[Warning! This post may contain triggers for survivors of sexual abuse/trauma]
Wow... it has been a ride, y'all. Seriously. When I first wrote about considering trying out for The Biggest Loser, I had a different attitude. My attitude was all, "how hilarious would I be... serious, I am awesome fodder for TV."
After I began filming my casting video, pre-registered, and attended some casting calls (headed to Dallas tonight!) I realized that The Biggest Loser, while a TV, is doing something very big. I know, I know, I know... it is a REALITY TV show... but I think, y'all, that it is something more.
At the Kansas City casting call I was able to meet some awesome people. I sat and listened to person after person open up and become very vulnerable with their struggle to lose weight and face their baggage. I was invited to a support group by a group of people who attended the casting calls and got rejected. They wanted/want to changed their lives with or without The Biggest Loser, and that is amazing!
TBL challenged us, "if you get on the show, how would you give back?"
Pssh... I was just thinking about how funny I'd be... I wasn't thinking about giving back...
Then I realized, through some reflection, that my struggle with weight wasn't/isn't funny. My weight has been a symptom of internal things that were broken. I'd been hiding behind a veneer of "look how entertaining I can be" because I didn't want to confront the shame of losing the battle to shed unhealthy pounds. Intuitive eating, The Biggest Loser, or whatever method is never going to be success for me (or anyone else) if we are afraid to bring down the masks, be truly vulnerable, and sometimes (even if we aren't "entertaining") take risks.
I have thought about that question Ashley asked me at The Biggest Loser Casting Call in Kansas City.
I decided that if I were to be on the show, what I'd want to do is work with single women with children and women who have survived sexual abuse.
My mom was a single parent who had no idea how to guide me through fitness and nutrition. She struggled with weight herself and this apple didn't fall too far from that tree. She wasn't equipped with the help she needed and frequently we were food deprived from homelessness and poverty. I developed an "eat while you can" reflex. Staying in a homeless shelter, like we frequently did, makes a kid wonder IF the next meal with appear and so I went on survival mode. I have also recognized that a lot of my excess weight came from eating to build a shield. I thought if I could gain enough weight, be "unattractive" enough then I'd not have to face the pain of someone violating my body. I believed for a long time that the sexual abuse I experienced was some how because I was too pretty. That was what he told me as well. That I was "getting men's attention with my body." I was only eight. I know now it wasn't my fault.
My weight became my armor against that lie. It sometimes still is.
I have heard other women talk about their bodies with disgust after surviving sexual abuse. We become prisons in our bodies where this horrible loss of power happened. If I had the power of The Biggest Loser Season 14 behind me, I'd advocate for those women. I'd be an example that they don't have to disconnect from their bodies and hide behind food. I'd be able to say,
"I took back my power, my body is strong and healed... let me help you do the same."
So I am headed to Dallas this weekend to another casting call. Even IF I don't get a callback I've already started my journey. I wake up daily and remind myself that I don't have to be afraid of my own body- that I can do this. I am slowly turning OFF those damaging tapes that play in my head. I've been attending the gym regularly, I've been taking time to journal and inhale-exhale when I feel overwhelmed instead of turning to food. It sounds cheesy, I know, but this casting call experience has really changed my paradigm. This is about making a life change, this about confronting myself, this is about taking control of my life- not about getting on an entertaining show.
Wish me luck!