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Obese and Selling Pampered Chef

Posted Dec 11 2009 1:55am
First let me say that I love Pampered Chef products but do not sell them (anymore). That’s right, I used to be a consultant with Pampered Chef. And it wasn’t after I lost my 150 pounds, but rather right smack in the middle of my struggle with extreme obesity.

This was one of those experiences where I stepped right outside my comfort zone due to some financial needs in our family. John was working many hours and I really wanted to help supplement the family income. So when a friend introduced me to Pampered Chef I signed up to be a consultant under her. Fortunately for me, I was one of the first consultants in my town, so found booking parties and selling the products rather easy. What wasn’t so easy was standing up in front of people talking and cooking.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a Pampered Chef party, but the way it works is this: The hostess invites her friends over, the consultant comes with all his/her product, and makes several recipes in front of the guests. The guests get to see the products in action, taste the delicious results, and hopefully, if everything goes well, order some stuff.

I didn’t mind the public speaking part of it as I was accustomed to that from my banking days, but I did mind the flailing of my upper arms as I manhandled the chopper. I had to use the chopper for several recipes to cut up peppers, onions, tomatoes, etc. The chopper looked something like this:

You chop by slamming your hand down on top of the plunger repeatedly until you get the veggies to the desired size. Since I had very few long sleeved items of clothing, I was always self conscious of my arms flapping around in the wind as I chopped away. There was no way to camouflage them. It was the worst part of the demonstration. That, and how big I felt in comparison to the card table I used to perform my demos. I was wider than the table.

Those things bothered me a lot, but I continued selling the product lines for several years. One thing I never did was eat with the guests. I would make delicious apple crisps, brownie pizzas, and beautiful chicken rings, but the food never passed through my lips. When the hostess asked me if I’d like any I always said, “Oh, goodness no. That’s for your guests!” The real reason I refused was that I didn’t want anyone thinking of me as someone who ate too much food. How silly.

When I look back on those three years I have mixed emotions. I’m proud that I stepped outside of my isolationist tendencies and met people I would never have met otherwise. I’m proud that I did make a little bit of money to help us through a rough patch. But I regret that I always felt so self conscious of my appearance but never took any steps to correct my bad habits.

In some ways it was like there were two Dianes. The successful confident consultant, and the shy, reclusive fat girl. I wish I had married the two with some sort of compromise. It’s one of those lost opportunities that I will never have again.  I’ve long since come to terms with those feelings of regret, but I still remember that time well.

It’s just another event in my life that serves as a reminder of why I never want to go back to living that life again. There were great moments but there were a lot of moments that were filled with pain.

Where are you today? Do you have something specific that you hope you never have to experience again? Or is there something you’ve achieved that you are proud of, whatever your weight?  Diane

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