After meeting Marie I knew I had to share her experience with Women Eat. But first I had questions!
You will find Marie’s story in her own words below. And after that, you will find more information from our interview.
My Story by Marie Hudson
I didn’t always love myself. I never saw myself as beautiful. In fact, I used to be so ashamed of myself that I have very few pictures of my past.
I used to weigh 277 pounds, and yes, I’ve lost more than 130 pounds. But the weight loss is not my story.
The internal change is my story.
Initially I lost weight by beating my body into submission. My tools were self hate, and self abusive. Back then I would do anything to lose weight out of the intense longing to feel “normal.” I felt that if only I was “normal” I would deserve to be loved.
Like many, I lost and gained weight over and over in a cycle of never ending struggle. The bottom line is that while my body changed I did not. My life didn’t reflect health or joy. I even developed a life threatening eating disorder.
The problem was that even though I would lose weight, I continued to hate myself and my life. And because of my internal struggle, I was vulnerable to toxic people which added to my heart ache.
I knew that something else had to change. I couldn’t hate myself into permanent weight loss.
I found my answer by letting go of attachment to my outside appearance as a barometer of my self worth. Instead I started focusing inward on my true value and life purpose beyond weight loss.
I slowly began to build a loving relationship with myself. Out of this inner healing, I was able to let go of my obsession with food and how my body looked on the outside.
I became free. Free of chronic dieting. Free to love fitness. Free to know my unconditional worth. And free to let my body be what it was.
And then, almost like magic, my body began changing. Weight loss became almost automatic. And my body began to better match my connection with my inside beauty. Through this approach of self love I achieved more change in my body than I could have ever achieved with body hate.
My journey has lead me to helping others un-cage themselves of body hate, struggle, and shame while loving themselves into true health. My greatest hope is to help others find the path to allowing their outside to reflect their beautiful inside.
Please stop hating, denying, and punishing your body. If that approach worked you wouldn’t be reading this. Try letting go of your attachment to a lower number on the scale, and substituting kindness, respect, and appreciation.
What’s Behind The Story
Lisa: Can you talk more about the weight loss. For instance, when did it start and what was the spark?
Marie: I want to be clear that my story is not one of weight loss. Yes, I lost 130 pounds.
Lisa: And that’s “niet nix” (not nothing) as they say here.
Marie: That’s right, but the weight loss isn’t the point for me. True, it’s where the story would stop in a magazine.
The point of the story for me however, is that while I was indeed successful in losing weight, it didn’t change my life. In fact, weight loss made my life worse in many ways because I developed an eating disorder.
I lost the weight by completely beating myself up. I ended up binging, bulimic, with anxiety, and mentally unstable.
Lisa: And that’s the story you want to tell.
Marie: Yes. My story is what went on behind the weight loss. I want women to see the full picture.
Lisa: Let’s go back to gaining the weight.
Marie: I gained weight as protection and for comfort after a traumatic childhood event. I don’t even have a conscious memory of the event, but I became scared and anxious. And driven to eat.
My mother had a poor relationship with herself during my early years and was on her own journey of healing from her childhood. My mom wanted the best for me and thought teaching me how to diet would help. Therefore, I was put on many diets before the age of 10 and was even taken to a psychologist about my eating. My father was also chubby growing up and feared that for me.
So both my parents focused a lot on my weight, in an attempt to help me based on their own fears. But it only made me feel ashamed and driven more toward food.
Lisa: What changed?
Marie: At a point in high school I decided I didn’t want to be so heavy. I became committed to changing my eating and to working out. But I didn’t do it in a healthy way. I forced myself to diet, using self disgust and loathing as motivation. Later after I lost weight but still struggled with eating emotionally, I somewhat accidentally discovered how to make myself throw up.
So lost the weight, but inside I was still lost.
Lisa: And what changed that?
Marie: About three years ago around age 28 I met my now fiancé at a time in my life when I had years of self work in place but was ready for a real change.. He’s very committed to personal growth and introduced me to someone he really believed could help promote my internal shift. Through him I met a coach who started me on a clear path to true change.
She helped me start owning myself, and becoming who I was meant to be. I started developing a sense of self worth and believing in myself for the first time. And through that I no longer wanted to live in self hatred.
It went slowly at first but picked up momentum. I went through a transformational leadership program over the course of a year, and that led me to the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. Over time I started respecting and listening to my body.
I began to see how my earlier view of dieting and restriction had created pain and sickness. I could see that only by loving and accepting myself could I become or stay thin in a healthy way.
By listening to my body I’ve found that it is happiest at about 20 pounds heavier than my lowest weight. And that’s where I am now.
Lisa: I have a question about your part time at a plastic surgery center. How do you reconcile that with your idea of self acceptance?
Marie: After my initial weight loss I had excess skin of course. At first I never considered having this fixed surgically. But as time went on I came to see that I was dragging the past along with me in the form of this excess skin. I had shame over it and couldn’t enjoy my body fully.
My mother, who has also evolved and grown, helped me see that getting rid of the excess skin could give me another level of freedom from the weight. And it did. My surgery gave me more confidence. It brought my outside more in line with my inside.
The doctor I work for now is the one who did the surgery. Through him I learned the difference between healthy use of surgery vs. trying to fix something on the inside by changing the outside.
I free lance write but needed a steadier source of funds to get my certification as a psychology of eating coach. The practice had an opening, so it was a perfect fit for me. Now the doctor refers clients to me for coaching.
Lisa: Thank you for this additional insight, and for sharing your story with us. What recommendations do you have for our readers?
Marie: The problem isn’t on the outside. To heal and become who you are meant to be, start on the inside.
Stop judging yourself and begin working toward self acceptance no matter what weight you are now. Stop dieting and restricting and abusing your body in an effort to hate it into being thinner.
Look for support from someone who can help you with the inside work rather than going on another diet. Because even if the diet is successful and you lose weight like I did, you can end up just as unhappy and in a worse place health wise.
It’s not the quick fix method. However, at some point you will be able to look back and see that you’ve become this whole other person. By working from the inside out, you can, like me, build a life you couldn’t have even imagined.
Lisa: Thank you
Marie. I’m sure we will be hearing more from you here at Women Eat.