I am on a mission to figure out what is driving the way I choose food today and how to not judge myself this year by working with a life coach.

I have been following Jill Angie online for quite some time; she’s an author, certified running coach and personal trainer, and the mastermind behind Not Your Average Runner. Through Jill, I’ve been inspired to get myself into better physical shape but I haven’t taken the steps which are necessary to move forward.

So, when an opportunity with Jill’s friend, Melinda Sohns, presented itself to me, I jumped at the chance to figure out what was holding me back the most psychologically – my fear and judgement around food. Melinda works with morbidly obese women and teaches them why they eat when they’re not hungry and how to stop. She teaches them to love the body they woke up in and why they need to jump off the weight loss roller coaster and live effortlessly at a natural weight.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been working with Melinda.

It’s been eye-opening, already.

We’ve discussed how “stories” around my life events have molded how I think of myself and what I think about food and weight. We talked about an event from my high school band days, when I was trying on a hand-me-down uniform. I grabbed pants I thought would fit and they were, in actuality, very tight and uncomfortable. Instead of swapping them out, I suffered through wearing them to parades and competitions that season. It’s the first recollection I have of being self-conscious about the shape of my body. For the most part, I kept myself in check and didn’t go on some crazy diet like some of the other girls did, but this little moment was always in the back of my mind.

Then, the events which molded me during my 20s and early 30s, including being in a rocky marriage and subsequent divorce and, later, a troubled-from-the-start 18-month relationship with a much older man. We talked about recurring themes:

  • “I’ll eat what I want to eat because it makes me feel better.”
  • “At least I have control over ONE thing.”
  • Overwhelm
  • Not feeling emotionally supported
  • Labeling myself a failure

We dug so deep, I felt anxious because it was draining, but the conversation was JUST. SO. LIBERATING.

We couldn’t forget to acknowledge joy, so we talked about what “joy” looks like in my life. Melinda reminded me that joy can be found in the simplest of things – a color, a flower, music, an animal – and should not be an extension of my relationship with my husband or children; instead, it should be something that I can achieve by myself. Joy is one thing we talk about a lot, because, even though my life is pretty sweet now, adding joy makes good stuff even better!

So, here I am, on this adventure with my new friend, Melinda. She’s helping me to completely accept myself, without judgement. She reminds me that it’s OK to take a breath and pay attention to what I’m thinking instead of being critical. She’s assuring me that, eventually, I will be able to see myself fully before something happens to derail me.


Desiree Townsend

Desiree is a Christ follower, wife and mom. #WakeUpAndLive