Carrie Boe’s Whyography is one of more than 30 stories featured in the “Whyography: Building a Brand Fueled by Purpose” book. Proceeds from book sales benefit the Fueled by Purpose micro grant fund for women-owned businesses. To purchase the book, visit the Marketplace page.
Editor’s note: This is an edited version of the story Carrie Boe wrote while participating in a Whyography workshop. For tools and resources for writing and publishing your story, visit our Workshops page.
The summer before Carrie Boe started fourth grade wasn’t what she expected. Her mom had just been diagnosed with a debilitating illness. Then, as Carrie played in their backyard, running through the sprinkler, she slipped on the wet grass and broke her arm. Instead of carefree sunny days at the pool, she spent her time watching reruns of “I Dream of Jeannie” and eating bologna sandwiches. She couldn’t bear the thought of losing anyone in her family. So she’d stand in front of the open fridge thinking about what to eat next, although she really wasn’t hungry.
That pattern continued as her mom got sicker. When it came time to shop for new school clothes, Carrie found herself in the “Pretty Plus” section at Sears. When she was just 15, Carrie watched her mom slip away and her dad struggle with the loss by numbing himself with alcohol. Carrie also numbed, but with pizza and fast food. In her 20s, Carrie was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
By her early 40s, Carrie had lost her entire immediate family. She managed her grief by going to work, keeping social engagements and tackling her to-do list. And she kept eating. When she found herself weighing well over 350 pounds, Carrie had a powerful realization: She wasn’t ready to die too. She resolved to get healthy, so she connected with a trainer named Kevin. He promised to be in it for the long haul if she was willing to commit. Though she could barely walk on a treadmill, Carrie bought a package of sessions. She also began working with a registered dietician on her nutrition.
Thanks to this crucial support, Carrie experienced a major shift. Instead of eating her way through life’s challenges, she discovered how to be present and deal with the highs and lows. She learned to love herself and feed her body to fuel it rather than to numb it. She ended up losing the equivalent of an entire extra person and significantly increased her muscle mass. Insulin injections were no longer necessary. She also gave up her longtime corporate job and launched a wellness practice, SuperStrongChick.
As a certified health coach and personal trainer, Carrie helps her clients transform their lives through education, support and empathy. Through one-on-one and group coaching, workshops and community events, she connects with others who may relate to her experiences. Her mission is to empower women who are experiencing obesity-related issues to love themselves while achieving better health and wellness and discovering their best life.
Ultimately, Carrie demonstrates that health is not just defined by fitness and nutrition. Nor does losing a significant amount of weight automatically “fix” everything. Relationships, spirituality, careers and self-care all play a role in overall wellness. While it may be easier to soothe emotions with things like food, embracing life’s transitions and establishing good daily habits are the path to genuine happiness, renewed health, and true strength in mind, body and spirit.
To learn more about Carrie’s business, visit SuperStrongChick.com.
Photo: Diabetic Living Magazine