Putting the Past Behind You on the Path to Health

Kara Richardson Whitely’s book, Fat Woman on the Mountain: How I Lost Half Myself and Found Happiness, is available on her website, www.fatwomanonthemountain.com. Kara (@fatwmnonthemtn) lives in Summit, N.J., with her husband and daughter.

If you don’t learn to put the past behind you, it may end up on your behind.

My emotional eating began with some big things, such as my parents’ divorce and being sexually assaulted as a young girl (I put on 40 pounds that summer). Then, food became a comfort for all the little things in between a lousy grade, feeling lonely and even when I was feeling down about my increasing weight.

I wrote about this journey up the scale in my book, Fat Woman on the Mountain: How I Lost Half Myself and Found Happiness, not as a barrage of excuses, but to understand where I had been. That way, I would know where I need to go to get healthier.

In fact, one day I decided to chart out my weight, retracing my steps to see how each stage in my life added pounds. It looked like an escalating mountain range – until I decided to get healthy.

For me, the road to wellness was hiking. At age 30, I decided to stop letting fat get in the way of my dreams and I hit the trails. I felt strong, empowered and as if I was heading in the directions of my dreams. I was. Flatter trails became mini mountains. Eventually, I ended up taking on Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, to benefit AIDS orphans.

Emotional eating still nips at my heels along the way. But for me, hiking and doing the things I love reminds me to stay healthy and to keep heading in the right direction. I try to move forward with strength and purpose.

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