Sharing My Heart and Pictures

Heather - I'm thrilled to finally have a face to match to the eloquent posts:)

I think it's abundantly clear to all of us around here that you are a beautiful person. We don't need to see a picture of you to know that. Your words speak volumes and reflect what you are.

Don't you ever let anyone make you feel like less than what you are, which is a vibrant, caring, wonderful, articulate, intelligent and YES, beautiful woman.

It took lots of courage for you to post your story. Thank you for sharing it with us.

I so wish I was going on the Road Trip so we could meet, but there's always Texas next year!

Oh yeah, and for some reason I pictured you with very dark hair. ;-)

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have not been a member here for very long and after reading a few recent posts I was not sure I belonged here. I currently weigh 230 pounds (down from 260). I have been battling an emotional and toxic relationship with food for many years.

My father told me if I was fat I would never be anything but fat! I relied on laxitives and purging to stay thin for quite some time. Needless to say I lived with a lot of shame and continued to feed my pain.

I have come to terms with many of the personal issues that made me seek comfort in food but it is a struggle every day.

Your post made me realize I do belong here and gives me inspiration to continue in my journey to become fit and healthy!!!

So again....thank you for sharing your story!!!
"My dream is that we as women can love and support each other for who we are and not the way we look. There is enough of that attitude in the world. Let's rise above it!"

Heather, love that paragraph:) And love seeing you (and Jeanne). Thanks for finally sharing your lovely smile with us!
The Power of Words

Thank y’all for the kind words and encouragement. It was a huge leap of faith for me to share that picture. God has done a healing work in my heart. It feels good to reach the place where I am no longer defined by the size of my clothes or the number on the scale or what people think of me. That picture represents the way I look right now, but it does not define who I am. I am not what I weigh. I am not the size I wear. I am who God says I am. I am more than a conqueror. Glory! I am hoping to have the time of my life in August, and I refuse to allow fears or insecurities to steal an ounce of my joy.

There is reason why I avoid negative threads. After years of being told that I was fat (when I was in reality very healthy), those words became a self-fulfilling prophesy. When you hear something over and over again year after year, you start to believe it whether it is true or not. I finally believed the lies I had been fed and started living the lifestyle of a stereotypical fat woman. That is exactly what I became. One of the reasons I choose my words prayerfully and carefully is because I believe that words are powerful indeed. We can build people up or tear them down with our words. I choose to be an encourager. I have been wounded by verbal abuse, and those scars ran deep and were very slow to heal. It is so important to renew your mind with truth. The mental battle is so much more challenging than the physical one. With all the garbage I have heard through the years, I do my best to avoid adding more trash to my mind. I even fast the media for seasons of time to clear my mind of all the messages society and advertisers promote.

Through years of Bible study and prayer, I have learned to believe and receive God's unconditional love for me, and that overflows to others around me. I have forgiven everyone who hurt me and learned to see them through God’s eyes. Through years of prayer and tears, I have experienced healing and restoration of relationships. I am a good place in my life now, and I am very happy and at peace with who I am even though I am in the process of being transformed from the inside out. For a season of time while I was healing, I had to separate myself from all negativity and find a place of health and wholeness. I still have some insecurities about my size, but I have come a long way.

I am not a superficial person, so this girl who longs for the deep feels out of place in this shallow world at times. I believe with all my heart that God can and does work everything together for our good and His glory. One of the greatest blessings in my life that has resulted from experiencing so much shame and rejection in my own life is the supernatural ability to love people unconditionally. I have such a heart for women in bondage. It is my deepest desire to inspire women to rise above their circumstances, pursue their dreams with a passion, and be all they were created to be. For the past 4 years on Good Friday, a few friends from my church family and I have delivered gift bags to dancers in men’s clubs and prostitutes on the street. I do not look down on these women or think I am better than any of them. Many of these women come from abusive homes. Many of them are single mothers. They are living a tough life. One of them was still dancing when she was 8 months pregnant! Most of them dream of getting an education or otherwise breaking free from their present reality. When one of the girls shares her dream of going to college, it is such a joy to speak hope into her dreams. Several of the dancers have completed nursing school or some other form of higher education and told us last year that we would not be seeing them again because they graduated. The girls love us and look forward to our visit every year. They tell the new dancers about us, and our arrival is greatly anticipated. They literally jump for joy like little children on Christmas morning. This is likely the only time anyone gives them a gift without expecting anything in return. The pretty pastel bags are filled with costume jewelry, decorative barrettes or hair clips, makeup, perfume, body spray, bubble bath, bath gel, body lotion, candles, Easter candy, gum, inspirational books, and similar items. We want to give these precious women something that makes them feel beautiful and loved by God. Love builds bridges and changes hearts and lives. Love is the most excellent way.

Everyone is worthy of being treated and spoken to with love and respect. It is possible to look beyond the lifestyle and love the person. People struggle with overeating, smoking, binge drinking, doing drugs, and a whole host of other unhealthy lifestyles. That is not who they are. That is their behavior. Most people know the dangers of an unhealthy lifestyle and do not need anyone to convince them of that or shame them into changing.

I would not have posted this thread if I thought I was the only one who struggled with this. I know that is not the case based on private messages I receive from time to time. If we want to have a positive impact on the obesity epidemic in this country, it would be nice to see all fitness forums and fitness clubs be safe and non-threatening places for people who are seeking to change. For the record, approaching me in the fitness center and telling me that I am too pretty to be so fat is not encouraging! Walking into a fitness club at my size is intimidating enough without that commentary! Sadly, fitness clubs can be country clubs for the fit instead of places for people to get fit. While I still prefer working out at home with Cathe, I am returning to the club too. I love my friend’s class and jogging in the pool, and I am rising above comments people make.

My goal is to live fit and free. It is a mind game first and foremost. It is not a fight to behave. It is a fight to believe. All things are possible for those who believe. As soon as I start to waver and doubt that I can succeed, I have already lost the battle. I am embracing the challenge of a lifetime to break free from this fat cocoon for good and experience an amazing body transformation. This is my destiny.

Robin, you are too funny! Those are my Asics Gel 1120 running shoes.

GreenEyedLefty, I am looking forward to reading your June update! Yes, we can do this!

Amy, I am hoping that you and Cheryl will be in an adjoining room!

Carole, I am looking forward to meeting you as well. Yes, a day early!

Catherine, thank you and see you in August!

Shelby, thank you for the kind words and prayers. What is your culture?

Jo, I am sorry that you did not make the cut for the Road Trip.

Gayle, I met Jean for the first time yesterday. She is very positive and encouraging. I am rooming with Kim (kims) and Kathy (Annabelle2). They are more active over at the Ya Yas. Kathy participated in the 12-week challenge with us last year.

LadyUnix, thank you for the kind words.

Vilma, thank you for the blessing.

Susan, you are so sweet. I am so looking forward to meeting you in August.

Vicki, thank you for sharing your story and encouraging me to read the rest of that thread. You are an inspiration!

Cody, thank you for the encouragement.

Tammy, you know that I am counting the days until I get to meet you. Thanks for being my cheerleader.

Phyllis, I am excited to meet you in August too. It just dawned on me how many people I will “know” when I get there.

Fit@home1, thank you for the compliment.

Jackie, thank you for the affirmation.

Sue, I am sorry that you are struggling with emotional eating. I am praying for you.

Suri, I hope I get to meet you someday. Wow! There are a lot of New Yorkers here!

Dorothy, thank you for making me smile!

Shannon, thank you for the response. It is good to hear from you again.

Jenn, thanks for the encouragement.

Cathy, I am looking forward to meeting you in August too. We can conquer this together! I am planning to return to the Cheetahs check-in when I get closer to my goal weight and start running. My computer time has been limited, so I had to take a break from some of my check-ins.

Mattea, what a precious thing to say! You are a doll, and I hope to meet you at a future Road Trip.

Nancy, thank you for sharing your experience. I am blown away that your pediatrician said that to you. If only people would think before they speak. I agree that posting my picture was a good move. I feel so much freer now. There is something very empowering about facing your fears.

Wendy, thank you so much. You are so sweet, and I am looking forward to meeting you in August. You are so right about looking up! God is good!

Kathryn, thank you so much for the hugs. You already know how much I respect your knowledge about fitness and nutrition. I especially appreciate the way you suggest gentle and realistic changes for those who are just starting to clean up their eating. I am sorry that you did not make the cut for the Road Trip. I was looking forward to meeting you.

Tneah, I am sure you are beautiful too! I am so sorry that such hurtful things were said to you. I am glad you have conquered your eating disorders.

Iris123, thank you for the blessing.

Janie, I am happy with who I am now. I am learning to be content in every situation. By the way, I was not unhappy that people complimented me when I lost weight. Compliments are encouraging. I was simply surprised that people treated me with so much more respect. I was not expecting that. Even salesclerks in department stores were suddenly more helpful. I have been underweight, obese, and everywhere in between, and I can testify that many people treat you better when you are smaller. I did not like the implication that I was suddenly “good enough” to be treated with respect if that makes sense.

Melrose, one of my best friends had gastric bypass surgery. She lost around 150 pounds and is still struggling with the last 100 pounds. There are a lot of misconceptions. It is not a quick fix. It is not an easy way out. She has still had to exercise and clean up her eating. I agree with you about letting go of hurtful comments and making more room for wonder and joy. Best wishes for your journey.

Shelly, I am ready for the party in August! Thanks for the encouraging words.

Debbie, I wish you could attend the Road Trip too.

JeanneMarie, you know I love you too! Jean and I talked about your workout room yesterday. It is my dream workout room.

Tina, you are so right about looking to God for unconditional love. Thank you for the reminder.

Amy, I am so sorry that your daughter is struggling. How old is she? She is blessed to have a mother who loves her unconditionally and supports her.

Jen, I pared down my collection of workout shoes to a respectable dozen and delivered the rest to the consignment shop!

Lala1, we are overcomers indeed. Thank you for the faith affirmation.

Shelley, I love you to pieces. I so wish you were going to the Road Trip. I am looking forward to your Texas Road Trip next year. By the way, most people pictured me as a blonde!

Teri, we have so much in common. My top weight was 260 pounds too. I currently weigh 220 pounds. If you want a friend for this journey, feel free to send me a private message. You definitely belong here. I read the forums for 9 months before I finally joined. I was not sure if I would fit in here either, but my experience has been very positive. I encourage you to join a check-in. That is the best way to bond with people here. I suggest the Daily Check-in or the Transforming Violets.

Lydia, it is good to see you posting over here!

Thanks again for all the sweet responses. I hope I did not miss anyone!

Heather B.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV).
RE: The Power of Words

The way I see it Heather is that we are all works in progress. That refers to body, mind and spirit!! I struggle each and every day with the things that I need to work on. I find that each day presents new challenges, but is also a new beginning. Your words are written very eloquently and I am inspired by them!!

Heather--Your post moved me to tears. And I have to second what Kathryn said--I've never heard you post an unkind word to anyone on these forums. You truly have the gentle and quiet spirit that the Lord loves.
And you are a beautiful woman. From your description of yourself, I did not expect to see someone so pretty. I can't believe the comments of your family and church. How shameful.

I always look forward to what you have to say. Have fun on that roadtrip. And hang in there. You are doing so well.

Your sister in Christ,
Just to Clarify

Maggie, that was my former church. God led me to my current church in the fall of 2000. My church family of almost 7 years has been such a blessing to me. They have loved me, encouraged me, and taught me so much about God’s amazing grace and unfailing love. It is one of the best moves I have ever made. That other stuff was said to me in my first 2 years as a believer, so my Christian journey started with a very legalistic view of God.

Catherine, we are works in progress indeed!

Heather B.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV).
RE: The Power of Words

Hi Heather,

My daughter is 24. She goes through hell due to her weight.

She has abused drugs, trying to lose weight. She took ADD medication to rev her up so she would have no appetite. She smokes because she heard smoking helps control weight.

I am not going to badger my beautiful daughter about her weight problem.

She gets enough of that as it is.

I get furious at self righteous people who dare judge others due to their weight.

I am beginning to think that obesity is the new minority.
Heather, Thanks for sharing your story, you truly have a way with words!! You (and Jean) are beautiful and I know by reading your posts that you truly have a beautiful soul!! I can't wait to meet you and everyone at the RT!!!!:D :D Sandy
Heather, first of all, you are beautiful!! Inside & out. I'm so glad that you shared your story & your pics. As someone who was also made to feel fat from age 8 on, I understand your struggles. I've been *thin* for over 3 years now (lost over 70 lbs) but still fight off that *fat girl* that I felt like for so long.

I'm glad that you met up w/ Jean & had a wonderful time. Everyone here is so wonderful & I'm sure you will all have a fabulous time on the road trip. I hope you get a special picture taken with Cathe to share with us!

I hope you join in again on the Cheetah thread when you can. BTW, love the shoes as I'm in Asics girl myself! ;-)

God bless you.
RE: Just to Clarify


What a step of faith you demonstrated by sharing your story and your pictures. I'm so proud of you, my friend! We are on this journey of healing together. ((((((MISSOURI HUGS TO MY TEXAS NAME SAKE))))))

Love in Him, Heather
Ditto to all of the above- you are truly beautiful on the inside and outside. I always look for your posts and updates because you are so inspiring.
God Bless
Heather!!!!!:) :) :)

I'm so proud that I get to meet you in person. You are a truly beautiful person. The Lord has blessed you with so much, and you are a joy to everyone!

2 months baby, and we'll be shaking our groove things at Cathe's.

GREAT picture!

You are an amazing woman with an amazing story. Thank you soooo much for sharing! I can not wait to meet you! :)

Thank you for sharing your story. I'm sorry I won't be at the RT to meet you in person. :)
Wow. Just wow. Heather, you are an inspiration! You have been through so much and you are so strong. Thank you for sharing your story with us, and for sharing your pictures. You are beautiful, inside and out, and I cannot wait to meet you in August.

Thank You for sharing your inspriational life story. It truely makes you realize the difficulties and struggles some people deal with in their daily lifes.

God Loves You!

Thank you so much for sharing your story, Heather. Those comments those people made to you make me sick to my stomach. I cannot comprehend how people can be so cruel and I bet you anything they all didn't have room to talk. Who do people like that think they are? It just blows my mind. They are just so miserable themselves it makes them feel better to put someone else down. That is all! I'm so incredibly sorry for all you've been through. You are beautiful!!!!!!!!
I feel honored to "know" you and look forward to meeting you at the road trip. I used to have a friend who enjoyed "people watching" and making fun of people (for whatever reason). Her philosophy was that since she figured others were doing it to her why not do it to them. It was one point along the journey to self improvement that I thought about the impact of such negativity. Thank you for sharing a brave and positive message.

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