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Your spouse hands you the ultimatum; lose weight or I'm leaving. Do you react with power or fear?

I had a patient come to me one day that was desperate. Her husband of 20 years came to her and told her that she needed to lose weight, or he was divorcing her. She had 140 pounds to lose and had never been successful before. She knew that in order to save her marriage, she would have to get the weight off. Her dilemma was whether to lose weight and stay with him or lose weight and leave him; regardless, she was going to lose weight.

I certainly had my opinion and felt very strongly that she needed to get in the best shape of her life and then leave that SOB! However, I could not have an opinion, my job was to support her through her weight loss journey, ask her questions so that she could get to know herself and find things that she was passionate about, that excited her and that helped her get in and stay in shape.

We worked together for about 2 years and the transformation was amazing. She lost 140 pounds, but she was also a different person. She was no longer afraid to go out in public to eat. She no longer made secret trips to the grocery store late at night to buy a dozen cupcakes, finish them, and hide the container before she got home. She started hiking and pushing her body to new limits. She was much more pleasant when she came in to see me. She was happy, she was content, and she had passion back in her life.

About 6 months after she hit her goal, she came into my office teary eyed, and I asked her what was going on. As she sat down in my office, and she pulled out 2 photos. The first one was a school photo that was taken right before she started coming to see me. The second one was the one she had just taken. The difference was amazing. She did not look like the same woman, it was not the weight as much as it was her confidence, it was beautiful. That is when she started crying and had a huge realization. When she got her new photo, she realized why her husband had given her the ultimatum, in her words "he wasn't going to leave me because I was fat, he was going to leave me because I was a bitch." She had realized that in that heavy state she was not happy, she was not nice, she had no passion and they had nothing in common anymore. During this journey she became so much more active, adventurous, and fun. She would do things with him that she had not done in years, and they got their connection back.

It was an interesting process for me because I got to see this woman transform her life and marriage and find passion in things that she had given up on. It also reminded me that I have no business having opinions on what my patients should do with their life! My first thought was I am going to help her leave her husband, but she knew the path she wanted to take, and she learned something amazing about herself; that she is strong enough to make herself healthy, not only physically but mentally. She was an inspiration to me because I realized if she could transform her life, all of us can too!

Have fun creating on purpose!

Leigh



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