My relationship with food was problematic from the day I was born. My mom often recalls how "greedy" I was as an infant, causing her to put rice cereal in my formula within the first two weeks of my life. In elementary school, I only wanted hot dogs, rice and corn, and my PaPa was worried I was skinny enough to see my ribs. Later, in 10th grade, food became an escape from the reality of almost being raped by a family member, and inevitably I began to gain weight.

Several years later, at age 25, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The medication I took made me extremely hungry and sleepy, so excessive eating and sleeping became my routine. The extra weight pushed me to 293 pounds, and with that came back pain, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I knew diabetes was only a meal away if I didn't get a grip.

I couldn't see an escape. The weight I carried from hurt and trauma had become literal on my body. I had no idea how much I was carrying until I started to lose the pounds.