At 11 years old Danielle was 5’3” and 200 pounds and by the time she got to high school she was hitting 245 and finally landing over 300 pounds in her 20s. Danielle’s journey to wellness hasn’t been easy, but it is encouraging to witness.
Her earliest memories are of her being the big girl. Growing up she had to wear the Pretty Plus clothes from Sears and from an early age she knew she was being held back or limited by her size— the clothes cost more and she was limited to what she could wear from a specific section of the store.
Food, Sex, and Alcohol became coping mechanisms for Danielle’s avoidance of some really hard things in her life. It took some very specific life circumstances to change her whole perspective on her wellness and finally demand better for herself.
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Join The Wilderness of Wellness to begin working through your health and wellness needs. The Wilderness of Wellness is a private social platform owned by Danielle Hofer and provides you the opportunity of weekly sessions with a nutrition practitioner, twice monthly mental health group therapy sessions, and courses Danielle has created to help walk you step by step to your health and wellness goals. Sign up here.
Welcome to the crying in my cheesecake podcast. I am Danielle, your host, and today I have a little something different. Today, I actually have an episode that I have already pre-recorded for another podcast. But I am going to go ahead and share it here. This podcast episode is all about how your outsides match your insides.
And that was the original title of this podcast episode, You Outsides Match Your Insides. Well, okay, that’s cool, but honestly it ended up being more about food, sex, and alcohol, and my journey, Danielle’s journey, to wellness. So today, while you may not have experienced food, sex, or alcohol issues or relationship issues or things like that, a lot of things that I talk about can be related to most, everybody in somewhere in their life.
If you’re new to listening to testimonies or people’s stories you’ll find little bits and pieces of things that you can learn from, from other people’s experiences. And in fact, this episode is all about why I am, where I am today. Why I own my own business, why I run this nutrition and wellness podcast, this whole company, all of this stuff, and pouring into other people’s lives.
Maybe imperfectly but at least I’m showing up and helping and showing the consistency in what consistency can do, because it truly is a game changer, all right. Are you guys ready? Enjoy
Hi guys, thank you so much for being here. So thinking about my story, it is, it seems like. It’s it’s all, everybody has the same story. I grew up in a household with a town beautician and my dad is a deputy sheriff and pretty much had a decent life. Like there wasn’t, I didn’t want for things. And life was just very simple as I was growing up.
But in that I was always overweight from the earliest memories, I was always the big girl. I was always tall, like very tall compared to my classmates and the, and the kids around me. And, but I was also very big. And it was always directly in my stomach, it was in my hips. And I remember growing up, looking in the catalogs, cause back then Sears and JC penny would send you really, really big catalogs every season.
And you would go through and circle the clothes. And I would go through and I would start on page one and open it up. And there were these older adult women and they were wearing these really cute clothes, but underneath there was like two sizes misses and women’s, and women’s is where I always belonged.
And then I kept going in that catalog and that. At Sears back in the day, there was this clothing size called pretty plus and pretty plus was where I belonged. And it was just like two or three pages max, like not front and back, but front sides of options of clothes that fit me. So I always knew that I was being held back by something, I was always limited and the clothes. Cost more than the girl, other girls, my age, and like normal size would be, so the clothes cost more. And that was just my life. I was an athlete. I was a, you know, I was an avid athlete. I played varsity sports, softball and volleyball. I loved basketball. My body just couldn’t keep up with all three sports all year round at a very competitive means.
So I stuck with my two favorites that I enjoyed playing, which was volleyball and basketball. And I was a perfect student, honestly. Like I would do anything to please the teachers, anything to please and get recognition of just because it’s right. Like you do. What’s right. And I had a back injury in eighth grade. And I’m just going to give you for reference here. By the time I was in fifth grade, I was five foot three and weighed 200 pounds. By the time I was in eighth grade, I was pushing probably 245 ish and still very active, like very active and I went into, I’ve had a back injury from gym class. I was a big girl, and big girls don’t, big girls like me, don’t do gymnastics very well. And we had to do gymnastics in class and I hurt my back and that kind of set the pace for frustration with my body. I was never, I never felt held back by my body until that happened. Freshman year of high school starts and again, in a small town, I graduated with 93, 93 people, I think. And that was the biggest graduating class that had gone through in a very long time. And I just thinking back, I remember when I was a sophomore, I lost 76 pounds in three months. Over the summer, I was eating an apple. I was eating a lean cuisine or a smart ones. I was barely eating dinner.
And I was running two miles a day, plus, you know, whatever was needed, you know, for sport practice, for sports and things like that. I wasn’t eating. That’s how I lost 76 pounds. So clearly caloric deficit works to lose weight. I did a lot, I was doing a lot in the gym, like lifting and I found, I found confidence in lifting and then some things happened.
Like my mental health went to crap. Went after I was saved. I was saved when I was in a junior in high school. And I was, I hate to say this, but I was saved because it was a vanity thing. Everybody in my class was gay getting these allegories in honors English class, and I didn’t get them.
Allegories are like where there’s biblical references in literature and I wasn’t getting them. I didn’t go to church regularly. I didn’t, I mean, I knew about Jesus and I knew about God and I believed they existed, but I didn’t know anything that, so I started going to church with my best friend and I got saved because of my vanity, thank God.
But then I went and then some things happened and I was making very poor decisions. I wasn’t eating, so I was going, turning to sex, and sex, we’ve talked about this before in season one, but sex and food and drugs and alcohol all hit the same pleasure receptors. And so I turned to sex. And got myself into some trouble and it could have gone really bad, and I thank God it didn’t.
And then I went to college, I met my now husband, but I went to college and I started drinking and eating well, no, I was, oh, I was eating girlfriend. Like, you know, like people that I don’t understand, people, honestly, who drank and were like, oh, I’m not hungry, drinking exasperated, my cravings and my my lust and it, and it, so it exasperated all of my sinful desires and I would eat and eat and eat and eat like the more I drank the more ate.
So that was just like how many thousands of calories on top of one another. And So I started on that path of just drinking, eating, and lots and lots of sex that was not appropriate. And it’s so bad, I told you guys we’re sharing our stories and we’re being real this season or like very vulnerable this season.
So then I graduate college with honors and still I’m probably, I think I was like right around 300 pounds at the time that I graduated college graduate with honors. And we tried to have, you know, I was married before I graduated and we started, you know, wanting to have kids and couldn’t conceive.
And then I had miscarriages and fast forward to my second child born. I was nursing my child in in the the hospital. Where my dad was having a quintuple bypass surgery, quintuple means that there were five arteries in his chest that were blocked and weak and unable to actually keep pumping blood through his body. So they took five veins from his leg and transplanted them into his heart. And it was a 12 plus hour. He comes out on a ventilator, not even conscious, not anything. And it was very scary. And I remember going into that situation thinking, oh, dad’s going to be okay because heart surgery is so common and he’s going to be fine.
And he was don’t get me wrong, he was fine. But, he was when he woke up. He was not, he was not an insulin diabetic before this, okay. Afterwards he’s an insulin diabetic, an insulin dependent diabetic. Afterwards, his memory started to fail, afterwards, his body, I didn’t realize this was going to get, afterwards my dad was not my dad.
And I thought that was normal, I thought that was okay, I thought that that was fine. My dad, who is still a well-renowned person and respected person in my community. My dad, who was always an adventure getter took me hunting. He, he taught me my love of the outdoors. He taught me my love of fly fishing and shooting and hunting and the love of how to like look at people and see past their behaviors and see what the actual root issue is.
My dad, who showed up always, was not my dad. He was alive though. He was alive. And so after that, I was still sitting there at like 300 pounds in that waiting room as if this is completely normal. And it’s never been the working out. Like I love to work out. It’s never been the working out. It’s always been the food.
So I go on like, God, God’s set that like thought in my mind at that time, go on, have another miscarriage. And then we have our third child and then the crap comes out about my husband. It comes into our world that he admits he was unfaithful our whole marriage. And I knew something needed to change.
And if he was going to do his thing and no matter what the outcome of, you know, of all of this coming out of with my husband and I’s relationship I still had to take care of myself. I had to find healing. His issues brought to light my issues, that I was hiding and stuffing and just trying to get through the day and trying to get through the life.
And that’s not how I was, none of us were designed to live that way. So I finally went and got help. I went and got nutritional support. And what that looked like. Is that I went in and I said, I need help, I need to give you control to the nutrition expert. You, I need to give you control and I’m just going to let you take care of me because I was out of control.
I was out of control with my eating. I was eating two and three of those Costco size muffins every day. That is six times three is 1800 calories in just three muffins that doesn’t include my meals. And I was still, I was not satisfied. I was never satisfied. More was always better, more, more, and more and more.
And so I handed my control over to these trusted individuals. I had to admit that I was not gone. I had to admit that I had a problem. And when I did that, God led me to scriptures in Leviticus about him doling out property and land to the different tribes of Israel. And he showed me that in those scriptures, it made the connection for me that God gives us boundaries so that we can play in and be safe. And that was the same with my macros. I was able to do whatever the heck I wanted to and have my own control within the boundaries of my macro nutrients, which are just your carbs, protein and fat. That’s how you have calories by the way. And I was able to play in that.
I got to experience how I felt when I had more protein or less protein, how I felt with certain carbohydrates, with certain fats and how it balanced out and how much better I felt. But I also saw the scale coming down. I saw the scale, not going up, not having crazy fluctuations, not having rebounder, not feeling like I was in a scarcity mindset.
Like I, I still ate brownies. I still ate all of the crap I wanted, but it was in my control. I got to choose. And out of that, before I went to the, before I started the whole macros thing, I went to lake Tahoe with my cousin and it was in February of 2018. I went to Tahoe over 300 pounds and climbed a mountain.
That mountain literally took my breath away physically because of the altitude change and my physical, I was out of shape, but it also took my breath away because all of that fight to get to the top of that mountain and that view was so freaking worth it, all of the pain and the shortness of breath, my breath taken away. All of that, the scary, the unknown ahead of me was worth the fight and the struggle to get to the top. I got to the top and I had not, I realized I was belly laugh, belly laughing. My husband had just admitted all these things to me. I was belly laughing at the top of a mountain of over 300 pounds.
At that point, I left that crap there and said, I will not be that person. I was once before. I don’t care the outcome of tomorrow. I don’t care what that looks like, but I will not be that person again. And so I come down the mountain and it was snowy obviously. And I actually share the picture frequently of me, like at the bottom, you know, like where we started the trail head and the smile was so genuine.
And the thing is, is that that set my path. Like I knew that food could change me and food was honoring to God and the, and not necessarily the food, but the way I looked at my food could be honoring to God. And then I made that connection, oh my gosh, my body can be honoring to God. So I started doing CrossFit and different kinds of functional workouts and seeing my body, like, I know I’m a strong girl.
I know I’m a strong girl, but I have, since, since all of that, since the beginning of all of this journey for me, I want my outsides to match the strength of my insides. That is my goal. When someone says, oh, do you have a goal weight? Because I’m not, I’m not a perfect body type right now. And I don’t necessarily care to be, but when someone asks me, oh, what is your goal?
I said, my goal is to be strong. I want my insides to match my outsides. And I want that health to radiate out of me because the holy spirit is living within me and I’m called to be set apart and set free. So I need to live that way and I need to get support with that. And so I started a business, my own business, the Crying in My Cheesecake business, where it was just this idea of reaching out to other people that struggled like I did.
Struggle with the same things I did or similar things and not the people that became overweight as adults necessarily, but the people that have been overweight since children and thinking about and thinking about that and then realizing just how much food, food changed me. And then I started looking at the NTP program and the NTP program I was like, oh my gosh, I can not only look good, but I can feel and perform better than I ever could. I could become resilient and I can honor the innately, intelligent body that God created. And so I started NTP school, I’m like, here we go. Let’s just do it. I’m all in, I’m all in. And I’m going to do it and I’m not going to, I’m not going to kid you.
I’m like, I am anti like the foo-foo type idea, ideologies and things. And I thought that that’s where I was going. The NTA doesn’t say that they point to God. Everything that they taught pointed to God’s innate intelligence that he created in our bodies that you, that he gave and provided every single thing we needed, that there are symptoms.
And when you can connect to your body, you know what you need and you can trust your body. You can, and then your body can trust you, it’s a reciprocal relationship. And so that was my path with saying, I do not want to be a statistic. I was gestationally diabetic twice. I had preeclampsia once and I am I, I mean, my whole family is overweight, obese, and struggles with all of those diseases of civilization.
I refuse to be a statistic. I’m going to do everything within my power to not be that statistic and knowing I think that too, it also gave me the option and the idea that, oh my gosh, I don’t have to accept what my family has done before. I don’t have to accept the fate that I was leaning into. And all of my issues were, yes, I have of genetic predisposition to being overweight, I know that. And I know I have a genetic predisposition to diabetes and heart disease and excess cholesterol in my body, I get that. But I also learned to take back control and what I could control and what God says is okay not okay for me and how to see through all of that. And then like to circle back to the beginning about my dad, my dad is who keeps me going.
My dad who taught me the healing, the healing powers of being in nature. That’s when I learned that my recovery mindset, that my health mindset can be restored back in nature, that if I’m feeling overwhelmed with the things of today and all of the tasks, the checklists and things like that, I can go to nature, find God because everything is everything else has gone, like cell service, like anything outside, other than me is gone and I get to be in his presence. I get to go and pursue him. So me taking that step, as soon as I take a step into that trail, I know I get to meet God, I don’t know what, what lie ahead. I don’t know what hardships, what hills, what you know, root systems or if I’m going to trip and fall, or if I’m going to like, be scared of going over a ledge or, you know what have you.
I know that by the time I come out of those woods or the Hills or whatever, it may be, I’m going to be a changed person and it’s going to be for the better, and it’s going to be so worth it.
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