say they can’t be trusted around food so they don’t want to go to certain restaurants or keep certain foods in the house. I remember feeling the same way before this program. I thought I can’t have cookies in the house or I will eat them all. I will never be able to leave food on my plate. I will always feel guilty when I eat dessert. I was consumed with never and always statements.

After the Free Life Program, it is almost like I have seen the light. I am extremely aware of all the misguided comments people make in regards to their own food issues and I just want to shout out, “It doesn’t have to be that way”. I feel like I have woken up and I see so clearly now. People ask me all the time what I did to lose weight. When I try to answer them they can’t understand how I could lose so much weight without a special diet or exercise plan. The truth is I did the work. I showed up when I couldn’t see the light. I didn’t follow a diet, so I see how hard it is for people to see. When I was doing the hard work, the weight was still on me so no one noticed. They only noticed once I was feeling better because the weight was coming off. I didn’t get lucky. I didn’t magically get willpower. I chose to do the work.

Self-awareness and removing judgment has been the theme in my journey. There are certain things I learned about myself that keeps my on track and I would love to share.

When I get home from work, I immediately want to eat a bunch of snacks. I realized it is because I have so much waiting for me to do, which causes stress. Now my routine is to go home and take a shower to wash the day away and give myself 10 minutes to decompress before tackling the evening tasks. It works. It curbs the cravings. Knowing this allows me to not give in because it really is not about the food.

When I need space I just remove myself and give myself the time to myself. No guilt. This is nonnegotiable. Giving myself space and time makes all the difference in my stress levels.

I still feel guilty taking time away from my daughter, but now I take that half hour to go to the gym because I know I am more present and happier when I do things that make me feel good. I simply have to choose between some guilt over not spending time with her or staying and being impatient with her because I did not get my needs met. Choosing me allows me to be the best mother for her and shows her how to take care of herself.

Just because I lost the weight, I still make little choices every day to do what makes me feel good. The difference is that I don’t feel guilty nor do I identify myself as hopeless when I have a thought to binge or skip exercise. I no longer believe there is black and white. I still have thoughts but the difference is I listen to them, do not let them take over, and know I am in control over how I react.

Overall, I have found peace and gratitude for where I am. I no longer rush to put my happiness on hold until some unknown point in the future when I hit some goal. This feels like such a relief in my life. Nothing is weighing over me when I find joy in the day today.
Being told I looked great feels awkward and is not the message I want my daughter to hear. The weight came off from a place of self-love after years of binging and I want her to know the work I did to put myself first mattered regardless of the scale. I wish people would say, you look so happy, instead. What a difference it would make on women if we led with this comment over comments about our bodies.
Taking new and exciting classes, like photography or dance, is a fun and easy way to pop me out of a funk. I still get down after the holidays. When I am bored or stressed, I want to eat but then I ask myself what I really need and find a way to mix it up.

The self-awareness over the foods I love has helped so much. I feel connected to my body instead of a list of good and bad foods. I remember during the program being encouraged to ask myself if this food will be the best I have ever eaten. This allows me to enjoy the things that are amazing and worth it but pass on things that are mediocre or make me feel physically not well.
 
It is hard to say what brought me to the moment to take a leap to change. I just felt so down that I needed to grab a lifeline. Even though I didn’t believe one hundred percent in my ability to get through this struggle, I had to believe there was a better way because I was too unhappy to stay the same. With every step forward I felt more clarity and then one day it clicked because I kept showing up and doing the internal work. The openness to look at things differently was exhausting but freeing all at the same time.

For someone on the brink of trying another diet or giving up, I want to say I understand. I was there. I felt the darkness, the fog, and the confusion of how to get out of it. Don’t try to do it alone. Grab your lifeline. You are stronger than you know and the light on the other side is not as far away as you think. It has been one year and looking back it is hard to recognize the person I was then. Stop searching for the magic pill. The answer is easier than a lifetime of searching for something that doesn’t exist. Anything is possible when you look at things from a different angle.