In Late March of 2013, I was attending my sister’s baby shower. That day I looked at myself in a picture that I’d just taken and was faced with the reality that I had lost perspective. Somehow I had strolled into obesity without realizing. My stomach had become a separate entity; really it was a life of its own.
I looked on as a family friend scrolled thru the pictures we’d taken smiling (obviously not shocked or horrified by my weight or my sluggish disposition). But I was! I knew I had transitioned out of a size 18 and into a size 20 sometime the year before but it hadn’t until that day or moment alarmed me. Obviously, the consciousness that had helped me to create this masterpiece of excess and that had sustained my progression towards obesity had shifted. I knew my consciousness had shifted because I stood looking at myself in the pictures with new eyes. What exactly had happened to make an alarm go off in my head that would ring out so loudly and take hold of my heart and soul? I didn’t know exactly but it was about to show itself to me.
I remember in the months leading up to this moment, I had seen a couple of television programs that left me enlightened and planted seeds of interest. I can’t remember the order in which I uncovered them but I remember the “Aha’s” they brought on. There were three to be exact.
The first Aha! came as I was watching Dr. Oz being interviewed on a show. He mentioned that when he saw people with huge stomachs, what he really saw were people who were unable to manage stress. That touched me! One, because I had a ginormous stomach and two, because of the humanity he showed to a growing epidemic. Suddenly, I realized that it wasn’t all about “greed” and “the lack of will power” that are often associated with overweight and obesity. He also stated that we needed to focus on foods the colors of the rainbow. Aha! (I thought)
The second seed had been planted one morning as I was watching Deepak Chopra and Oprah speaking on her network. I was fairly familiar with Deepak Chopra. I knew he was a spiritually aware person who studied consciousness. I had heard him speak before and I knew he always brought revelation with him. As part of the conversation, he happened to mention that it took approximately 66 days to automate an action. I was struck by his use of the word automate. I thought, “What if I really could automate my actions with 66 days of ritual?” Aha! I took my seeds and stuck them in the back pocket of my mind. Surely this was useful information.
The third T.V. epiphany I had— came as I watched the rapper DMX on Iyanla Vanzant’s show “Fix My Life”. I remember sitting on my couch feeling so sorry for him; to see his struggle with drugs and to see how he had sacrificed his family and career for his addiction. I cried for him. I prayed for him! And then I cried for myself, because I too had an addiction. In that moment I moved from sympathetic to empathetic. I allowed myself to step out from the illusion of “got it togetherness” and fully stepped into my unwaged battle with overeating. The Aha here was to see how I too was sacrificing a better life for an addiction.
Seeds I tell you! Seeds! Just look what great things can happen when we exercise our power to choose to watch meaningful television!
So it’s now April 2013. A few weeks had passed since the baby shower and I was still dancing with the thought of making a real change. By this time, I had weighed myself and I was again horrified to learn that I was 248lbs. “248lbs? Really? What happened?” “How do I fix this?” “Where do I begin?” Just some of the thoughts that taunted me as I now danced with the reality of knowingly being 248lbs. So, I sat and talked to God. Just two words… “Show me!”.
Yep! I bet you didn’t know you could get God’s attention with just two words. Completely usher in the Holy Spirit with two words!
“Show me Lord!” I continued
Before long I had a plan! Remember those seeds of interest? Well, they had already started to break open in my spirit and I found myself yielding to their fruit. I decided that for 66 days I would focus on mainly eating foods the colors of the rainbow. I would eliminate meat, chicken, turkey, fish, cheese, milk, mayo, packaged juices, soda, and anything else that didn’t come from the earth. I made only one exception; eggs. Which I just feel is a gift to humanity. The assignment was 66 Days of Ground Foods and 66 Days of Ritual; cooking and preparing all my own foods.
Needless to say, I felt the weight of what I was attempting to do; the weight of the giant I was about to go up against. But I understood the value and I understood what was waiting on the other side. I knew that all those moments that I had shrunken and hid at the back of the room would be a thing of the past. I knew it would force me to suit up and get in the game. No more standing at the window of life with my nose pressed up against the glass. No more 6 ft. ceilings sitting right above my head but new horizons I would see from mountain tops. Oh, I fully understood the crossroad where I stood. I also understood that I could not go at it unprepared. So I decided I would start my 66 day quest on May 1st, 2013. But I didn’t want to deny or lose the momentum of the shift that was taking place so I went ahead and made the eliminations of meats and poultry, butter, milk, cheese, sodas, pasta, and many of the condiments I would normally use. I courageously severed my relationship with McDonald’s the fast food machine where I would many days eat from twice in one day. I spent the next two weeks making more eliminations as I researched and remembered what food was at its core. I became obsessed with learning about all the health benefits of foods the colors of the rainbow and felt a growing will and desire to embark on my 66 day journey.
To my shock when I stepped on the scale the morning of May 1st, I was 235lbs. “OMG! Are you kidding me? No way!” I was down 13lbs. Just the news I needed to go full speed ahead with my plans. So off I went! In the weeks to come I began making lots of soups combining all sorts of veggies. I ate yams, spinach, zucchini, broccoli, plantains, avocados, oatmeal, nuts, bananas, eggs, lots of fresh salads, and much more. I completed my 66 days with only one or two slip ups. Once when I ordered an onion soup and didn’t realize it had cheese in it and another time when I gave way to a snicker bar!
Oh yes, I had human moments along the journey but mostly the time was highlighted by really triumphant moments like when I traveled to Orlando to a 2-day Hair Conference and carried all my premade meals with me and when I showed up at my sister’s door in Tallahassee in June to meet my new nephew with bags of groceries I’d brought with me from Miami—all fresh produce that wouldn’t last until my return. Oh, I felt triumphant!
At the end of my 66 days, I was 25lbs down from my original 248lbs. I felt lighter, more energized, and oh so powerful. Learning to yield my mind to my heart’s desires and to operate my personal will in such a way was priceless and alluring. Now the subject of automation! Would it come? Would I uncover it? Could I keep it? All very pressing questions only time could reveal at the time!
Fast forward to this moment right now November, 2015 and I can say... “Yes, automation came.” “Yes, I uncovered its wonders!” And I must decide everyday whether I get to keep it or not based on the choices I make. You see, the truth about automated response is that you have to continue to choose the same response!
On Sept. 30th, 2013 I encountered another window of grace as I was finally able to overcome my embarrassment and walked across the street, no more than 25ft from my apartment to the public park that I had thought about going to since I’d moved there two years prior and decided I would not only walk but run. My exact decision was, I will run and only walk as needed. I knew I had to amp things up. I still was holding on to my 25lb weight loss by maintaining most of the eliminations I had made such as no juices, soda, bread, meat, and chicken but I wasn’t losing. The time to get active had surely come. I knew at the beginning (back in April) that I was after total transformation. I had lost 20-30lbs before at different times and then some mental/emotional wall would get right up in front of me. Not this time! A shift had truly taken place. I no longer wanted to sit out. I wanted in on my life. Most importantly, I wanted to feel safe in my skin and body.
That same day, I walked into my local Planet Fitness and became a member. The next day Oct. 1st, I began my 1st 90-Day workout challenge which was born out of my desire to create another new habit or automated response. And I did it! Didn’t miss a day! Didn’t succumb to a single excuse! I ran at the park, I went to the gym, and I had begun group training sessions with a trainer.
When April 15, 2014 came around, exactly 1year after I’d began making my changes, I was 72lbs lighter. I felt amazing! I felt accomplished. And mostly, I felt unstoppable! On Oct. 24, 2014, I ran a 10K (6.2 miles) and finished in 1hr 3mins. Not bad for someone with no athletic history. And then the next month, I followed that victory up weighing in at 156lbs after completing my 2nd successful 90-Day Workout Challenge. It was unbelievable … 92lbs Lost!! I was so happy in my soul and in my heart!
Here’s what I’ve learned among many other things:
I’ve learned that true weight loss is not about weight; it’s about walls! Yes, I lost a tremendous amount of weight but I lost an incredible amount of walls. My next biggest challenge was to change the way I identified and used food and I’m still working every day to drill it in my head that “Food is Fuel” and therefore I should consume it only as needed.
I still do not eat pork, meat, turkey, or poultry. I almost never drink sodas and/or packaged fruit juices. I still prepare most of my own meals; 85% at least. I still eat lots of fresh greens. I occasionally eat cheese, bread, and yogurt—however, I no longer buy bread and I gave up my toaster over a year ago. I only buy quinoa, brown rice, or gluten free pasta and only occasionally. I continue to enjoy eggs and I eat fish 3-4 times a week. I now work out 3-4 times a week and I am considering doing a half marathon in the near future.
I moderate a Facebook group called “The 66 Day Appetite Reset Challenge” where I began sharing my food preparations in January of 2014 and where I encourage those who chooses to "take the challenge". I’ve done the challenge a total of three times and I've done 12 days of Raw Vegan eating on two separate occasions.
In closing, I'd just like to encourage you all to live the life of your dreams. Unleash the Power of the Mind. Cultivate the seeds you find along life’s journey and prepare yourselves for a harvest that will feed you forevermore. Yes, all things remain POSSIBLE!!