Why Buttahfly?

As you'll probably be reading about in several future posts, I've had body image/weight issues my whole life (who hasn't?).  In my adult life I've been 100lbs, 200lbs, and everywhere in between.  I've been anorexic, bulimic, and "afraid to diet" for fear of returning to those extremes ... and miserable all along.

Miserable Caterpillar, 1999
This was me at my worst.  Believe it or not, it was Christmas Day - can't you see the festive spirit?  I got married a few months later, busting out of my plus-sized dress, and though I felt awful about myself, hubby thought I was the most beautiful woman in the world (yep - he's a keeper!).

In 2001, I joined Weight Watchers, and though now it is not a program I could ever follow again (edit: never say never), at the time it truly changed my life ... and though the weight came back, the changes inside stay with me to this day.  We didn't just talk about food and weight; we talked about  all the things in life that mess us up emotionally, causing us to overeat, beat ourselves up, and measure our self-worth by the size of our jeans.  It was there that I "learned" that I actually mattered, no matter what I looked like  (of course, I still wanted to look - and feel - better).

At one of the meetings, another member talked about the life cycle of a butterfly in relation to her weight loss. She said that all her life she felt like a miserable caterpillar - never wanting to go anywhere or do anything, feeling insecure and unworthy because of her weight.  As she nourished both body and mind with lifestyle changes, she was transformed.  For the first time ever, she said, she felt like a beautiful butterfly both inside and out.  And she was.

Reaching Goal, 2002
In that moment, I decided:  I wanted to be a butterfly.  It was more than a goal; it was a mission ... a calling ... a new identity.  Newly motivated, I worked even harder towards this metamorphosis.  Though I didn't reach my "goal weight" for nearly a year, I believe the butterfly emerged sooner.  I wasn't just doing this for myself anymore.  I was inspiring others in my group the same way the butterfly had inspired me.  If I could do this, they could too.  Sure, it took effort ... but we were worth it.  

Along the way, I'd become "friends" with some people through an online message board for people with 50+ pounds to lose.  We tried calling our group "50 Plus" but people thought we were referring to our age, so we had to get more creative.  Someone mentioned that 200 sticks of butter weigh 50lbs, so we went with that.  Then a New York accent proudly said "buttah" instead.  And so, the "200 Sticks of Buttah Buddies" was born (later shortened to Buttah Buds).  Since these "buds" were so instrumental in helping me transform, I dedicated my spelling to them.  I wasn't just a butterfly ... I was a buttahfly.

Soon after reaching goal, I started working for WW.  It wasn't enough for me to help only my friends in those two groups.  If I could help even more people make the changes necessary to feel as incredible as I did, how could I possibly not do that?  The butterfly story spread, and I'm convinced that many of my members didn't even know my real name.  They knew me as The Buttahfly, and soon they were flying with me.

Over the years, people have brought me facts, gifts, and stories about butterflies - some cute, some silly, some absolutely exquisite.  There was one quote, though, that says it better than I ever could.  It's from Trina Palaus' Hope For The Flowers/The Hungry Caterpillar:

How does one become a Buttahfly?  
My Buttahfly Tattoo
You must want to learn to fly so much that you're willing to give up being a caterpillar.

5 comments:

  1. Hey! I'm one of the old buttah buds. :D That's how we met and I'll forever be greatful to that thread, because of it. :) I'm feeling the need to transform into a buttahfly as well. I'm up and down and back and forth with my weightloss and healthy lifestyle efforts. You and Mike are a great inspiration to me. You are both doing so well and I'm so proud of you guys. I want to fly with you guys...I'm ready to fly!

    Love ya,

    Julie :)

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  2. Truly inspirational Kerry. I am glad to now know the origins of Buttahfly... =)

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  3. Julie ... you have always kept me positive, and kept me motivated ... you are definitely the best thing to come out of that board - I absolutely LOVE you! I know you've got it in you to fly ... and we'll definitely do it together!

    MK - thanks ... I can't believe that all this time I never told you that!

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  4. Kerry, just read the "why buttahfly" post. Very, very inspiring!!!!

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  5. Kerry, I share this journey with you as well. I started WW when I was 16, and probably lost, and found, 500 pounds over the years. Finally, at around age 50 - about 8 years ago - I lost the weight for good. It's a long story and I can't easily explain how I did. It would take a memoir to do it justice (hmmm)

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