Icy Barzey – George is no longer bound by her past. But first she had to face it. She had to take a head-on look at what hurt her and what hindered her progression. With the love and support of her husband, Kerry and daughter Zuri, she dug deep and uncovered her true value buried underneath pains that kept self-love hidden away. Now on a journey to a better self she is conquering her demons and letting them and everyone else know that what they tried to break is well on her way to whole again.
Let’s start at the beginning. When (age) did you first become aware that your weight was an issue or hindrance for you? I discovered at the age 11 that my weight was hindrance for me. Because I was teased and bullied throughout my adolescence, I didn’t love myself, I felt ugly, and I Contemplated killing myself.
Do you have a support system of friends, family, co-workers etc. who support your journey? Did you have to cut any enablers or “fire starters” (people who put you in a place of negativity that knocks you off track) off during this time of transformation? Yesssss! The fire starter and enabler was one and the same…….ME! I would be stressed and/or happy, and carbohydrates became my drug (sugar, cake, rice, pasta, flour…that delicious devil!) of choice! I had to get out of my own way (self-sabotage) and I learned different “tricks” to keep me on track, like meditation and inhaling essential oils, journal writing before I eat to talk myself down from the ledge. I actually created a secret weight loss community that consists of family and friends, and strangers who have now become friends on social media after I became transparent about my weight journey. I realized so many women did not have a safe place where they can be transparent about their weight journey and vent about temptation and failures. I wanted to make a space where women can feel ok about pressing the reset button without judgment.
What had you tried before that didn’t work for you at the place in life you were at the time? Tell others what some of the “speed bumps” of previous journeys were and how you learned to reroute around those things this time? It’s easy to talk ourselves out of a “get healthy” plan or simply let a bad get us off track. Now that you can look back did those other plans/diets/etc. not stand a chance because you were not ready? I have “literally” been on every over the counter diet drug as well as medically prescribed drug from the age of 18 to into my 30’s. I even did gastric bypass surgery 2009 and lost 150 lbs and maintained it up till 2013. I was in an accident that caused a lot of nerve damage causing me to have two surgeries and required me to have steroid treatments to my spine in order to reduce swelling in my spine and help me walk. I ballooned 67 lbs within a 9 month period and spiraled into deep depression. For me I really had come to grips with the fact that I am a carbohydrates addict and that the “bad carbohydrates” (i.e.: white flour, pasta sugar) was very destructive for me, and I had to get this weight off my body. I had to remove the bad carbohydrates from my life and make better choices (i.e.: increase my dark leafy vegetable intake, I also gave up meat and became a pescetarian (only eats fish) because as my weight and spiritual journey started to really speak louder and I was getting older, my body really did not react to meat well. I found I felt very heavy and slow in my movement. I was also in a real honest place where I had to admit it’s time to get it together. For me, my life depended on it!
How long have you been a Clinical Dietician? How did being a Clinical Dietician help (i.e. assessing your own diet and nutritional needs) or hinder you (i.e. using helping others as a crutch to justify your own nutritional downfalls)? I have been a Clinical Dietitian in the geriatric sector for 25 years. I have also worked with teen-breastfeeding mothers as well as consulting on the side. Helping others did allow me to put my own health needs on the “back burner” for many years. Because I needed to get out of this depressive state, I reached out for help to dig deeper into why I self sabotage myself.
You mention “past hurts” being a catalyst to your weight gain. Tell us how your past affected you and steps you took to overcome them. How did you determine your dominant issue and then encourage yourself daily to remind yourself that you are worth more than what happened to you? When I was 12, I was sexually molested by a family member. I had suppressed this for many years, never told my family, blamed myself, and actually contemplated killing myself. I turned to food as a comfort and at that time thought the fat would make me unattractive to men so no one would want me. I became very self destructive and felt I was not beautiful and not worthy of good in my life. I started to see a psychotherapist that touched the surface of my self-sabotaging behavior. It was effective, but I needed more and the therapist just didn’t “get me”.
I realized that I needed all the aspects (i.e.: emotional, spiritual) of my life to be looked at, so was on social media, and started following a young lady that little did I know would help change my life. Her name is Tina C. Hines, Life Transformation list a.k.a a life coach. Tina took over where my therapist left off but really guided me to getting into the root of my childhood pains and my relationship with food and flipped it. With Tina she used daily journal/affirmation writing and meditation as the tools to crack the layers that I had built around my life for so many years. She helped me to remove the shame and blame out of my life, address the hurt and put the blame where it belonged, on my aggressor and not myself. As time went on I felt emotionally and spiritually lighter so the physical weight became easier to lift. Meditation and writing is now a way of life for me. It helps me release the pain and not go back into that dark place.
How did your eating habits change? Detoxification or cleansing my body as well as eating organically as much as possible have been very effective. I found that when I removed the things that did not serve my body, it made room for the things that do! So now I find it easier to make better choices because I am no longer feeding my emotions, I deal with them a whole lot better now. I do a lot of walking, now that I have recovered from my surgeries. I like to actually sit outside and breathe, it feels good.
What are you doing differently during your plateau moments in your weight loss to stay on your journey and what would you say to women who may become discouraged during this period? I use to be obsessed with the “number” on the scale. I found that when I started to love “me” no matter where I am at as far as pounds it came off easier. I celebrate the losses but I do not beat myself up if I gained a pound or did not lose at all. I practice a lot of self love and care techniques (i.e. Love baths, shower meditations, where I release whatever is bothering me in the water and down the drain. I do a lot of mind visualization of what my new body will look like as well as vision boards. To all the woman who feel discouraged, I need you to really prosper where you are planted. Appreciate and love the “you” that you are now, to become the new you that you want to be.
Did you see a physician prior to starting your program of choice and how has your health improved since you started. I did consult my Physician. Reason being I was on A LOT of pain meds due to a slip and fall accident that limited my ambulation and I acquired nerve damage in my shoulder, hands and legs. Since detoxifying my body and losing the weight, I have been weaned off most of my meds, I no longer have the unbearable pain I use to have, and I am back up to being able to walk 3-5 miles, where 3 years ago I couldn’t walk 100 feet without being in pain.
What does your weekly workout/exercise routine look like today? I am only allowed to do cardio, no weight training (I haven’t been cleared yet, my shoulder is still healing), so walking is the main exercise I do 3 times a week, and I have gotten up to 3-5 miles around the greenway behind my building or the treadmill at the gym on a good day.
What did it look like 13 months ago? 13 months ago, I would walk 1-3 miles.
What is/was your biggest struggle as it relates to exercise? My schedule can sometimes interfere with my exercise, especially if I am traveling. So I try to get up early and go to the gym in a hotel that I’m staying in and do the treadmill. The weather especially in the winter, I go to the gym right after work for an hour.
How has being a Reiki Practitioner helped your current journey? Reiki has been very helpful in assisting with the physical pain that I have, and relaxing me.
Now that you have put yourself first, what is your end goal? My end goal hmmmmm…..sit on the airplane seat and NEVER EVER need a seatbelt extension ever again, get on an amusement park ride and not worry that I am too fat! I don’t believe inn weight goals, I believe in real life accomplishments.
What would you say to the people, places and things that hurt you now? I thank you! I am better, not bitter! I feel great and look great, and love ME! You didn’t break me! Namaste!
Did Icy sharing her story inspire you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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