Weigh Down Lifestyle Stories: Karen

By Weigh Down Lifestyle

December 15, 2021

christian weight loss, christian women, weigh down lifestyle stories, weight loss

As lots of you know, our next guest for Weigh Down Lifestyle Stories is actually part of the Weigh Down Lifestyle team! It all started quite a few years ago, while Kayce and I were running a local coffee shop called Frankly Coffee & Bistro. We were in need of a cook, and that’s when we found Karen. Now, she runs a few of our weekly calls in our community group, and has been a huge part of the Weigh Down Lifestyle. Without further ado, here is a bit of Karen’s story!

Ruth:
Thank you so much, Karen, for being here with me today to share your journey to finding Freedom With Food with the Weigh Down Lifestyle. So to begin…

Why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about your childhood and how your life was growing up?

Karen:
Thanks, Ruth, for allowing me to share my story with you. So, I was given up for adoption as a baby right out of the hospital, and I was put into a foster home immediately. I need to first tell you first, though, that my background is black. So I have a black mom and a black sister, and I was given up for adoption because I was not black when I came into the world.

So because I was born white, I was rejected. I got put into foster care and was adopted by that family. I had a very loving mother, but my father was abusive to us girls and, long story short, my mom passed away when I was 15 years old. So yeah, I’ve had a pretty colorful life I would say.

I had a lot of things to deal with at a very young age growing up, like not having much food in the home and being on welfare, so sometimes there was food in the house and then other times there was none! So I think this has all factored into the way I viewed things as an adult and how I have dealt with food in the past. 

Ruth:
It sounds like it was a very stressful upbringing you had. The word that comes to my mind is tumultuous; you had a very tumultuous childhood because you were rejected by your birth mom and then you were put into foster care. Then you were adopted, and you lost your adopted mother at a young age, which is a traumatic experience for any child. And on top of all that, one of the most difficult things was having a father that was abusive to you. So you did not have an easy childhood. 

With regard to food, like you said, sometimes you had food in the house but other times you didn’t have anything to eat, so there are a number of things growing up that could have really brought you down, right? You had a lot of stressors in your life and God has been faithful and brought you through these situations with victory.

So with living a healthy lifestyle, do you think you learned anything about what it means to eat healthy in your early childhood years? 

Karen:
Oh for sure not! No, not at all. We just ate what we had and we ate it all, because if we didn’t eat what we were given, then we had it again at the next meal. 

Ruth:
So even in that scenario you were being taught to eat it all, and that might mean eating more than you need at times. So coming from a background where sometimes you had ample food in the house and sometimes the cupboards were bare, did you find that you wanted to eat more than you needed or eat extra when you had food in the house?

Karen:
Yes for sure, and then when I had my own family, I don’t even know if I’ve shared this with you, but I kind of hoarded food because it was a fear I had that I wouldn’t have enough food for my family. So then my husband would say to me, “What are you doing?” He didn’t really understand and so, yeah, I had to change my thoughts about that too. That was weird for me because it was kind of like I would just try to buy it, and always want to buy more.

Ruth:
We so often talk about all these wires that are crossed in our minds. If we haven’t been taught how to live healthy or how to fuel our body or nourish our body, where do we begin to learn, right? 

Karen:
I just wanted to have all that extra food in the house so that I could nourish my kids and give them what they needed, or I would buy it because it was on sale and they might not have it later. 

So when you grew up and became an adult, how did you find yourself weight wise? Were you at your ideal weight or were you overweight or underweight as a child? Then going into adulthood what made you want to start dieting?

Karen:
So I would call myself a chunky kid. I actually remember my stomach being kind of hard, almost like a child that had a malnutrition kind of stomach. That’s what I remember anyway. I probably wasn’t overweight, but I just don’t really know. I don’t even know if I actually thought about my weight when I was a little kid, but as a teenager I definitely did. I always felt like I was fat and I don’t know why that was, that was just how I felt. 

Then when I got pregnant with my daughter, my first child, I was young myself and I didn’t take care of myself or lose that first pregnancy weight. Then I had two more children over the stretch of many years – so two years later and then eight years later. I never lost the weight from the first pregnancy, so that was it. I just didn’t know how to lose the weight, so I would diet and diet and diet and it would not work for me. I would yo-yo diet; I would gain some and lose some, and gain some, and then gain some more.

What kind of diets did you try in the past? 

Karen:
I tried Weight Watchers, TOPS, the cabbage soup diet, you know that famous soup diet? I also did another diet and I forget what it was called, but it had some kind of packages where I had to drink shakes. I was supposed to drink three shakes a day, that’s all I remember. But yeah, I’ve tried some diet pills before as well, and that was a waste of money, like totally a waste of money. 

Ruth:
I have also done multiple diets, and I’ve also done that famous cabbage soup diet so many times in the past. You’re not alone! 

What was the hardest part of dieting for you and what did you dislike the most about dieting? I know many women watching this interview will relate to you because they’ve tried all those different diets too. 

Karen:
The hardest part for me was seriously starting my diet on Monday and ending it on Wednesday, and then just giving up! Whatever! I blew it. So basically I would say to myself, “who cares… just eat what you want.” And then… “Oh no, I better get back on that diet again on Monday!”  

I also did not like counting calories – that was probably the worst thing for me! I don’t know why, but that is in my head. Counting calories really did suck!

Ruth:
I totally agree. I was tired of counting all that stuff too, like carbs and calories. 

Karen:
I just felt like a failure with all my diets, like literally a failure because I couldn’t get past Wednesday or Thursday in dieting. I would always quit!

Ruth:
So previously you were like the perpetual Monday morning dieter and by Wednesday you thought you had failed so you quit. I hear that a lot, and so many women feel like they are total failures because all those diets just don’t work for them. All the past failures lead them to believe that they just cannot lose the weight and they give up. Their whole belief system in themselves is gone. 

We see ourselves as a constant failure, so we begin to feel sorry for ourselves, right?

Karen:
I definitely felt sorry for myself. I was like, why didn’t I do better, right? Like I would just beat myself up constantly. Why did I not lose the weight after my first kid?  Even now I still think that sometimes, like that would have been great, right? But I didn’t, so now I need to deal with it in a different way. 

When you came to join the Weigh Down Lifestyle, how has this program been different from all those other diets you tried in the past?

Karen:
Well the first thing that comes to mind is freedom from food, and you guys have taught that many times, but for me it was seriously freedom from food! I want to say the freedom from food for me was junk food because I liked sweets. I liked candy, anything candy or pop. I honestly feel bad about how much pop I brought into my house for my kid’s sake, because that was just normal then, right? Anyway, freedom from food to me is that I don’t have to buy that candy and have it sitting in my bowl and chow down on it anymore. This is a very awesome thing for me! 

Ruth:
Freedom with food is probably one of the keys to actually enjoying our life. It gives us back the control that food had over us. Before enjoying this freedom, food had this power over us, but when we have freedom with food the power of the food dissipates, it’s gone, and it seems like the chains or the shackles that tied us down are broken. We are released. 

Karen:
The other thing I’ve learned is that I do not mindlessly eat anymore, and I didn’t really even realize I was doing that, but I would just eat mindlessly. Like there were so many times in a day where I was giving my kids a snack when they were growing up, and I would just eat with them or then finish theirs too, and I really don’t do that anymore at all. Now I always think about what I’m putting in my mouth. Now I want to make the right choices.

Ruth:
Yes, you are now choosing to nourish your body, which is so different than just mindlessly over-indulging. 

Karen:
Yeah, and I can honestly say that I don’t have a junk cupboard anymore. How exciting is that? I actually talked to my hubby about that the other day because we’ve always had a junk food cupboard, and my kids and all the neighbor kids knew it too, but I don’t have one anymore. My junk food cupboard is now a health food cupboard; it has nuts in it and it has healthy energy bars, like the Lara Bars and that’s amazing. I don’t buy chips anymore because I have freedom with food and that’s so incredible. 

Ruth:
Wow, that is incredible. And I know we both have changed our way of thinking. What we used to previously call treats, we now know weren’t really treats for our body; that processed junk was more like putting trash into our bodies. All that processed junk stuff actually harms our body. A real treat is something that is beneficial or heals our body, and it’s such a big change when we realize that certain foods are really beneficial for our bodies and other things are really harmful for our bodies, like all that pop and candy and processed junk that we now call trash.

Karen:
I’m very thankful that I’ve broken those chains or those habits and I have found freedom with food for the first time in my life. 

Ruth:
It is a huge realization or an awareness that we can actually eat food that benefits us which is a very special treat for our bodies.

I want to thank you for doing this interview for us, but I have one last question for you…

We always talk about inviting God into our weight loss journey, so what does it mean for you to invite God into your weight loss journey? 

Karen:
I love that the Weigh Down Lifestyle includes God in our journey. To me this is the key. Like I never before took God into my weight loss journey ever, ever, ever, ever! 

So…it’s just kind of every day starting out for me and just actually thanking God for who I am, and then saying, “God, I need you to be here with me today and go with me because I can’t do it alone.” And then, of course, having the community for support as well is just amazing, amazing, amazing… and my highlight is also the devotional call. I just love doing the devotional call with all the ladies in the community. It’s a real highlight of my week!

Ruth:
Yes, and it’s a highlight for me too. So again, thank you so much, Karen, for this amazing time together and for this interview that you’ve done for us. We’re so glad that you’re a part of the Weigh Down Lifestyle and that you are also a part of our team. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us today to bless the hearts of those who reading or listening to this interview – we really appreciate you. 

Karen:
Thank you for having me.


I hope you enjoyed learning more about Karen’s journey and her background. She is an integral part of the Weigh Down Lifestyle Community, and a perfect example of Progress Over Perfection!

What is your biggest takeaway from Karen’s interview? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time… Remember, you are a woman chosen for greatness!
Ruth Verbree

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  1. Thank you for sharing your incredible story, Karen! God has had His hand on you through it all! He’s brought you through and is using you in the lives of others. ❤️

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