I posted this photo on my personal Facebook page with the caption,“Went to renew my passport and the folks in the post office didn’t believe I was the same person”.
One of my friends asked ‘Who’s that?’ My reply was, ‘That was me when I was an Occupational Therapist’.
Another friend messaged and said “I reckon your next blog should mention’ the transformative powers of brave change across all aspects of ones life. e.g. The seismic shift from ‘comfortably trapped’ in full-time career to the brave and liberating freedom of taking pleasure in your work.”
So here goes … a more personal blog! In the passport photo I was twenty-four and a ‘professional’ with a safe career in the Health Service, a pension and a nagging fear of being ‘found out’ as a fraud. The life I was living wasn’t mine, it wasn’t wrong or bad, it just wasn’t mine. I wasn’t ready to be a ‘professional’ I was hardly ready to be ‘Jo’ nevermind anything else.
It’s only when I look back that I realise how much of my weight was connected to my sense of powerlessness, my dissatisfaction with my ‘lot’ and my growing resentment. If I couldn’t have what I wanted in life I was definitely going to have the last biscuit!
At 26 I edged my way out of the Health Service through taking temporary contracts until I didn’t go back. If I could distill what I have learnt in the next 11 years it is this:
“Being able to say NO strengthens your YES”
I have said ‘no’ to jobs where I had no passion, no to doing things I didn’t enjoy, no to playing the game of office politics. I decided to give up being resentful, powerless, put upon. There have been many sleepless nights where I have doubted if I would ever find anything that I was passionate about, whether I had any skills or abilities, what would happen to me if I didn’t have a pension etc, etc. Until it dawned on me that the fear itself was worse than the reality and I could choose whether I was trapped by my fear or if I could also chose to say ‘No’ to that too.
I have lived in a spiritual community, worked in a cafe, been a self-employed artist, worked in care, cleaned toilets. All these experiences led to a deeper wish of wanting to be happy and knowing that if I could manage my body then I could manage my life. If I could find the power to change my body then I would have the power to change my life.
This is me now at 37
At 32 I decided to actively start losing weight. I said no to cakes and biscuits, cheese and bread. This daily discipline of ‘No’ grew a giant ‘YES’, a yes to feeling proud and confident, a yes to being fit, a yes to losing 6 stone. This ‘YES’ has become my passion and my work! I coach people to start running and get fit, I deliver weight management courses and support people to lose weight because I know how powerful and how possible it is to change.
When it comes to long-term weight management it is vital to ask yourself the following questions,
“What do I want to say ‘Yes’ to? Really say ‘Yes’ to in my life?” and for that to happen, “What do I need to say ‘No’ to?
Answer those questions and your life will change!