Losing weight, for me, has been far more than a reduction in the number of pounds on the scale. It has been an emotional, deeply spiritual journey that has taught me more about myself than I expected to learn when I began the process last spring.

My initial goal to lose my first 30 pounds in three months was an attempt to convince myself that I was serious about getting fit after many years of being overweight. I accomplished that goal and then proceeded to drop another 10 pounds with the help of my life coaches Charles Taylor and Shakira Clemetson of Charles and Shakira Unlimited.

I intend to continue losing weight, even though the total lost several months later stands at 40. When it came time to give readers an update, I felt compelled to examine my weight loss and to face the truth. I am disappointed that I have lost only 40 pounds. I could have been much lighter by now, yada, yada, yada.

I was well on my way to beating myself up when I stopped mid-sentence and made a conscious decision to shift from loathing to loving. And because I am now a CESE (certified excuse spotting expert) who is able to spot those boogers a mile away, I asked myself whether I was engaging in that all too human process once again. To a certain extent, I was, but when I looked at the bigger picture, the answer became, “Not so fast, sister.”

One of the things that I know for sure is that the human body is resilient but I’m not always pleased when it takes over to heal and protect. For instance, when swelling follows a sprain, the body knows that the tender area needs protection while it heals but we impatiently try to rush the healing process.

In my weight loss journey, my body knew that, as I experienced the biggest change in my adult life, the end of a 26-year marriage, the cutting of some slack was certainly in order. I am grateful that this transition in my life was buffered by prayer and has occurred with as much love and dignity that a change of this sort can have. And although the way that I eat has improved and I exercise far more than I had done in a very long time, the strong focus on dropping pounds eased up as my focus on my family’s well-being took center stage.

Because I know that everything happens for a reason, I have no regrets. My work with Shakira on “meaning making” also helped me to define my success according to my own standards.

Sure, I would love to have dropped an additional 30 or so pounds but I haven’t and, as Maya Angelou said in her book of the same title, “I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now.”  When I look at the past several months objectively, I firmly but lovingly tell my self-critic to take a seat. I’m actually OK with where I am. And in the name of loving what is, instead of regretting what isn’t, I have changed my tune from the blues-inspired “I only lost 40 pounds,” to the more upbeat and soulful “I’ve lost 40 pounds and kept it off, changed my relationship with food, made exercise a part of my life and I love myself far more than I ever have.”

With that as a foundation, I move on to Phase 2 of this blessed journey. Stay tuned.

Renee Michelle Hollinger may be contacted at Charles and Shakira Unlimited is a comprehensive, spirituality-based life coaching program that inspires clients to live H.I.P. — Healthy, Inspired and Purposeful – lives. They may be contacted at 954-591-8542 or via Twitter at Their website is

Photo: Renee Michelle Hollinger  


Editor’s note: This is another installment in a series tracing the writer’s weight-loss journey and her discovery of the relationship between avoirdupois and spiritual well-being.