Life’s journey to health

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For Stacey Robbins, who has lived in Seal Beach for the past three years, her journey to health was a process of deconstructing old beliefs. Photo by Ted Apodaca

Stacey Robbins had struggled with her weight, or probably more accurately, with her body image, for most of her life. Stresses in her childhood sparked an introspective nature in young Stacey. Still, she grew up enjoying music and performing. She got married and started a family.

But around the age of 24, Stacey began to gain weight. Doctors told her to change her diet, eat healthier and stay active. She did, but to little avail. As she continued to gain weight, her health also deteriorated. She ballooned to around 270 pounds and her body began to slide into a very toxic state. She would bleed by a simple touching of her skin.

Doctors began to tell her it was all in her head. But there was no clear diagnosis and doctors began suggesting that she get her affairs in order. She still felt like if she could lose the weight her health would improve, but the goal had changed from body image to simply survival.

“I started listening to my body, that was the big difference,” Stacy, now 51, said.

In an attempt to save her own life, Stacey began a journey of self-discovery. In the era before the internet, Stacy and her husband, Rock, scoured bookstores and health stores, looking for answers to ways that she could lose weight. She and her husband traveled to look for solutions for better health. They decided they would not prejudge any ideas, but just look for what worked. For Stacey, who has lived in Seal Beach for the past three years with her husband and two sons, Caleb and Seth, it was a process of deconstructing old beliefs.

Twenty-seven years later, Stacey is still on the journey. She lost more than 100 pounds and continues to look for ways to drop a few more. Her journey in losing the weight was chronicled in the January issue of Woman’s World magazine, with her picture on the magazine cover.

But the journey is not over. It will likely never end. Because what Stacey found was essentially a world-wide vision of living her life. She said the search became a valuable journey that went way beyond losing weight.

When people ask her how she lost the weight, Stacey’s answer is, “do you have a minute?” There was no single, or simple solution. What Stacey found was that what her body needed changed and shifted over time. She has had to adjust to those changes. Although, some routines remained constant, such as walking and yoga for exercise. In her worst state, Stacey could not walk for more than five minutes a day. Today, she walks 8 to 10 miles a day.

Recently, she has adopted a vegan diet and her body is loving it, she said. But she does not anticipate staying vegan forever. Changing things and adjusting to what she feels her body is asking for has worked for her so far, so she intends to keep listening.

“I’m still finding my way,” Stacey said.

Besides, she loves barbeque she said, so eventually her body will ask for it. Still, her belief is that people may not be able to follow the same routine forever, but they can try something for 30 days. But Stacey will also tell people that she has started and stopped countless diets. She will tell them that what works for her, or someone else, might not work for them.

And, she will tell people that the first step for her, was finding a way to love herself again, even at 270 pounds. Stacey has blogged about her journey, noting that at 270 pounds, she began putting on makeup even though she didn’t feel pretty. She got out of the muu muus and put on cute clothes, even though they were size 28. And she put away her scale and stopped using it as a “happiness meter.”

She began to realize that her feelings of unworthiness and her fears were driving her in toxic directions and that the magic bullet she was seeking did not exist. She began to realize that if a “cure” was to be found, it would have to come from within.

“The truth is, the healer is in me, that was a huge turnaround for me,” Stacey said.

Along the journey, doctors would find a diagnosis. Stacey had and still has, a condition known as Hashimoto’s Disease. It’s a thyroid condition that explains all the symptoms she first suffered. But the diagnosis has not changed the direction in which her journey first took her. Stacey has remained committed to listening to her body and looking for ways to stay on course. Along with medical treatments, she continues to walk, do yoga (she’s a certified yoga instructor) and change her diet to fit what she feels her body is asking for. Her basic philosophy centers around six ideas: Beliefs, food, exercise, supplements, spiritual practice and rest. Along the way, she’s tried healing massage, BEMER treatments and fasting among other things. She said it’s about doing things differently and resetting herself.

It’s been long journey for Stacey and one she is likely to continue for the rest of her life. Along the way she has written two books, “You’re Not Crazy and You’re Not Alone,” and “An Unconventional Life: Where Messes and Magic Collide”. And she’s become a coach for women looking for change in their lives as well.

Life is always about choices we have to, or want to, make. In the big picture, Stacey will tell you that if you can be peaceful with your choices, that they can be healthful. Stacey’s journey began by listening to her body. That’s where her healing began, but it became much more.

“I think listening is its own journey,” Stacey said.