My first body conscious memories were in elementary school. I developed early and the attention I received made me very uncomfortable, withdrawn and vulnerable, contributing to my putting on weight as a protective barrier. Seeing myself as “damaged goods,” this self-deprecating behavior followed me throughout adolescence and into adulthood.

Feeling the need to finitely come to terms with the abuse and emotional baggage (I still carried), and deal with my low self-esteem issues, related to being overweight, on August 15, 2016, I walked in to Alaska Premier Health’s office for a weight loss consultation. I was introduced to a super cool counselor and the OPTIFAST ® program, and on August 26, 2016 I officially started my OPTIFAST ® weight loss journey.

Nearly a year later, the OPTIFAST ® weight loss journey I’d travelled not only changed me physically, but the emotionally scarred inner-child, who, for years hid behind layers of fat for protection, was able to finally forgive…herself.

I LOVE MYSELF! I see things, people and events much differently than I ever have. No longer do I say, “I wish I could” but instead say, “I CAN” to life.

To celebrate my weight loss success, I chopped my locks off and dyed the remaining hair blond. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the cut was liberating in more ways than one.

The hair that fell to the floor represented the last remnants of my former self. Immediately a weight was lifted and my self-confidence as a woman, survivor and fighter rose through the roof! Not only do I have the body I never thought I could; I have the “badass” hairstyle I never dreamed I could wear.

I’m a 2.0 version of myself and contribute it to what this OPTIFAST® weight loss journey has done for me. I KNOW my self-worth and value!