I’ve never been thin or obese, yet I’ve never been comfortable with the way I look no matter how much I’ve weighed. I'm not looking to be on the cover of MORE Magazine. I don't need to look like Christie Brinkley. I'm enjoying who I am right now at this point of my life. 

But I want to be comfortable with how I look and feel. 

I’ve always had a hate-hate relationship with dieting. I love all kinds of food, so dieting has always meant the need to cut back on the love. 

"The biggest seller is cookbooks and the second is diet books—how not to eat what you've just learned how to cook." ~Andy Rooney 

I’m not looking for a diet. I’m looking for a new way of life. 

My family’s genetics scares the hell out of me. That fear is the driving force behind waging an all-out war against gaining weight. It’s an uphill battle, but I’m determined to win the war.  

Today I’m a 55-year-old menopausal woman with an autoimmune disease, and these three factors make losing weight more difficult. 

A few months ago I watched a documentary called “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” that chronicled the life of Joe Cross, a 310-pound man on a mission to get healthy. It follows his journey across America, with his juicer and camera in tow, drinking only fruits and vegetables for 60 days. His hope was to lose weight while allowing his body to heal itself from a diagnosed autoimmune disease. 

After watching the documentary I ordered the same Breville juicer Joe used. I then took a hard look at myself by asking, “Do I want to continue sailing through life not liking the way I look and feel?" 

I decided to face my fear head-on by broaching my taboo subject of discussing my weight during dinner. Out of nowhere I proclaimed, “I want to get healthier and lose weight.”  

My husband quietly asked, “How can I help you?”  

We spent time talking about healthy eating and exercises I might enjoy. We already try to follow a healthy diet at home (much like what is outlined in Dr. Andrew Weil’s book, “Eating Well for Optimal Health”), yet I need to create my own eating plan (a/k/a portion control) according to my personal goals.  

I reached out to an online friend who possesses a wealth of knowledge on healthy living. She was so inspirational that I’d like to share her wisdom with you: 

“Find things you really love to do, and just do them. Don't feel you have to do "such and such" to be fit. If you love to take walks, take walks, but don't get stuck thinking just because you can't do other things, it's useless. I think the main thing is to feel good about whatever you can do. Then there's food. That is something you can control. So eat healthy. Consider yourself like an expensive car that only takes the best gas. Remember to tell yourself how great you are. You can do anything. You have to say it, read it and actually see the words, "I can do this. I can do this." 

Powerful words. 

These days I’m facing my personal weight demons by trying to take better care of myself. I plan on living a l-o-n-g and happy life, and to do that I need to tend to my health. 

One more piece of advice from Dr. Christian Northrup in her book, “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom”: 

“Nourishing yourself fully also involves understanding that your body’s metabolic processes are profoundly influenced by the following eight factors: 

  • Emotional state 
  • Genetic heritage 
  • Cultural and family heritage 
  • Macronutrient intake (proteins, fats, carbohydrates) 
  • Micronutrient intake (vitamins and minerals) 
  • Environment and relationships 
  • Exercise habits 
  • Food chi 

Nourishing yourself optimally means paying attention to each of these areas.” 

Today really IS the first day of the rest of my life. How about you? 

Read this next: Three Books That Started Me on My Road to Wellness

Cathy Chester blogs at An Empowered Spirit, which won third prize in Healthline’s Best Health Blog Contest in 2014, was named #2 of the “Top 10 Social HealthMakers in MS” by Sharecare “ and received a nomination for the past 3 years as WEGO Health’s Best in Show Blog. She is a contributor for The Huffington Post as well as a blogger for MultipleSclerosis.net and Boomeon. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Midlife Boulevard, BetterAfter50, Erma Bombecks’ Writers Circle, The Friendship Circle and Woman at Woodstock.