What does losing weight mean to you?

All my life it meant getting rid of the grotesque fat and revealing a beautiful woman who could wear whatever she desired.

I don’t feel this way anymore!

Today, losing weight means so much more to me. To me it’s about getting healthier and stronger and shredding the emotional, not just physical weight that has been weighing me down. Much of my weight was connected to the increased stress that I created for myself and that I endured.
I was talking to an amazing person who described losing this amount of weight like peeling the layers of an onion. This resonated with me. The pain and heartache to get deeper and deeper to a better healthier mindset will uncover the beauty from within eventually.

It’s funny how the more layers I peel away, the more self conscious I am when I go to the mikveh. When I got married 8 years ago, I was heavier than I am now, and I went to the mikveh for a purpose. To me, it didn’t feel like a very spiritual place, but I wanted Shalom Bayit and to have children in a ‘kosher’ way, so this is what I have always done.

Still a newbie to mikveh when my daughter was 9 months old, I had to go to the mikveh when I was visiting my parents on holiday. That day was very hot and I had gotten a little burnt. As I came out of the mikveh, the attendant said to me ‘you better put some after sun on that’. Until that point, the attendants had been super modest. I had never felt ‘naked’ and had felt respected. At that mikveh I felt violated and rushed to get out of there as soon as possible.  

Mikveh to me nowadays is far harder for me than in the beginning, as I strip away my layers, metaphorically speaking, and stand in front of HaShem to fulfil this Mitzvah. I totally understand women who give up going to the mikveh after years of going, and feel sad for them for having bad experiences.  I will never return to the mikveh that violated me, but there is something so pure and special about walking into my local mikveh on a Friday night and listening to the balanit singing Boi B’shalom during her rendition of L’cha Dodi.

Every time I look at my children, I think about how beautiful they are and how I created such exceptional beings and that I should respect my dear mother who brought me into this world and work to come back to a great place.

I have come to love the body that I am in and want to honour it as I need to honour my mother for bringing me into this world for helping me to carry 3 beautiful children through 2 pregnancies and being strong enough to fight back from the brink of death.

17.3kg down since this new journey began and 34.3kg since my heaviest (day after birthing my twins), I’m a happier healthier version of me.

If a balanit were to make a comment as I got out of the water about weight loss, I would freak out probably and never return. However, the mikveh I go to they are very modestly spoken and I don’t think they would ever do that in the pool area. Many people have complimented on seeing me and how I carry myself differently and although it embarrasses me, I feel honoured that people notice. Some people are sensitive to the fact I may feel shame and thus try to only do it in front of me, and I find it very sweet when people go out of their way to compliment me and tell me they are following my journey. Some are even inspired, and changed some of their habits as a result of what I share. I have a friend who has started to show up for herself, not just her family, and every time I see her she has shrunk more and more. I’m so proud of her.

It’s amazing what sharing my journey has created. I have the most amazing accountability partners, and I’ve realised that there were so many others like myself and I have been able to support not only myself but others, so I guess there’s always a silver lining to one’s journey.

Follow Naomi’s journey at https://www.facebook.com/naomi.pelled, https://www.instagram.com/schuggi1981 or connect at LinkedIn.com/in/naomipelled.com