06/26/2015 01:05 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Weight Loss vs. Getting Healthy: Which is Harder?

Weight. It's something I have battled with my entire life. I was above a size 14 in junior high. I hit my peak weight in my early 30s, and was just miserable with myself and my life. I was married and accepting horrible treatment because that's all I thought I was worth.

In January of 2012, I weighed 262 lbs. and I had enough. At first I tried one of those "Weight Loss Centers" where they simply pump you full of phentermine and B12, hook you up to a machine that reads your body fat mass percentage, as opposed to regular BMI, and pat you on the back for reducing the number on the scale every week you go in. However, they do nothing to encourage your actual health. Just a number on a scale is all that is important. I did lose a lot of weight on their "program," and it truly was the jumpstart I needed to really take accountability for my physical health.

I joined a gym next, and really looked at what I was putting into my body. I lost something like 10lbs just by drinking water instead of soda. I changed how I ate, not necessarily what I ate at first, but the routines of how. All in all, I was sincerely on a path to changing my lifestyle. As the weight started to come off, I noticed the way my husband treated me was different, and not in a good way. The more confidence I found, the more he pushed away, at one point even calling me insatiable in life.

At the time, it broke my heart to hear that. Now, of course, I see it as a true compliment. Hell yes, I am insatiable at life. I would hate to become stagnant or satisfied, how selfish would that be? I want to always strive to do and be better. Six months later, my husband left me, rocking my entire being to the core with the zip of a duffle bag and the slam of the door. There I was, over 50 lbs. lighter in body weight, but still believing no one would want to treat me any better.

The next year of my life was a complete blur. In total, I lost 130 lbs. of my body weight, and a 200 lb. jerk of a man off my brain. But something still wasn't right. I tried dating, and after several failed attempts, I moved in with a guy. I had no idea I had set myself up for failure and fallen right back into the same exact pattern of being treated as if I didn't matter. Accepting as a compliment, "I like you because you are a fat chick stuck in a hot chick's body; that means you will always be a good woman for me."

Once again, slapped in the face and willing to accept it because why would anyone treat me better? Between that and the men who never noticed me before, but were begging for my attention after the weight loss, I actually contemplated putting the weight back on. I would rather be overweight and under the radar than looked at like some sort of "sexy" object. (Still really weird to acknowledge myself as sexy.)

After that relationship ended, I took some time to really look in the mirror, and really look at myself. While I may have made my body healthy, I destroyed my mind in the process. How does one reconcile the comment of: "A fat chick stuck in a hot chick's body"? Does that mean it was blatantly clear that I had little or no self-esteem? As if "fat chicks" get automatically treated horribly and that is okay? Does that mean that I will always put a man's needs and wants in front of my own because that's what I deserve? How did I let myself get so out of whack with a healthy body and a destroyed self-esteem? That is when I realized it was time to change. Everything about who I was needed to change.

I slowly started to try new things, different classes and experiences. Tried going new places and even different volunteering opportunities, just in an attempt to find my own happy, for me. I realized that I am horrible at Zumba, but man alive is it fun to try! I love to hike and read, and I have a very good eye for photography. I learned that I love the feeling of seeing fresh cut flowers on my counter every week and started buying them for myself. I took myself to movies and ball games, concerts and car shows. I dated myself and found out how to love myself.

It was not an easy process. Losing the 130 lbs. of body fat was much easier for me than losing the 30+ years of telling myself that "this is good enough," "if I want to keep him, I need to just accept the treatment," and an adult lifetime of telling myself I can't do it on my own, I need a man to complete me, to hold me and protect me. It was not easy, but I did it -- and continue to do it every day. It's a mixture now of mind, body and soul to be healthy. There are questions you need to really ask yourself like why do you eat the way you do? If it were worded as "you are torturing yourself with a slow suicide," would it change how you treat your body? How would you deal the emotional side effects of losing half your body weight?

Choose to get your brain healthy as you work on the health of your body. It is nearly impossible to have one without the other. Love what you see in the mirror not just for the curves, dips and straight-aways, but because the combination of your body and mind is the open road to a future only you can drive.