Being fat forever often felt like living in prison. I desperately wanted to free myself, but couldn’t ever seem to find a permanent way out.
I tried – and failed at – every fad diet under the sun. I’d lose some weight, but I’d soon tire of the regimen, revert to old habits and gain it all back again. I figured I was destined to be plus-sized forever.
Then 21 months ago one of my bosses at Good Morning America told me that I didn’t look my best, my clothes didn’t do me justice and she wanted to send me to a stylist. Television is, after all, a visual medium. She never threatened me and never used the words "fat" or "lose weight."
In an instant, something clicked: focusing on my clothing would be another gimmick to avoid the real issue. I was fed up with being fat and I became determined to lose weight – a lot of it – for good.
There were several reasons why this time would be different: I didn’t want to risk my job. I was ashamed of refusing to go to the doctor for more than 10 years just to avoid being lectured about my weight. I hated wearing navy on my wedding day, fearing I’d look like a gigantic marshmallow in white. I never wanted to leave another dressing room frustrated because nothing fit. I wanted to be a better, healthier role model for my teenage twins.
I didn’t want yet another diet. Diets are quite simply a temporary pause on bad behavior. I longed for permanent change, so I laid out a simple plan:
Eat Less and Choose Smarter
That meant cutting carbs and saying goodbye to a lot of white foods: sugar, flour, pasta, rice and potatoes. I began to look at nutritional charts on packages for the first time ever.
No Cheat Days
Many diets prescribe a weekly day off for good behavior, which always did me in. I’d count the minutes until my cheat day, eat every offender I could find and be back eating with abandon in no time. I realized that rewarding anyone trying to lose weight with a cheat day is like telling an alcoholic he can celebrate a month of sobriety with a beer. It doesn’t work. If I could handle moderation, I wouldn’t have been fat in the first place.