I have struggled with my self worth and weight for most of my life. I actually don’t remember a time when I didn’t worry about how big I was compared to other girls. Until high school, I was always one of the tallest girls in my class. I had broad shoulders and a straight, athletic body. Like most girls, I realized I did not look like the girls in Seventeen Magazine.
|Halloween, age 6 or 7|
When I look back at photos of myself as a child, I see a happy little girl; full of life, loved fiercely by her family, always smiling. As a I got older, everything began to revolve around food. I know now I had disordered eating habits. I was always thinking about food, when and what I would eat next.
My parents always encouraged team sports. I played soccer, softball and volleyball. I began running with my dad at the age of 10 (he is the reason I love to run today). But it was what was going on between my ears that would set the course for the struggles I still have today.
I cannot think of one defining moment when I decided that my worth was based on the scale, but like a lot of women, I relied on that stupid measure of “health” to decide what I thought about myself.
Fast forward to July 2012. I sat in a doctor’s office and heard some startling news.
“Stephanie, if you don’t do something about your weight, you will have full-blown diabetes.”
Diabetes? I was 28 years old! I went to the doctor to get a pre-conception check-up so my husband and I could start our family right on our 5-year plan timeline (plan? haha).
I was 28 and for the first time had a diagnosis as to why weight loss and maintenance had been such a struggle physically, a condition known as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which causes hormonal imbalance and if untreated can lead to heart disease, diabetes and infertility. I was pre-hypertensive, pre-diabetic, and weighed the most I had my whole life: 280 lbs. To say I got a wake-up call is an understatement.
That appointment set me on a path for the journey I continue today. I started eating better and moving more. I followed dietary and lifestyle recommendations from a reproductive endocrinologist. After 4 failed rounds of fertility treatment, I broke. But my saving grace was a new and wonderful blessing: I fell in total, head-over-heels love for the first time in my life with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I was baptized as a baby, accepted Jesus as a teenager and made the decision to give my life to Christ as an adult on Feb. 1, 2015 through water baptism. Making the decision to be “all-in” for Jesus was a defining moment in my faith. God has blessed me, stretched me and encouraged me ever since. He was always there, but now He directs my every step.
Life drug me into a pit. Jesus brought me to my knees. God led me to my church. My brothers and sisters in Christ stuck their out their hand to pull me up.
God showed me my health journey would be a testimony for others. My body is a temple for the Holy Spirit. It is healthy. It supports the life the I want to live. I love it, and I don’t have to justify the way it looks to anyone.
I am a certified personal trainer in Jacksonville, FL. I am a health and fitness coach. I am a mentor and business coach. I am an encourager. I am a motivator. I am strong. I am powerful. I am a devoted wife. I am a loyal friend. I am a treasured daughter. I am an adored auntie and Titi. I am a mother to four babies I will meet some day. I am an overcomer. I am successful. I am worthy. I am loved. I am enough. I am a beloved daughter of the King. I am Coach Steph.