Ten years ago today, Sara joined an online weight loss program to lose weight. Little did we know that her personal blog on the forum would lead to our book Bittersweet: Married to Mental Illness. Here’s what she wrote today on her private blog:

Today is my 10-year Anniversary!

It’s hard to believe that it was 10 years ago today when I decided to sign up once again to this online weight loss program to give it another try. My first attempt a few months earlier went down in flames because I had no time on the computer. We only had one computer in the house and everyone wanted to play computer games. When I did get a few minutes alone on it, the family complained about all the food wrappers I left around the computer as I started to input the data of my favourite foods to help track my calories. I remember just wanting to scream because I was so desperate to lose weight and so frustrated that I had no time on the computer.

I guess my determination won out, because I signed up again and pushed my way into getting time on the computer. In the beginning, I had a lot of fun building my recipes and my grocery lists to help understand my food intake. When I discovered the forum, I was completely blown away. I was suffering from clinical depression and didn’t get much out. I had been isolated for 15 years. Being able to read what people had to say on food, diets, nutrition, spirituality and positive thinking was the beginning of the world opening up for me. I started to learn about Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer, Abraham-Hicks and Eckhart Tolle. I chatted online with people about nutrition, the mind-body connection, raw foods and chakras. I started feeling better physically, mentally and emotionally, and I couldn’t get enough. I was like a sponge. Every week I was ordering a new book, trying new recipes, and discovering more Youtubes on spirituality.

Starting my personal blog was terrifying. I felt scared and insecure about what other people were going to think of my thoughts and opinions. I would constantly edit my posts, wanting nothing but perfection. I would be so upset if I noticed a typo. I really was my own worst critic.  However, I kept blogging and sharing. It felt good to finally be a part of something, even if it was online. I felt like I belonged somewhere. I had people to laugh with everyday. I had a community. I had my own tribe.

Slowly but surely, my physical health improved as I taught myself about nutrition. My emotional health grew stronger, as I now had a place to express my feelings. I blogged about my Grandmother’s cancer and my unexpected rage; I blogged about my deepest fears when Adam got sick and ended up in emergency; I blogged about my frustrations with overeating and my overwhelment when my weight would creep back up again; I blogged about my fascination with intuitive eating and finally making peace with my food and my body. I typed my little heart out and unexpectedly found I had a following and new friendships. Thank you to everyone who cheered me on through those difficult years. I wouldn’t be where I am today without you.

Ten years later and it’s like looking back at a completely different person. Today I’m much more content with my life and myself. My energy is no longer focused on dieting. After 10 years with this blog, I think the most fascinating observation that I can make is realizing that my weight today is probably close to the weight I was when I first joined up. The difference between then and now is how I think and feel about myself today. I love my body instead of hating it. Wanting the perfect body was a complete illusion, as there’s nothing wrong with me. Today I’m a 56-year-old mom and wife, and this is what a 56-year-old body is supposed to look like. Life is much better with this healthy perspective.

Thank you again to everyone who has supported me, especially through the painful years. Thank you for letting me be myself and for sticking around when I went exploring “outside of the box.” Thank you most of all for your support of our book Bittersweet.  It’s one thing to blog to your heart’s content in the safety of a private forum but it’s quite another thing to be completely vulnerable in the public eye. This blog has given me the confidence to go out there and share our story, in the hopes that it can inspire those who are also struggling with mental illness. Now, that’s something to celebrate.

Sara Hardy

 

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