Noelle Cordeaux - Finding Freedom

by GEM Magazine / Aug 13, 2015 / Comments

In my mid twenties, I was obese. At my heaviest I was 240 lbs, and at that weight, I remember feeling invisible. I was tired all the time, and often sick. This was juxtaposed against my experience as an anorexic and bulimic teenager as a young adult. 

I was prom queen. I was most likely to succeed. I was leggy, gorgeous and received tons of attention for my extroverted sensuality. For many years I believed that my self-worth hinged on my thinness. I was also, always tired and very often unwell.  And not to mention how hungry I was.
I spent my twenties battling major depression, self-loathing, and generally feeling lost. I dropped out of law school, entered into an unhealthy marriage, and watched with dismay as my sense of personal agency, ambition, and autonomy went down the drain. 

I believed that I was not entitled to a good life until I had the shape of my body under control. So I punished myself with isolation.

Years rolled on and my world became darker. When I think back to that time, my memories are literally tinged with grey. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when things changed but I remember standing in my upstairs hallway, wanting to purge and screaming internally, “I don’t want to do this anymore!”
Slowly, and without a road map, I began to dig my way out.

I read as much as I could, learning and researching about nutrition and physiology. I began to exercise. I started therapy and by sheer force of will, I got healthy. I decided to go back to grad school and began a second graduate degree. And my marriage ended. 

With the perseverance and dedication, today I am quite literally transformed; mentally, physical, and emotionally.
At first it was painful to talk and write about my experience. I was ashamed to admit that I was obese. I was ashamed that I had lost many long years to depression. I was ashamed that in my 30’s, divorced, I was starting all over again.  
Slowly and quietly, I began to share my story. Slowly and steadily, I grew stronger. With every class that I took, and every paper that I wrote the world around me opened. 

I was not alone. I was not unique. My story mimics countless others who are suffering.  

My path became clear and I am no longer afraid.
Someone hand me a microphone, a bullhorn, some airtime; I don’t care, so long as I can get the message out that you can end your suffering. 
Body dissatisfaction is a real phenomenon. It ruins lives. People are held captive because of the belief that they do not measure up. We are trained to despise our bodies and it is not fair.

Body dissatisfaction causes serious damage leading to illness, anxiety, and depression. Body dissatisfaction is like a gateway drug that opens the door to poor esteem, poor relationship choices, and a limited scope of human potential. Women especially, put themselves at a professional and economic disadvantage by spending time and resources on modifying their bodies instead of developing other aspects of their lives or their inner world.
However, freedom is possible.

If this sounds familiar to you, I encourage you to question why you feel the way that you do. Then spend some researching objectification theory.

Consider how feeling poorly about your body has limited your life choices and take a stand. Decide to get healthy. If you need to, don't be afraid to reach out for help. There are a lot of resources that are only a few clicks away.

By Noelle Cordeaux.

Noelle is a professional coach and graduate student specializing in positive psychology, self-esteem, body image, weight loss, relationships, and sexuality. A veteran of the wellness industry, Noelle recently launched her own blog She also teaches/writes for The Angry Therapist and runs workshops on health, wellness, confidence, goal setting theory, and positive psychology for Widener University.

Facebook -
Website -

gem's picture
The Contributor

GEM Magazine


GEM is pushing for Gender Equality, and encouraging people to share their message through free speech. It aims to create more positive ways to utilize the internet.

This publication is an open platform raising awareness and resonating with readers through truth, honesty and vulnerability on subjects affecting our daily lives.

GEM contains articles that educate, inspire and provoke thought around aspects that are of concern in our current society.

"We all have the ability to make a difference. Inside each and everyone of us, we have the power. We are the people."