By Mia Sherin, September 20, 2020
Emily Jordan, a proud Habits Ambassador, has a story to tell. Over the past few years, her life has reached unthinkable lows, and her perseverance has been put to the test. But through it all, she has come out stronger, happier, and with newfound self-love. She represents all that it means to be a member of the Habits 365 community, and I am so honored to not only hear her story, but to have the privilege of telling it.
In 2011, Emily, who is a single, working mom living in North Carolina, was diagnosed with a very rare brain disease called Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH). After her diagnosis, she underwent multiple surgeries, and later, held a Walk for IIH, where she raised ten thousand dollars for a cure. Despite working to further her cause, she was still struggling. While in pain and taking a lot of medication, she began to gain weight, but more than that, she didn’t feel like herself. “I guess I just kind of lost myself, after so long of feeling bad,” Emily shared. “I wondered, ‘Man, am I ever going to be normal? Am I ever going to feel good again?’”
In December of 2019, things took a turn for the worst as Emily was hospitalized with Pancreatitis. She spent over a month in the hospital, on a feeding tube and a heart monitor, and for three and a half of those weeks she was unable to walk. “I thought I was going to die in there,” she told me.
“Through all that, I lost sight of things,” she admitted. “I don’t want to say I started drinking, because I never drank during the day, but I drank quite a bit at night, just to get my mind off of things before I went to bed.” She went on to confess, “I was so embarrassed in the hospital, because the doctor asked ‘Are you a daily drinker?’ and I was like ‘Um no, I’m not,’ and I just didn’t want to admit that I was.”
In January soon before she was able to leave the hospital, she found herself at an all-time low: unhappy with her weight, with her habits, and with herself. “I thought to myself, ‘What am I doing? I have a beautiful nine year old son, I shouldn’t be drinking every night anyways.’ I was also in a very abusive relationship for the last five years, so that put my mental state down.” She decided then and there that it was time to make a change, and made this promise: “Whenever I was in the hospital, I was just laying there and thought, ‘If you please just let me be okay, I promise I will change so many things that I do.’” And she did just that.
Within a month of being released, she had lost a significant amount of weight, was going on daily walks, eating healthy, and turning her life around. She even picked up her life and moved to the beaches of North Carolina, a long-time dream of hers. People were often pestering her about how and why she looked so different: “They’re like ‘what did you take?’ And I didn’t take anything. I honestly and truly believe that whenever you love yourself and you care about yourself and you’re happy, truly happy, then everything else falls into place. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell people.” That powerful message is one that we are so happy Emily was able to share with the Habits community. She went on to say, “It’s not a magic pill or anything like that. It’s just truly being happy.”
While Emily completely transformed her body through this process, it’s empowering to know that this is not just a weightloss story. This is a story of a woman who found herself again. Through sharing her experience, Emily hopes to empower others to set goals and work towards the life they want. But never forget that all bodies are beautiful at any size, and the pursuit of self love should never be contingent on weight loss. “Whenever you think about habits, you might think about bad habits, or that’s what I think about.,” Emily said. “So wearing your good ones is an amazing thing. Not just about weight loss but about everything.”
What I found most empowering about Emily’s story, is the idea that anyone has the power to make change. “I guess I had it stuck in my mind that I was going to be like I was forever,” Emily shared of her feelings during her lowest point. “If you have a bad habit, realize that you can get past it. Because for the longest time, I thought that I couldn’t.” While she was specifically speaking about her past drinking habits, this can apply to any lifestyle changes. “If you really want to be better, and feel better you can do it, if you really want to. It’s never too late to start over.”