Miracles are natural.When they do not occur something has gone wrong! Today the interview is with Stephanie Vincent- a lady that found the inner strength to rise above all odds, start loving herself, and get rid of the destructive thoughts that were overtaking her body and her life! After weighing above 400lbs, Stephanie had the courage to start loving herself the way she is and then the miracle was there! She is now a life coach, helping women who want to have joy and ease their health and personal relationship with their bodies! Read the honest and intriguing interview with Stephanie! Let yourself drawn in the emotions, the hardships and the joy she experienced, and then as you finish reading the interview, swim to the top again as a new, refreshed person!
Ines Subashka: Introduce yourself.
Stephanie Vincent: My name is Stephanie Vincent and I am a coach. I am a life coach, working mostly with women who want to have joy and ease their health and personal relationship with their bodies. I am also an assistant coach at my box, CrossFit King of Prussia. I work a lot with our kids programming as well as our Steve’s Club (a non-profit for at-risk and disadvantaged youth.) I am a coach because I believe healthy relationships with our bodies are essential to us living the best life possible- not just physically but everywhere else. My relationship with my body was once the source of struggle and suffering. Healing that relationship opened the door to the life I was meant to live. I want as many people as possible to find the freedom and joy I now know.
IS: Have you been fit your whole life?
SV: Not at all. I never played sports, was physically active or exercised regularly until now. Being overweight since I was a kid it was physically challenging to participate in physical activities. When I tried to participate, it was often embarrassing- so I avoided them whenever I could.
IS: When did you first go on a diet? How did being overweight make you feel during the years?
SV: My first diet was in the 4th grade. The school guidance counselor put me on it. She along with the principal, my mom and a lunch lady all paid me a $1 for each pound I lost. I racked up $50 or so (big money for a 10yr old!), spent it on cassette tapes and that was the end of that. And that first diet tells the story of every other diet I went on- moderate success followed by regain.
Being overweight wasn’t easy. It impacted everything. As a kid every day I got made fun of. Walking into a classroom in middle school, took courage- because someone would undoubtedly laugh at me. In high school I had to think about what movie theaters had the arm rest that went up when I was going out with my friends, or dreading the classroom with the seats attached to desks because I was going to be so uncomfortable. Not to mention- being an outsider on the dating scene.
IS: Did you have health problems before you started living healthy?
SV: I actually did not have any major health problems, although I probably would have eventually. I did have problems though, prior to me “living healthy” it wasn’t health problems so much as it was problems with my emotional wellness. My struggles with weight and food were a constant. I lived in fear- fear of not losing enough, fear of gaining additional weight or gaining weight back. I always felt less than, not good enough. My weight was the “monkey on my back” so to speak.
IS: What motivated you to change?
SV: At age 24 I weighed over 400lbs. It was then that I decided to have a gastric bypass surgery. After the surgery I ate healthier and committed to moderate exersize. I lost 160lbs. A year and a half after the surgery I found out I was pregnant. I didn’t gain any weight during my pregnancy but as she grew I found myself steadily gaining the weight I had lost back. My life spiraled out of control. I abused myself with food and a handful of other self destructive behaviors. Gaining weight back after the surgery- was horrible. I felt ashamed. If a surgery wasn’t enough to help me solve the problem- how could anything work? I couldn’t even fathom another diet. I couldn’t withstand another start and failure. On top of that, I now had a precious little girl looking up to me- it wasn’t just about me anymore.
I hit as they say- rock bottom. Rock bottom was where I began the path to the life I now live.
IS: Was changing your eating habits hard?
SV: No. Believe it or not it was easy. There is much to say about what made it easy…but the most important thing is that I decided to be happy as I was. I decided I was good enough- even being over 300lbs after a gastic bypass surgery. I accepted myself as is, accepted the fact that my worth had nothing to do with my physical body. It was this acceptance that gave way to true self love. I started to act in alignment with that love, which included nourishing my body well. That being said, the evolution of how I eat was a process (and it still is). However what makes the difference is that I don’t eat to change or sustain weight, I eat consciously for its intrinsic value whether its nutrition, pleasure or a combination of both.
IS: What physical activities did you do when you were at your heaviest?
SV:At my heaviest physical activities were nearly impossible- even walking. I’d avoid going places with friends and family that had a lot of walking and if I did go, I was always apprehensive I’d hold the group back or be embarrassed. My attempts at exercise when I’d go on diets included what convention says- walking, treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical. I even joined curves. I wasn’t successful with those-it was always a chore, I didn’t get much results and I always gave up…eventually.
IS: Did people around you support you?
SV: Yes. Those who loved me could always see past my weight, even if they worried about my physical health and didn’t like watching me suffer emotionally. It was me that couldn’t see past it….and ultimately its what kept me stuck and unhealthy.
IS: How was born the idea of the website radical hateloss?
SV: When I found myself happy and satisfied before I had even lost a pound- it felt like a miracle. I was suddenly able to easily make health choices around food and movement without even trying—without any sacrifice, this was amazing. I felt like screaming from the roof tops about what I was experiencing. Instead I started writing a blog. What I was experiencing was RADICAL and although a side effect was weight loss- that wasn’t really the point…Radical Hateloss was born.
IS: How do you feel now, when you’ve found your true innerself?
SV: It is as you say, finding my true inner self- or what I call living from my authentic self that makes the life I lead possible. My authentic self is WHOLE no matter what I look like. My authentic self is separate from the inner voice that criticizes, attempts to keep me small, and tries to make me believe I am not enough. By connecting to my authentic self rather than my ego, my thoughts or my emotion- I am able to live life more in the present moment. In the present moment is where our highest possibilities become reality.
IS: What advice would you give to all the women out there that are miserable with the way they look? How would you encourage them?
SV: There is another way to be. You can be free from the struggles with your body. And with that freedom, will come the highest possibilities- not only with your physical health but also with your entire life. Just imagine what you might do with all the time and energy currently spent on not being satisfied with your body?
The process starts in the moment you realize that it shouldn’t matter what size or weight you are. I find that many of my life coaching clients are CrossFitters. I think this is because through CrossFit they are introduced to the idea that it isn’t what their body looks like that truly matters but rather how it functions. They come to me because they don’t want to know that only intellectually—they want to live it fully. They are experiencing dissonance between what they know to be true and what they currently experience. Their dissonance although irritating and frustrating is a gift- and the first step towards freedom.
Recognize the dissonance, and then commit to the process of self acceptance and love. When you commit to the process the tools and resources will come into your life to move you along, as it did mine.
IS:Here are some of my favorite articles on Radical Hateloss:
I can’t wait to share with you a project I’ve been working on. It’s called IFS Journal- my FREE online magazine. Go ahead and subscribe for it HERE.
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