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I Know This Girl…

Society says “lose weight” but then says “keep it to yourself” you might offend someone.
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She’s lost over 100 pounds, and she just wants to be proud of it!

By #couchkiller Heather Quinlan

“You’ve got mail” – The icon popped up on her cellular phone that she’d received a new message. Stuck in traffic, stopped at a red light and at least a dozen cars deep, she quickly reads the message, only to realize it’s unlike any message she’s ever received. It’s mean. It’s untrue. It’s a first. With an accusatory tone, it reads, “You only want to boast about yourself.” Not true. She only wants to finally know pride. She’s come so far, no longer the same girl who hid behind the scenes, avoided social functions, feeling unworthy of existence. Now things are different. She’s found that pride and she’s sharing it, and now… it’s “wrong”. What a tangled web we weave.  Society says “lose weight” but then says “keep it to yourself” you might offend someone. Offend someone? What about all the years she was offended and insulted because she wasn’t as “pretty” or “thin” as everyone else? What about the many times that she forced herself to not be herself because well… she wasn’t thin? But now that she’s lost weight, is finding her true self and is no longer the shy, reserved girl she once was – now… she actually loves who she is – and some stranger she doesn’t even know is, essentially, telling her to stop.

When will it all change? When will we be allowed to love ourselves without the fear of being labeled “boastful”? Little did this person know that it’s taken YEARS for her to even begin to discover her true worth. Little by little, pound by pound, she found more of herself as she lost more of herself. But losing the weight was the easy part; it was the mental transformation that has been the greater burden to carry and more difficult to change than any percentage of body fat. She’s lost over 100 pounds (thus far) and completed eight half marathons. And she weighs just over 300 pounds. Yet she’s not ashamed of that number anymore. It’s temporary and it can’t possibly define her worth, especially since she’s accomplished all that she has at a weight typically deemed “hopeless”. She’s lost and she’s gained, lost more and gained a little back. Her journey truly is perfect because it’s been imperfect. She’s said no when she wanted to say yes, continued forward when she’s wanted to say no more. She’s been an inspiration to others, but most importantly, she’s been an inspiration to herself. And throughout this journey, a journey that is still in progress, she finally…. FINALLY realized that she was allowed to be proud. Proud of what she’s done and continues to do. Knowing that she didn’t have to hide her accomplishments or brush them aside anymore. Even in those quiet moments when her shyness tells her “No… don’t you dare! You’ll embarrass yourself! You’re nothing special!” She wants to scream from the rooftops, “I’M PROUD OF WHAT I’VE ACHIEVED!” The pride that she’s earned, the confidence that she’s always heard existed but never knew for herself…she has it now.  It’s here.  All the mountains she’s climbed, the scraped knees as souvenirs, were stepping stones to get her to this point. The point where she has allowed herself to be proud and her voice to be heard! And now…. she’s being muted.

How do I know this? Because “she” is me and this is my story. For years I have kept silent – my thoughts, my opinions, my dreams – because I thought they didn’t matter. I was overweight… no morbidly obese. Those people don’t have valid opinions. Their thoughts don’t matter. They’re just fat. Give them a cupcake, shove them in a corner, and keep them quiet. But I’ve defied those stereotypes. I’m speaking up and I will not be silenced. I’ve been silent far too long. I’m sharing my journey, the good and the bad, publicly so that others, too, can discover the pride in what they’ve accomplished and then, most importantly, allow them to embrace it without fear of being silenced or unfairly labeled a “boaster”. We, as a society, must be careful of our words and our rush to judgment. Because just maybe that person who was told they were “boasting”… really just found her worth and is finally ready to share it with the world. Empower your worth – let it out. Be proud.

Heather Quinlan is a health and wellness blogger at [www.facebook.com/findingherhappypace] which will soon combine with her upcoming website “Detroit Runner Girl”.  She is a regular contributing writer for [www.michiganrunnergirl.com]. Heather is a teacher, runner, health and wellness fanatic, avid reader, growing writer, lover of the great state of Michigan, the city of Detroit, her niece and nephew, and brownies, and is a pursuer of passions and purpose.    

Heather Quinlan, who lost over 100 pounds through hard work

Heather Quinlan, after she lost over 100 pounds

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