It was only months after giving birth to her third child and 35-year-old Joni Edelman had never looked better. She weighed only 123 pounds and comfortably fit into a size 4 jeans. Most women envied her body. They said she looked like a swimsuit model and often asked her for fitness advice. But this mother was keeping something inside that made her very unhappy. She was obsessed with her weight. She thought she was fat. When she wasn’t thinking about sending her kids off to school or taking care of patients as a nurse, she was thinking about working out, losing weight, and eating clean.
The following five years after this picture was taken, Joni underwent incredible stress. She lost a baby, got a divorce, remarried, moved a half dozen times, broke a few bones and worked long hours at the hospital as a nurse. As a result, her weight took a toll and dramatically fluctuated like a roller coaster.
It wasn’t until after running 35 miles a week on average, counting every 1,000 calories she ate a day, sleeping an average of 3 hours a night, and writing and tracking my weight every day for a year, she realized how miserable she truly was.
“Being a size 4 made strangers’ heads turn. Repeatedly. It made men in the grocery store hit on me and doctors at the hospital propose torrid affairs.” Joni stated. “It made me a lot of things. It did NOT make me happy.”
Finally, when Joni lost her period she realized her stress levels were spiraling out of control and she needed to change the unhealthy life she was living. Despite the unrealistic standards society has for women, Joni wanted to be a good role model for her children and ultimately, be happy.
Over the past years, Joni has gained well over 50 pounds and has never been happier. She admits, squeezing into her jeans isn’t fun, but the extra pounds are “insignificant” when compared to the willingness to let some things go, “to sit with my kids, to sleep,” she says.
Now, Joni is calling herself “fat and happy,” and making headline news all across the nation. Her uncommon story is inspiring women everywhere to love their bodies, and most importantly, find happiness and stability in the lives they choose to live.
Joni Edelman leaves girls, women and mothers everywhere some words of advice: “You want to really blow people’s minds? Try this at home: Be fat and happy. Be unapologetically fat. Wear a bikini, and mean it. Eat pizza and ice cream and enjoy it. Drink up your life and a bottle of wine, and make no apologies.”
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