My battle with my own weight started as an early teenager. In amidst my parents' constant fighting and then subsequent divorce, I came out of that with very little self-confidence. And as a result, I found myself searching for self-worth in others, which got me into a whole heap load of trouble. That trouble ended when a guy that I was interested in suddenly took advantage of me in an innappropriate way one afternoon, in my own home, and after dealing with all of the emotional fallout over the subsequent two years, I vowed to change how I saw myself. But unfortunately I didn't have the tools available to me at that point to do that. So it was as good as a useless thought, because my 19th birthday came around and so began a three-year relationship with another man, who so horribly abused me that I couldn't see straight by the time I actually got up enough courage to end the relationship once and for all.

I will admit, though, the end of that relationship came with a LOT of empowerment for me, which is hard to put into words. All through that relationship, however, my struggle with my own weight was amplified by about a million, because a good portion of the abuse I underwent was constantly being told by this man how fat I was. At my lowest weight, I weighed only 120 pounds, while my height was 5'10". I was able to see every bone in my chest/ribcage. I knew I was sick and didn't know how to stop what I was doing to myself. Finally, like I said, my breaking free of that came when I ended that relationship.

Unfortunately, though, I went from that extreme to the other extreme within 4 years. I didn't care what I ate and how much of it I ate. I was just so glad to be in a position where I wasn't going to let ANYONE tell me what to put in my mouth or how much weight I should weigh. And I went hardcore. I made sure I ate all the McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy's, and take out that I possibly could. I made sure that the fatter I got, the angrier I got at anyone who suggested that I should lose weight. I saw myself getting bigger and bigger and still, even though there was that little voice inside my head that told me that I was getting too far gone, I shoved that voice down with another hamburger and supersized fries, and another much louder voice that screamed at the little one, 'YOU DON'T CONTROL ME! NO ONE CONTROLS ME ANYMORE!!!!'

Suddenly, 5 years after the end of my abusive relationship, the man that I had been living with for over 3 years, and who had planned with me to get married and started a family, suddenly up and left me. My entire world crashed around me. The love of my life had just dropped the bomb that he wasn't 'in love' with me anymore, and that all the plans and promises that had been made were no longer something he wanted as a reality for himself. And I was shattered. Completely and utterly. Regardless of the fact that later he admitted to me that he had cheated on me, and regardless of the fact that in learning that, it finally reinforced to me that it wasn't my fault, I still felt like suddenly everything I believed in wasn't true. And when it came to my weight, suddenly the once little voice was now on steroids (from all the processed meat, I'm sure...) and was WAAAYYYY louder than my other pissed off voice was. And it was yelling at me 'I TOLD YOU SO! LOOK HOW FAT YOU ARE! NO WONDER HE CHEATED ON YOU!!! HOW COULD YOU LET THIS HAPPEN?!?'

And amidst all that pain for the following weeks, I think somewhere I was able to press the 'reset' button and figure out a way to be healthy again. I started getting active, and changing my eating habits to cutting out fast food again, processed crap, and I dropped a ton of weight. I went down from 220 pounds to 180 in a matter of 6 months. I felt amazing and I felt in control of myself for the first time in my entire life. I took a great deal of time to also figure out what it was that made up my self-worth, and how to preserve that at all costs. And after a long while of doing that, and through some not so smart moves of self-discovery as well, I came to the point where I was ready for a healthy relationship to happen. FINALLY!

And that's when my husband appeared in my life. It was exactly as cliche as everyone said it was. It happened when I least expected it, and when I had stopped looking for another person to complete me. Because I realized that I can complete myself, and in doing so, I can be the perfect compliment to another completed person's life. And vice versa. Which meant my standards of who I was going to spend my life with also suddenly shot sky high in a lot of ways. I was not going to settle anymore. The right person had to organically come into my life, and it had to be at the right time. If I had to wait a long time for that, then I was prepared and happy to do so.

And then, there he was. We became fast, and very good friends in our early dating life. And it was unlike anything I'd ever experienced before. So much so, that I actually had to stop and realize that THIS is what a healthy relationship was supposed to be like before I could continue forward with him. And over the next two years, we dated, got engaged, became parents for the first time, got married, and found out that we were about to become parents again. So much greatness in my life, I didn't have to worry about myself anymore. I didn't have to worry about someone not loving me or being attracted to me despite how my body changed (especially with child birth once, and a second pregnancy on the horizon).

The only problem? I had forgotten about myself and the health that I needed in order to keep up with my own life. Fast forward more than a year and a half after I found out I was pregnant with my second child, and our two beautiful daughters are growing like little weeds, but my body is literally REELING from the unhealthy choices I have made. Now, however, it's no longer emotional, but purely physical. I'm the happiest I have ever been, but that's not the problem anymore. I'm the heaviest I've ever been, and every single part of my aches. My lower back is destroyed and I wake up every day lately, literally unable to carry my 10-month-old baby down the one flight of stairs from our bedroom to the main level of our home without audibly wincing with pain from every step. I can't stand up on my feet for more than 3 minutes at a time, and the thought of exercise is completely taking my breath away.

I have no idea how I'm going to overcome this, and I'm being completely honest when I say that I'm scared that I won't succeed at this diet bet. Or at my life, really. But I'm choosing today, through the pain, to stop thinking that way. I'm going to do everything in my power to push those unnecessary thoughts out of my head and fill it with positive reinforcements. Reading everyone's comments on here has already helped me with that greatly. The other major thing I've done is turned my 'getting well' project into a game! Complete with bad guys to beat like self-doubt, isolation, etc., as well as power up opportunities such as doing activities to boost my self confidence and connection with others, and more!

I'm GOING to overcome the odds against me. I promise. I will make sure to get all the help I need to do so, as well, because I know I can't do this alone. My wonderful husband, our family, my doctors, my friends. I'm going to call on every single one of them to help me overcome this pain, and drop this unhealthy weight.

Thanks for starting this diet bet, Butler family. I am so excited to count all of you and all those that are part of this diet bet as part of my support system. 2015 IS MY YEAR!!!