January 2009 was perhaps the most significant month of my life because I was unwittingly handed the keys to a sparkling new world, all while sprawled on the couch with a bag of potato chips and watching The Oprah Show.
Two hours prior, I’d been given the disconcerting news by my doctor that I’d reached an all-time-high weight of 345 pounds. On a particularly cold January day that happened to be as bitter as I was feeling at the time, I flipped on the television, knowing that Oprah would be talking candidly about falling off the wagon — I wished to commiserate with her. Instead, I learned from my fellow fat-girl-doppelganger Carnie Wilson that, yes, Virginia, there is hope after all.
I had long considered the pop singer my genetic twin. We were fat kids who were treated poorly because of our size, and we both grew into obese adults, using food as a coping tool and a refuge from the ravages of life.
That significant January day, however, I gazed upon Carnie as I’d never seen her before: at a significantly lower weight and glowing with happiness. In all honesty, I had once considered both of us irreparable. Lord knows we both attempted countless diets over the years; Carnie even had gastric bypass surgery and ended up gaining much of it back. To say I was intrigued by the new and radiant version of Carnie Wilson was an understatement. It spurred on with a direct IV infusion of possibility.
Dropping my bag of potato chips to the ground, I beelined to my computer to do a Google search for her trainer. I found him, and his cardio-yoga DVD’s and the rest is history: I dropped 180 pounds and have kept it off for nearly 8 years (a little menopause fluctuation notwithstanding).
Of course, there’s significant backstory involved to this. Hope was my starting point. And that was bolstered by action. My “I can do it, too” moment motivated me to becoming at last ready to examine why I was hiding from the world and myself. That required courage, support, and a willingness to face things that scared me.
Simultaneously, I found a great support system (and way of healing my food-abused body) in DDPYOGA and tremendous motivation from its founder Diamond Dallas Page. His interest in my progress fueled my resolve. Ask any recovering alcoholic how they did it and my educated guess is, they didn’t do it solo, but with the support of fellow-sufferers.
Once I was able to release my grip on binge-eating, I discovered food comas weren’t really all they were cracked up to be, and multi-colored food groups from the produce section were pretty good, if I just gave ‘em a chance.
This is the condensed version. For a more fleshed-out version, visit StaceyMorris.com. There are many ways back to health and balance. My hope is that sharing my undulating path back to a vibrant life will help you find your way…if that’s what you need.
There’s no one formula, and it’s not all a bed of roses. Some close to me aren’t so thrilled with the new me, and not just because of my new look. Permanent change begins from within, and during the course of my journey I found it crucial to not only give up junk food, but that long-ingrained habit of people-pleasing. That takes time, it’s a truth that diet books don’t tell you, and it’s worth every ounce of effort.
I’m living a life of freedom and happiness I thought was completely out of my reach. Giant leaps are possible. But they’re made with generous amounts of love and patience, which took me farther than any diet ever could.
Stacey Morris is a Loudonville-based cookbook author, health coach, and DDPYOGA instructor.