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lightbulb moments that changed my life

Updated: Mar 4, 2022

In 2019 I was in a dark, unhappy place. I’d been overweight most of my life but I never let it stop me from doing the things I wanted to do… until I blew out my right knee and realized that my weight was finally catching up with me. My body was struggling. My spirit was struggling too. I hated my job and couldn’t see any way out of the rut I’d dug for myself. I didn’t know how to do anything other than what I’d been doing. I’d been treading water for close to 3 decades, and the future just looked like more of the same. I felt trapped, and no one was coming to save me.

That’s when I stumbled onto a weight loss group led by a Life Coach. I’d given up on diets (I had failed them all), but this was a novel approach. Losing weight by changing the way you think & talk to yourself? I’d never heard of such a thing, but I was willing to give it a try. And that’s when the lightbulbs started turning on inside my brain. The first time I can clearly remember having my mind blown was when I heard my coach explain how critically important it is to start working on your ability to love and accept yourself at the beginning of your weight loss journey, instead of waiting until you reach your goal weight. People have a habit of telling themselves, “I’ll be happy when I finally lose this weight,” or “I’ll be so proud of myself when I weigh X pounds”. But postponing your happiness and self-pride only makes the journey more of a struggle.

Most of us become overweight because we’ve learned use food to smother the pain of our own self-loathing. That was certainly true for me. If we keep inflicting that pain on ourselves, we will habitually keep turning to food to feel better for a few precious moments. The consequence of that behavior is lack of progress on the scale or even weight regain, which leads to more self-loathing, more self-inflicted emotional abuse, and more need to seek comfort in food. By starting to create a more positive and uplifting narrative from day one, we start to heal the source of our emotional pain, and that means less need to numb ourselves with food. As my coach pointed out, “If you don’t start working on this now, you’ll just end up still hating yourself in a smaller body.”

Doing this work, along with developing better ways to manage my emotions without food really changed the game for me. Until that moment, I never realized how much emotional pain I was in, and how much I depended on food to make me happy when nothing else did. That’s why I say that weight loss was the least important benefit I got from working with a life coach. The weight was just a symptom of the real underlying issue: my intensely painful self-image. And this explained perfectly why all my previous diets had failed. Counting calories can’t make you love yourself again. Cutting carbs doesn’t improve your self-worth. But learning to love and value yourself again means that you don’t need to eat your feelings anymore, and the weight loss happens all by itself.

My next “Eureka” moment came when my coach was talking to a woman who blamed her lack of weight loss on her family, because they selfishly continued to order pizza nearly every night when they knew she was trying to lose weight. She resented them for “trying to sabotage” her, and for being insensitive to her feelings.

My coach told her that blaming her family for “making her” eat pizza meant that she would be doomed to be overweight forever, unless and until her family miraculously decided to change THEIR lifestyles so that she could be successful.

My coach said, “Other people can’t manage your feelings or your behavior for you. You’re expecting them to change so that you can feel better. It isn’t fair for you to assign that responsibility to them, and they just plain don’t want it. Your feelings are YOUR job, and no one else’s.”

This made me realize how many excuses I’d been making in my own series of failed attempts at weight loss. I was just as guilty of wanting my circumstances and the people around me to cooperate with my expectations so that I could be successful. And that just isn’t reality. No wonder I 'd been having so much trouble! Once I truly accepted responsibility for my own thoughts and choices, I no longer needed the world to be perfect so that I could lose my weight.

The next lightbulb came when I heard my coach speaking to a woman who saw herself as a “people-pleaser”, and was struggling with anxiety over whether she could live up to the expectations of others. She was exhausting herself trying to keep up the image of who she thought she needed to be. My coach explained that trying to live up to other people’s expectations is really an attempted manipulation of their feelings. You cannot “make” people like you. They either like you or they don’t, but either way it’s all about them and not about you. The reality is that we have zero control over what other people think or feel, and whatever is going on in someone else’s head is none of our business. The only person we have control over is ourselves.

Once I realized how much importance I was placing on other people’s opinions of me, I could see how much energy I wasted on a daily basis trying to “make them” feel what I wanted them to feel. Letting other people think whatever they wanted without letting it affect me was a huge relief. I learned to stop using food to soothe and comfort myself at the end of the day. I learned to treat myself with love and respect. I learned to stop blaming other people for my struggles, and to stop depending on other people for my success. I became a much calmer, happier, less stressed-out person, and as a result the weight came off all by itself.

My life was changed so profoundly by this experience that I decided to become a certified Life Coach myself, so I could bring the gift of transformation to other women who feel unfulfilled in their lives. Now, I look to the future with optimism and excitement. I get out of bed every day filled with purpose, and I fall asleep every night knowing that I have put just a little more positivity out into the world.

If your life could benefit from a few of your own “lightbulb moments”, click the button below to schedule your first consultation with me. I’ll even pay for it!

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