What’s Your Story?

“So… what’s your story?” I get asked this a lot.

I’ve always found sharing “my story” difficult – mostly because I’m never sure what exactly to share or where to begin. I wrote a condensed version of my struggles with diet, exercise, my body and my weight in the first chapter of Happy Calories Don’t Count. I shared it to provide a context for the ideas I promoted in the rest of the book and naively thought I’d never have to speak of it again.

I didn’t like sharing my story because, in my experience, the lessons and transformation I wanted to communicate always seemed to be eclipsed by the fact that my story includes overcoming an eating disorder. It seemed as if this tidbit of experience (aka my “street cred”) inadvertently created an immediate disconnect between the person whom I was trying to help and me. It seemed like they somehow now thought my message somehow wasn’t applicable to them.

I was also ashamed by my story – by the label of “eating disorder,” by getting fat, by my constant “failure” to create and/or maintain the body I wanted, by the pain that was so intense I wanted to end my life just to make it stop.

But today I understand that my story is the key to “Happy Calories Don’t Count.” My story is the doorway into your healing and transformation.

So here’s a brief summary:

At seventeen, I was hospitalized for anorexia at 80 pounds.

By twenty-five, I’d been in treatment 4 more times.

At thirty, I was 200 pounds and suicidal. I had a choice to make: not live or live another way. I ultimately knew that not living was not really an option – I simply could not do that to my mother. So my only course of action was to start living a different way.

That “living a different way” was the beginning of Happy Calories Don’t Count.

Along the way I discovered Pilates. For the first time in my life I felt connected to my body. I felt good in my body. And I knew I needed to do it – forever. The problem was that Pilates – real Pilates – is expensive. So how on earth was I going to be able to afford to do it – forever? Become a Pilates instructor, of course!

I’ve run my own boutique classical, authentic Pilates studio since 2004. And with every session, I witnessed the relationship a client had with his or her body. I discovered that I wasn’t “the only one” with issues (in fact, I was pretty darn sane and healthy!), that no one has a “perfect” body, and that my sessions were as much “Life Coaching” as they were personal training.

At business networking events people would ask me what my “secret” was. They asked me what I ate. They asked me what I did for exercise. I found these types of questions frustrating because I knew that they really didn’t want to hear – or have time for – my answer. They wanted superficial chit chat and I wanted a deeper conversation. So I wrote a book – Happy Calories Don’t Count (neither does unhappy exercise) – and have never looked back.

The book was the true beginning of my deepest transformation. By working with clients, teaching classes, and speaking at events I’ve learned to identify and articulate the underlying cultural fallacies that keep us all stuck (eating disorder or not). I’ve learned to refine my message and turn it into a customizable framework that will take you from a state of anxiety and pain around food, exercise and your body into a sense of freedom, peace, joy – AND sustainable health, weight loss and well-being. And as I help you heal and transform, I continue to heal and transform myself.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.