By Del Duduit
Ten years ago, my professional life was up in the air.
I was laid off from a position and had to be like a scavenger to find a job.
But that did not change who I was as a person. Even though I felt dejected, I was still me.
Ten years ago, my friend Allison Michael had a different perception of herself.
A decade ago, she weighed 276 pounds, a far cry than how she appeared to others in college.
She grew up petite and active and met her husband when she was 18. They both worked at a health club together in south west Ohio.
They fell in love, became engaged, got married and had one strong common bond together – food.
“Eating became a big part of our relationship,” she told me. “When I was a freshman, I was an averaged size girl, but we ate out all the time.”
She earned her law degree and noticed she looked appealing on paper. But when she stood in front of the mirror, she had a different view of herself.
“I did not look the part at all,” she said. “I was a top-of-my-class attorney who loved the theatre and loved being a diva – but I was not that way anymore.”
Her desire for food turned her once attractive physique into an object of disgust in her eyes.
“I felt miserable. I felt invisible – even though I was huge – I felt alone,” she said.
She accepted an offer at a law firm which provided insurance that allowed for her to have weight-loss surgery.
In 2011, Allison started on her journey to be “seen” again. It hasn’t been easy, and she has undergone several plastic surgeries to repair the areas of her body impacted by her weight.
She deals in truth and addressed her addiction to food, drinking and smoking head on.
Hypnosis put the kibosh on her addiction to nicotine and she entered rehab for the desire to alcohol. Finally, surgery lifted the weight off her back.
“I am new person,” she told me. “It has changed the way I interact. The practical side to being obese made me aware of my surroundings because I had to see if where I was standing would support me. Now, I don’t have the walk of shame and I don’t care where I shop. I don’t worry about where I sit or things like that.”
For years, she lived in depression and shame. She used her bubbly personality and humor to deflect her embarrassment from being obese.
“I was forced to be nice and everyone liked me,” she said. “I was like a welcome mat. I was just there, and I didn’t feel good about who I was.”
Allison, like everyone, still has flaws. But her journey has taught her not to judge others. “I look at heavy people now and root for them because I know what most of them are going through.”
She quit her job as a lawyer recently to become a stay-at-home mom. Her son is in high school and she doesn’t want to miss him grow up.
“We’ve been bonding, and I love my life now,” she said. “I’ve been telling my story on social media and it’s changed my life. I am more confident now and appreciate my health more. I had to make those changes.”
Allison overcame. She had enough and wanted to be beautiful in her eyes, only.
Maybe you need to make some changes. You don’t have to be obese or an alcoholic or a chain smoker. Perhaps your attitude needs an adjustment, or you have bad habits that need addressed. You know what to do and you are aware of what drags you down.
Tackle them head on. Last week I told you how my stuttering problem was met and defeated. You can do the same with whatever keeps you from being who God made you to be.
Here are some tips on facing what has a strong hold on you with courage.
- Embrace your fear: Being courageous means doing something despite being afraid. Fear is the body’s natural response to the brain’s fight or flight response. As John Wayne said, “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”
- Don’t hesitate when you want to fix it: The longer your brain has to come up with excuses for not being courageous the more times you will have to panic or back out. I had the chance to face my fear of being on the radio and had to make a decision. Allison had a moment to make the choice to have the surgery. Neither one of us backed down.
- Get outside your comfort zone: This is where you will find courage. It’s there waiting on you.
- Build your confidence: This is the result of facing your fears and finding the will to succeed.
- Trust: This is the hardest part of any journey. It’s best run with God leading the way.
A lot can happen in 10 years. Don’t wait to make the change. Have the courage.
Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. (Psalm 37: 5 KJV)
What can you overcome? When will your journey begin?
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.