ver since I was a little girl I’ve been fascinated with shoes. I like all different kinds of shoes, like most women. But for the last several years, I’ve noticed that when something momentous — good or not so good — happens to me, I remember what I was wearing on my feet. Maybe a little odd … or is it? More on the shoes later …
Chinese Taoist Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,” and that is what I am on … a journey. And so are you. So is everyone. But until my stint on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” I’m not sure I actually realized life is a journey.
My journey began about as average as anyone can hope for, growing up in the Midwestern “city” of Des Moines, Iowa. While Des Moines is the largest city in Iowa, because there are only about 250,000 residents, it just doesn’t really compare to other cities like Chicago or Minneapolis, St. Louis, or even Omaha, Neb. Picture postcard ordinary … normal (we’ll talk about that word, too).
I have two great parents, Tom and Shirley Meyer, an older sister, Nikki, and I’m very close to my extended family of aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. Some friends are better than family sometimes, ya know?
I was happy and healthy until about second or third grade. It was at that time my Mom transitioned from being a full-time, stay-at-home Mom (and the center of my universe) to working a full-time job outside our home. Suffice it to say the change hit me hard. I’m not sure why, ‘cause everyone else seemed to manage ok. But I responded by gaining weight.
Not a huge amount of weight at first, and I was still an active kid, playing basketball and softball, all the way through middle school. But friends and family were noticing the change, and so was I.
If you’re an adult and/or a parent, you know middle school can be very tough, and no argument here, so is high school. And that’s when my journey went from being tough to brutal. I stayed active, I was in JROTC, but the pounds were piling on and I felt helpless to change it.
Fast forward to after high school graduation, living it up in Iowa City. One night out with my friends on my birthday, I broke my ankle wearing a fab pair of black ankle boots. I came home and was a nanny for a couple of great Des Moines families, but still gaining weight. My journey took a quick turn for the worse as I began to gain even more weight. But breaking my ankle and gaining more weight were the catalyst to deciding to make some drastic changes in my life with the help of “The Biggest Loser” (and perseverance: I sent the one audition tape, but they called me a total of four times before I got on the show). But here’s where I come back to those shoes. Follow the rest of my journey (so far) with a little help from my shoes below!