Jamie Mendell is sharing her inspiring story to prove that you have to transform your outlook before you can transform your body. Before she started on her journey to looking amazingly fit, she weighed 160 pounds. By the time she finished her process, she weighed in at 120 pounds.
I went on my first diet when I was 17. Although I had a perfectly healthy body, I started to notice it changing—my boobs getting bigger, my arms getting softer, and my hips getting wider—and I got really scared. Up until that point, I had prided myself on having a skinny, athletic body, and without that, I wasn’t sure what I had to offer. My self-worth was totally tied up in my weight.
That first well-intentioned diet led to 10 years of struggling with my weight. I found myself constantly dieting and then binge eating when I just couldn’t hack it anymore. This up and down led to countless fluctuations in the number on the scale and ultimately, more and more weight.
My life was dull, and I felt trapped in an endless cycle of dieting and bingeing. Nothing was working, and every diet just brought on more frustration and weight.
To make matters worse, the binge eating was a huge secret that I kept from everyone in my life, which led to my carrying around a ton of shame about my eating habits. I was a smart, successful woman, and I didn’t understand why I couldn’t just figure out this food thing.
At my heaviest, I was at least 160 pounds—but more importantly, I was completely miserable. My self-esteem was at an all-time low, not only because of my weight but also because I had spent 10 years absolutely consumed with thoughts about food.
I got to a point where I just couldn’t let myself diet anymore. I was turning 26, and I looked at my life and felt a sense of urgency; I knew that if I kept dieting and waiting until I was skinny to live my life, I was going to end up watching life pass me by. I no longer wanted to turn down happy hours, spend dinners at amazing New York City restaurants silently counting calories in my head, or avoid dating because I was ashamed of my body.
I couldn’t accept that life for myself anymore.
I decided that I was going to stop dieting. I couldn’t waste one more day fighting my weight and fighting myself. So I tried something that a tiny voice inside of my was begging me to do: I started to live and to get happy immediately.
I started dating.
I worked on all of my relationships.
I booked trips I’d been wanting to take.
I started working with business, life, and relationship coaches.
I forced myself to be present when out with my friends instead of counting the calories of the beer the entire time.
I got rid of clothes that didn’t fit and gradually got new ones that made me feel great.
I quit my job in finance and started my business as a holistic health and lifestyle coach.
I ate top-notch food and enjoyed every second of it instead of feeling guilty about it.
I cooked amazing recipes.
I learned what it looked like to take incredible care of my emotions, my heart, and my body.
I quit the gym—which I had always dreaded going to—and started finding forms of fitness I enjoyed more, like going on long walks.
I fell in love and started allowing myself to feel sexy in my skin—no matter what.
I learned who I was outside of food and my body. I discovered new passions, what lit me up, and what made me happy.
I met myself again.
Deciding to stop dieting and to create an amazing life, regardless of my weight, was the best decision I ever made. I realized now that I’d had everything backward for almost a decade: Dieting leads to life feeling restrictive, boring, and dull, which lead to my using food to fill the voids even more.
The more I focused on creating a life I loved, doing things that made me happy, and taking care of myself and my needs, the less I turned to food.
Over a long period of time, my weight gradually dropped. Now, at age 28, I weigh what I weighed in high school!
But here’s the kicker: My weight doesn’t even matter to me at this point. I got happy 40 pounds ago, and life was amazing 40 pounds ago. Yes, my pants are a smaller size now, but I realized throughout this journey that I can be happy at any size. And that realization is the biggest victory.
The sad thing is that not many people out there have the will to make themselves more healthy. Follow some of Jamie’s tips, so you too can get started on your way to a healthy lifestyle.
Stop dieting. Dieting just doesn’t work for most people. If it hasn’t been working for you, accept that—it’s okay! Instead, start to listen to yourself. Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, and trust that your body does know what to eat—we just have to listen.
Create a life you love now. Most of us are emotional eaters because we aren’t getting what we need from our lives. Look at how you’re using food in moments when you’re not hungry—is it for comfort? Excitement? Love? Simply notice at first, and then start to design your life in a way that gives you more of these feelings. The more you feel the way you want to feel, the less you’ll turn to food to fulfill those needs.
Work on making peace with your body. You don’t have to love your body, but try to start respecting her and getting to know her. The more you can be on the same team as her, the more natural it will feel to feed her nourishing foods and take care of her.
Source: Women’s Health Magazine