I’m thrilled to host author and blogger Karen CL Anderson here at my blog. She was one of my first friends in the blogosphere, and we “clicked” right away because of our love of writing and our desire to tell the “inner stories” of our bodies, our weight journeys. I think she’s awesome and so excited about her new book!
Ten years ago, if you were to ask me which would be the greater accomplishment – being thin or writing a book – I would have said being thin. No question about it. At the time I weighed ~230 pounds and even though I actually was a writer (at the time I was a plastics industry trade magazine reporter and editor), I had no confidence in my ability to write. In my mind, I wasn’t a “real” writer.
And very much like I used say, “someday I’ll lose weight,” I also used to say “some day I’ll write a book.”
Five years ago, I was the thinnest I’d been in my entire adult life. I had really worked for it, too. Not only was I was counting calories and exercising regularly, I was working on the emotional stuff. I was fully aware that this was a “lifestyle change” and that figuring out the “why’s” was just as important as the calories in/calories out equation.
I was also a weight-loss “success story” with my picture on the cover of a weekly women’s magazine and I appeared in a national commercial for a popular weight loss web site. I thought I had it all figured out and wanted to share my secrets with the world. That is the book I was going to write.
But there was something holding me back…even though I had achieved something I never thought possible, I still had doubts and no real confidence in myself. And the biggest problem of all was that I hadn’t reached my goal weight…I was still 20 pounds away. Deep down inside I didn’t feel worthy.
What happened next was predictable: over the course of a year or so, I regained half the weight I had lost. Along with the pounds came panic, shame, frustration, and anger. I wallowed in self-pity a bit, I punished myself a lot, and I was desperate. I hated my body.
And that’s when I started to really write. My best writing was born out of pain and frustration, not success. At first, I did it for myself. Then I started blogging. It didn’t take long before I realized that I had found my voice, and along with it came a bit of confidence. Then came self-acceptance and the realization that if I could just love and accept myself enough, my body might just respond in kind. And it did.
And that’s when I realized that I truly had something of value to say. And so I took what I had written, edited it, added to it and published a book. It seemed like the right thing to do…a natural progression of the love and acceptance I was finally allowing myself to feel.
I can honestly say now that I am glad I regained that weight. It gave me an opportunity to really know and understand myself in a way that I never had before. I am more than just a number on a scale. My value does not depend on whether or not I’ve lost weight. And because I know that, my body does too.
Karen’s book, AFTER (the before & after) is the result of her belief that having a healthy body (mind and spirit) shouldn’t be a life-long struggle. It is NOT just another book about how to lose weight. It’s about the power of self-acceptance, and it’s about realizing that it takes as long as it needs to take. And that’s okay.
Her blog, “Before & After: A Real Life Story” (http://kclanderson.com/before-and-after) chronicles the lessons she continues to learn.
To learn more about AFTER (the before & after) and to read excerpts from the book, please visit: http://booklocker.com/books/5321.html