It’s Not All Diet and Exercise That Will Make You Healthy

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Stress and the Toxic

I know most people want to know what diet and exercise I did to lose weight, but what I did to begin to lose weight was to walk away from what hurt me, from what made me miserable.

The irony about how I lost weight is that it began by taking care of my own soul first. Not how I lost weight and then felt good about myself.

It is very stress inducing to be in relationships with people that don’t have our best interest at heart, with those that hurt us. Our bodies are not made to be healthy when we remain in these conditions for too long. Cortisol/hormones, adrenals, and organs cease to work well under stress that lasts for too long.

Our bodies can withstand stress for bursts of time, then we need to recover and reboot. Just like weight lifting. We lift heavy weights, stress out and break down tissue fiber. The recovery is just as important to rebuilding tissue fibers and making our muscles strong. We can’t remain in chronic stress, and expect things to get better, especially our physical health and our soul.

If you’re trying to heal your body, as in major weight loss or health betterment, you’re going to be fighting an uphill battle if you don’t change your conditions and your environment, if it’s toxic.

My family and I made a conscious decision to walk away from a tribe (I’m not an Indian, but we’ll call the community I was a part of a tribe.). The tribe had become too toxic for us. Although we looked somewhat okay on the outside—if you feel needing to lose over 150 pounds looking okay on the outside—I was miserable.

When we first walked away, I found myself unraveling. I went to my husband, Jon, needing wisdom and support. He said, “Mari, if you could do anything you want in order to make yourself happy, what would you do?” With tears streaming down my face, and without hesitation, I answered, “I would get healthy by losing weight.”

Jon told me to go do THAT. Note: the pictures I used for this blog posting of Jon and me were used to pay homage to this exact conversation and gratitude for all of Jon’s wisdom and support. You can see my physical transformation, but I hope you can also see the love before and after.

Stepping Away from Toxic, Means NOT Engaging with Crazy

In our next discussions, Jon and I decided that we would ‘Be the change we want to see.’ We both agreed we would live well, we would concentrate on our family, our dear friends, and our software company; we were definite about taking the ‘High Road’ and not engaging in any toxic behavior so that we could use all our energy to focus on our blessings, our weight loss and fitness goals.

We simply refused to engage in any vitriol, this included not engaging enough to bother to defend ourselves. We ignored all of the small mindedness of it and we moved on in the biggest way.

Though tough at times, ignoring toxic behaviors was more empowering than I could have ever imagined. I consider that my ignoring-utterly-skills are now part of my super-girl powers. Ka-Pow!

Toxic crazy people will try to play games to get you to engage. They’ll try to hurt you by trying to cut other people off from you. They’ll try to have people unfriend/unfollow you on social media. If you can take it, don’t stop them. Stopping them stops their karma-tic consequences. What people put out, they get back. Let them have their consequences so that maybe they too can gain personal awareness of how much work they need to do on themselves.

And besides, the juxtaposition of their vitriol for you next to your when-they-go-low-we-take-the-high-road attitude makes people take full notice of behaviors. Don’t ever doubt that. Sensible people want to be where the healthy behaviors are. They may get caught up in it at first but they’ll eventually connect the dots.

Keep your human decency and don’t play power-tripping games, especially with the cray-cray.

Toxic People Will Test Your Greatness

Your love, your sense of compassion and you ability to forgive will be challenged by toxic people. Consider it a test. I’d bet money they are hurting worse than any of us. They suffer every day and they are miserable. They are often addicted to drama, and in some cases substances or are under the influence of some other person. This doesn’t excuse their behavior, or the need to step out of their lives.

Keep in mind that redemption happens for different people at different stages. Never give up your hope or prayers for their suffering to end too. I’m always willing to accept any grace and love extended to me. We don’t have to go back to the relationship we once had but we can always accept love.

Get an A+ on your test for greatness.

Because: love. Love. Love. Love.

My Highest Good, My Best Interest

When I walked away from the toxic tribe, it was the first time in my entire life, that I quit letting people hurt me. I quit hurting myself. How I felt about myself took a dramatic turn. I started to have compassion and care for myself.

Soon I began thinking with what was the highest good, or in my best interest. Would eating two cupcakes be my highest good, or in my best interest? Would sleeping nine or more hours after running for an hour be in my best interest? Would missing a gym workout be my highest good? Was my new friend in my highest good?

I found healthy behaviors made me feel great about myself, and I kept doing more of them.

I slowly began to implement boundaries for behaviors that I would and wouldn’t accept. Red flags became deal breakers.

Happiness and Unhappiness is Transient

By practicing self-care and self-soothing, I began to see that happiness and unhappiness are transient emotions. These emotions and thoughts come and go like clouds. I needed to accept that unhappiness; rejection and disappointment are all part of living.

Eating two cupcakes when I did was a way to dull the unpleasant moments in my life. When I felt a little anxious: make a batch of brownies. When I found out I didn’t get the order I was expecting: a nice big dinner out would make the disappointment easier to swallow. If I felt a little unsure of myself: I would find a people pleasing thing to do that would give me some kind of praise and reassurance that I’m still worthy.

Now when I feel a little anxious, I look to see where it’s coming from. I take it in. I sit with it (sometimes this is still hard), and I let it pass. If it doesn’t pass quickly, I talk about it with someone I trust. I exercise or I do something that is healthy or good for me. If I feel rejected, I first see if that’s really true. In most cases it isn’t, it’s usually some story I’m telling myself about another person. I still sit with it. I don’t go looking for something to eat in the fridge.

I’m not perfect at this self-soothing, and self-care. However, by practicing it enough these past five years, I’ve become so strong. I feel this brave super-girl from deep within me. I know I’m strong enough to get through emotional pain without self-numbing.

I still love to do things to make people happy. But I do them just for love. I don’t do them because I feel empty or lacking, or to feel worthy.

Being kind and loving has never felt more genuine to me because I don’t expect anything to heal me from it. I just enjoy it.

The Most Remarkable People Came Into My Life

What was almost magical about dealing with myself, dealing with my own issues, is that once I began the journey of self-care, it’s almost as if the resources and people I needed found ME.

I soon began to make friends with others that were also trying to live in their highest good. The most remarkable people came into our lives. I know God sent them to us to enrich our lives, and because it was time.

I’m certain that God and the Universe have me covered—when I do my needed work. I simply go in the direction of my highest good, and VIOLA!

And when I don’t…I get…lessons. *sigh*

“If you truly loved yourself, you could never hurt another.” ~Buddha

Buddha understood that the path to never hurting another was to love our own selves. Toxic people have a hard time loving themselves. They usually have self-contempt, even though their selfish behavior can make us think otherwise. What they project onto us is really how they feel about themselves. My prayer is that they too are awakened and that they find their own self compassion. This world needs peace from every single one of us.

Disconnected, Lacking and Empty

Our needed transformations are not all about losing weight. Some of us have different issues. Some drink too much. Some numb by not eating. Others need to work on relationships. Some feel disconnected, lacking and empty, and in deep vast voids.

Buying a new car, getting a bigger house, going on a month long vacation, or having our child win at the science fair is not how we will fill our deep void. It will only put a Band-Aid on a deep wound. Nothing wrong with a nice car, a fancy house or a big long trip to Europe but they won’t fill the emptiness. The trip will end, the house will become part of your norm, and the car will get a scratch: and the emptiness only left for a little bit.

After about half a dozen surgeries, I have found that wounds heal from the inside. When they have healed well from the inside, the outside then looks so much better.

Filling the deep vast emptiness and our sense of lacking can only be healed as an inside job.

The Greatest Compliment—Ever

After massive weight loss, I’ve been given many compliments. Compliments about how I look/beauty, my strength, my will power, my commitment, my focus, and even how badass I must be.

I have to say that the most fulfilling compliment I receive is when I’ve inspired someone to change their own lives for their highest good.


All other compliments feed my ego (my ego and I appreciate them, don’t stop), but inspiring someone, feeds my soul. It’s made me realize that my experiences with this life-changing transformation are something to share, even if I have to give up some of my well-guarded vulnerability.

How have you dealt with toxic situations? Have you ever made a life changing transformation?


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