A little white line is all that separates one moment of my life from the other in this picture, but it embodies a lifetime of lessons and decisions that ultimately saved my life.
This space is about my journey from one side of the dividing line in my life to the other. It hasn’t simply been about losing weight. It was just a byproduct of unearthing what was really weighing me down. The years of highs, lows, wins, and losses wedged into that tiny dividing line all worked together for my good, but I had no idea how or even if it would unfold when I posed for the picture on the left on April 3, 2010.
I completed my first Crescent City Classic 10K that day in my hometown New Orleans. I was nearly 260 pounds and weary from a lifelong struggle with an unhealthy relationship with food and the weight that came because of it. It felt like an impossible fight—to be at war with food, something we all need to survive. My despair was less about how the weight looked on my body – I knew I was beautiful and worthy despite society’s superficial standards. It was about what the weight represented—an attempt to soothe an internal aching I couldn’t quite name back then.
Walking the 6.2-mile route that day in 2010 was painful. The pressure on my back from the weight felt like a knife was wedged in my lower spine, twisting at every turn. I downed muscle relaxers to ease the pain, but nothing could cure the emotional sting. I was in agony, but I managed to smile for the camera that day because for one fleeting moment, I decided to finish something I started. Something needed to change.
My wellness journey didn’t take off after that race. I fell back into a familiar pattern of numbing my worries with food. Two years later, my coping mechanism crutch caught up to me in the form of a life-changing high blood pressure diagnosis. The epiphany in the moments that followed led to the picture you see on the right side of that line.
The joy I felt on that Saturday, April 18, 2015, when I returned to the Crescent City Classic 10K was palpable. I was eager to return to the Big Easy, finish the race, and take a victory lap. I carried the tears, fears, and adversity I faced to get there with me. I wanted to celebrate God’s goodness and mercy for keeping me close to His heart every step along the way. I smiled so hard I could barely see the finish line. My joy didn’t come simply from losing weight, but from the healing that happened along the way.
I could have run the length of the course that day. I could have jogged and danced at the mile markers stained with my tears from years earlier. Instead, I chose to walk it. I wanted to take in the moment and appreciate the miracle of making it that far—a destination that once existed only in my dreams. I wore a special shirt for the race with a scripture that defined my journey:
"Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us..." Hebrews 12:1-2 NJKV
We cannot complete the journey to healing and wellness in one day, one month, one year, or ten years. It took years, decades, and even generations to lead to where you are in this moment. And it will take days, weeks, months, and years of putting one foot in front of the other to break those chains and keep them severed for generations to come. There is no finish line, but each milepost positions you for greatness, joy, and peace. Your life, your experiences, your setbacks, and your successes are all a part of the fabric of your journey. You don’t have to finish first. You don’t have to set records. You just have to have the faith to keep pushing.
This is no straight-line, smooth-sailing journey. It’s a beautiful, unpredictable, rewarding, grueling, and gratifying winding road. When you look back one day, the sum of your steps will be wedged into a little white line dividing your past and your present, just like the one you see separating past from present between the pictures above.
The lessons I’m sharing on this blog are a deeply personal and vulnerable collection of stories about how love, forgiveness, faith, therapy, and prayer paved my way from pain to purpose. Trust me, there are details I would have preferred to keep to myself—like the time I ate food out of my trash can to soothe anxiety. It’s not an anecdote you would expect the “news lady” to reveal. But here’s why I did. When you have been through hell and made it out, it is your responsibility to hold up the lamp to help others find their way, too. The spiritual and practical tools you’ll read about in the stories ahead helped me climb the biggest mountain of my life, and I hope the same lessons will help you navigate your mountain, too.
I hope something about my journey will awaken the champion in you. Who knows where your road will lead? My path took me from binge eating on my apartment floor to the cover of Woman’s Day magazine. While seeing my story shared across the country was the stuff dreams are made of, the best gift God gave me on this journey is you. Beautiful, handsome, victorious you. I believe in you, and I hope you will believe in you, too.