Today is another post from our alumnae Lisa Ann Citarella. We’re thrilled she’s sharing her experience on A Weight Lifted and find this one particularly inspiring. In some ways, it’s a familiar story for those of us who have searched long and hard for the way out of weight struggles. But the ending may be a new one.
My Stay At Green Mountain Was Not A Magic Cure
- Yes, I had more energy, more strength, and less weight.
- Yes, I gained knowledge about nutrition and cooking.
- Yes, I rediscovered the joy of movement, and began the process of being at home in my own body.
Making The Transition Home
After my stay was over, however, I had to return home and apply these new principles in the middle of my stressful, hectic life. Sounds like an obvious conclusion, but it is one that is easy to forget when you are immersed in the body-positive, women-affirming culture that defines Green Mountain.
I would like to say that my transition home was seamless. That was true for the first few weeks—my Green Mountain momentum carried me through the challenges of daily life, and I continued to choose to make myself a priority.
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Then my new behaviors began to slip from my grasp, one by one, until I began to believe that I was no better off than before my stay. This cycle of hope and despair is familiar territory. I travel here every time I find a new miracle program that promises to repair my life.
Green Mountain is different, however:
- First, because they never promised to make my problems go away. Instead, they promised to support me as I worked through my own issues.
- Second, because instead of false hopes, they provided three very real tools that made that journey possible:
When I arrived at Green Mountain there was a group of participants and staff sitting outside, talking and laughing together. After checking me in, the evening administrator encouraged me to go join them. As nervous as I was, I followed her advice. By the time we came inside for dinner, I had made connections that would sustain me throughout the program as well as after I came home. The friendships forged at Green Mountain are truly gifts of the program. For many of us, speaking with each other was the first time we experienced someone understanding our struggles from the inside out. A fundamental shift occurs when you believe, at your core, that you are not alone.
I have always been fueled by a brightly burning sense of empathy and compassion for others. Being bombarded by cultural images and stereotypes, however, has often made it difficult to apply that compassion to people of size. Spending time with these beautiful women, who came in all shapes and sizes, began to erode my internal sizeism and weight biases. Furthermore, it created the space in my heart and mind to extend that compassion to myself.
It is that compassion that has allowed me to write a different script this time around. When I slipped into old behaviors, I made a different choice as to how to respond. Rather than beating myself up, deciding that I had failed, and giving up completely, I chose to be kind to myself. Seeing all the success stories at Green Mountain gave me the courage to continue to try.
Green Mountain Gave Me The Opportunity And The Tools To Heal
Going to Green Mountain may not have been a magic cure, but being there did give me the tools to heal. During my stay I was a sponge—soaking up every nugget of wisdom that was offered. Coming home, the combination of stress and ego resulted in me falling flat on my face. The Green Mountain difference? I got back up.