Local turns personal journey into published book
By Kayti Burt, published Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010
LITTLETON – Last week, local Self-Empowerment leader Leah Carey published her first book, “Transforming Your Body Image,” which she hopes will lead others through the same transformative process she went through to learn to love her body.
“I struggled with my own body image for most of my life,” said Carey who said there were a lot of people and programs telling her that she could love herself, but not how to do it. Eventually, Carey found a training program in Maryland that worked for her, but it was a long time in the making.
“As a teacher, I always want to share what I learn,” said Carey of her motivation for writing the book. “Someone needs to make it known.”
So, Carey worked for the past two years to put the self-published book together. The book is a 40-day process that “helps you love the body that you’re in.”
“That definitely seems to be the way the world is going,” said Carey of the whole package. “It’s not just about publishing a book. It’s about having a multimedia extravaganza.”
More than a marketing tool, Carey wants the people who buy her book to have a real chance at making it through the transformative process. She doesn’t want it to be another one of the countless books that stay unopened on a bookshelf, she said.
“I wanted to do it in a way that felt really good to me,” said Carey.
Carey grew up in Franconia, and worked as a stage manager for a professional company before moving into the self-empowerment field. She is perhaps best known for her intensive self-empowerment workshops that help participants work through challenging issues by writing and performing their stories. Last year, Carey held her workshops at senior centers around the county, and just yesterday she held a workshop at the Village Bookstore on “Engaging Your Intuition.”
Body image is an issue particularly close to Carey’s heart, as she grew up thinking she was overweight, in part because her father told her so. Whether it was genetics of self-fulfilling prophecy, Carey began behaving like the overweight person she was told she was, she said. This belief instilled by her father was Carey’s greatest obstacle.
“Until I dealt with the fact that my father told me I was fat, there was no way I was going to see myself,” said Carey, noting she had to learn how to forgive her father for that judgment, which is different than saying it was okay.
“If I don’t let go of it, I’m the only one who’s holding on to it,” she said.
Too many people think weight is the solution to all their problems, added Carey, which is not the case.
“Weight is not the issue. It’s a symptom,” Carey said. “The issue will still be there when you lose the weight.” That is why so many people have trouble with yo-yo dieting, explained Carey.
Another factor distorting people’s body image, said Carey, is media. One of the writing prompts in her book asks the writer to go a day without watching television or reading a magazine. Does this media blackout make you feel different, asks Carey.
“We’re so bombarded by images,” said Carey, citing young people especially. “I would really like to start going into the high schools and colleges to do workshops.”
“It’s not just women anymore, either,” said Carey. “It’s increasingly boys and young men who are really struggling with their body image.”
With her book, Carey aims to reach some of those struggling with their body image in a meaningful ways.
“I want people to feel like they are supported through the whole process,” she said. “I want it to be something that they can really use.”
Carey’s book is available on her website.