The writer before and after her personal makeover. Photos: Courtesy of Bridgit Torbett
I was a stay-at-home mom of a 4-year-old and a 6-month-old when my marriage ended. When I moved out of our house, I looked in the mirror and realized the young, vivacious, athletic person I'd been was gone. Now I was a depressed 225-pound woman without the energy to get off the couch. I'd been unhappy for a while, and I was seeking comfort in the kitchen. I didn't want my children growing up with this person as their mother, and I embarked on a whole-life makeover.
During my marriage, we lived in a small town outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico. I have no family nearby, so I decided to move back into the city for easy access to work, babysitters and stores. I re-entered the workforce after a two-year hiatus, and decided to finally finish up the college degree I had put on hold. I got a job working for the same college that I attended.
I was fortunate enough to be able to buy a house. The house was almost 50 years old and quite run down, but it had a huge yard that the children could play in. As I began rebuilding the house, I started rebuilding myself. I watched do-it-yourself shows and pretty much lived at Home Depot, and I managed to create a home that my children loved. Meanwhile, the harder I worked on the house, the more weight I lost! One day I noticed that my clothes were feeling loose so I stepped on that dreaded scale. To my surprise I had lost 45 pounds. I was excited and happy, and wanted to keep losing that weight.
Because I was on a very tight budget and could not afford a gym membership or any fancy diet plans, I just utilized what I had around me. Running was hard because I had two little ones, but running after them in the backyard was definitely a workout! I also found a website, Sparkpeople.com, on which I could calculate my daily caloric intake versus the calories I needed to burn to lose weight. I tracked my calories every day on the page and monitored my progress with a weekly weigh-in. In a matter of months I lost an additional 30 pounds. I was feeling healthier and lighter, and my colleagues at work began commenting how thin I looked.
Safety pins could only tack back so much fabric. It was time to face that full-length mirror in the changing rooms, so I walked into a store that I loved to window shop but had never ventured inside. The Limited has always been full of cute clothes that I would look at and say to myself, "someday." Well someday was today! I found the courage to start trying on different outfits. My weight was now down to 150 and I finally fit back into size 12 pants. I found several pants that I liked and even donned a skirt that made my legs look great. It was the first time since my early 20s that I walked out of a clothing store with a smile. I was so ecstatic that I completed the transformation with high heels. I always wanted an office job where I could wear cute shoes, and now I had one!
But I wasn't done yet. I called a local salon, Mystique, and made an appointment for a pedicure and a cut, color, and styling session for my hair. My hair had been one length to my waist with no bangs for over 20 years, and it was a dark blond hue that continued to get darker - except for my new gray hairs. I wanted to do something dramatic, so I cut my hair to mid-shoulder length and layered it, while adding blond highlights. I went for bangs for the first time since fourth grade and now wear them in a loose, wispy style. As a final touch, my toes nails were coated with a dark, shimmery purple that stood out against my old flip flops.
Before my transformation I rarely, if ever, wore any makeup. I didn't want anyone noticing me. But now that I liked myself again, I slowly started highlighting my features. Now, I begin with Cover Girl AquaSmooth foundation, in natural ivory, and add some blush to the tops of my cheeks. I line my eyes with Cover Girl's LineExact Liquid Liner, in Very Black, with LashBlast Fusion Mascara to complete the look. I like Cover Girl Wetslicks for lip gloss.
As my appearance changed, I started working on my inside. I wanted to be carefree again, so I started counseling once a week. It helped me set my anger aside. I began to laugh more, and so did my children. The house seemed brighter; I began to walk a bit taller. I again became the happy person my friends enjoyed being around.
I got several compliments from girlfriends and coworkers, but I think the defining moment came when someone asked me out on a date. It gave me that final boost of confidence. I'm so proud of how far I've come in these two years. I remain active and have joined an adult soccer league. I've even ventured into the realm of dating with surprisingly positive results.
If a wall has a hole in it, you can't just paint over it. You need to fix the hole first. And that's exactly how I did my makeover.
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