My Healthy Voice

momfridge

The early days of my Unhealthy Voice

It took me years to find my healthy voice, to even know I had one.

I ate my troubles away as a child after my parents divorce. When I started to gain weight, my parents and I thought diet and exercise would “f

Life lead by my Unhealthy Voice

Life led by my healthy voice

ix” me. But I was still using the food to cope, so I continued to fail at the diets. I was ashamed that I couldn’t keep the weight off so I found ways to numb the pain.  I started running because I had seen how much it helped my Mom, but it made me eat more. Drinking helped me forget the feelings but it made me eat more too. Spending money helped me feel better on the outside but I ate more because of the guilt. Pursuing guys made me eat more too, because when I was chasing them in my sickness, I was always pushing them away. I just kept numbing myself. What I didn’t know was that every time I numbed myself, it was my thoughts that were creating the madness and pushing me further away from me.

But  like a marathoner to the finish, I still pushed on. After college at Notre Dame I went into the family trade of politics. After a year on a presidential campaign and four in the White House, I decided to work at the Department of Health and Human Services to find out what we were missing as a nation with obesity. I wanted to keep more kids from suffering.

So I did everything I could.  I led interagency committees on obesity and wellness, created and chaired an event with a national non-profit for kids called Action for Healthy Kids to get moving and eating right. I helped promote physical activity with the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and even tried to get employees moving at HHS with a worksite wellness program.

All of this, and I never felt like the government had the answer. I saw national non-profits though, promoting healthy lifestyles for people and I saw promise.  So I went and pursued my Masters in Non-Profit Administration to help them make a bigger impact. While in the program, I continued to work with kids at the local level by bringing Notre Dame varsity athletes to the community as healthy mentors for kids, and serving on the local Obesity Coalition.

Intuitive Eating article

During my Masters, my doctor recommended that I participate in a study  at Notre Dame to help binge eaters through a book called, “Intuitive

Eating.”  Now we were getting somewhere. The emotions were playing a bigger role than I’d realized in my eating. Intuitive Eating helped me to separate the food from the feelings. But here I was, with all these feelings and no idea how to deal with them. The only coping mechanism I had was food. I started to go a little crazy, and realized I had to detach from these unhealthy behaviors, and find healthy ones. If I was going to get to the bottom of the problem for our nation, how could I do it without getting to the bottom of my own?

On May 12, 2008, I checked myself into a place called Milestones to get treated for binge eating disorder. Who would have thought? All these years I told myself I didn’t have an eating disorder because I loved food too much to not eat it, or purge it.  Diets weren’t bad, running it off was good, right? Then I realized the reason I gained all the weight when I was a kid. I was just stuffing myself with food with nowhere to put it, so I got bigger and bigger.  And THAT was where I realized – here is what I’ve been looking for. HERE is why so many kids are suffering.  It goes way beyond nutrition and physical activity and into the mind.  Th

My first marathon with mom

My first marathon with mom

e reason I had gone to the food, was because of the thoughts I’d created that made me want to numb myself.

As a nation suffering from a health crisis, we need to look beyond what we know like proper nutrition and physical activity. If we continue to focus on the weight of our nation, w

New York - my 5th marathon

e’ll continue to miss the link between our minds and our bodies. We need to educate people about what may be contributing to th

eir suffering so they can break free, instead of stay in pain. We all have this unhealthy voice that wants to keep us for itself in our struggle. We need to stop letting it run our lives. We need to listen for our healthy voice, strengthen it with knowledge and support – so we can create healthy lifestyles today instead of continuing on the unhealthy path we’re on.

Marty Lerner, Executive Director of Milestones in Recovery, says “I’m addicted to anything that makes me feel good.” I’m right there with him. The crazy thing is, I never would have thought knowing this fact about myself would be a huge part of my transformation. Today, I acknowledge my powerlessness over certain behaviors and substances like binge eating and drinking, shopping or exercising. I know it is not my own will

power that can change me. It takes something greater than me. I know now how to recognize my feelings and not numb them. I know now how to live a balanced life with proper fuel for my mind, body and spirit. I know through my powerlessness I have become powerful and I grow closer to that Healthy Voice inside every day.  I hope reading my story helps you to want to get closer to yours.

9 Responses

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your story and for channeling your passion into the lives of young people. All the best, Meredith!

    Christina

  2. Thanks Meredith for sharing your story, Your passion, drive, and courage are inspirational. I’m so happy our paths crossed, and I wish you well in all you do — you ARE a success story! God Bless, Meredith!

    Lynn

  3. Meredith,
    Wow, your story and this content is incredible… keep on educating! I look forward t learning from you!
    All the best for a healthy New Year,
    Chad

  4. Meredith-Thanks for sharing-your story is inspirational. I look forward to reading more and visiting in the future! Thanks again-keep doing what you do!
    Polly

  5. Thanks for sharing! Just yesterday I fully realized I can’t figure it out and reached out to God for help. Your website is so encouraging and today (Easter morning-smile) is the beginning of my journey toward recovery. Thank you for the message of hope I have found here.
    Brenda

  6. Meredith, You are such an inspiration! Thanks for taking us on this journey with you! Morgan

  7. I love your story! Your courage and inspiration is exactly what this world needs. Thank you for sharing and wanting to make the world a better place! Your journey will take you to amazing places! With Gratitude, Katherine

  8. Meredith, I came to this website after reading your bio on the Curves Complete website. I am so excited that you are one of the coaches that will be participating in my recovery. I am a Curves owner that loves what I do and all of my members… however, my embarrassment about being overweight colors everything I do. How can a fitness center owner be overweight??
    I was successful at weight loss only once in my life, when I went to the Anonymous program in the early 1980’s. I see the 12 steps mentioned in your info, and I understand and applaud.
    Many blessings on “our” journey!!

    • Hey, Tina….go girl! I just started Curves new weight loss program and started watching the videos and the information on the Curves Complete instructors page which brought me to Meredith’s web site, and what do I find but a “note” from you.

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