Dear Future Self: A Letter that Kickstarted a Transformation
Sarie Bronish thought the idea was silly, but she was desperate enough to try anything.
It was 2013, and the young mother of two, ashamed to leave the house due to her obesity, finally was emotionally strong enough to do something about it. As one of the first steps in the process, she took the advice she had come across about writing a letter to her future self.
The idea behind it is that, should she reach a point in her weight loss journey that she felt like she couldn’t go on, reading the letter would serve as motivation to finish what she started. At 5-foot-6, 240 pounds, Bronish had a tough road ahead, and she was tough on herself in the letter.
The letter is full of raw emotion, reading in part, “… tonight I had to buy new underwear because my other underwear are cutting too tightly into my hips. They are a size XXL.”
Referring to how miserable she felt despite trying her best to hide it behind a smile, she told herself that she deserved better and that her husband and kids deserved better. She closed the letter with, “Sincerely, Fat Girl.”
She is “Fat Girl” no more.
How It All Started
The 28-year-old Bronish lost 100 pounds and is the model of fitness and good health. Once pre-diabetic and suffering from depression, she is now an ISSA certified fitness instructor who works at a YMCA near her home in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
And, having chronicled her transformation on social media, Bronish is an inspiration to thousands who relate to her story and want to find the same outcome.
Bronish’s weight issues began when she became pregnant with her first child. She was just finishing her tour of duty in the Navy when she got pregnant, which meant she would no longer take part in rigorous training.
"I just sat around eating,” Bronish said. “I don’t feel I had a very good role model when it comes to being active while pregnant. I gained 75 pounds during the pregnancy. My intentions were to lose the weight after my daughter was born, but I didn’t know where to start.”
“I would diet, and then stop, diet and then stop. After I got pregnant the second time and my son was born, I was 100 pounds overweight.”
Like many people who struggle with obesity, Bronish had underlying emotional issues that contributed to her unhealthy ways. She was aware enough to seek help from a trained therapist.
“It was a lot of help in sorting out what was logic and what was emotion,” Bronish said. “Feeling depressed was preventing me from getting up and making the necessary changes. It was a constant battle, and I always took that out on myself. So, I would sabotage myself by overeating. One 4th of July I just felt so awful that I ate a half-gallon of ice cream at once. I turned to food as my sense of comfort.”
Determined to make a change, Bronish did some research on weight loss and began counting calories. The realization of just how much she was eating and then making some needed adjustments helped her lose the first 10 pounds. That led her to a plan to start counting macros.
“I lost about 40 pounds before I ever stepped into a gym,” Bronish said. “When I decided to incorporate exercise into my plan, I hired a personal trainer.”
Unfortunately, Bronish said she had a bad experience with her personal trainer, who Bronish said “fudged” her measurements to make it look like she was losing more inches than was accurate. Bronish grew suspicious and decided to measure herself at home, and found out the truth.
“I brought it up to her and her supervisor,” Bronish said, “and she ended up getting fired because of it. At that time, I was getting a lot of attention on social media and people were asking me for help. So that’s when I decided to get certified.”
Becoming a Certified Trainer
Bronish gained her certifications in personal training and fitness nutrition at the same time. She waited two years before beginning to train clients because she said she wasn’t sure how to start. When it came time to renew her certification, she decided to add group training and strength and conditioning certifications.
Thrilled she is doing something that has such a positive impact on people, Bronish feels as though she has found her calling. To meet her own fitness needs, Bronish works out with her group classes as well as with some of her individual clients. Her clients prefer it that way, she said, seeing the time they spend together as a partnership.
Keeping It Real
That follows the partnership Bronish had with her future self, which began six years ago in the form of a letter. After writing it, Bronish said she forgot about it for about a year, and rediscovered it at the same time she was meeting her weight loss goal. She decided to make the letter public in hopes that it could help others.
In 2015 she added the “after” letter she wrote to herself and posted both letters on the internet. The second letter talks about how proud she is of what she has been able to accomplish, and that it took a strong woman. She closes with, “Sincerely, Sarie. the NOT-fat-anymore-girl. xoxoxoxoxo"
Bronish is amazed that the post has received over 170,000 shares.
“Everyone thinks that what they are going through and how bad they feel is worse than anyone else has experienced,” she said. “I wanted them to know that they are not alone, that I am where I am now despite going through all that turmoil.”
Inspired by Sarie Bronish and want to make a change for your self or to help others? Gain the knowledge and get certified with the ISSA’s personal training course to start building a healthier future.