Deanna’s Story: A Journey of Self-Discovery

Deanna had been overweight since childhood. Back then, if you didn’t look like Twiggy, you were too heavy. Deanna2009(2)

Dieting Since High School

She remembers dieting in high school-drinking liquid diet drinks and eating carrot sticks. She married early and had three babies in a row. “I gained a lot of weight during those years,” Deanna says.

In her 30’s, Deanna joined Weight Watchers and lost 100 pounds. When they moved to another city, she couldn’t find a new support group and gradually regained the weight she’d lost. She cycled through various diets before discovering TOPS® for support in 1998. She continued to try different diets, including living on 600 calorie a day. She knew such severe restriction wasn’t sustainable so she went back to an exchange system

Awareness and Finding a Voice

Deanna1110Then five years ago she lost her husband, leading her to seek help from a life coach. “I gained a new awareness of myself and finally began to resolve issues of past abuse. I realized that I would beat myself up because someone else was going to anyway.” Along her journey of self-discovery and self-care, she remarried. She happily says that her second husband “taught me that I had a voice.”

With her growing confidence, she decided to use her new found voice to help others along their journey too so she became a TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) Retreat Director. Then last spring, TOPS sent Deanna and the two other retreat directors through Am I Hungry?® Facilitator Training to help them better address their retreat participants’ emotional triggers for eating.

The facilitator training curriculum includes participation in the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Workshop. Despite all of her experience with weight management, Am I Hungry®? provided Deanna with the next big step in her journey toward taking charge of her life.

Mindful Eating Feels Very Natural

Unlike past dieting, mindful eating has felt very natural to Deanna. “Five to six months after I took the course, I realized that the process had become part of my life and the pounds began to fall off-thirty so far.” However, she is not focused on the weight loss because the freedom and awareness have their own rewards:

  • Using the Hunger and Fullness Scale really helped her recognize her body’s needs. “I saw that I had been living my life on stuffed.”
  • Eating mindfully has brought more enjoyment to eating. “I really take the time to taste my food.”
  • She owns her own choices. “Previously, I felt that choosing certain foods was wrong so I would beat myself up and feel upset all the time. Now I can eat pie if I want!”
Deanna continues to shed her old self. “As I became aware of the issues that I had tucked away, it was surprisingly easy to let them go.” She looks forward to her journey ahead.
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