Rachel Paul is a 35 year old dance instructor and cheerleading coach from Santa Monica, California.
In college, Paul was a competitive cheerleader at UCLA but she lost control when her first love broke her heart. Over the years she grew to 309 pounds. She started her weight loss journey on the ABC show Extreme Weight Loss
with trainers Chris and Heidi Powell.
At the beginning of the show, her self esteem was about as low as it could get. She says, "Whenever there was an overweight girl in dance class when I was a kid I would always look down on them, and now I just look down on myself because I am the overweight dancer." She also said, 'I honestly can't believe this is what I look like. I don't like myself that's for sure. I feel like such a freaking loser."
Paul had a goal from the start -- to return to UCLA and wear her uniform and cheer at homecoming.
Things went wrong for this formally fit dancer when she met her first boyfriend at 22. She admits to being reserved and conservative when it comes to relationships and had planned to save herself for marriage. But that isn't what happened. She gave him her virginity and in the end she found out he had been cheating on her. She was crushed. She not only had guilt about the premarital sex, she also felt worthless and rejected. She found her comfort in food.
Eventually, her weight prevented her from being an active cheerleading coach. She started talking more and demonstrating less. So difficult for someone to whom these moves had once been second nature.
It was obvious to Chris Powell that Paul was dealing with some deep emotional pain and reminded her that until she finds closure, she will never be able to transform herself.
Paul took this advice to heart and did a little online sleuthing and discovered that her ex had died the year before in a skydiving accident. She would never be able to speak to him or see him ever again.
Chris assured her the closure would happen anyway and reminded her that her ex hadn't been the one putting her on the sidelines of life, she had been doing all that on her own. She had been blaming him. Chris believes that Paul tied up her self image in being a "good Catholic girl" and her self esteem and self worth was tied up in what other people thought of her.
After boot camp, Paul had herself down to 224 pounds! All in 90 days!
Paul continued her good work at home but had to face a startling reality: she was a food addict. This is where Heidi, who struggles with an eating disorder herself, came to Paul's aid. She reminded her that until she accepts her addiction, she will never be able to control it.
Well, she started talking to a therapist and kept right on going. She started the year long journey at 309 pounds and now stands at 164 pounds!
What was the biggest lesson for Paul? Learning who she is and realizing that she actually likes herself. "You've got to love your flaws," she said.
And she's right. What an amazing and difficult trip but no doubt worth every second of it. I find it hugely inspirational to hear people overcome their emotional pains to achieve success in the form of health and happiness. How about you?
h/t: Daily Mail
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