My Story

How retelling my grandma’s love story let me lose weight

Three years ago I moved from Germany to the U.S. – to be more precise the beautiful state of Maine. I carried with me 18 moving boxes, a son of eleven years, a love for the English language… and many pounds of excess body weight. I soon increased my family to a golden retriever puppy, and later with a white-pawed, orange tabby.

We should have lived happily ever after… but I also increased my weight with all the yummy, delicious treats of brownies, chocolate chip cookies, plenty of lattes. It turned out that I had taken my love for sweets, cakes and good coffee with me to the U.S.

Me in July 2013 - 230 pounds... and not eager to be photographed

Me in July 2013 – 230 pounds… and not eager to be photographed

Two diet attempts and a fairly unused membership at the YMCA later I was still overweight. By that time I had proven my physical strength by building my own little house on wheels. I had always been a strong willed woman. I felt empowered in most any area of my life – except for my endurance in making a lasting lifestyle shift in my diet – and in finding a partner… Yes, I hadn’t dated in years, and it didn’t seem to happen in the near future. I often felt that my weight was one big obstacle for me to feel desirable and approachable by men. My friends would contradict this belief, by offering kind and encouraging words. However, I didn’t believe them…

Two years into our newly established American lifestyle, I found out about an Intensive in Connecticut for Systemic Constellations. I knew systemic constellations, also called family constellations, from Germany.

Back in 2003 I attended my first workshop to solve some entanglements in my family system, and was blown away by this potent, powerful work.  I continued to attend workshops, and started to use this approach with my friends.

I knew from the beginning that this work was my way of solving conflicts, releasing old habits and beliefs. As a teacher I started to choose constellation work for my personal supervision sessions. When I moved to the States I wasn’t aware that systemic constellation work had made it across the ocean as it was developed by a German, Bert Hellinger, nor that I could find it in Maine. Luckily, this work seems to be better known in Connecticut and in California. Maine has about a handful of practitioners by now… So you can imagine my joy when I learned about the Intensive, a five-day-retreat.

And that is where the magic began… I arrived with a long list of goals and topics to tackle at this Intensive, weight loss being one big item on my list. But once we got started, all I could think of was my wish to find a partner. On our first full day Bill Mannle offered a workshop for the “heart”. This exercise touched me deeply, and uncovered my belief that it wasn’t “good” to be seen with the love to a man.

A constellation later, I had unearthed the root for this belief, left it with my family of origin, and I felt so much more open in my heart. -Bliss!

But during the night I got a tooth ache, and even asked a fellow participant to give me reiki… In the next day’s workshop we were working with Francesca Mason Boring, a wonderful woman full of indigenous wisdom. I constellated my tooth ache. The ache turned into my strong wish to find a partner. So she asked more questions and we unearthed my grandmother’s love story:

Rose, Matilda

photo by Yoko Nekonomania

My grandmother, Maria, had been married to Werner, a plumber and entrepreneur from Rattenberg, Austria. They got three children, and must have been a happy couple. Unfortunately Werner died young due to kidney cancer/ failure. This left a young widow with three disoriented boys. The story goes that she would still set the table for her deceased husband even ten years after his passing. It would be told to me with the subtext “How can anyone love so deeply? That is NOT normal!” So in the constellation that then took place I was able to see the beauty of her love to her husband, and not dismiss it as crazy.

My heart opened where it had been closed for so many years out of loyalty to my family system not to be a fool of love, and not to hurt as much as my grandma.

From now on I have treasured my grandma’s love to her husband, and yearned to find it for myself…

What does this have to do with weight loss? Well, there are many, many reasons why we are overweight. My reason was to make myself unattractive and to repel men… With my new opening of my heart, my newfound belief in true, lasting love, and the validation that I won’t be crazy to love deeply, I was ready to make it possible to be found! Within the next month of this Intensive I heard about a diet that was supposedly easy, effective and without additional exercise. Exactly what I was looking for! I started right away and lost 50 pounds in four months.

This time nothing held me back!

I was able to commit fully to my new lifestyle of eating. I was able to stay on the diet and later maintain my weight. I had shed my emotional ballast during this Intensive; the physical weight thus melted without hesitation. Since then, I have so much more energy, am more mobile, and healthy!

lighter - happier - healthier!

lighter – happier – healthier!

Best of all? I did attract this wonderful man, who likes my new look, but moreover loves me as I am:  crazy about constellation work, dedicated to follow my passion no matter what, and loving with all my heart.

Do I need to be slim in order to be lovable? Of course not! But I used my weight as a shield. So no man was able to notice me with this closed heart under layers of fat. Once my heart was open and ready for true love, did I still need to lose weight? Not necessarily. But it also wasn’t needed anymore. It made me immobile, threatened me to get diabetes one day, if I continued to gain… My health was in jeopardy. Of course, I wanted to lose this weight!!

During my own journey of letting go of hindering beliefs and finally retelling my grandma’s story so that it can empower me, I have met many women with similar stories. We all have tried to lose weight, gained it back, didn’t stay on the diet, put our money on yet another new wellness trend… and still haven’t lost these pounds! Our reasons behind keeping our weight are plenty and often unique.

We may want to stay hidden in our pounds in order to not attract another abuser, or we may keep our weight in order to be more grounded, in order to not get pregnant again, or to not outshine others… We eat for so many more reasons  – to fill unmet needs from our childhood, to pacify anxiety, to de-stress, to allow us a break in our workaholic life… to give us love. All these reasons have one thing in common: They don’t let you lose weight!

Inspired by my own journey, I am offering “Emotional Detoxing With Laura”. If you would like to shed these pounds that seem to be stuck with you like your name, check out my program that tackles weight issues by its emotional core.

With love and a light heart,



featured image, photo by Dawn Ellner, cropped pic, license