The Bigger Picture: Jenna’s Story

I was 12 years old when my mother told me I'd better start watching my weight or I'd end up "fat like her."

I started Weight Watchers at such a young age (mind you, I was 5'4'' and weighed 132 pounds). I was a cheerleader in junior high and watched all of my cheerleading friends eat donuts and drink soda after games. I remember even crying after I ate half of a donut before cheering at a game because I felt so guilty.

The weight battle continued throughout high school. I tried everything from Isagenix to human chorionic gonadotropin. Looking back on these years, there was never a time that I was overweight. But I always thought I was. Once I went away to college, it all came down on me. I began bingeing in secret after my roommates would go to bed. I wasn't happy at all.

I was lucky enough to realize I had a problem, and I decided to take myself to therapy. My mom thought I was overreacting, but I knew that mentally there was an unhealthy relationship with food happening.

My amazing therapist talked me through it and listened to my struggles. She recommended I read some of your books. I started with Why Weight and worked through it. That workbook changed my life. It allowed me to reflect on myself and why I was doing the things I was doing.

After my junior year of college, I decided to take some time off school. So I took a nanny job out of state. During my time there, I was very unhappy and I had a major relapse of bingeing. I had no friends, I was 19, and lived in a suburban neighborhood where it was hard to meet friends at my age. The bingeing was the worst it had ever been, and I knew I had to fix it.

I read some more of your books, including Women Food and God and When Food is Love. I decided it would be best if I went back to school and left the situation I was in. My life was changed that day. The day I left that situation, I was instantly happier and the gained binge weight naturally shed from my body.

I am happy to say that after over 8 years of battling my weight, I am at peace with my body. I am now 22, living my dream working in San Francisco.

Your work doesn't just help people address unhealthy relationships with food, it is such a bigger picture than that. Your words and advice taught me that my life is to be lived for ME and I don't have to do anything I don't want to do, be anyone I don't want to be, or eat anything I don't want to eat! I can't describe the feeling of pure liberation I had the first time I left food on my plate and was okay with it.

I want to thank you for addressing this issue publicly. A lot of people don't think it's a "real" problem, but I know first-hand that it most definitely is.

Thank you again, you are a goddess!


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