Celia’s Story

So with summer fast approaching and a friend’s wedding on the horizon, my beautiful right hand woman, Celia, has some wellness goals she is trying to reach. In the past year and half, Celia has already shown me she is a dedicated hard-worker, so I have no doubt that she will reach her goals, and I am excited that Marpé gets to be a part of it! Over the next few days, we will go into more detail on her plan to get fit by summer and how she is going to use Dr. Brown’s Diet and her own meal plans she has been creating for our customers, alongside an exercise regimen, to reach those goals. But for today, we would like to give you a little background on her. This is her story!



Where do I begin? That is the hardest question I have ever had to answer. How do I possibly answer a question like that? I’m not even sure how I got here. I could tell you the basic answer: I didn’t take care of myself. I ate junk food, neglected workouts, neglected doctor visits. It all added up to me becoming morbidly obese. I just can’t seem to figure out how I let it get this far and this out of hand. I have to change my life if I want to live to see it. My journey has only just begun. Watch me change my life and just maybe I can help inspire you along the way.

1999 was my 7th grade year, and I was the tender age of 13. It was also the first time I can remember being called fat. And not just fat, but “Baby Beluga.” I am now 29 years old, and that memory forever haunts me. I didn’t understand why I was being called fat or names. I was ashamed but struggling to understand. I played soccer and practiced almost daily. I was very active and walked anywhere my legs would take me. I enjoyed being outdoors. I would catch myself looking in the mirror trying to understand. This made me sad, insecure, and constantly questioning my appearance and what people thought of me. I hid it down deep.

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(Age 5, 13, and 15)

In 2001, we moved to Amarillo, TX. It was the beginning of summer, and I was taken away from everything I had ever known. My extended family, my friends, my team. I was sad. For the first time in my life, I spent the majority of my time inside laying around being a couch potato. I didn’t know anyone. I began to eat my feelings and boredom. This is when I actually began to put on weight. It came on fast. I started my freshman year and made friends. The weight gain slowed down, but it didn’t stop.

I moved back to Dallas in the summer of 2003. I started a new high school. I didn’t struggle as bad because I moved back to what I had grown up knowing. Even though I was starting a new school, I had friends in the area I had grown up with, and we picked back up where we left off. But I was still steadily putting weight on. I ate my feelings, whatever they were. I remember trying on my prom dress. It was coral and absolutely beautiful. But it was also a size 13. At 5’4″ and 170 lbs, I was a size 13. What disappointment I felt in myself as a senior in high school. This should be the best time of my life up-to-date, but I was really uncomfortable in my own skin. Life goes on and eventually so did I. I graduated high school in 2005. WooHoo!!! I was ready for the real world and less ridicule…so I thought.

They warn you about the freshman 15. I got the freshman 30. It was a tough year for my family. My little brother was involved in a motorcycle accident. He needed lots of help and care. He suffered a broken back. I helped when I could. Eventually I used it as an excuse to not go to class and stayed home to help take care of him. At some point, I left school all together and haven’t returned. I wasn’t even sure what I wanted to do, so why was I in school anyway?

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(Prom, Graduation, College Years)

got a job and started working. I worked retail at Home Improvement, a tanning salon, Lowe’s. I went from job to job, because I wasn’t really dedicated to anything. I wanted to lay around by the pool or the lake in the summer and do what I wanted to do, not what I was told to do. This comes into play with my weight. I was being told “Celia, you are getting heavy. You need to make better choices.” “Celia, we are worried about you.” “Celia, you don’t need a double cheeseburger.” WHAT? Maybe I didn’t, but I did what I wanted. I was hungry. One wouldn’t hurt…right? WRONG. It becomes habit. And over the years I had created lots of bad habits. I didn’t eat 3 square meals. I would skip breakfast, grab a fast food lunch, and at dinner shove my face with my dad’s homemade cooking. His food was simply amazing. I always overate. Very rarely would I ever leave food on my plate. I was told growing up to “clear my plate” and only if I cleared my plate did I get dessert. Please don’t tell your children this! It becomes routine and a very bad habit. I made my own choices as an adult, but as a child I developed this habit, because I was told to.

By the Spring of 2009, I had settled into a job I loved. I worked for a family with 2 small girls as their nanny. I was also saving for a trip to Cancun, Mexico to watch my aunt and uncle renew their vows for their 25th anniversary. I was beyond excited. One of my best friends was making the trip with me. He had just got out of the navy and was in good shape. We went shopping a few times together to prepare for the trip. He was comfortable in his skin. I was struggling. I remember weighing myself in right before the trip, and I weighed 225lbs! WHAT?!? How the hell did I get here? In 4 Years I gained 55 lbs. I went to Cancun and had a pretty amazing time. It is a trip I will never forget. But I experienced some sad moments due to my weight and not feeling comfortable. Being a bigger girl and hanging out by the pool all day in a swimsuit was a little uncomfortable at first. Eventually with time (and small amounts of alcohol,) it became easier.

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(Trip to Cancun April 2010)

I said every week or at the beginning of each month, New Years, Wednesday, any day or reason I could dream up that I was always going to start dieting. If I even started, it would last a day. I would cheat and lie to myself. One cookie, one scoop of ice cream, 2 slices of pizza along with my healthy meal, it wouldn’t hurt me, I’d just make up for it tomorrow. The only problem was I never made up for it. I just added to the list of failed attempts, lies and utter disgust I felt. I had let myself down again and with the sadness came the food. It is a vicious cycle of never ending mistakes and guilt.

Moving ahead to 2013. What a year. I had a job where I wasn’t very happy. I loved the work I did, but someone I had to deal with on a daily basis made my life a living hell. I didn’t deal with this person in the best way. This person made me feel worse about myself…which led to food. I felt sick to my stomach every morning before work knowing I would have to talk or deal with this person through some point of the day. On June 21st 2013, I went to the ER. I was in severe pain. It hurt to breathe or move. I told them I had severe pain in my back. The pain was so intense it caused me to vomit. They gave me a pain killer and something to soothe my stomach. They did a back x-ray, and the Dr. checked me out. He said I had acute pain of the lower lumbar and sent me home with painkillers and a doctor’s note saying not to return to work. This didn’t go over so well. I took one day off and was back to work, so I wouldn’t lose my job. By August, I had had enough. I couldn’t take the constant disrespect I faced everyday. I quit. The money wasn’t worth it, and I sure was not going to give up what little self respect I had left for myself. I felt instant relief. Though this was short lived.

I never expected to be out of work for more than a week or two, but I was out of work for 3 MONTHS. I was on the verge of loosing everything I had worked so hard for. Thankfully I have the BEST DAD, and he came to my rescue as he always has! I had applied for at least 200 jobs. I was trying to change fields of work. I didn’t want to be a nanny anymore. I loved working with children, and the hardest thing to do is to leave them, especially when it didn’t end well. It broke my heart, and I was trying to avoid that again. I remember at the beginning of October 2013 dropping to my knees and asking God to show me what His will for me was and to point me in the right direction. I had applied and interviewed for so many jobs just to be told I was under-qualified or over-qualified. Rejection became painful. After my prayers, I finally gave in and reopened my Care.com account. I saw a few families that I felt I would mesh and blend well with, but one stuck out to me. Her profile said she had 4 children with the youngest being only 9 months. I messaged her explaining a little about myself and my beliefs. We sent a few messages back and forth, and then I got the wonderful news that I got an interview. WOOHOO. So excited. I thought the interview went well and was looking forward to hearing back. That took a few days which was nerve wrecking. I don’t handle waiting well. I received a call asking if I would come in for a working interview and that they had narrowed it down to me and another girl. Great… competition. I love a good competition, but I had no idea what this person had on me. Did she have the experience? Was she prettier, smarter, college-educated? Why wasn’t I the first pick? I found a way to handle the stress…I ate.

After what seemed like an eternity, I received a text message on the evening of November 3, 2013 offering me the job! YAYAYAYAYAYAY. I was so excited. A fresh new start. What I didn’t realize is that not only would it be a new start to my career but rather a new start to my entire life. I started on Monday, November 4th. What an excellent day. Everything was really easy, and it was a good fit for both sides. We communicated well, and they thanked me everyday. That was so nice to hear and be appreciated. It had been a long time since I felt good about where I was and what I was doing. They were truly wonderful.

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Kristen introduced me to natural medicine and the Dr. Brown Diet. She gave me guidelines for Dr. Brown’s approved diet, and I began cooking paleo for them. It was a drastic change from my world. I grew up in fried food and big home cooked meals full of carbs and cheese. I tasted some of the food I cooked, and it was good. But I wanted to make it great. I started cooking trying to make each and every meal a Dr. Brown approved meal but to still taste as delicious as if it had been cooked with just any old processed ingredients.

I had been with the family for one day shy of a month. It was the early morning hours of December 3, 2013. It was also my 28th birthday. I woke up with severe pain again in my back and was having difficulty breathing. I drove myself to the ER again at around 2 am. I was examined by the doctor (weighed 241 lbs!) and had another x-ray and an ultra sound. They summed it up to back pain again. The Dr. told me to start dieting and do light exercise and that would help the back. A week later I was back in the ER. Another round of tests and still the same discharge papers. Acute back pain. This was absolutely the worst pain I have ever felt in my life. Something was wrong. A week later I returned to the ER, but this time I demanded answers. Why was I crippled with this pain (always at night), what was causing it, and how do I fix it? They finally found out I had a gallstone in my gallbladder about the size of a nickle. They said it was aggravating the duct. They sent me home with pain killers and told me to see my regular doctor. With Christmas fast approaching, there was no way I was going to be able to get into the doctor. I had to take several days off from my new job already and wasn’t going to ask for another day to sit in a doctor’s office for who knows how long. The pain always went away after they gave me a shot of pain killer. I could just get by. Again 2 days after Christmas, I was back in the ER. Oh my, why me? I was sure I was going to get fired after returning to work if they even let me come in. But Kristen And JP cared so much about me, they presented me with a Christmas bonus. The bonus was to see their doctor, Dr. Brown. They wanted to get me well! What amazing people!

On January 3, 2014, I met with Dr. Brown for the very first time. What an absolutely amazing experience. He did all kinds of tests without ever poking me with needles, sticking me under a machine, or drawing blood. He told me I had developed a gluten allergy, that my gallbladder was a mess, and that the gluten was setting the painful spasms off. I was told I was dehydrated and that my body didn’t even want to adsorb the water that I drank. These were only the beginning of my problems. He told me that like an onion he would have to peel back the layers of issues a few at a time. He put me on his diet and the first round of natural medicine to begin to treat the major ones including my gallbladder.

I didn’t want to hurt anymore, and I wanted a better life. Even though I didn’t want to do the diet, I committed. The pain I felt with my gallbladder issue was horrible. If this would fix it, I would do it. I followed the diet and my routine schedule of natural medicine for 2 weeks with out a gallbladder episode sending me to the ER. I was healed. He had done it. To celebrate I went to Denny’s with a friend for dinner. I had pancakes, a cup or 2 of coffee filled with sugar and milk, a glass of milk, bacon, sausage, hash browns, eggs, and toast. I was back in the ER within 5 hours of consumption.

Wow. Ok. This is real. I will never eat pasta again. I got back on the Dr. Brown Diet. I started to notice a difference in my body. I had so much energy. I was happier. I was thinner. He changed my life. I was starting to feel good about myself. I was beginning to feel like I could be beautiful. My dreams were going to become reality. I continued to see Dr. Brown and by May of 2014, I had reached my first goal of loosing 41 lbs! For the first time in 5+ years, I was under 200 lbs! What an absolutely amazing feeling. And to top it off, I had not had to make a trip to the ER since January 17th when I “fell off the wagon”. My dad says I didn’t fall off the wagon, but that I “threw myself from the Empire State Building.” LOL. But he was right, and honestly I’m glad I did. I saw what the Dr. Brown Diet was doing for my life. I could actually feel the changes in my body and the beginning of healing it. All the years of abuse and neglect where starting to repair.


(December 2013/February 2014 and February 2013/May 2014)

I was doing great, and all was wonderful. My job was going well, and I still loved getting up for work. I was loosing weight quickly, but doing it the healthy way. I had a weekend get-away planned and was so excited. There were only 24 hours until I was relaxing on a yacht and soaking up the sun. My body was healing. Until one early morning of June 20th, I thought I was dreaming that someone was hurting me. My body finally woke up, and I realized I was in awful pain. I ran to the bathroom and got sick. I ran myself a bath and tried to get my body to relax and calm down. My dad was out-of-town for work, and I was alone at the apartment. I gathered my phone and keys and drove myself to the ER. They hit me with a dose of dilaudid and did numerous tests. The doctor came in and told me I was scheduled for surgery at 2 pm. Excuse me? What? I have big plans this weekend, and this wasn’t it. I called my grandmother, and she came to the hospital to wait with me. I then reached out to Kristen and asked if she could get a hold of Dr. Brown and ask him what I should do. I told the Dr. at the ER that I needed to speak with my doctor before any decisions were made. Dr. Brown said I should go through with the surgery because my gallbladder could rupture and cause more issues. I agreed, and they whisked me away to surgery about 4pm. It took about one and a half hours, but I had to stay in recovery longer because I was a little “weepy” as the nurse put it. I just wanted my dad. He was driving back from out-of-town. As they rolled me back into the room, I heard my dad. I was relieved but in a lot of pain. They told me I couldn’t have pain medicine because I needed to let a little of it wear off. This was around 6:30-7pm. I asked again only to be told I wasn’t going to get anymore pain medicine! I told the nurse not so very nicely to get the doctor on the phone and fix it. I just had major surgery, and you’re telling me I can’t have anything for pain? You have lost your mind. Kristen called about this time, and I was very upset. Kristen to the rescue again… She brought me up some Arnica Montana and a few other homeopathic remedies. This helped relieve some of my pain and allowed me to rest. The order for pain meds had fallen off during my transfer to OR from surgery. They got it fixed and finally dilaudid.

I was discharged from the hospital the next day around 12ish. I had a hockey game to get to that evening since my weekend get-away had been dismissed. I also felt I had the freedom to eat freely now since I no longer had a gallbladder. I ate the Dr. Brown Diet for the most part because it had become routine, but I also felt the freedom to enjoy things I hadn’t eaten in 6 months now that the problem was gone.

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(Pre-surgery selfies and post surgery hardcore hockey fan pic!)

How time gets away from you! I slowly started to fall back into my old lifestyle because it was easy. I could grab and go. Nothing was off limits. By January 2015, I had put back on 20lbs. What have I done? All those months of hard work, I had let myself down again. I was getting to a point that anytime I looked in the mirror after my weight loss that I felt beautiful. Now I look in the mirror, and I am disgusted. I have again said this week, at the beginning of the month, tomorrow. Its now April 16, and I have yet to begin. But that’s what this is about. I’m beginning. I’m going to go back on the Dr. Brown Diet and give it 110% of my time and effort. I deserve to be happy, and I will be. I am beautiful, funny, a great dancer, smart, charming but most importantly I’m dedicated. I may fall. I may mess up, but never again will I allow myself to give up. Follow me on my journey and let me help you. Your sweet comments and feed back will help me get through the hard days. Negative comments or hurtful words will only push me to succeed because then I can say you were wrong. A journey is getting to one place from another. If your journey is about loosing 5 lbs. Come with me. If your journey is about abs that could kill, join me. If you journey is about feeling better about yourself in anyway, join me. Let’s use team work and support to help one another reach our goals!


Kristen Barkley
Kristen Barkley
Kristen is a happily married mom to four beautiful and active children and is the co-founder of Marpé Wellness. She has a BBA in Marketing from the University of Houston and completed extensive coursework in the areas of nutrition and fitness. She is excited to be putting her education to use in an industry that she is passionate about where she can help others live a healthier and happier life.

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