“If you try anything, if you try to lose weight, or to improve yourself, or to love, or to make the world a better place, you have already achieved something wonderful, before you even begin. Forget failure. If things don’t work out the way you want, hold your head up high and be proud. And try again. And again. And again!”
– Sarah Dessen, Keeping the Moon
This quote could probably be the best way to describe the life of Jennifer Bodek, 49, a Brit. I have known Jennifer now long ago online. In fact, I have not yet even met her personally. She is one of those long lists of people I made friends with through social media. I was inspired by her story. It was an incredible success not from battling a Goliath of outside forces but the force that is “herself”.
Jennifer suffered extreme obesity for most of her life. I am not sure how one person really becomes obese; I mean, I know that their diet plays a very important role but it could also be the crazy wiring in their brains that constantly fires-up cravings for food. And as we all know, when we get cravings for food, the next thing we know is that we’re munching pizzas, quarter pounder and those sorts of food – fastfood.
Jennifer told me, she sought comfort from food after losing her brother. It is the kind of deep loss and frustrations that drove her to seek for temporary ways to forget and in this case food. Jennifer even admitted to me that food is one of the worst addictions. It’s not hard to imagine though as she grew 39 stones out from that.
Jennifer describes to me her ordeal being in a situation like hers. She remembered being in the hospital where she has to be weighed no longer by an ordinary weighing scale and took her to a loading bay type of scale commonly used for machineries. The pain and humiliation of a woman to be called fat and too big to fit a CT scanner is powerful that is ripping her spirits apart. Sitting on a chair is one of her greatest fears – the fear of smashing the chair on the floor and being scorned by those who see. There could never be more depressing that becoming a laughingstock of others even by those close to you – especially in a society where women are seen beautiful if they are sexy and slender.
But Jennifer did not stop there. She knew that if she wills to make a change in her life, she could create a positive impact not only to her person but also to others. She knew that it won’t be easy but she is determined to do it. And throughout the process, she maintains a eupeptic attitude that the change she wants will manifest indeed.
As of now, Jennifer is down in her weight. From 39 stones, she hopes to lose 17 stones. There has been a dramatic change in her body as well as her life. Her story and determination is a force to be reckoned with, worthy to be a role model to others. I asked her, what’s your most profound learning experience from all these?, “To love myself , to not take life for granted, to take the bull by the horns and fight to LIVE. Being 39 stones is a very dark place not being able to do the simple things people take for granted like walking through the door of a shower and having to squeeze the fat in each side to get through the door”. Jennifer answered.
Jennifer is now graciously spreading awareness to social media and to reach out to others who are still in the same situation she has been through. When asked how she plans to help others, Jennifer said, “I hope to keep inspiring people through showing my pictures from before to now, to give people HOPE, to keep running my obesity campaign and representing my lovely members on Facebook group DIET or DIE and to get celebrities to support my campaign highlighting Obesity.”
Jennifer’s story may be unique to all of us but there is one common thing here. The common realization is that, as long as we have the will and the guts and the strong determination to change our body, our health and our life, no one can stop us for that to happen – proving that human spirit is more powerful than anything that can bondage and limit us with.