How My Daughters Saved Me: My Health Heroes
Sometimes you need a reminder, that in the end, you need to be your own hero. I am so fortunate to have two little precious tornados that are willing to teach their mommy how this life should be lived.
This is the story of how my daughters saved me.
BEFORE: 262 Pounds
AFTER: 140 Pounds
It took me 2 years to lose the weight. My little girls kept me going the whole time... and still do!
Being a mommy is the most amazing adventure a human being can experience. It blows my mind that these two little people walking around my house belong to me. I could feel and sense their souls before I even laid eyes on them. Their presence in this world was already impacting me even when they were still safely tucked within my womb.
In one aspect, the biggest aspect, it's the most incredible feeling in the world. But in another aspect, it's the scariest. It is near paralyzing fear that overwhelms me when I think of the huge responsibility to keep them safe and sound in such an unsafe and unsound world. A world that has become so unpredictable and so dangerous. I’m terrified knowing that at some point I’ll have to kick my baby girls out of the nest and let them fly on their own.
There is one thought, however, that does ease my fears a bit. I truly believe their best defense against this scary world is for them to be confident, loving, and self-respecting individuals.
And this falls on me. It is up to me to ensure their wings have enough understanding, courage, and vigor to allow them to fly on their own. Here's the problem with that... I wasn't capable of teaching them these things until I was able to do it myself. You can tell your children all the right things, at all the right times but if you're not modeling that behavior, it won't ever stick. You can't just talk the talk. You have to walk the walk.
How was I supposed to equip my babies for everything in life they were going to be faced with if I couldn't even look myself in the eye or carry myself with some pride? Children learn by watching. Plain and simple. Monkey see, monkey do.
Six years ago I was so unbelievably unhealthy and miserable. I was days away from developing full-blown type 2 diabetes, had chronic back pain from carrying around 120 extra pounds, and couldn't even tie my shoes. With carrying 262 pounds on my small frame, I found myself too tired and sluggish to go beyond my bare minimum duties and chores. I didn't even have an ounce left over. I only had enough will and energy to say yes to the mundane obligatory tasks. I said no to everything else.
I said no to playing in the backyard because it was hot and I felt so fat and uncomfortable. I physically could not run, play, bend, or jump without chest and back pain.
I said no to the playground because I didn't want to be around all the skinny moms laughing and talking.
I said no to sidewalk chalk because it was too difficult for me to sit on the hard ground and near impossible to get back up.
I said no to walking the dog around the neighborhood because I was tired and didn't want anyone to see me.
But you see I wasn't just saying no to events and activities. It was so much deeper than that... I was saying no to living life. But not just mine. I was stealing precious moments away from my babies. I stole countless teachable moments from them. I stole loving, quality time from them. Time that would’ve been loaded with giggles and smiles. And why? All because I felt tired, weak, ugly, and unconfident.
There came a point six years ago where everything bubbled up to the surface for me, my defining moment. It was in this moment where it became clear to me how horribly wrong I was living my life and how I was going to have to put forth a Herculean amount of work to fix it. I knew in that moment that no matter what it was going to take, I would not stop until I turned everything around. When I had my defining moment, my little girls were just 8 months old and 3 1/2 years old. They were still so little and were desperately in need of not just a mommy, but a happy and healthy mommy.
My children deserved a mother who could hold her head up high, had the energy to run and play with them, and wasn't a hypocrite when teaching them about self-confidence and respect. This was my duty. I brought these babies into the world. How dare I not provide them with the strength and skills to make it through this very life that I brought them into?!
I knew in that moment I would not stop until I became the strong woman that I hoped someday for them to be. No matter how grueling or seemingly impossible, I would succeed. I knew this deep down in my soul. I owed this to them. It took me two years to lose 120 pounds. And let me tell you, in that time I came upon many crossroads, many obstacles, and endless moments of self-doubt. But it was my baby girls that kept me going.
Every time I wanted to give up or give in, I thought of them. These two beautiful girls needed a strong, confident mommy to show them what it looked like to love and respect yourself.
It is not enough to teach your children to be kind and loving to others. They also need taught how to be kind and loving to themselves.
With self-confidence and self-love, almost all difficult situations in life are more easily dealt with, if not avoided all together. I don't want my girls to live as I did. I don’t want them doubting who they are and what they‘re capable of. I want them to always set magnificent goals for themselves and believe that they can make their dreams come true with hard work and perseverance. I want them to truly believe that they’re worth all the good things the world has to offer and the confidence to chase those things down.
I don't just want them to fly. I want them to soar.
My girls were never going to get what they needed from me if I continued to live so buried under all of my weight and fears. Not to mention that my unhealthy lifestyle was only going to bring serious health issues and diseases... and most likely sooner rather than later. Dealing with serious illnesses and being sick all the time would not allow me to be the mommy that I wanted to be. My girls are still so little and they need me around for a very long time. I'm so thankful they now have a mommy that is strong, happy, and healthy. It is for this that I’m most proud of myself.
In changing the direction of my own life, I have changed the direction of theirs.
It took me over 30 years to truly love myself and see what I could offer the world. It also took me that long to learn how to say no to the people and things that used me and depleted me. To learn to start saying yes to what is good for me and for what speaks to my soul, not someone else's.
My beautiful daughters taught me more than I could ever teach them. They taught me how important it is to care about yourself. For if you can't love yourself, it's impossible to be fully open to love someone else in a healthy, pure way.
My weight-loss journey was so much more than losing weight. I've gained an amazing perspective on life, an immeasurable amount of inner strength, and an indomitable will. It is not just my body that is now fit and healthy, but my mind and soul as well.
I wake up each and every morning with such a grateful heart. I'm grateful for so many things but mostly for these two little monkeys who call me mommy. It is so incredible to watch my girls grow more and more confident and vibrant each day.
I feel like I've finally earned the right to be called mommy.
These incredible little heroes rescued me by showing me why I needed to save myself. They showed me that I’m responsible for being who I was meant to be and that it’s my duty in this life to not stray from who that is. They‘ve taught me that spending time preparing healthy meals and exercising is not a punishment nor an inconvenience but rather a true privilege denied to so many others. It’s time I set aside to declare that I’m deserving of being tended to and cared for too. Mommies (and women in general) have a tendency to spend all of their time and energy on making sure everyone else is cared for and nurtured. It is NOT selfish to make sure that you too are one of those people.
Most importantly my daughters have shown me that I’m worthy of being rescued and that in rescuing myself, I am able to save them from making the same mistakes that I’ve made.
I will never be able to repay my daughters, these incredible little superheroes, for all of the strength, conviction, and wisdom they have given me... but I will most certainly spend every single day for the rest of my life trying.
This is my beautiful Gia. She has the most incredible and creative imagination of any child I've ever known. She loves to read and sing and is amazing at both. In this pic, we were off to see Selena Gomez. It was her very first concert. She was so excited!
This is my adorable little Jossy. Never have I ever met a more secure, happy, and confident little girl. She celebrates her individuality, has her own personal style, and is quite the budding artist. She's the coolest kid I know.
My girls and I have regular Girl Days where we leave Daddy at home and go have some quality girl time. Trips to the salon are a must! We also make sure to get our nails done, hit Starbucks, and maybe do lunch and a little shopping. We love to end our day at Barnes and Noble. There's nothing like a big ole stack of books and a café treat to put a great, big exclamation point at the end of an amazing day! :)
*I wrote this article after being contacted by Mario Trucillo, the Managing Editor of the American Recall Center.
They ran a “Who Keeps You Healthy?” campaign (in March 2014) and he wanted to know if I was interested in writing about my ‘Health Hero’. What a perfect opportunity to give a shout out to my amazing little health heroes that keep me going each and every day!
Thank you Mario for including me in your campaign and giving me some time to reflect, cherish, and celebrate two little people who mean the world to me.
**I was SO very excited to find out that when the 'Health Hero' Campaign was published, my article was picked as the 'STANDOUT SUBMISSION'. I feel so honored.
*The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content in this article is for general information purposes only. I am not a doctor, nor am I a dietitian. Talk to your physician before making any changes in your diet or exercise regimen. The information found in this article is from various sources which include, but are not limited to, the sites listed above. I encourage you to do your own research and talk with your physician before making any changes in diet or exercise. What has worked for me may not work for you. This information in this article or on this website should never replace or serve as medical advice.
NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY SEEKING MEDICAL TREATMENT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ ON OR HAVE ACCESSED THROUGH THIS WEB SITE.