Bernie is a 39 year old housewife and mother of four children. She’s five feet three inches in height, 126 pounds (9 stone) in weight and has a lovely figure. But the thing you notice about Bernie is her smile. It lights up her face and makes her look beautiful. You’d certainly never guess she was nearly 40.
Recently, her youngest child started school so Bernie decided to take a beginner’s course in computing. When she first began she was terrified, but she found it much easier than expected and when it finishes she’s going to do another one. Her main aim is to get a part time job using computers, but this wasn’t why she started. She started because she wanted to do more than cook meals and wash clothes.
She also does her best to stay in shape. Each day, whenever it’s fine, she goes for a brisk 30 minute walk and if it’s raining she puts on some music and does 20 minutes of exercise. When she first started doing this about a year ago, she found it a real drag. But now she loves it. It gives her loads of energy and makes her feel great.
What about the rest of her life? Well, it’s pretty ordinary and trouble-free, although like most mothers, she has her problems. Her kids are a handful, her mother is very fat and waspish, her mother-in-law is a moaner and her husband isn’t the most romantic creature on God’s earth. But she doesn’t let any of this get her down. Because as she says: ‘the more cheerful I am, the easier it is to cope.’
Mind you, like all mothers with a young family and a home to look after, she still gets fed up occasionally. After all, who wants to do a huge pile of ironing at the end of a day’s worth of housework, minor emergencies and 1001 chores?
In fact, with such a workload, Bernie sometimes wonders whether she wouldn’t be better off quitting her course and waiting until the kids are a bit older. But what keeps her going is the fear that she’s going to end up like her mother – fat, unfit and unhappy.
You see, up until two years ago, Bernie was a physical and mental disaster zone. She was 238 pounds (17 stone), timid, awkward, depressed and full of negative thoughts. She couldn’t do this, she couldn’t do that. Why not? She didn’t know – she just couldn’t. To put it simply, she had locked herself up in her personal fat prison and thrown away the key.
She was only 37 and yet she felt as though she was 87. Everything and everyone was a problem. Life wasn’t just passing her by, it was completely beyond her grasp. She didn’t eat properly, she didn’t exercise, she couldn’t cope with her family and the only thing she looked forward to was her next bar of chocolate.
She had no interests, no ambition and not an ounce of joy. Of all the women I’ve spoken to about weight problems, Bernie (not her real name) was one of the most difficult to reach. It was like talking to a prisoner through the iron mesh of a cage.
She didn’t even want to lose weight. She only came because her doctor had practically forced her to start dieting. And yet, despite all this, over the next two years she managed to break out and lose 112 pounds (eight stone). An achievement which has totally transformed her life and given her enormous confidence for the future.
Are you locked away inside your fat prison? If you are, take heart from Bernie’s example. Because believe me, if she can do it, so can you.
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