I have five tattoos. I love them. They all mean something to me and they all tell a story of that time in my life. The first one I got when I was 18–like a week legal! I was young, a little stupid and didn’t do my research. It’s a small ankh on my right ankle. The work isn’t great and someday I need to get it redone. The second one is a labrys on my left arm, symbolizing strength, independence and feminism.


The third is an Egyptian goddess, symbolizing rebirth, fertility and femininity.


The fourth is the Eye of Horus, an Egyptian symbol for protection. This one is pretty special to me–I got it in London (Notting Hill!) and my cousin Anna has an identical one on her ankle, too.


Lastly, my favorite tattoo, is on my back. It’s a purple lotus flower with a symbol above it. Not only is the work gorgeous, but it also has happy memories for me, too. I got the tattoo on my trip to San Francisco with my cousin Anna. We stopped at a parlor on Haight –I wish I could remember where now! The last tattoo I got when I was 22 years old and I haven’t gotten another one since.


I think part of the reason I have tattoos has to do with where I grew up. The Pacific Northwest is very “crunchy”. I grew up surrounded by people who had tattoos, piercings, dreadlocks, crazy hair, pretty much every stereotype you can imagine about Seattle and Portland. That was the norm.

But giving it some genuine thought and analyzing the “why,” I think there is another reason for my tattoos. I think that when I gained my weight and I was really unhappy with my body, I wanted to do something to make it be beautiful in my eyes. I didn’t like my body, I couldn’t lose weight, I felt self-conscious and unhappy. Adorning myself with art work of my choosing seemed to change that.

I’ve changed a lot since I lost 110 pounds. I learned to love my body (most of the time). Becoming a fit, healthy, active person not only changed my body for the better, but it changed my brain, too. I started to look at my body in a positive way because I was able to do things I could never do before. Having the ability to swim two miles without stopping to rest was mind blowing to me! I was so proud of my accomplishments!

The weight training program I’ve been doing has been transforming my body even more and it’s given me the self-confidence I was lacking. I LOVE seeing definition in my arms and recognizing my own strength. And of course, working on getting awesome muscles just make my tattoos look even better. 🙂

Do I regret the tattoos now that I’ve changed? Not at all. I think it was the self-expression I needed to do at a certain time in my life. I’m sure I will get more someday, and definitely clean up the ones I have now when they are faded. I look back at that time in my life and instead of thinking about how I disliked my body, I remember the story that each tattoo tells. London, San Francisco, feminism, strength, whatever it represented then, it still represents now.

150 Pounds Gone Forever

I was very pleased to be asked to write a review for the book, “150 Pounds Gone Forever: How I Lost Half My Size and You Can To” by Diane Carbonell. You may recognize the name, she’s a blogger! You can follow her journey at Fit to the Finish. I was excited to review the book for two reasons: 1) I like Diane a lot and her story is amazing and 2) I am so glad a “big loser” like me is publishing her story.

Her book is part memoir, with details and short stories of how she gained the weight and tipped the scales at over 300 pounds, and also a self-help guide for readers. She shares very personal stories and I could relate to her. I did the same things she did, experienced the same fat discrimination she experienced.

“The plan I offer isn’t full of silver bullets and false hope. It’s a practical and realistic plan grounded in common sense. [pg 2]”

She grew up in a strict military family. Her family ate healthy foods and she was an active kid. Yet she was starting to display the typical habits of a binge eater. She was hiding food (I did too) and her family made snide comments about how big her butt was getting. I don’t think a single person could read her story and not relate to Diane and her struggles. I appreciated her frankness in the book.

“…wishing {I was skinny} while eating Breyer’s mint chocolate chip ice cream sprinkled with crushed-up Oreos didn’t do a thing to make my dreams come true. [pg 9]”

So true. How many of us have said “I wish I could lose the weight!” while eating an entire pizza? I know I said it! I said it for years, in fact. “I’ll always be fat.” Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. Get Diane’s book and try her guide. You might be pleasantly surprised to see positive results.

Like me, she regrets not taking body measurements when she first started. I am really glad she mentioned it in the book for readers to do; she even provides a place to record your own measurements in the book.

She shares some “tips to get you started” like:

Share Selectively – don’t tell everyone you are trying to lose weight, choose a select few who will be supportive.

Clean Our Your Pantry – get rid of the junk! Start over!

Pledge to Exercise – Just making a pledge to move is all you need to get started.

Her first exercise was walking. She describes finding the time early in the morning. She “borrowed” 30 minutes from sleep and went for a walk. I think her ideas and weight loss plan are practical and doable.

“I chose to exercise every day for accountability. It was too easy to say, ‘Well I’m going to exercise three times this week.’ [pg 79]”

She discusses the importance of portion control and gives readers a guide on how to read food labels. This was one of the hardest parts for me when I first started. Learning what a portion size is startling and disappointing when you’re coming from a place of bingeing.

“I hadn’t always been lazy. But the more weight I carried, the less active I became. I hadn’t yet become housebound, but I was probably on my way. And while I was busy sitting my life away, I always had food to keep me company. [pg 67]”

Diane also talks about hunger–a big issue for me when I was trying to lose weight. I don’t think I had ever experienced “real” hunger. I was eating all the time.

” ‘I can’t remember the last time I felt true hunger.’…These days as an average-size person, I experience hunger at the appropriate times. [pg 122]”

So, so true! And so hard to master.

I was chatting with Diane recently and I wanted to share some of her insight. Here you go:

LISA: Have you had any struggles in your maintenance where you’ve gained any weight back? What did you do?

DIANE: Honestly, I have not struggled too much with weight maintenance. The main struggles I had were losing weight after the four pregnancies I had after I reached a healthy weight. Then I had to remind myself that it was not okay to carry around an extra 20 or 30 pounds and get myself in gear to lose down to a healthy weight.

LISA: What do you tell someone who says they hate exercising?

DIANE: I generally ask them how they know they hate it. I thought I hated it until I actually did it for several months in a row. Then I realized that I didn’t hate exercise, but rather loved how it made me feel. Did I always love going on a walk? No. But I never regretted it.

LISA: Have you had any issues with your children gaining weight? How do you encourage health, fitness and positive body images in them–especially your daughters?

DIANE: Fortunately my kids are all at a healthy weight. With my girls I always talk about how their character makes me proud of them rather than basing my approval on looks or school accomplishments. We also promote a healthy lifestyle at home by severely limiting television viewing, encouraging outdoor family activities, and setting a good example when it comes to food.

LISA: What was your proudest moment in your entire weight loss journey?

DIANE: Probably when I was picked to be “Miss Sea World” and help the trainer during the Shamu show. I had lost about 100 pounds and just knew that they never would have picked me if I weighed 300 pounds.

I think this book is the perfect guide for someone wanting to start losing weight, but not sure where to start. Her tips are easy to follow and the book is an enjoyable read.

You can purchase the book at Sunrise River Press, or calling 1-800-895-4585, and of course Amazon has it as well. But for one lucky reader, I will be giving away a copy of Diane’s book! I am so pleased to be able to support Diane. She did a great job with the book.


1. Leave a comment here telling me what’s holding you back from losing weight.

2. Post on Twitter: “I want to win a copy of “150 Pounds Gone Forever” on how to lose weight at @lisaeirene” and leave a comment here saying you tweeted.

3. Leave a comment here telling me whether or not you read Fit to the Finish Blog.

I will pick one winner on Thursday, May 10th.