Before and after: Ariana Ray's weight loss transformation
Before and after: Ariana Ray's weight loss transformation
This is the real life story of weight loss success – someone who has lost 44kg and kept it off. There is no smoke and mirrors here. Childhood abuse and body fat and being over 40, have not prevented this inspirational woman from being an amazing example of weight loss transformation – without dieting.
One thing that has been recently discovered is that many obese people have in common some history of childhood abuse or neglect – and this seemingly leads to a life of obesity without end. Ariana’s story breaks this trend, and shows that this need not be the case. Now aged 60, she is a slim, healthy, vital, active woman with more energy than she had when she was half her age. What is extraordinary is that there was no magic diet and no weight loss pill – simply a life transformed through self-reflection and healing. What follows is the story of how she changed her life around ...
I was never born fat. I became a fat child. The middle photo above was taken when I was three. I was quite slight then, with little chubby cheeks. The abuse I experienced in my life had started ... you can see the sadness in my eyes.
In the 5 year old photo you can see the weight building up; my face is set hard; jaw clamped shut. When I was an adult, my father told me I had tried to tell him and my mother back then, about the abuse I was experiencing when I was three, but I have no memory of this, nor of their reaction at the time. I’m told I “had a good smacking” for saying such bad things.
The childhood abuse continued systematically until I was seven, at which time we moved away from the abusers.
CHILDHOOD – when weight became a ‘problem’
By the time I was six years old I was well on the way to being the fat child. From my ninth birthday onwards I put on 6kg a year until I was 16 years old. In my early twenties I lost a bit and dropped down to 86kg, but I could not sustain it. When I was thirty I dropped to 57kg, but could not sustain that either, I always ended up with chocolates and chips.
Every diet offered some kind of hope – the hope that was always dashed when the weight crept back on. The past always was there to be eaten away – although I was not always aware that was what I was doing.
Later in my childhood, my biggest worry occurred when I overheard teachers expressing concern about my constantly sad expression ...
I had a really bad feeling that if I didn’t change what I looked like for the world, I would be taken away from my parents. So I invented the ‘smiling me’ and all was well – the hushed concerns expressed by teachers stopped. I excelled at my fake smile.
This is me at age 14 with my mother in 1967. I was feeling miserable and felt like I had the weight of life on me. I was physically well developed and didn't know how to cope with the sexualised looks and comments I used to get. I had no idea how to cope with puberty.
... and at 16.
When I was sixteen, I was still smiling. I was experiencing very painful and humiliating teenage years due to my size, with much isolation, loneliness and sadness, yet there was the smile through it all.
The abuse had stopped before I reached puberty, however as I grew up I lost most of my memory of childhood – this only started coming back in tiny bite-sized pieces when I was in my thirties. It caused me huge distress as I had no idea how to cope with those memories.
I met my husband when I was twenty and married at twenty-one. By the time I turned 28 I had four children. At thirty I started a university degree course and separated from my husband – all in the same year. In the evenings when the children were in bed, I would sit in front of the fire in winter and in the garden in summer, drinking wine to forget how I felt living this life of mine.
I used to get myself into difficulties with all sorts of things and people, until one day the mess felt so bad and so big that I knew this way of life had to stop and I knew there was something better than this. I made a list of my behaviours that were getting me in a mess and started to look at how to change, and to look for ways that could support me with this change.
I read hundreds of self-help books, listened to tapes and attended workshops. Not a lot helped me to change, but for the first time in my life I started to become aware of some of the things I was doing that contributed to the mess.
It was a big first step. I was nowhere near healing my hurts from my childhood, but I was gaining an awareness of them. But more than that, I was just beginning to learn to take responsibility for my behaviour and acknowledge that I was causing the mess I was getting myself into.
In the photo on the left I was 43 years old and had lost a lot of weight and was down to a size 20, however I still drank and ended up heavier than before I'd lost weight.
The middle photo was at 45 years old. I had lost weight and thought I looked like the bees knees.
In the photo on the right I was 52 years old and it was a month before attending the first workshop with Serge Benhayon. The weight had piled back on; my knees hurt most of the time; I struggled to get on and off the toilet and even to get on to the sofa and off again. I lived in a first floor flat and the stairs were a nightmare – my legs would give way underneath me. I had backache, neck ache and saw an osteopath regularly just to keep going.
The start of true healing ...
In May 2005, I came to a workshop with Serge Benhayon. I was deeply impressed with this man who made the greatest sense I had ever heard ... there was no rah-rah, he just presented the truth. He taught me a technique called The Gentle Breath Meditation.
This enabled me to connect to myself in a way I had never experienced before and supported the beginning of my own road to self-responsibility and bringing healing to myself.
The ‘me’ I was back then, was angry at the world. My argument was: no-one rescued me as a child, no-one listened – so I made God, the angels, the world and the whole universe to blame – I was angry at everyone. Yet when I was able to bring honesty and self-responsibility to that, I could see that the only person I was angry at, was me. I was angry with myself for all the choices I had made that were unloving, hard and cruel to myself and that I had constantly sought to find scapegoats to dump this all on. Realising this allowed me to change and bring healing to myself.
Then, and only then, I was able to look at what I was eating and the way I was eating it, from an entirely different light and my whole body started changing. Step by step I discovered that certain foods I ate stopped me feeling what was going on in my body, so I made a choice to stop eating them.
I started with looking at wheat and gluten – when I stopped eating them, I changed and could feel a lot more of what was happening for me. I then looked at dairy, which I already knew gave me sniffles and a runny nose all the time, so I tried giving it up. When I did, I felt I could feel even more of what my body was telling me. During this process, I began to lose the fuzzy head, the racy mind and the feeling of heaviness these foods gave me. I never did this to lose weight, but the weight did begin to fall away and thus began my true weight loss tranformation.
The next thing I looked at was the biggest one for me – sugar. I discovered that the more sugar and carbohydrates I ate, the more I wanted. There is an addictive quality to sugar that I could feel and I had started to understand just how much it was affecting me, including making me feel racy.
I decided to stop eating any sugar with the exception of apples. This was a huge step for me – I didn’t want to let go of all my chocolate, biscuits and cakes. I baked a lot of gluten and dairy free cakes that delighted the mouth, but I knew they were affecting me. So I stopped the sugar and an amazing thing occurred ... my body shape started to change dramatically. I lost a lot of weight over the course of the next year or so – going from a size twenty-six to a size twelve (UK) – shifting 44 kgs in the process.
Ironically, my weight loss transformation was a side effect of my lifestyle choices. It was never my intention to lose weight, it happened because I was caring for myself properly for the first time.
I just wanted to feel what was going on in my body and it felt great. I didn’t put myself on a diet nor any weight reducing program, I just ate what felt right for me and ate well. I avoided any sugar and anything that I knew would turn into sugar when it hit my body (like crackers, biscuits, rice, pasta, potatoes and high carbohydrate foods and most fruits).
I discovered that there is a lot of hidden sugar in food in the supermarket, so would always check the ingredients in food, as sugar appears to be added to almost all prepared and processed food, even my favourite smoked salmon! I learned how to cook for myself.
I do appreciate my amazing figure and the loss of all the body fat I was carrying – I feel light on my feet and have huge amounts of energy. But what I appreciate even more is the way I feel. My body has become like radar for how food and behaviour affects it. I have noticed that my body has far more intelligence than my mind.
This way of living makes me feel gorgeous inside and out and I’m still not on a diet or weight-reducing program. I am the living proof and evidence of weight loss success from a way of living and self-responsibility that disproves all the theories about diet and weight loss that the world has to offer.