I have a story for you today.
A story about a beautiful, dynamic, intelligent, successful woman who let her body get in the way of living the amazing life she wanted to live.
And how she finally stopped sitting on the sidelines of her own life and took control of her relationship with food.
I met Bree Hester – founder of the popular recipe and food photography blog, Baked Bree – in a business coaching program in NYC in August.
Reading Bree’s blog is like stepping into a warm, welcoming family kitchen, full of nourishing food made with love (and a dash of mischief).
As a professional photographer, Bree knows a thing or two about communicating through images. Proceed with caution if you go to her site: If you’re like me, you could lose hours of your life happily browsing the lush photos of food. This one’s my favorite.
You’d probably never know that Bree once let her relationship with food get in the way of living the vibrant life you see in her photos.
Here’s what Bree told me when we chatted about her experience recently.
Lara: What was your life like a year ago?
Bree: I’ve always struggled with my weight. I got to the point where I just didn’t care anymore. I don’t think I even realized how unhappy I was. I wouldn’t even go outside to play with my kids because I felt embarrassed about my body. My mom told me a story recently: We were at the beach once with the kids. They were playing in the waves, having a great time and I wouldn’t even put on a bathing suit. That really hit home. This went on for a good two years…I wasn’t really participating in my family, in my kids’ lives. My husband would take the kids for a walk and I would stay home because I felt so embarrassed by how heavy I was. I totally sat on the sidelines and let my weight dictate how I was going to live my life.
Lara: How did you feel during that time?
Bree: I felt really isolated, like I had that “missing out disorder.” I felt alone, ashamed, and embarrassed most of the time. My husband is in the Coast Guard, so we move a lot. We moved twice in those two years and, looking back on it, I think the food felt like the only thing I had control over. It’s how I dealt with not having any friends and living in a new place. I didn’t get fat because I was hungry; I got fat because I was sad.
Lara: What other negative effects did feeling that way have on your life?
Bree: I didn’t sleep well. I was always tired. I had no sex life because I felt embarrassed by my body (even though my husband never cared about my weight). I held myself back in so many areas – in my work, in my social life. I said “no” to social engagements because I couldn’t find an outfit I felt comfortable in. Then I was bitching because I had no friends!
Lara: What kept you from taking action? What was the biggest roadblock for you?
Bree: Just taking that first step. I often thought “well, I ate crappy today, so I’ll just start tomorrow.”
Lara: When did things change?
Bree: I think I had to get disgusted enough with my life. I had to want to feel better enough. About six months ago, one of my friends lost 60 pounds. She’d had enough of letting the way she felt get in the way of her life and finally decided to lose the weight. That was a wake up call to me. We’d let ourselves get to this place and it just wasn’t worth it – I’m not even in most of my family photos for the past couple of years.
Lara: What did you do and how does it feel now?
Bree: I worked with a health coach to deal with my emotional eating issues. It was life changing for me. I’m more confident now. I’ve taken huge risks in my work – I recently quit my job and decided to do something entirely different, something I’ve wanted to do for two years but didn’t because I felt suffocated by my body. I really had to learn to like myself again. Every day is still a struggle, but I have the tools to deal with it now. I can have just one scoop of ice cream now instead of eating the whole pint.
Lara: What would you tell someone in a similar situation, feeling like their body and relationship with food is dictating how they live their life?
Bree: It doesn’t have to be this way. It does get better. When I changed a lot of the things in my life that needed fixing – actually dealt with them – the weight started to come off. Losing weight became joyful work. Clean up your life and you will lose weight. You have to be willing to love yourself and invest time in your wellbeing. It’s so worth it.
I’m so honored that Bree shared her story with me. My hope is that sharing it here will give you hope if you feel like your body is holding you back in your life or like there’s no way eating well and feeling amazing could ever happen for you.
It can. All it takes is a choice and a little support. I believe in you.
P.S. Are you overwhelmed by your to-do list and underwhelmed by your body? Sign up for free video previews of The Effortless Eating Program, coming again this fall.