I was a compulsive eater out of the womb. The youngest of eight children in an abusive home, I used food to feel safe. After my difficult childhood, I moved from New York to California. I was in college in San Francisco, enjoying school for the first time but still not loving my body or myself. I had turned to bulimia and laxatives in desperation to control my weight.
In the fall of 1987, I went to my first Overeater’s Anonymous meeting. The first meeting I attended was in a church and I can still see the room clearly—a large, open, spacious room with chairs placed in a circle. What I loved about that meeting was the love I felt from the moment I walked in the door, as full of pain as we all were. We humans have an amazing capacity to heal, to transform and to become our best selves, all the while loving and holding and supporting one another through the darkness into the light.
Though I attended meetings, my pain was obedient to the addiction. After meetings, I would go straight to the grocery store and buy all the carbohydrates in sight. Yet my will to survive persisted and deep down I still hung on to the belief that something might change.
Then came the day when I heard four words that rocked my world forever. It was February, 1988. My latest New Year’s resolution to heal had gone up in smoke; I was using food as my drug of choice and drinking to numb my pain. There was a daylong OA conference, and as disappointed as I was in myself yet again, I knew I needed to go.
The very first speaker, a woman who was not obese, had a story similar to mine—a lifetime of yo-yo diets and self-hate. She talked about feeling desperate and determined at the same time, of living her life in two parts: the one who knew there was more and the one who felt defeated. She talked about all of her excuses and stories, her lies and self-betrayals. Then, one day in a meeting, she had heard a woman share a similar story of attempts to save herself until her life was changed by four words. Those words had forever changed the life of this woman and, as soon as she shared them, they changed mine too. “If not now, when?”
When she shared those words, I burst into tears and experienced an actual physical release in my body, an earthquake in my cells. My world was literally rocked and my life forever changed. Just then, I got it.
If not now, when?
The words took me home—home to whom I was—and home to the person who was NOT defective, who was capable of healing and changing her story. It all flooded in like a tidal wave as I sat there, weeping in pain and joy. I knew then that the part of me that wanted to die was right in a way: some things would have to die in order for me to live.
We should never underestimate the incredible power that sharing and reaching out has to change lives. I believe so much in this truth that I am now a body image and weight-loss coach and have my own successful practice called OnePinky. And it has created a One Pinky revolution. My interest was and still is overturning the obesity epidemic, the one I nearly succumbed to, by changing how we see our bodies.
If not now, when?
-Laura Fenamore of OnePinky.com for The Daily Love
Laura Fenamore, CPCC, is a body image mastery mentor, lecturer and teacher of women worldwide. She is the CEO of Body Image Mastery, LLC and founder of OnePinky.com, a global online community that extends support and friendship to women who wish to change the way they feel about themselves and their bodies
Mastin Kipp is the founder of The Daily Love, a website, daily email and Twitter account that’s merging pop culture with inspiration. He is also the co-founder of Self Approved Clothing, Ltd, a lifestyle apparel company that’s started a global self-esteem movement. The Daily Love has quickly become the fastest growing inspirational Twitter account and email list on the internet and reaches almost 400,000 people daily. Sign up for The Daily Love’s email to receive your daily dose of love>
GIRL TALK TIME: What do you think of Laura’s story? What problem do you really want to overcome? How do you plan on doing it?