Shantal's Story

I am a mid-west farm girl, raised in a lower-mid socioeconomic family.  I am the eldest of 7 kids in a yours-mine-ours family. We struggled at times, but there was usually plenty of meat and potatoes to go around.  My family didn’t fit in to our small town.  My mother chose a religion that wasn’t the dominate one on main street and for whatever reason that was held against us kids. We were bullied, picked on and purposely left out.

When I was 7 my father was killed a house fire and we lost everything. My dad was my protector. If kids got out of hand at school, my dad would come and get the principal to take action. When he died I had one of the worst bullies come up to me and ask, "who's going to protect you now?"  Food was  a big comfort during those really tough times, but I managed to maintain a healthy weight growing up.

My mom remarried two years later. I felt my life flip upside down again. I really didn't fit into the new family and often felt unwanted. We made the best of it and over time I have found my place.

I made it through high school as the chubby girl with freckles with the same jerks reminding me that I was different from them on a daily basis.  I think I topped out at a size 14, but my mother regularly scolded me that if I didn’t stop eating I would be an 18 before graduation.  Don’t get me wrong, I was very active during those years.  Dance lessons, bucking bails, herding sheep, working cattle, and riding horses kept the calories burning.

Ah, college was the place for me!  I found that some boys liked my curves and some a little too much!!!  My battle with weight took a different turn when I had an abusive boyfriend followed by a crazy stalker.  The extra few pounds gave me protection from gawking guys, but also kept me from being with someone great—double edged sword! 

My grandma that took us in when my dad died gave up her fight with cancer when I was 21. She was the person I went to when times were tough. Same day, a guy, that I guess I had an illusion of us being a couple, sent me his wedding announcement. Not a good day! Overtime I gave up on finding someone in my faith and took some time off from church.  I lost 30 lbs. and went dancing every night the summer I met my husband.

While my DH and I dated (for 5 years), I graduated from college and established myself in the local business area.  We were married the week before Katrina hit. That was supposed to be our honeymoon weekend and I spent it alone while he served in his national guard duties. He deployed to Iraq 6 months later.  My size 10-12 that I had maintained for those 5+ years became a 14-16.  No matter what I did, the weight refused to leave.  So when DH came home 18 months later I was not the svelte wife he left.  Ouch!

Two little boys (with two C-sections) later and another 15 month deployment to the Middle East and I found myself pushing a size 20.  This year since my DH has been home I have gone back to school carrying a 4.0 and through it all I have lost two babies. I cannot express how hard the losses are to overcome. I have battle a deep depression.  I see numbers on the scale that were mythical to me before now.  What happened to ME?  I know that my DH loves me and my 3yr old and 4 yr. old tell me I am the best, but in my heart I am failing them.

This journey is going to help me find the person I know is hidden beneath the flesh. My life has come full circle and my faith  and a positive attitude have carried me through many of my trials.  I am willing to share with you the struggles, pain, successes and ah-ha moments as I go through this process.  I hope that my experience can help you.

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