Root Awakenings: Suzy Preston
|The new Suzy with boyfriend Matt Hoover.|
Twenty-eight-year-old hairdresser Suzy Preston has been taking care of clients for 11 years. Her personal transformation began when she appeared on NBCâs âBiggest Loser.â She finished as a runner up, but with a weight loss of 95 poundsâfrom 227 to 132âsheâs definitely a winner. Suzyâs experience has impacted how she works and how she balances her life.
âIâll be a hairdresser my whole life. I love it, and now, my weight loss has made it much easier for me to make it through my workday with energy to spare. Having so much less weight makes it easier to stand over the length of the day.
âThose of us in this industry are giving to others all day long. We become counselors for our clients. We listen to their problems and become their sounding boardâand they do vent. Unless we know how to keep ourselves grounded, all the stuff we take in can start to take its toll.
âI love being able to make people feel better, but I wasnât taking care of myself.
âI was always doing for everyone else; it felt selfish when I took time out for me. My outlet was eating. It became my addiction and would soothe my emotions.
âWhen the âLoserâ opportunity came about, I knew it was the best situation for me to be put in a new environment, uprooted from my home, where I had no choice but to only focus on meâno distractions.
|Suzy before her 95-pound weight loss.|
âIt was big for me to put myself at the top of the to-do list above my clients, and not work 12 hours just because someone wanted her hair done. People can get very intenseâand demanding. There were days that I thought, âI need to go into counseling because of all this stuff Iâm carrying from my clients.â I couldnât breathe sometimes! I know many hairdressers struggle with this. We need to learn how to cope in a positive way.
âIâve learned to protect my energy. I donât extend my workday to squeeze in clients and I look after myself. In the process of taking off the weight, and really tuning into my needs, I realized I have to say noâsomething that Iâve struggled with all my life. Thatâs doing something valuable for me.
âI now have these skills to observe when Iâm not honoring myself. I can see when I fall into my old patternsâand stop myself. This takes a lot of inner work and healing.
âGoing through this process, I learned so much about myself emotionally. Being overweight is the outward reflection of the real root of the issue.
âEating was my coping mechanism, so I had to learn different coping strategies, and more importantly, see the behaviors that are making me need to cope. Iâm working at not putting myself in these situations.
âIâve learned to be very honest with people, to say, âWhen this happens to me, I want to eat, so help me out here!â Reaching out for help is huge, because when you tell people about a problem, it sets it free. Itâs no longer hidden.â
Suzy has continued her journey by exercising 90 minutes a day. Sheâs now dating Season 2 winner Matt Hoover.
âGoing through this was life-changing. Weâre not the same people we were. We both know what itâs like to be fat and miserableâand what itâs like to be happy and healthy.â
To other hairdressers struggling with body issues, Suzy offers this advice and encouragement. âMake sure you take time for yourself. Donât let what you doâhelping othersâtake over your life. It is your livelihood, and a beautiful one. But itâs not your life. Refill your own well before it runs empty.â