One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

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18 Year Old Shares a Lot of Wisdom about Body Image and Happiness (and makes me cry)

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I went to record an Ask Roni Video/Podcast this afternoon only to be thrown off track by a case of Roni Sappiness. I really thought I would be able to Read Celeste’s email aloud but I just couldn’t. I tried 3 separate times and cried more and more with each one. Her email has touched me so deeply. She describes EXACTLY the process I went through. I’m so proud and happy for her. Especially because she DID NOT waste an entire decade trying to figure it like I did.

I decided to post her story since I can’t read it without crying like someone just stole my puppy dog. Seriously. I’m a SAP! Please take a minute to read it. This 18 year old shares a lot of wisdom about body image and happiness.

Hi Roni! I haven’t been visiting your site for very long, but I’m already addicted, I think :P I have a tip and a little piece of my story to share with you and any others either might help.

I’m 18 years old, 5’4, and 139/140 pounds. A month ago I was 147. I was scared; this was the heaviest I had ever been. I knew I was on a slippery slope and had to stop this before it spun out of control. Yet I also knew that I had to be in the right frame of mind for this to work. I waited. I didn’t try and just drop the pounds immediately. First, I thought back on how I had felt about my weight at different ages. At 14 I was 125, and wanted to be thinner. At 16 I was 135, and hated the way I looked. Yet at 18, I would LOVE to be 125. All a matter of perspective, right? So I thought “What if I weighed 160? Wouldn’t I WANT to be 147?” Completely changed my perspective.

So, I slowed down and took a look at my body. Picked out tiny details that I loved, and were sexy, and just looked great. I thought “This is a pretty awesome weight to be. I love that you can’t count my ribs–who wants to look like a skeleton? It’s awesome that my upper arms are thick–I’ve got muscle.” That sort of thing. And all of it was true. I actually felt like that, and still do. In fact, at my heaviest weight I ended up feeling more confident about myself than I ever had before!

I’ve always had a shy, quiet, out-of-the-way personality. I would wear baggy t-shirts and clothes that didn’t fit right and didn’t flatter what I had. I knew that to changing my attitude would require a complete transformation. Including wardrobe, hair, everything. But only in very small stages that I was comfortable with. Stressing myself out would be VERY BAD and only lead to depression and over-eating. So I took it in stages: when it came time to buy a new pair of pants, I went for the hip-hugging low-rise, rather than the granny-big-butt. Time for a hair-cut? Go short, get some product, dye it! I nudged myself to the edge of my comfort zone, but not beyond. Slowly I gained confidence in what I was doing. Now I look at the giant stack of extra-large t-shirts in my dresser, make a face, and grab a form-fitting long-sleeve. My closet is now filled with color, instead of blacks grays and whites. I’m about to dye my hair a deep red and get a pixie cut. AND I FEEL AWESOME!

When I get on the scale and see 139, I think “Go you! You’re doing totally great and look amazing.” When I get on the scale the next day and see 140, I think “You know what? Doesn’t even matter. A woman’s body weight fluctuates daily, and you know that you’re on the right track. One pound doesn’t make you look like a whale–and even if it did, you’d still be a sexy whale.”

I love your site because it draws so many people who are ready to loose weight the right way. But many don’t know how. I consider myself so lucky that I figured out a ‘good’ way that works for me, before I’d wasted a decade on self-hatred and dieting (shudder). I want my story to show people that there are so many positive ways to return to one’s natural size. There isn’t one giant secret about being happy, it’s a whole mish-mash of different stuff. You could spend fifteen years in a remote Tibetan monastery and figure out the secret to happiness if you really want to. Have fun. I, on the other hand, have too much to do! So here’s your second option: ask, read, learn, discover, fail, succeed. Find out about how a bunch of individuals have triumphed over their weight, or depression, and take what you like best from each success story. Use those ideas in the shaping of your own perfect remedy. And add a dash of your own originality.

I’ve gotten off course. Sorry about the rambling.

The other thing I want to mention was a little more mundane. I’ve seen quite a few entries about people eating late at night. I had that problem too, but I came up with a few fixes.

  1. I’m quite lazy. So fifteen minutes after dinner I’ll brush and floss my teeth. If I want to eat again later, I just remind myself that I’ll have to go brush, ect. all over again. 99% of the time I’m like “Nah, I don’t feel like brushing again, so no more eating tonight!”
  2. I need and love to sleep. Completely great activity. However, I also love having energy when I’m awake. Pretty simple: go to bed at a decent time (I shoot for 9:30pm) and STAY ASLEEP. Don’t wake up. If you do, don’t GET up. That will just make it harder to go back to bed. ***It’s scientifically proven that people who don’t get enough sleep eat more!*** Plus dreams can be really fun. It’s all pros and no cons!

Well, that’s all I’ve got to say (this time around :D ). This was a lot longer than I expected. Thanks for taking the time to read it!

Girl power!
Celeste

Thank you Celeste! I think a lot of people who learn for you. :)



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Discussion

There are 31 comments so far.

    Arlene

    May 19, 2009

    Oh, if only I’d had that wisdom at 18, I wouldn’t be struggling to lose the last 17 pounds now, at 37. Thanks for sharing.

    I can see why you wouldn’t be able to read it without tearing up, though. I did the same thing.

    Anne Marie

    May 19, 2009

    I really needed Celeste’s e-mail today. I really love her view on her body image, and hope to be on the road for the same mentality.

    Tricia

    May 19, 2009

    I can’t believe that was written by someone so young. She is just so in touch with herself and her life. Thanks for sharing.

    Christie

    May 19, 2009

    Awesome e-mail Celeste! I love that you think this way and you are only 18. I am 24 and I wish I had thought like that years ago.

    Thanks for posting Roni. Very inspiring.

    Mandi

    May 19, 2009

    WOW! What insight…especially from someone only on the brink of adulthood. I only wish I would have had half of her insight when I was 18! Instead..I have struggled with a negative self-image my whole life…even at 138 lbs and 17% body fat..which is where I am at now!
    Celeste…thank you so much for your email, for sharing your story. You have wisdom beyond your years!
    Roni…thank you for seeing the need to share this one. I agree…it is hard to read without tearing up. This was perfect for me today…and everyday.

    Rachel

    May 19, 2009

    Wow! So wise for her years and the post has lifted my spirits on a day when I really needed that. Thank you for sharing. 100 percent true and oh so insightful.

    Shannan

    May 19, 2009

    Great letter, Celeste! Thanks for your insight. It’s helped me, and I’m sure it’s helped so many others.

    Thanks, Roni, for posting it! I can see now why you had trouble getting through it.

    Shauna

    May 19, 2009

    WOW, wow wow wow. WOW. I can only hope and pray that my daughter grows up with the same insight and self love that Celeste has. VERY powerful reading, so poignant and true. Everyone needs to read this.
    I cried too! It puts so many things into perspective.

    Charlotte

    May 19, 2009

    “Sexy whale”! That made me laugh out loud because she turned a negative comment into a fabulous one just by adding one word.

    Emily

    May 19, 2009

    I can see why this email made you sob Roni! I need to print that out and read it daily. I think loving ourselves is way more important than what number pops up on the scale or the size of our pants. I have gained 20 pounds in the past 6 months and I have actually noticed people wanting to be closer to me than before. I think that is because before I was so focused on being thin and didn’t really focus on life and being happy and beautiful on the inside. Not to say I don’t want to get back to my old weight, but this time I want to keep that inner confidence and happiness!!

    Alil

    May 19, 2009

    Hi Roni-
    LOOOOOOVE your blog! I would equally love to win any coupons you have! I’m having trouble affording all of this stuff that I love to eat!

    Thanks,
    Ali

    Deb

    May 20, 2009

    I very wise young lady — I only wish I had been in that healthy frame of mind when I was her age!!

    What have I taken from this article? She stopped dieting!!! Ah, the essence of Weight Watchers…to develop a healthy relationship with food and your body, and the rest will come! (Except she figured it out by herself.) You go girl!

    Janice

    May 20, 2009

    Thanks for sharing Celeste’s email! Lots of great wisdom.

    McLauren84

    May 20, 2009

    Wow, truly inspiring! I’m going to think about all the parts of my body that I love starting right now.

    Emily

    May 20, 2009

    like everyone has said – what an inspiring post!! I just realized, as I was writing my blog today how much I identify with her message.

    I need to learn to love me during the process – not just as a fantasized result.

    Tyler

    May 20, 2009

    Agree with the above comments. The fact that she is 18 and already being proactive means she is light years ahead of the game. When I was 18 I didn’t know what a vegetable was and my meals consisted of Pizza and/or McDonalds.

    Take some solace in being an inspiration to this young lady and so many others around the world.

    suzanne

    May 20, 2009

    I only wish i’d had that state of mind when i was 18!!

    If I had been that wise at 18, I doubt I’d be in the weight situation I’m in now. At 18, I was 5’2″, and about 150. Sure I had a few pounds to lose, but nothing like the situation Im in now. I wasn’t fat, I was just a little pudgy. Nothing a bit of exercise and cutting out junk wouldn’t fix. Now, 12 years later… oy, its a bit more difficult.

    healthy ashley

    May 20, 2009

    That was really beautiful. Thanks for sharing this letter!

    Sophy

    May 20, 2009

    Celeste, you’re amazing! (We all are, really!) You really shine in this letter and I’m so thankful for your words of wisdom. Do you have a blog or website? I’d love to hear more from you!

    Thanks for posting this, Roni. Maybe you getting choked up trying to read Celeste’s letter out loud was a bit of serendipity, in a way, as I tend to skip over video/podcast posts (don’t want to attract attention here at the office, even on my breaks). I’m so glad I read this :).

    Tina

    May 20, 2009

    Love the “sexy whale” comment. Such inspiration. Thank you for sharing.

    Jenn@slim-shoppin

    May 20, 2009

    What a great story for you to share with us Roni! I’m just like you I can tear up very easily when something touches me.

    Great Job Celeste!

    michelle

    May 20, 2009

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    After gaining about 25lbs recently after a hard break up…every single day EVERY SINGLE DAY I think of how fat and disapointed I am. I look at my body every single day and lust…with deep passion, after how thin I used to be. Every single day I battle an internal binge monster who says that I can ‘start tomorrow’ and then I cave in because it’s easier then dealing with the emotional crap that’s tangled around food and my body image.

    Thank you for allowing me the freedom to let go of the crap that i entrench myself with. Crying tears of peace..thank you.

    Laura Brandon

    May 20, 2009

    This: “What if I weighed 160? Wouldn’t I WANT to be 147?” Can we say EPIPHANY??????

    I weight 175.4 right now. My heaviest weight is 190. If I was back to 190, I would wish I still weighed 175.4. I am going to appreciate my body the way it is now, and continue on my journey of stopping the obsession with weight and food.

    Thank you, Celeste, and thank you Roni for posting this!

    gottahavefaith

    May 21, 2009

    That’s just beautiful. I really relate to everything Celeste said. Once you learn to accept yourself the way you are, it changes everything. I’ve been at a stable weight for nearly a year now. It’s a couple pounds higher than my original goal weight but I am HAPPY…I like my body and I enjoy my life and I don’t obsess about my weight anymore. It’s so freeing to find that sense of peace in yourself.

    dietgirl

    May 21, 2009

    Oh what a wee gem is Celeste… I am so happy for her that she’s accumulated all this wisdom that many of us don’t figure out til we’re into our thirties :)

    Kate

    May 21, 2009

    Wow – Celeste is amazing to have figured this out at 18! I especially love the idea of thinking “If I were [x pounds heavier] wouldn’t I be happy to be this weight.” So true!

    What a well adjusted 18 year old! If only more women could/would think like that about their bodies!

    Niki F

    May 22, 2009

    What a very smart 18 year old! WOW! If only I had figured this all out back when I was that young! I’m working on it now at 34, in hopes that I can teach my two daughters the right way to live!

    MaryBe

    May 23, 2009

    How amazing, for 18!
    I hope we hear more from the wise beyond her years Celeste

    Jennifer

    May 27, 2009

    It’s a shame more of us didn’t have this insight at such a young age. I think Celeste is well on her way to being thin and healthy for life!