This is the story that I wanted to share with you. This is a tiny part of my journey through shit, vomit and tears. Through self-hate. Through self betrayal. This is my quest to live a life that means something, even if it’s just to myself. This is how I found fitness, how I decided to change, and how I ultimately found myself.
I found fitness with BodyRock when I was 37 years old. I was 146 pounds overweight when I first hit the link to your site. I hated you guys from the second I landed on your site. Don’t take it personally, I hated a lot of things at that stage of my life.
I was looking for a way out of the physical prison that I had built around myself, brick by brick, as I chewed and swallowed and sucked down as much sticky sweet, salty, creamy, tastes that I could. There were deep, traumatic wounds inside that I had suffered. The food that I relentlessly swallowed had become a balm that I spread across the gashes in my heart to soothe the guilt and self hate that I felt infected by. Food became a false, temporary scab. A dirty bandage that I would use to try and close the wound.
It was in those moments, when I forced my body into the mechanics of eating, without hunger, or even being capable of truly granting myself the pleasure of the taste of whatever it was I was eating, that I was the most terrified. I was numb, but I felt the weight of my flesh handing off of me, I felt like I was wearing layers of wet clothing, my skin dragging me down, encapsulating me in a constantly shifting, bag of squishy, uneven tissue. I hated the way it felt to be alive.
It would constantly amaze me how small my mouth was. Not just its size, or my lips, (I love my lips, and I’ve been told that I have a pretty smile. I could never truly hold the complement, not just because it was the only one that I ever got, but because I knew that it was a polite, safe thing to say to someone that looked like me) but its capacity. I have a small mouth capacity, which means that I can’t actually get a lot of food in it at once. Whenever I would binge, my thoughts would always return to how small my mouth was. Sometimes this would make me laugh, even as I stuffed and chewed, a cackle choked off by a mouthful of pizza. How ironic was it, that the girl with the small, pretty mouth was gigantic.
It was during one of these endless eating sessions that I began searching for a way out before I killed myself. I wasn't suicidal (technically) and I wasn’t having self harm thoughts in the traditional sense that might prompt an intervention. I did know, with a crystal clear understanding, that there was a race on, a timeline that stretched out into a very uncertain future, a future that I was unlikely to escape. The food going into my small capacity mouth was going to kill me, or, and this was the only sliver of hope that I still clung to, I would somehow escape this nightmare, stop killing myself with food, stop hating myself enough enough to have the courage to try.
I remember the first time I saw Coach Sean on a facebook live. At that time he was wearing these pretty out there leggings, and his head was shaved on the side, with this shock of blonde hair up in a quirky ponytail. He looked like a cross between a WWE wrestler and a viking. It wasn’t what he looked like that caught my attention, it was what he was saying. I remember it was something that felt like he was saying it just for me.
He said - 'you might think you can’t do it, you might think, man, there is no way this is for me. But you know what, you can do it, I know you can, and I’m here, showing up from the heart to be your chance at something different’.
I wanted something different.
I latched on to those two words. ‘Something different’. I didn’t know what that something different was, I didn’t yet know what was possible. I just knew, in that moment, I wanted it more than I wanted the half finished towers of peanut butter crackers sitting in front of me. I wanted it more than anything, I wanted it more in that moment than I wanted to live. Something different became my mantra. I woke up with those words on my lips, and I closed my eyes to them at night.
'Something Different' became my mantra.
There is something else. Something that I couldn’t live with, no matter how much I hated myself. I’m just going to share it with you, because although you might read this and feel embarrassed, or take pity on me, I choose to hold this as the beginning of my victory, something that I changed under my own steam my first major 'something different'.
My weight gain had become so debilitating that I had lost the ability to wipe my own ass.
Here goes. My weight gain had become so debilitating that I had lost the ability to wipe my own ass. When this happened, I lost whatever scrap of dignity that I still had left. Wiping hadn't been easy for me to do for a long time, and I developed acute constipation that my doctor chalked up to the amount of stress that I felt when I would need to use the bathroom.
Being judged because you are fat is actually the easiest judgement to live with. The real judgements, the ones that always got to me and really hurt, were the smaller ones, the ones that are delivered in the silent looks and side glances, the ones where you can literally read what they are thinking in their eyes.
Using the bathroom was bad enough when I was at home. I had a very specific routine for using the toilet that I had nicknamed the Harry Houdini. When it came to whipping my butt, I would press my shoulder into the corner of the wall, bending my arm back somewhat painfully and then leaning against the wall, leveraging my weight to get my arm into position with a handful of tissue, until I could get close enough to do the deed. I always thought that it felt like I was trying to escape a straight jacket, hence the nickname. Trying to do this at a friends house, or out in public, was it’s own hell.
Between not wanting to die, not being able to wipe my own bottom, and feeling the spark of wanting ‘something different,’ I signed up for BodyRockPlus.com. I took the year membership, not just because it's a better deal, but because I was committed.
I’m not going to lie. For the first month I didn’t move. But I did watch. I watched 2-3, sometimes 4 workouts a day. I listened. I studied the movements. I let my thoughts chirp. I listened to all the negative garbage boil up, like a toxic stew of doubt, anger, fear and self hatred. All of this shit starting rising to the service. I would feel some chunk of self doubt or pain break off from deep inside and float up to the service, where it would threaten to overwhelm me. I let the voices in my head yell, shout, cry and scream - first at me, then as a steaming ventilation shaft that let off years of repressed feelings that I had pushed down.
I’m not here to talk about the events in my life or the things that happened to me in my childhood, that I now know contributed to my weight gain and disordered eating. Like most people, I’ve been through things. I’ve been wounded. I carry shame. What I can tell you is that I gave this negative energy the space it needed, and as I watched Sean, Jessie, Sylvie, and the other Coaches move through their workouts day in day out, I was able to start to acknowledge not only my feelings and my pain, but my courage. For the first time in my adult life I wanted to change, I wanted something different.
The first workout that I did, actually just involving me standing in my living room, streaming Sean’s routine. I felt utterly foolish putting on my BodyRock weighted vest, and was secretly terrified that it wouldn’t fit (I had to adjust it to as big as it would go, but thankfully it fit). The vest was the only gear that I started with. My kids were lined up on the couch, mesmerized. What was mom about to do?
I started moving, slowly. Did I do the exercises on the screen? No. Not one of them. I focused on Coach Sean's voice. I clung to every word. He was speaking to me. Directly to me. I started that first workout just walking in place, and for the last 5 minutes, I couldn't even manage that. But I stood. I stood the whole time. And when the workout ended, and Sean gave his usual sign-off, touching his heart, I touched mine, and I could feel it pumping. Standing there in that moment, was the most alive, the most accomplished I had felt since I brought my children into this world. I felt hope, I felt, for the first time, what something different might feel like.
There were more days just walking on the spot, then sometimes hopping a few times, then I would try to separate my feet into lunges, squats and other movements that were challenging at first, but day on day, week on week, I kept progressing. 6 months into my subscription, I completed the 30 day beginner bootcamp. That felt like a huge accomplishment - finishing an entire 30 day bootcamp. There were a lot of firsts. My first squat, my first push up off my knees, my first dumbbell curl. Every time I conquered one of these firsts, the next first became easier. My negative thoughts would reemerge, sometimes in a torrent, sometimes as a tidal wave. I still had doubts of incredible self doubt and fear, but my mantra of wanting something different carried me through. Sean and the other Coaches showing up for me each day, streaming into my living room kept me going. My kids, whom I called the 'peanut gallery', kept me going, their feet dangling off of the couch, shouting encouragement at me as I struggled through each workout.
It’s been 3 years since I started with BodyRock. My journey is not over, but that's because I’m still here living it each day. I’ve lost over 130 pounds, and I’m in the best shape of my life. My life, because although I won’t be cat walking anytime soon, that's ok. I feel alive, I’m mobile, I’m strong, I can lift my children up and play with them. I don’t feel imprisoned in my body for the first time in years. I’ve gotten a taste of what that something different can be, and I wanted to share my story with you in the hope that even just one person finds it helpful.
Thank you for letting me share this with the BodyRock community.
If you are looking for a place to start your journey, join us for a free 30 day extended trial of BodyRockPlus.com Add a weighted vest, and start taking your first steps on your own fitness journey. Let us show you something different.
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Melissa, you are brave to share this. A lot of people needed to read this. Thank you.
Amazing story. I am so proud of her. It feels
great to be in control of your body. Keep up the good work.