August 21, 2017 Katie Bryant

Searching for Meaning in The Darkness: A story about grace and growth.

I am honored and humble to be featured on Women That Rise. As a former interior decorate turned Fitness and Lifestyle Coach, I openly share my journey in hopes to encourage, inspire, give hope and help others take the leap to better their lives. As a wife and mom of 3 kids (Shelby who is 15, Colin is 14 & Landon who is 12) I want others to know that no matter how bad things may seem, there is always hope.

 

I truly believe my mission and purpose is to help positively impact as many lives as I can by sharing my messy, yet wonderful journey.  Everyone deserves to know they too can live this life to the fullest and feel this good in their skin. To follow me you may find me on Instagram: @freshfitkate, my blog: www.freshfitkate.com or on Facebook.


Ten years ago I was hospitalized for a week.  I had planned to take my own life and minutes before I would leave my home for the very last time, I fell to my knees to ask God to forgive me for what I was about to do.  I was at the lowest point of my life, in a darkness that was suffocating me, searching for happiness and about to give up.

I felt weak, ashamed, angry, sad, depleted and worthless. I always made sure to have a smile on my face and it took everything in me to make sure no one saw how badly I was suffering internally…it was exhausting.

Battling on going depression and anxiety, juggling life with 3 kids under the age of 5, in debt, working two jobs and rarely seeing my husband and family, I truly felt I was failing at everything in my life. I thought that my family would be much better without me, and honestly, at that point I felt I had tried everything to turn my life around…nothing had helped me and I could not live feeling like this any longer.

I truly felt I was trapped in a mind and body I no longer recognized.  

After being admitted for a week they sent me home so drugged on so many medications I could barely function. I remember being in tears asking my mom, “how could I take care of my kids feeling like this?”

I was pretty numb to everything and the only thing that seemed to make me feel good for a short period of time was food and alcohol. So I relied on a glass of wine or a container of ice cream nightly…the weight slowly but surely added up.

I saw a counselor and psychologist and my doctor on a regular basis.  I lived my life like this for about 6 years feeling like “this was it”.  I was grateful to be alive, but I didn’t feel alive. I felt like my life was such a waste and for what?  Why was I here? Did God really want me to live like this for the rest of my life?

Every single day after I was released from that hospital I would pray the same prayer: Use me God.  Show me how to take who I am, who I want to be and what you can do and use it for a purpose greater than myself.

 


During this time I went back to school to become an interior decorator and eventually opened my own business. I loved interior design, decorating and home staging, so I thought this would be what would help me feel purposeful.

I craved so badly to be me again. With a forced smile on my face so no one would worry, the scale was showing around 200 pounds and I did every fad diet out there because I felt so uncomfortable in my own skin. I thought if I lost this weight that would help me to be happy again.

I thought if I could just be a size 6 and weigh 140 pounds I would find true happiness again. But the truth of the matter was I did weigh that prior to being in the hospital and I wasn’t happy in my own skin.  So I tried diet pills, working out at the gym, starving myself and nothing was helping the weight budge or my mood improve.

Then one day I stumbled up on a blog…

It was written by a mom of two that was a successful Fitness and Lifestyle coach and her story inspired me. I immediately reached out to her.  She told me what she did to make these changes happen.  She also warned me this would be hard work, but that she would support me, give me all the tools I needed to make this happen for myself and provide accountability in a group setting.

I was so scared to waste more money and fail.  I chatted with my husband who told me to go for it.  He said we spend that much on things that do nothing for our health and well-being, so that I needed to invest in myself.  Thank God for his support (although truth be told if he would’ve said no, I would have found a way to try this anyway!)

I started on my journey with working out, learning how to fuel my body properly and participating in an accountability group that my coach ran.

After my first sixty days I quit.

I was frustrated that my results weren’t as good as I had hoped they would be and I kept comparing my results to everyone else’s in the group.   The next couple of months went by and all the weight/inches came back on. Once again I was tipping the scale around 200 pounds.

My family and I went away on a vacation, the memories from that trip will always stay with me.  I was so uncomfortable in my own skin, I put on my bathing suit & just cried at what I saw.

How did I let it get this bad and why did I give up on a journey that was starting to work?  Because it was hard?  Because my results weren’t happening overnight? Because quitting was much easier than forcing myself to make all these changes to my life?

I remember my kids wanted to play with me on the beach and I struggled finding the energy to keep up, then ended up going back to our room.  I drew the curtains shut, laid down with a throbbing headache and cried myself to sleep.  When I woke up later that day, I felt heartsick that this was how I spent a whole day on our family vacation.

It lit a fire in me.  I had decided right then that I was no longer going to live like this, nor continue feeling this way about my life and the poor example I was setting for my three children was ending that day.  I contacted my coach and started back immediately.

After five months into my journey I was feeling stronger, prouder and hopeful. I still had a long way to go, but I finally found how to create a healthier lifestyle for good.  I went from dreading my workouts, to looking forward to them.

I loved having my groups support, encouragement and having a place to vent when I did struggle.

Fueling my body and exercising was starting to help me get in a much better state of mind.  I started to feel like I could get off a lot of the medication I had been on. I took it slow and with the help of my doctor started to wean myself off the meds. I finally felt like I was on my way to becoming that person I had been craving to be for so long and hopeful it was all going to happen.

I started to have friends and family notice all the changes that were happening in my life.  They too wanted to join me, so my coach asked me if I was interested in becoming a Fitness and Lifestyle Coach. Me? Was she serious?  Who would want me to be their coach?  Who would be inspired by my journey?  I still had a long way to go, weight to lose, inches to shed and I did not look like a typical coach. Plus, I had a job I liked, a job I went back to school for.  Although I loved my job it wasn’t fulfilling me internally like I had hoped it would and I kept thinking how coaching would really hold me even more accountable to this journey and how amazing would it be to help others turn their life around?

So I waited, hoping she would ask again and she did.  

I think she was shocked I said yes.  I started training, then helping friends and family get started on their journey. I started feeling more fulfilled and wondered if I could actually be successful at this and replace my income. I wondered if I could inspire others. With all these questions I decided to go attend a training event and celebration the company was hosting.  I remember thinking I would go to see if this company was really what I thought it was or not, then make my decision after that.  I made the 4 ½ hour drive to Pennsylvania and got into my car to make the trek back home with goosebumps, tears and a fire lit within my soul.


I had finally found what I was meant to be doing.

I felt that God had answered my prayers and, although this wasn’t what I had planned for myself, I knew he knew something I didn’t.  Instead of questioning him like I did for years, asking why was he doing this to me, I started thanking him for the mountains he placed in my life.  I knew at this moment it was my job to show others how their mountains could be moved as well.

I started to realize that coaching was the last tool I needed on my journey to live this life to the fullest. I was required to read or listen to personal development.  I hadn’t read a book in years and now I would be daily.  Nonetheless I knew this was a requirement and there had to be good reason for that.   Not only would this new habit help me professionally but most importantly personally.  And it did. If I skip a day, I know- I feel it and it always dawns on me to pray and focus on personal development.


Here I am three years later maintaining my fifty pound and 50 inches loss, dropping over 8 sizes, off so many medications, happier than ever and feeling the strongest I ever have mentally along with physically.
For many years I thought living life this way and feeling this good was never going to happen, I was angry and felt stuck. I allowed myself to get there.  I allowed others to tear me down and drag me down with them.  I allowed myself to put the blame on God, circumstances and others for how bad things got. I let anger, negativity and self-limiting beliefs rule my world.

What I have learned being on the opposite side of all of that, is I allowed those things to happen.  I was in control all along. I just needed the right tools, to be consistent, to know my self-worth, to be willing to change more than I wanted to stay the same. And to wake up every single day grateful to have one more chance at giving this life my all.

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Comments (5)

  1. SO MUCH APPLAUSE TO YOU, KATE! This was such a brave, unfiltered post. I have felt all of those depressed, anxious, giving up emotions and it’s unfortunate that there’s such a stigma against women opening up in this way. I always feel like I’ll make people uncomfortable talking in such a raw way but these are real emotions that occur often for many women. I’m so glad for the choices you’ve made for you and your family. You look as strong as you are mentally and emotionally. What a beautiful, layered life you’ve had so much and so much more to come and continue inspiring!!

    • I appreciate you taking the time to share these words of encouragement Anna, it truly means a lot…thank you! XX

  2. What a touching story! Thank you so much for sharing your story and for being a great example of the limitless potential we have as women!

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