I have always been big. I knew from a young age that there was something different about me, and that it (supposedly) wasn't good. 

​​I went to weight loss camp for five summers between the ages of 14 and 22, attending as both a camper and as staff. Each summer, I would lose a lot of weight and each school year, I would gain it back. 


A few months before my first summer at camp, 14 years old

Throughout my 20s, I repeated the weight loss/gain cycle with various diets, efforts, and cleanses. I was constantly evaluating my body, comparing it to former versions of itself, and frequently in tears over my struggle with it. ​

The winter after my last summer at camp, 23 years old

When I hit 31, I  realized that I was tired. I decided that it was time to stop fighting my body, stop trying to shape it, and just let it be what it was. I knew that I had to give up dieting—but how?  

Everyone in my life, it seemed, was in the same boat as me. I knew I needed to find other people who were pursuing the non-diet lifestyle, so I turned to the internet.

I stumbled upon The Body Positive and a month later, I found myself at a workshop with them in Berkeley, CA. Everything changed that day in October of 2014. My Body Positive education had begun and neither my self-care nor the world would ever look the same again.


I started to have pain in my shins when I was a teenager at weight loss camp. It would come on during aerobics classes or while jogging, and I thought it was normal. I would workout until the pain was too much for me to bear. 

In 2012 I started to experience the pain on  a daily basis for the first time. When I was on the lighter end of the weight spectrum, doctors told me it was shin splints. When I was on the heavier end of the spectrum, they would tell me I needed to lose weight.  Ever since, I have been seeking answers on my own and figuring out how to manage it. 

It has been a process with many ups and downs and I suspect it will continue in the same vein. However, I can honestly say that I am grateful for all of it. This challenge in my life has been a driving force for my education and it is what led me to become a coach! I have learned SO MUCHboth about myself and about how to help others.    

Fat and happy. 35 years old

© 2019 by Naomi Finkelstein

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