My Lifestyle

Epiblog – It’s My Life.

Epiblog – It’s My Life

I started this blog after 1 year of dieting.  I had lost 60 lb and was riding high on success and praise.  I continued losing weight.  I met my goal, losing 107 lb.  I continued.  At my lowest weight, I had lost 125 lb.  I went from size 24 to size 8.

People I knew and strangers alike treated me like a hero.  They all wanted to know my secrets.  How did I do it?!  What advice could I give?!  Suddenly, I was very interesting to people.  They listened to me.  They read my writing, commented on my thoughts, followed me on facebook in droves, and begged me to write a book.  They made me feel important.

Feeling like people wanted to listen to me was not something I was used to experiencing.  As a fat person, you learn to feel invisible.  Friends would talk about other fat people in a derogatory way while I was sitting right there.  It was as if I did not exist.  Walking into stores, people used to ignore me.  I never realized this until I was thin and they started fawning over me, as if all the sudden my body size made me worthy of their attention.  It was thrilling and disturbing all at once.

I thrived on the attention.  Posting your photo and having hundreds of people tell you you’re amazing is an unparalleled ego boost.  It’s addictive.  I have seen how it changes people- generally for the worse.  If I had not fallen on my head and knocked some sense into myself, I probably would still be riding high on the egotistical idea that I knew some sort of secret to weight loss.

Not that eating less and moving more is really much of a secret, is it?  Truly, there are no secrets.

Even when my story started to change, when I suffered my concussion and chronic back pain, when I could not maintain the lower weight, still I thrived on the praise.  Now I was being praised for my ideas about body image.  For self-acceptance.  For promoting Health at Every Size.  I believe wholeheartedly in these things, much more so than weight loss.  It felt more real and true.

Yet would anyone have ever listened to me if I had not started out with the amazing weight loss story?  A few would have, no doubt, but the truth is that the Before and After pictures of me are what got me attention in the first place.  When I stopped using them to promote myself, the attention sharply dropped.  My page “likes” slowed.

And the truth is that I do maintain 70 lb lost from my highest weight.  So dieting wasn’t a total failure in my case, as it is for most people.  I do not want to go back to my highest weight, and I don’t think I will.  The lifestyle I lived then was very different from how I live now.  I am active and conscientious about what I eat now.

What I did to lose the weight is no secret.  I counted calories and I exercised.  I did this very consistently.  In fact, it is basically all I did.  Work, eat, workout, sleep, repeat.  There was no time for anything else.  But at the time, I was so engrossed in my own changing size, I didn’t notice how many important things I had eliminated from my life.

Running a Facebook page and blog takes up a lot of time as well.  I have read every single comment and responded to every single question over the years.  I like to think that this is one reason people liked reading me online, because I was accessible and would respond.  I am a real person and have been honest about my journey, even when the answers were embarrassing.  I never felt a reason to lie about what was happening with me.  My goal the whole time was to be a real person with real struggles.

Yet, I could never be 100% transparent.  The difficult issues in my life aren’t mine alone, they involve other people.  I have a career.  I cannot jeopardize that.  So there are some things I just cannot write about, which I have always found frustrating.  My family and relationship issues are a big part of who I am.  My struggles with my career are a big part of my life.  In the interest of self-preservation and respect for other peoples’ privacy, I cannot write about these aspects of my life.

For some time, I have felt like I am living separate lives.  My Diet Persona Facebook life and Who I Really Am are two very different things.  On my page, I have tried to be magnanimous and accepting of others.  I fully believe we are all very different and face different struggles.  I strived not to offend.  I strived not to create drama.  I avoided subjects of controversy to attempt to avoid this drama and create a welcoming space for all.  Yet no matter how hard I tried, it was impossible to eliminate entirely.

Some people are just plain nasty and there’s nothing you can do to avoid that.

Whenever one of these stressful interactions took place, it affected my personal life.  If I was feeling upset or distracted by a stupid pointless facebook debate, I wasn’t giving my real life relationships the attention they deserve.

During the 4 years when I was hyper-focused on weight loss, exercise, dieting, and running my online personas, I did not read a single book of fiction.  I rarely drew a picture.

To anyone who truly knows me, this should have been a big red flag that I had dropped the things that were important to me in favor of dieting and the gym.  But the truth is that weight loss covers up any other failing in life.  People did not say to me “but when are you going to start painting again?” They didn’t notice.  I didn’t notice.  All we chose to see was the Big Win- I lost weight!  Nothing else mattered.

Only… it did matter.

A few months ago, I started to grow weary of it all.  For sure, there were still things to say, memes to make and share, dinners to photograph and describe, hikes to share.  But I struggled to find the inspiration I used to feel for these things.  I was moving on.

Last year, I made a New Year’s Resolution to read 25 books, and I did that.  I got back into sketching and painting.  And I finally realized what I had lost along with the weight was the most important part of myself.

I was blinded and deafened by the praise.  I can admit this to myself.  Although I think my art and reading and learning and being a successful independent person and a good friend and lover and family member are more important that my size, the reaction I got to my weight loss didn’t support that idea.  It seemed that as long as I was thin, it didn’t really matter what else I was doing in life – I would get the praise I had learned to crave.

I have seen this play out online over and over again with others.  I have seen people built up as weight loss heroes, only to fess up and admit they were suffering from an eating disorder the entire time when things spiraled out of control.  I have seen people start out as honest examples, telling truth about their own experiences, and evolve into a mess of lies and falsehoods about what they did to get where they were.  I have seen so many people who on the surface appeared to be living the weight loss dream, who later admitted they were actually suffering one way or another.  I have seen almost every weight loss persona I have followed re-gain weight, myself included.  I have seen many of them disappoint themselves and flagellate themselves for this perceived moral failing (which is actually largely physiological- read Health at Every Size for more).

I have, at times, been ashamed to be associated with this online weight loss universe.

I believe I have been straight-forward with you all this entire time, with the exception of skipping over personal details about my real life relationships.  I see no reason to lie to you.  I have changed my mind many times, and will continue to do so.  Living out life as a changing real person in the public eye can be a challenge, but I have been thrilled and honored at how many people accepted all my changing ideas without missing a beat.  This is how people really are- we don’t stay the same year in and year out.  We change.

I have changed a lot in the last year.  I have reconnected with what is important to me, and I have decided to let this part of my life fade into the background for now.  I am committed to bettering myself as an artist, advancing my career, and improving real-life relationships.  Eating and moving are being relegated to background noise, where they belong in my life today.  I do not regret any of the time I have spent changing my body or sharing myself online.  I know I have helped people.  I have gotten beautiful emails from my readers over the years.  I know what I have done here has been important.  And I know it is time to move on.

I leave this blog up as a legacy to change.  People can read my journey and see a person who shrank then grew, mentally and physically.  Hopefully people can find their own path to change, not out of fear or hate, but out of love and desire to respect and improve themselves.  I leave my Facebook page up for anyone to read.  I may decide to post again in the future, but for now I have put it all on hold.  I need the time.  And I need to be alone with my thoughts more often, for now.

I wish to impart to people only one gem of wisdom:

You are the expert on you.  You do not need to pay someone to tell you how to live your life.  You do not need to follow a blogger or weight loss success story to know what to eat or how to exercise.  There is no point in any of it unless it is something you personally are willing to continue for life.  What that is is necessarily different for each person.

For me, it means eating whole foods, cooking from scratch, moving regularly in ways I enjoy (hiking, walking, and yoga) and learning to be happy with my size 16 self exactly how I am.  For you, the answer could be completely different.  It’s YOUR life, not mine, it’s not for any internet personality to tell you differently.  There is much more to you than your outer package.  Your health is important, but it’s not the only thing and it is not as directly tied to your size as you think.  For what is the point of life if you don’t have time to live it?

Live your life.  I will be living mine.

Anyone who is interested in my artwork is welcome to follow my other blog, or my facebook page, rockstarkate.  Please only follow if you’re actually interested in my artwork.  I won’t be posting any diet tips.  I don’t need a lot of comments or praise.  Art is what I would be doing if I was the only person on earth.  However, your presence would certainly be welcome if the subject interests you.

It’s been a fun, albeit sometimes confusing or frustrating ride.  I will always maintain that I have learned more from all of you than you could have ever possibly learned from me, and for that, I thank you.

34 thoughts on “Epiblog – It’s My Life.

  1. Thank you for your inspiring words and life changing story. You have given me hope. May you continue your journey with flying colors. You will be missed.

  2. This made me cry. I would also like to say to you that I have been an editor and writer and tutor of writing for 30 years, and what I have always admired about you the most was your ability with the word. Your clear, big-hearted truth. You go, girl. We were blessed by your spirit, kindness and honesty.

  3. Thank you so very much for sharing all that you have.I wish you the very best in all that you continue to pursue. Best wishes!

  4. thank you for all the help that you’ve given me and others a like…i wish you all the best in everything that you do …be happy and live your life to the fullest… take care.

  5. You were a great life style blogger and I wish you good luck as an digital artist. From the illustrations you’ve posted on Facebook I have no doubt you’ll be just as succesfull with your design work.

  6. Thank you for what you have shared! ALL of it. You have been one of THE most positive, inspirational ppl in my life….and there are voices and words and blogs and videos everywhere! You are an amazing person and I think it is wonderful that you are moving on and giving up what doesnt work for you at this time in your life and reaching for more and more of what you need and want in your life. We all evolve as the years go by and it is so healthy to do so! You are in tune with who you are and what you want and dont want and I applaud you! Thank you so much again….your contribution might have brought you praise that you craved at the time, but for ME….your contributions brought healing, peace, inspiration, and hope. 🙂

  7. I found your blog only a few months ago, and if you can stand one more bit of adulation, it was one of the best finds of my life. Thank you for being real, for not being afraid to confront conventional wisdom, for speaking from a place of strength. I will miss your posts terribly, but I totally understand the need to step back. Good luck, be well, be happy!

  8. I will certainly follow your art FB page as an artist and lover of art. What a beautiful ending to this part of your life. I have learned so much from you, and I thank you for that <3<3<3

  9. And this post is exactly why I’ll miss you much. Take care, you continue being an inspiration to the kind of person who I want to be for the rest of my life. A learner, a thinker, but more than anything a person who’s true to myself even if I keep contradicting my old self… that’s the only way I’ll know I learned something new.

    Much love.

  10. I’ve learned a lot from you Kate, and thank you. Thanks also for never selling out. I wish you well on whatever comes next.

  11. I thank you for your honesty through the years. And I am so glad for you that you’ve found those precious parts of your life that you lost. Love to you for the future xxx

  12. Finally someone who is willing to at the very least say “good bye” and not just leave everyone hanging. Honesty is appreciated. Good luck with the remainder of your journey and keep well ❤

  13. Kate I’m so glad you found your way back to your creative side (although writing is creative too I guess and you’re very good at it!) I’ve followed you a long while and witnessed and adored the changes. I’m excited for you and your new direction.
    Also I wanted to share a little personal story. I am NOT a weightloss hero, I’m pretty average in bodysize, very strong in build and have struggled in the fitness industry. The reason I struggle is because I come from a body love perspective and many people just can’t embrace that. I teach natural fitness that serves as a function of something other than weightloss- instead I focus on fun and achieving goals that are completely removed from “looking good”. But I’ve always sensed a lack of buy in from clients- I think it is simply because I’m not a weightloss hero. This is why I’ve enjoyed your story so much! Because you are a weightloss hero people trust you and you are able to reach more people. I really don’t care if I’m the one who sends the self acceptance message or if it’s someone else- I just want people to get it. I’m so happy for your journey and feel a sense of relief when I read your blog. Someone other than me gets the self acceptance thing and is getting through to people. Thak you for everything and I wish you the best of luck in the future. I will continue to read this blog along as you write it!

  14. You write so beautifully, Kate. This made me smile and cry at the same time. So many of your posts have taught me so much and this one is no exception. There’s a lot I could write about people not listening if you’re not a big weight loss success story, about living two different lives and about being a happy size 16. But, what I really want to do is thank you. Thank you for all the lessons you taught me along the way. You are truly special person and you have inspired me in countless ways. You have a beautiful way of guiding without pushing. They say sometimes people come into our lives for a season or a reason. I’m so thankful you came into mine! I wish you the best of everything always. Love and peace, Kathey

  15. I had to stop following your fb page because although I loved your words, some of the comments were triggering. I’m sad to see you leave blogging because your message is so rare, but thank you for sharing your story. All the best to you!

  16. Thank you for this very honest post. You didn’t beat around the bush on how you lost the weight – which is commendable, well done 🙂

  17. What goes around comes around – you inspired a lot of people and helped them improve their lives — it will come back to you! all the best!

  18. What an incredible journey you have been on To lose yourself in the whole weightloss regime, but luckily, be wise enough to rediscover the true person that you are. EverYthing you have written is sure to hit home with most people who are in the process of losing weight and hopefully it will prevent them from making the same mistake of allowing the success of weightloss to be the only focus in their lives.

  19. Reblogged this on Mens sana in corpore sano and commented:
    I was following this lady’s Facebook page for about 6 months or more before she decided to pull back from that side of her life, in reasons she explains here. She makes some fantastic points in this article. It’s longish but well worth the read. xx

  20. “For me, it means eating whole foods, cooking from scratch, moving regularly in ways I enjoy (hiking, walking, and yoga) and learning to be happy with my size 16 self exactly how I am. For you, the answer could be completely different.”

    HECK. YES. I’ve lost and maintained about 50-60 pounds, going from a size 24 to a size 16. I’m pretty happy with my curvy size 16 self! I still bike to work sometimes, eat pretty healthy and go to the gym, but I have a job, horses, kid, and also love art and reading like you. I think some of us who’ve lost weight tend to get a little too obsessed with it.. It’s possible to have a balanced life and a decent amount of activity without sacrificing everything and driving yourself crazy to reach a certain size or number on a scale. Take care of yourself, and I look forward to you coming back and showing us all your awesome art you create.

  21. I always thought it was your candidness that made you so amazing. Your honesty and willingness to let us into your life helped me to see myself more clearly. Since following your progress I have learned to love myself and live my life in a way that makes me happy. Sometimes that involves focusing on weight, but often it actually means identifying what I actually want from my life and making positive steps to achieving it. I think it also helped me worry less about what other people thought. Thank you 🙂

  22. I too am a 16, and believe that’s just what I’m supposed to be. I also am a stroke survivor and have learned to live and celebrate today. I’m off to the Y for Splash dance class! Live and be happy, sister!

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