Letting go of unhealthy routines you’ve had since childhood is never easy. Sometimes, bad eating habits are triggered not only by physical cravings but also by emotional stimuli. This makes the path towards a healthy lifestyle more challenging.
It takes time, dedication, and patience to overcome the temptations and develop an unyielding resolve. However, once you cross the bridge and leave your past inclinations behind, you’ll find both physical and spiritual enlightenment.
A living testament to this claim is Karen Doidge, a 55-year-old wife and mother who has achieved physical and spiritual fitness after conquering her bad eating habits.
Karen decided to change her life’s trajectory after her father died from a heart attack. Thanks to her brother, who served as her inspiration and told her about the Fit Mother Project, she was able to lose over 30 pounds and gain a healthier disposition.
It took her three years of consistent introspection and determination to get to where she is now, and she is confident that anyone, including you, can do the same. Read on to discover her inspiring journey away from bad eating habits and secret eating and toward improved overall wellness!
Listen to Karen's Story on the Fit Mother Project Podcast:
A Lifetime Of Unhealthy Routines
Karen grew up in a household that didn't pay much attention to health and fitness. She, together with her brother and parents, would often indulge in bowls of ice cream covered with chocolate syrup, stacks of pancakes, and lots of junk food. Moreover, they led inactive lives, which exacerbated the weight issue.
“I had such an incredible family, amazing parents, and so much fun. However, everything revolved around food. Food was how we handled everything.”
For Karen, food was not only fuel for the body. She also used it to feed her feelings. Every time she would become emotional, food would be her go-to companion. It would help her deal with the stress, sadness, or whatever strong emotion she was feeling. This unhealthy cycle and relationship with junk food remained until her father’s death.
“My brother and I both really struggled with our weight, like our whole lives. And it was when my dad passed away 15 years ago that the two of us decided to make a significant change. My father died of a heart attack during an open heart surgery, and it really rocked our world. It was horrible.”
After the tragic event, Karen’s brother joined the Fit Father Project and shared with her the incredible progress he was making. He also told her about an alternate program called the Fit Mother Project. Inspired by her brother’s determination and personal desire to lead a healthier life, Karen joined and started her fitness journey.
Karen not only wanted to break the unhealthy cycle for herself but also for her own family. She doesn’t want her husband and children to have the inactive lifestyle and poor diet she had growing up.
“I really brought those habits into my family. I equated fun with food. And so my husband helped me see the connection. He said that we need to avoid eating processed foods, and we need to have healthy options for our kids.”
This added motivation boosted Karen’s desire to turn her diet around. However, there was still a major hurdle she had to conquer — secret eating.
Eating in secret was Karen’s stress reliever whenever she had a bad day with the kids, a misunderstanding with her friends, or an argument with her husband. It was an activity that was both fun and soothing for her. However, she began feeling guilty and acknowledged that what she was doing was wrong. The first thing she did was confess her secret eating habit to her husband. Then, she devised a way to stop the habit.
“If somebody wasn’t home or if they were in their bedrooms, I could do secret eating. So, I had somebody be in the room with me to prevent me from eating in secret. That’s kind of how it started. Then, my brother introduced me to the Fit Mother Project. It was just like this light bulb went off. For me, I just really felt like it is the truth that will set you free.”
With the disciplines she learned from the program, Karen was able to develop a strong resistance against secret eating. The healthy routines and diet structure she adopted likewise freed her from her reliance on sugary food.
Learn how you can overcome bad eating habits like Fit Mother Karen did!
Changing Bad Eating Habits
Before, Karen thought that being fit just meant being thin. When she joined the Fit Mother Project, she realized that fitness is all about staying active and fueling your body with the good stuff and avoiding the bad stuff. This gave her a healthy mental outlook.
“I love the protein shakes, and it was like an epiphany. You can eat the same thing for breakfast every day. I thought it was going to be boring, but it really wasn’t. I pretty much have a protein shake every day, and it’s funny because the spinach really does not change the taste. It looks weird, but it’s yummy.”
While Karen does like planning her meals out, her busy schedule, which includes caring for her mother, homeschooling, and attending Christian ministries, prevents her from having much time for meal preparation. Hence, she would double the portions of food she makes so that she can still have the same healthy meal the next day.
As part of her journey towards physical improvement, Karen also included an exercise component in her routine. She would squeeze 30-minute walks into her schedule. This helped her transform not only physically but also mentally.
“Like I’m busy, but you can say to yourself, at least I can get this in. I can get so many different forms of dancing, walking, a workout, whatever. And then that’s like a million times better than zero exercise or anything like that. So consistency.”
Furthermore, Karen used to drink a lot of Diet Coke. However, ever since she joined the Fit Mother Project and started exercising, she began drinking way less soda and more water. However, the program taught Karen that it’s alright to make a mistake or indulge in the food you want occasionally. What matters is that you retain a healthy mindset and restart your routine during the next meal.
Aside from being a physical endeavor, the Fit Mother Project has had spiritual significance for Karen too. She was able to apply teachings from the Bible to her new routine to avoid reverting back to her unhealthy eating habits.
“I didn’t want the bad habit to rule over me. First Corinthians 6:12 to 6:13 says that everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. I just really felt like the Lord, all throughout this journey, has given me these verses to hold on to. In fact, I have a whiteboard where I write these verses to encourage me in whatever part of my journey I’ve been on, and it’s been huge.”
Through her faith and personal willpower, Karen was able to attain both physical and spiritual liberation from her past unhealthy lifestyle.
So what would Karen say to someone looking to join the Fit Mother Project?
“I think that accountability is important. Moreover, read through all the information, receive grace, and know that it is a process. It’s not a quick fix. I think having that mindset really helps. It’s a lifestyle change. When you mess up, you can always just start over again.”
3 Key Takeaways From Karen's Journey
There are three main takeaways from Karen’s story that you can learn from and apply to your own fitness journey.
Lesson 1: Find Inspiration
Whether it is a loved one who is showing progress or the sheer desire to break an unhealthy cycle, you must have something that inspires you to change. This inspiration will help you overcome temptations and push you toward your fitness goal.
Lesson 2: Acknowledge Your Faults
You’ll have a hard time changing your diet if you don’t see the error in your ways. Assess your eating habits and food choices. Learn to accept your faults and take accountability for your actions. Only then can you develop the right attitude and mindset to become fit and healthy.
Lesson 3: Develop a Routine
If you want to be healthy and stay healthy, consistency is key. Develop a diet and exercise routine that you can realistically sustain. Moreover, it’s OK to waver from time to time. What matters is that you immediately get right back on your feet and restart the process.
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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on overcoming bad eating habits.