Much of my teenage years were spent as the girl on the cheerleading squad who was a little heavier than the rest. I don’t know that I would have been described as fat (though you never know with teenagers), but I was definitely heavier than the other girls and I knew it. Sure, I was a cheerleader, but every time I donned the navy and white uniform I worried someone might laugh. It might also be crucial to mention that I happened to live in the Mecca of incredibly beautiful, insanely wealthy, and perfectly un-plump teens also known as Newport Beach, CA.
Despite my abhorrent eating habits, college was actually much kinder to me with my weight struggles. I’m not sure if it was the cafeteria’s fine cuisine, the distance from my “comforting” father, the penny pinching meals, the copious amounts of liquid courage, or just the fact that I frequented the school’s gym. It was probably a mix of everything (except for maybe the alcohol). I was down to a size 8 and feeling pretty good.
After college, I stepped up the workouts a notch (though I kept up the partying and fast food) and maintained a relatively fit size 8. After a long series of events, I eventually ended up living with my fiancé, jobless and depressed. I turned to my longtime comfort: food and simultaneously stopped the workouts. I got a job working 70-80 hours a week on an incredibly measly salary, worked tirelessly to plan my own wedding, and I felt physically awful. I continued to gain weight.
A week after the wedding, my new husband and I moved several hours away to start his business as a chiropractor. Prior to the move, I decided to pursue my love of Pilates and got certified to teach. The previous chiropractor had a small rehab facility that I eventually turned into a small Pilates studio. Working 70-80 hours seemed like a breeze compared to owning our own business, but at least what we worked for was ours. Months went by and I continued to gain weight. Along with the weight gain, I was in a constant fog and chronically exhausted. Doctors told me I was just “depressed”, but I knew there was more to the story. I had historically been more of an optimist and this new depressed state felt more like a symptom of the other symptoms that plagued me rather than the catalyst.
As it turned out, the stress from my whirlwind year (and several years before that!) had wreaked havoc on my adrenal glands and thanks to a Naturopathic Doctor, I started taking an adrenal supplement. My fog lifted, I had the energy to work out again, and I eventually got back to my usual size 8.
About a year later, just after a Christmas party, I peed on a stick and it said “Pregnant.” What?! I had just gotten my body back to “normal” and I was starting to actually feel pretty good. Pregnancy was a whole new ballgame.
For those of you who have never been pregnant, I have to tell you that while some women feel the “glow” of their unborn child in their womb, I just felt like a constipated, beached whale with some massive hormones. My son decided to arrive on his own time, which happened to be very late. I clearly recall stepping on the scale at my last appointment when my midwife exclaimed, “Wow, you’re just shy of 200!”
Did I hear her right? Two-hundred what? My bowling score? Surely she didn’t mean 200 pounds!! I left the office in frustrated, pregnant lady tears.
After my son’s birth, I had secretly hoped he was at least 10 pounds and that at least another 40 was just water. Well, 7 pounds 14 ounces and about a week later, I stepped again on the dreaded scale and realized my worst fear. I was still 185 pounds. I went back to teaching a Mommy and Me class on my son’s 6-week birthday and I thought for sure I was going to die. I was short of breath, my arms and legs quivered, and I thought I might drop my son right in front of the class (all 10 pounds of him). I couldn’t believe how out of shape I felt. As I drove away, I cried again. This time they were frustrated, post-partum tears.
By the time my son was 18 months, after what seemed like an endless and extremely arduous process, I was back into my size 8s. But something felt different. As I began to fit into my old favorite clothes and buy new ones, I began to realize that 8 was definitely not enough.
I had enjoyed studying the personal development masters since I picked up Anthony Robbins Unlimited Power at the ripe old age of 21. I was familiar with the power of affirmations and positive self- talk. For the first time in my life, I looked at my size 8 body and began to see my “self” as a smaller size.
It was then that I was reminded of the story of Roger Bannister. In the 1950’s, there were several men who had attempted to run one mile in less than four minutes. After numerous unsuccessful attempts, it was thought to be impossible. Some runners came extremely close; however, it seemed that 4:02 was the best that was humanly possible.
On May 6, 1954, however, all that changed. That day, at a race in Oxford, Bannister ran the mile in 3:59.4. That day was historic for one main reason: it was now possible to run a mile in less than four minutes.
A mere 46 days later, the record was beaten. In fact, since that day, the record has been beaten several times. Bannister, though the first one to break the time barrier, actually held the record for the shortest amount of time. Once he proved it was humanly possible, it became easier for others to follow his lead.
Though my revelation was not world-record breaking, it was certainly a breakthrough. I was going to do what had never seemed humanly possible. I began to tell myself, “I am so happy and grateful now that I am a size 6” each morning as I got dressed. I focused mainly on the feelings I would feel if that were, in fact true. As I had never been a size 6 in my adult life, there was a certain amount of detachment from the outcome that I had not felt previously. It was more of a “Wouldn’t it be nice to be a size 6…” rather than “I must, I must…”
A mere 6 weeks after I began this regimen, I headed to my favorite store for a few new summer clothes. As I sifted through the racks, I found myself pulling size 8s to take to the dressing room. When I asked for help with a few things, the sales woman said, “OK, what are you? A 4 or a 6?” I laughed out loud. I grabbed the 8 and high tailed it for the dressing room. And then something magical happened.
I put on the first pair of adorable, size 8 capri pants. Too big. “They must run large,” I thought. I pulled on another pair, and another…all too big. Could it really be that simple? I walked out of that store a size 6.
Now, don’t get me wrong; I do not claim my transformation was solely the result of my affirmation. There was some nutrition, exercise, and portion control involved, but I now saw my goal as something that was actually possible. So possible, in fact, that I did it again and became a size 4!
I wrote this book so that you too might make a new realization about yourself, about your health, and about what is possible for you. With anything, there will be things that challenge you, but there will also be things that make you feel like you just won the lottery. I will tell you things that may be difficult for you to hear, but I promise that they come from a place of love. I will be your coach and your friend, but I will also give you a push when you are in need of one. You deserve success, you deserve to be healthy, but most of all, you deserve to be happy.
With Love & Gratitude~
After several years of owning her own fitness studio, Erin Tullius wanted to give her clients more than just a nutrition plan and fitness regimen. She wanted to give them inspiration, motivation, and hope. Mind Over Fatter: The Secret to Thinking Yourself Thin taps into the mental and emotional barriers that keep many feeling stuck and unhealthy with practical tips and tools to assist the reader on their journey to health and well-being.
Mind Over Fatter: The Secret to Thinking Yourself Thin
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Reprinted with permission from the author.