The Number One Question I Fear As a Health Coach

The Number One Question I Fear



Weight racks clanged and grown men grimaced and grunted around us.  

My best friend Lydia* (totally not her real name. Respect your friends’ privacy, yo.) had a new personal trainer and he was generous enough to let me join her training session on this cold Monday in March.

At Lydia’s suggestion, (“Oh my GOSH, Bruce, seriously, you HAVE to see Laura’s website! You’re going to die. Her shit is so good,”…she’s the kind of friend every woman needs in her circle) I’d pulled out my phone to show him my new health coaching website.

After scrolling through my homepage and breezing over my bio, he asked the question:

Were you big?”

As in, did I used to be overweight?

My about page opens up with “I know what it’s like to spend your life hiding.”

My motto is “Speak it, don’t eat it.”

My coaching mission is to help women around the world overcome sugar addiction and food shame.

So the question is totally reasonable.

But for me, this has been the question to fear.

Because the simple answer is, no.

I’ve had binges that last for 72 hours straight, immobilized by the deep ache in my kidneys and the painful swelling in my lymph glands.

But, no, I’ve never been “big.”


I’ve slinked out of bed in the middle of the night and crawled on my hands and knees to retrieve the box of chocolate creme cookies I hid under the bed so I could eat them without my boyfriend hearing me.

But, no, I’ve never been “big.”


I’ve cried tears of loneliness into a jar of peanut butter because I was completely friendless, in self-enforced isolation until my body was “fixed” and my eating “under control.”

But, no, I’ve never been “big.”


I’ve gained and lost the same 20 pounds over a dozen times, beating my body and metabolism with every cycle.

But I’ve never been “big.”


I know women who are or who have been “big.”

They are some of my best friends, my dearest clients, my greatest supporters who give in acts of selflessness that floor me. Lydia, the very friend I was with at the gym that day, used to weigh over 300 pounds.

Who the Hell do I think I am to declare “I know what it’s like”?

I am relatively lean, conventionally pretty, college-educated, straight, able-bodied, middle-class white girl from the urban east coast.

I own that my voice is not the voice of a woman who has faced open body discrimination.

I have not faced the stereotyping, the outright verbal abuse, or the inferred belittlement that so many women who do carry more mass on their frame face everyday.

I will never claim I know what it’s like to carry my overeating as mass on my body.

That is not my struggle.

But, my story and experiences are still valid.

The crushing, crippling effect that diet, fitness, and consumer beauty culture had on me was real.

I’ve spent the last 3 years in healing circles with women of all sizes. The women whose resentment I feared the most have taught me these 2 key truths:

  1. It’s not about who’s hard it harder.  Hell is Hell.
  2. It’s about believing that every single one of us deserves to feel seen and supported.

Whatever your story is, it is valid too.

Today, my wish is that, by speaking openly and making transparency one of my core values, other women will see what is possible for themselves.

Women who are plus size may think,

Well damn, if she’s struggling with this, I can’t be the only one. It’s okay to speak up

And women who are not plus size, women who are petite even, may think,

Yes! I’m not the only one who’s drowning inside. It’s safe to speak up.”

So, today, I welcome the question, “Were you big?”

Bruce the trainer, and anyone else who asks it, just want to know me a bit more and understand my story better.

It is not a gotcha question. There can only be a gotcha question where there is a secret. I have no more secrets. I eat my cookies with the lights on. In the company of friends.

Comment Below

I’d love to know,

Where are you not owning your story? What parts of you are you hiding because you fear other’s opinions or reactions?

How can I help you speak your truth (so you stop eating it)?

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