Healing from the inside out. An adoptee gets the weight off.


A Trip to the Scale

This morning, I did my normal waking routine, a trip to the bathroom, and a step on the scale. Today, the scale gave me a number I haven’t seen in a while. You see, one fateful day this last summer I stepped on the scale and the number I saw was the biggest number I had ever seen! I decided then and there, a permanent change needed to be made. Today I hit my first weight loss goal of 50 pounds. This is my journey.

During Childhood

I was always a thin child. I could eat anything I wanted and in never bothered me. Fat shaming was always common in my childhood home, and when my (adoptive) brother went away to college and gained weight, there was quite a bit of negative talk about him. My mother would always talk about how ashamed she was to have a fat son, and would warn me about the shame I would feel if I were to ever get fat. As a teen, I was terrified of being overweight, and I often skipped meals in order to keep my weight down. The day I met my husband, I was 17 years old and a size 0. But even then I was critical of my own body. I thought my rear end and thighs were too big, and my mother would insist that I not leave the house without wearing a panty girdle to keep my fat from jiggling.

Enter College Life

But then, college came- and my dorm had a food court with restaurants like Sbarro, Panda Express, Chick-fil-et, and Ben & Jerry’s in it. Oh my gosh! I was in heaven- I could have ice cream every day! I inevitably gained weight and at the end of my freshman year, I was a “portly” size 7. That summer, my mother was a weight loss drill instructor- restricting my diet, and yelling at me while I exercised until I was under 100 pounds again.

I continued to yo-yo through my twenties- feeling fat and less than beautiful on my wedding day, and I continued down the path as I had kids, and more stress with careers, the failing health of my father, and general anxiety and depression increased. I covered my pain in food- and I was going down a spiral.

Changed Weight But Not Myself

I actually lost a significant amount of weight one year when I did an expensive all liquid diet program. I was 90 pounds down and a size 4. Mother still told me I needed to lose 10 more pounds. But for the first time in a while, I felt physically attractive. My Mom told me for the first time I could ever remember that she was proud of me. I was receiving many compliments- and while I looked great on the outside- I was still the same on the inside.

That’s where I made my mistake. I thought all of my troubles would be gone and this magical happiness fairy was going to wash me with a sprinkling of fairydust that was going to take my insecurities away and make me all better. I would no longer live a life of depression and anxiety because my body was finally back to an acceptable size. HAH!

Almost as quickly as the weight went off, it came back on- and then some (a lot). I had changed my body, but not my actual “self”.

The Link to Foster Care and Adoption

So what does all of this have to do with foster care and adoption? My low self esteem is rooted in the ultimate rejection I felt from being given up. It made me feel like I always needed to seek approval, because I felt I was unworthy of love and acceptance. Add on top of that, I was traumatized about my weight (and soooo much more) by my adoptive mother. I have been ashamed of myself my whole life- and I know that this is a common feeling amongst many people in my sort of situation.

My Challenge – I Deserve to be Loved

Last summer and 50 pounds ago, I made a decision. I was going to work through my traumas- and I was going to decide that I am actually a human being and that I deserve to be loved and accepted. And I needed to start with myself. It was time to let both of my mothers go- and to be the mother I needed to have for myself. I decided to lean on my faith in God, I decided to change myself from the inside out. Today, I am down in weight, and getting up in spirit. I am letting go of all of the yuck, and filling myself with the light I deserve. It isn’t always easy, and I do feel sad at times, but in the end, I will heal. You can to.

Discussion questions:

  1. What is keeping you from living your ideal life? What makes you insecure? Talk about YOUR story.
  2. Where do you turn for love and acceptance? Is it a healthy place to turn to? If not, where can you go that would be a healthier alternative?
  3. If you could change anything about you, what would it be?
  4. Being physically healthy is important. What are some things you can do to take care of yourself on the outside while you are healing on the inside?


  1. Plan a healthy menu for the week. There are many prep and freeze crock pot recipes out there that can help you eat better, even with a busy life. Here’s a link to Cooking Light to get you started: http://www.cookinglight.com/food/top-rated-recipes/slow-cooker-favorites
  2. Go for a walk. Be present. Enjoy your surroundings.
  3. Think about the things you are thankful for when you are feeling blue.
  4. It sounds silly, but, every day, look in the mirror and tell yourself that YOU are a human being who deserves love and acceptance. YOU are lovable no matter what your size. YOU deserve to take care of yourself because YOU are worthwhile. Do it until it sticks. YOU are worth it.


Written by
Betsy was born, adopted, and raised in central Illinois, and has lived there her entire life. She is married to a very fantastic, understanding man named Lucas, and is a mother to her dream children: Eli (10), and Cailyn (7). Her household includes two dogs, Cleo the papillon, and Jelly the pug, a bearded dragon named "The Doctor", a frog named Lazarus (who came back from the dead), and a fish. When she isn't managing her "family zoo", Betsy volunteers with her church, and with Boy Scouts, and is an adoption advocate.

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