Love Yourself – Bravelets

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Love Yourself

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About this cause:

I've always been the "Big Girl" the "Funny Fat Chick." That's always been ok. My family has always loved me and my size has never interfered with my ability to make friends. I've lead a seemingly normal life. I've been in long term relationships, I've had amazing friendships and again, my relationship with my family is like no other.

My name is Michelle Hurley. I'm 35 years old and at my heaviest (October 2016) I weighed in at 435 lbs. I've suffered anxiety & depression, asthma, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and type II diabetes. I've been notoriously clumsy all my life and have learned to live with constant joint pain. I also have a rare neurological condition called cluster headaches.

I'm a hairstylist. I love helping people feel better about themselves and I'm pretty passionate about teaching people how to care for their hair. Maybe that love is because I've always struggled to "Love Myself".

On my 33rd birthday I faced the phone call diagnosing me with type II diabetes. For a while, I got motivated. Type II Diabetes was the only ailment I couldn't come up with another excuse (genetics, environment, etc). for. Type II Diabetes was solely due to my weight. As I said, for a little while I got motivated. I went from 418 lbs to 380 lbs that summer. I worked with my employer and did Weight Watchers at Work plus I started seeing the doctors at the University of Maryland Weight Management Center.

I did pretty well until October 2014 when I bruised my tailbone, had a concussion and began suffering from Chronic Cluster Headache. MY old habits came back pretty fast. My health failed. IN June 2015 I lost my job. Life had become very hard. I was no longer getting away with being morbidly obese. In October 2015 I weighed in at 435 lbs. My heaviest. In November & December 2015 I spent two weeks in the hospital. (One of those weeks in ICU.) The chaplain came. Reality set in.

Starting January 2016 (when I began to recover from my hospital stays), I began starting to change more than just the eating habits. I spoke to a life coach (Branden Hudson) and started to consider working with him. I realized I had to lose a certain amount of weight on my own before I could start working in the salon again and I'd have to start working again before I could hire a coach. SO I made it my personal mission to learn to eat healthy. Branden stayed in touch and continued to encourage me through this. I educated myself and worked with my doctors.

In March 2016 I was able to return to the salon. I am typing this updated version of my story in August 2016 and have lost 85 lbs. I am working 4-6 days per week in the salon and working out with Branden 3 times a week. My self esteem and self worth have improved tremendously.

I still plan to do a Tough Mudder as I'd originally posted. I plan to get back on roller skates again. I have already come off a lot of my medication but the goal is to remove all of it.

I also want to help other people who aren't ready yet. I want to get my story out there because not everybody makes it out alive. I know I've been given a second chance and I want to use it to help other people realize that just getting by because you've been able to isn't living. That you can do all of those things you never thought possible. You just have to believe and fight for it. You have to love yourself.