Breaking up? A life change may be next

Chicago Tribune

Matt Matros spent most of his life being the fat kid.

"I wasn't morbidly obese," he says, "but I was always overweight. It really sucked that my name was Matt, which rhymes with fat."

Then along came Sarah Roselli.

Matros, who lives in Chicago today, was a senior at USC when he and some buddies went to Las Vegas for the weekend. He met Roselli, who also lived in California, and they instantly clicked. Sparks flew, fun was had, numbers were exchanged.

And then . . . nothing.

"When I got back to L.A., my phone calls were never returned," Matros, 28, recalls. "And it wasn't completely new for me. This happened my whole life."

But this time was different. "I just felt so horrible about myself and I started thinking, 'I've got a great job, I'm a nice guy, I'm educated. What's going on?' And I came to this stark realization that I'm just not an attractive person to look at."

He signed up for a personal trainer, started eating healthier and, eventually, dropped 50 pounds. Now he's a triathlete.

"It all goes back to Sarah Roselli," he said, laughing. "She's probably down in Southern California somewhere breaking up with overweight [guys] left and right."

The world is filled, of course, with Sarahs and Matts, people who break hearts and people whose hearts get broken. Often, those broken hearts lead to some major life changes. Weight loss, wardrobe overhauls, new hairstyles.

Or, in the case of Jessica Shoblom, all three.

Shoblom, 27, dated a guy named Bret on and off for four years. "He had a commitment issue, so every six months to a year he'd kind of end things with me."

The first time it happened, Shoblom and her mom flew to Las Vegas. "I went on a shopping spree, got a manicure and pedicure, totally revamped myself."

The next few times, she didn't have the funds for a Vegas trip.

"But every time, I'd get my hair done -- I went from blond to brown, brown back to blond, I got different haircuts," said Shoblom of Lake Villa, Ill. "Because of the stress, I would drop weight. I went on shopping sprees, I got manicures. Little things to pamper myself and feel good about myself. It helps you heal."

Was it also, maybe, an attempt to win back Bret?

"I guess when I felt like 'I really look good,' I thought it would be great if he saw me and saw what he'd be missing," she says. "But that was definitely secondary."

So what is it about breakups that inspire reinvention?

Jack McClelland runs weekly Weight Watchers meetings in Schaumburg, Ill. He likens the makeover process to the weight-loss journey.

"Losing weight isn't the goal," he said. "I call it the High Five: You're either doing it for your health, your energy, your pride, your waistline or your self-esteem. Again, losing weight isn't the goal. Losing weight is how you achieve those goals."

The period after a breakup, in other words, is prime time for goal achieving.

When Kim Reschke found herself facing her 50th birthday and the end of her 28-year marriage, she turned to dentist Michael Morgan. He removed Reschke's gold fillings, replaced 12 old crowns and recontoured and bleached her teeth.

"It made a huge difference in my smile," she said. "I really do receive compliments every day on my smile. I look younger than I am."

Reschke says her divorce and milestone birthday prompted her to make several life changes. She started working with a nutritionist and personal trainer and switched to an all-organic diet.

"I had a lot of nutritional deficiencies," she said.

Now she believes the divorce and ensuing difficult period happened for a reason.

"I'm very happy now," she said. "I have a lot more energy, I'm happy with myself, I have peace in my life.

"It took a year, probably, after my divorce," she said. "But I've moved on. It's all good."

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