Brenda Jay Kelly, 45, Southern California
Although I’m a nurse, for most of my life I didn’t know how to feed myself. I only knew how I ate growing up and in my house we didn’t have much fruit. We ate rich, heavy, fatty foods: bacon, eggs and waffles were staples from childhood through college. And snack meant making another meal before dinner. I didn’t binge, but I ate it A LOT. Strangely, I never saw myself as needing to overcome overeating, because I never knew there was a better way to care for myself.
That all changed when I went to visit a friend in Italy and I had a hard time carrying all of my weight around the country. It became clear that I needed to learn normal eating. The walking and the running from one train to another were very difficult and had me thinking “I can’t believe I’m having this experience.” I really noticed where I was physically and knew I wanted something different for myself.
I came to Green Mountain 14 years ago. The other places I called didn’t have a whole lot of time to give me on the phone. I am attracted to people who love what they do and I got that impression right away from Alan, the owner, and LynnAnn, the fitness specialist. It was very clear to me that they really care about they do.
As soon as I got to Green Mountain, I knew I was in the right place. During a class, Alan explained that if you overeat on Thanksgiving, that’s okay. If you overeat on Christmas, that is considered normal eating, too. But, if you eat your way from Thanksgiving to Christmas and from Christmas to New Year’s, you will gain weight. That was an eye-opening moment for me. I was so relieved to hear that I could make healthy eating choices and not have to give up my favorite foods or starve myself to manage my weight. Now I know how to make choices that will work better for me. I relearned normal eating, and as part of that, I now know that there are some days I will overeat or go back to bacon, eggs and waffles, and that’s okay.
After leaving Green Mountain with a new understanding about eating, the “a-ha moments” kept coming. I was at work three days later, and I got hit a huge hunger pain. I was confused because I didn’t feel any hunger pains at Green Mountain, even after working out all day. Then it finally became clear: At work and home, my anxiety was disguised as hunger and had been all along. This was a huge awakening for me and helped me better manage them.
That is what keeps me coming back here. Although I’ve reached a healthy weight, I’ve been back 10 times. I come here to empty and refill. Green Mountain is a very sacred, very safe place for me. I just let go of all the things I walk around with in my professional life. I can come here and let all that go.