It’s Your Turn Series, Part 2: Post 2 “Redefining Happiness”

Renee is a client of mine. We started working together this past spring. When she came to me, she wanted to lose weight, but it was clear that we couldn’t focus on numbers. She had been on her journey for a long time without a break. Mentally, it’s exhausting and it can wear you down physically too. Her story is so much more than getting to a specific size – her journey is really about her own relationship with herself.

2012 is when it started.

I was 18.

Hovering at 270lbs, uncomfortable in my skin and clothes, just really not feeling myself at all, but let’s rewind.


At 12, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and put on medication. We changed my diet and began watching my sodium intake, which essentially meant eating super healthy and watching everything. Having to make this change and be so conscientious of what I was eating at such a young age made me feel like an outcast. I felt like I couldn’t do the things that kids my age were doing. It made me self-conscious of my size and my behaviour. These changes were necessary. They had to be done or life would be harder for me as I got older.

I was bullied daily, and it was because of this that I didn’t want to stay in school. My friends contributed to the bullying too by calling me names and going out of their way to tell me that no one wanted me around – it made me feel so small and unwanted. They manipulated me and put me so far down that I couldn’t determine who I could trust. This continued all through my junior high and high school experience.

If I could go back to those days, I would tell myself that “no matter what, taking care of yourself is all that matters. Pay no mind to what anyone thinks or says.”···

The year after high school, my mom and I joined the gym and got our first  personal trainer.


Our workouts were different with each trainer. The first trainer had us doing a combination of high intensity interval training (HIIT) and weights. Another, had us doing her police academy workouts (HIIT and tabata). The final trainer had us going through phases of higher repetition sets with some supersets and lower repetitions.

I really enjoyed the feelings I felt while doing each different style. Accomplishing some heavy movements (600lbs+ leg press) and a police academy workout made me proud.

Nutrition began playing a bigger, more important role in my journey in 2014. I have been tracking macros (macronutrients) for the majority of my six-year journey, but it got serious in 2014.

I’ve  tried different diets, styles of eating and working out and tracking during this time. While they were each different – they all had something in common – I was always counting something.


I’ve had many different coaches too.

I trained with a local company on and off for several years. They have a competitor mindset and eventually that wasn’t realistic for me – it brought me down.

Another coach just didn’t care.

If you feel something isn’t right, chances are it isn’t.  My gut feeling made me change coaches. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and follow your gut instinct. You are the most important person to think about and take care of. You should never feel guilty about that.

Things have changed this year – I am the happiest I have ever been, even though my weight is not at its lowest. I always thought [low weight] meant happiness for me. But it doesn’t.

Trusting myself and allowing myself to live life and enjoy food was – is, happiness. This change in how I define happiness came from within. It comes from understanding and self love, self acceptance and living. Happiness doesn’t come from being thin or from following what society wants from us. Happiness comes from what truly brings us joy and from loving ourselves.  Happiness is loving yourself no matter size or shape. Self love is happiness.


Trusting myself and allowing myself to live life and enjoy food was – is, happiness. This change in how I define happiness came from within. It comes from understanding and self love, self acceptance and living. Happiness doesn’t come from being thin or from following what society wants from us. Happiness comes from what truly brings us joy and from loving ourselves.  Happiness is loving yourself no matter size or shape. Self love is happiness.

I’ve also found that finding the right support system can make all the difference. My mom has been there through it all… the tears, the laughs, the ups and downs. She’s been my rock, my buddy, my chef, my friend. It wouldn’t have been possible without her.

In the beginning if you were to ask me why I was doing it, I would have said “to prove them wrong”. If you were to ask me now I would say “for me, my future, my health.”

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