Camille A. Marino
July 17, 2018
Is there anyone who doesn’t struggle with their weight from time to time? As a rule, I think it’s a mistake to focus on our physical appearance; making ourselves strong in spirit, feeding our passion, and developing a relationship of deep love and respect with ourselves is what it’s really about. For me, however, my weight tends to be an outward manifestation of what’s happening on a deeper level. I began to understand these connections — really began to know myself — within the past several years.
Between 2014 and 2015, I was confronted by arguably the most challenging period in my life; more stressful than waking up a quadriplegic at the age of 28. That was simply about being stubborn and unwilling to remain paralyzed. 2015 was different. Thriving after a series of politically-motivated arrests and incarcerations, my life was disrupted yet again. This time, a perfect storm of malignancy — one narcissistic lunatic, one corrupt judge, and one misogynistic boot-licking enabler — were able to drag me across the country and throw me in jail for 6 months in New Mexico. My crime? Using Facebook to defend myself against an outrageous campaign of defamation and hate. Don’t believe me? Google my name. Every time you see the words stalker or lunatic, the authors are without exception cowards who felt threatened by my words, by my truth. It was an unfathomably difficult period and the only honest and factually-documented account of what happened exists in my memoir.
The point of this post is not to rehash history, however. It’s to simply articulate the fact that I am intimately familiar with stress. And whatever challenges you may be facing right now that threaten to destroy you, you need to understand that you’re actually being handed an opportunity in disguise. It’s a chance to use everything you’re enduring to become the absolutely most-empowered person you can be. For me, stress expressed itself in a 40-pound weight gain over several years.
So I found myself locked up almost 2000 miles from home and my First Amendment rights had been suspended on top of it. It never occurred to me that I was a victim (oh, the unfairness of it all) or that I could be broken. I don’t think like that. I realized I had six months locked away from the world so I was given a period to do nothing but focus on myself. It became obvious to me that the 40 pounds I gained was an expression of all the toxicity I had allowed into my world. So I exercised every day and recorded everything I ate. I rarely was able to stay within my 1200-calorie-a-day goal. But that was okay. And with every pound that came off, I was releasing all the bad things that I’d psychologically or emotionally absorbed. I also spent my time in jail talking to a counselor with whom I genuinely connected. And the bottom line is that I was proud of myself. I took immense pride in having fought for my beliefs, standing up for myself, and never sacrificing my integrity despite relentless and overwhelming consequences. The more I learned to love myself, the more I wanted to take care of myself. And the weight started melting.
I walked out of jail in July of 2015 over 40 pounds lighter and stronger in spirit than I had ever been. I knew who I was, I liked who I was, and there’s extraordinary empowerment in overcoming. Over the past few years, I’ve gained back some weight and decided to use this time to lose 10 pounds and take a refresher course in me. So if you are facing a difficult time right now, stress, a convergence of things in life that threaten to break you, then right now is the perfect time to do an about face. Stop focusing on what’s happening outside of you. Focus on what’s happening inside. Take the next month and lose a few pounds with me. Or gain a few pounds if you’re on the other end of the spectrum. It doesn’t matter because it’s not about the weight.
It’s about knowing that you are the ultimate source of power in your life.
If anyone wants to lose that last ten pounds with me, I have a training schedule and diet plan that I’ll share with you. It’d be fun to have a partner. I also only have a before picture that I’m not brave enough to publish today. Maybe in a month I’ll do a before & after. 🙂