May 072012

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.

Nov 242010

Sarah kindly agreed to let me interview about her amazing weight loss. I was really inspired by her story! Because of a car accident in her teens she’s been in a wheelchair. She overcame that challenge and still lost 100 pounds!

Here is her story:

1. How old are you?

-34 yrs

2. How much did you weigh at your heaviest?

-250 lbs (actually I didn’t want to hear my weight after 220 lbs, but went up another two pants sizes. Last I actually heard was 250lbs).

3. How much do you weigh now?

-I haven’t been weighed in 4 yrs, but wear the same pants, so I guess it’s around the same weight. :) That would be 140 pounds.

4. What inspired you to want to lose weight?

-I was in organ failure. I had been in the hospital for two years. I had acquired a good bit of excess before the hospital stint. Literally my life depended on me making major changes to my lifestyle. I quit smoking in May 2001, and realized in 2002, that my weight was not helping my seriously poor health condition.

5. How did you lose weight?

-My pain doctor got me in touch with an amazing Chinese medicine doctor. He did acupuncture and Chinese herbology to help get my organs back on tract. Per his instructions, I signed up for swimming at the community college, enrolled in martial arts at the local community center, he had wanted me to do Qi Gong (which I do now). He also helped me start making changes in my food choices and eating habits. The swimming was such a blessing. While it was so emotionally hard to put on a bathing suit and get in the pool, it was the best thing for my joints. I didn’t swim a lot of laps or do anything major. I just showed up every week and set goals. I swam 1 lap and stretched, then 4 laps with stretching, etc.. I floated around a lot and just felt my body. That was so healing and good. The martial arts was not intense.  I have a spinal cord injury and am in a chair.  I did what I could and always tried new things. I loved working on the forms.

6. Did you use a system or program?

-No technical system or program, just learning healthier choices. I still use the “fewer ingredients the better, if you can’t pronounce it then don’t eat it” idea. :) I love growing a garden and eating what I plant. I also love learning about what is in my food. Awareness and education have been a huge incentive for me to continue making healthy choices. Food Inc is a great movie.

7. How long did it take to lose the weight?

It took a good two years. It was incredibly slow in the beginning. As the health of my organs improved, my health improved. I was slowly able to get off a few medications that also helped. Once I hit the half way point, the rest of the weight came off more rapidly. I never set weight goals, just health goals. I am going push (walk) this far today. Or I am going to work on making these meals this week. I am going to go visit these places, swim this many laps, enjoy these friends over sharing in food we made instead of eating out… I like rewarding myself for things I work hard on. :) Just learned to make my rewards healthy also. :)

8. How are you keeping the weight off?

It was a lifestyle change. When I notice my pants or shirts fitting a bit tight, I ask myself when was the last time I went for a nice walk? I pay a bit more attention to what I eat when I am out. I love taking Tai Chi classes. My new school schedule with work has made it hard to enroll in swimming, but I know how great that is for my health and weight loss. I cut out corn syrup for my diet (vocab: means what you eat). I occasionally have a soda, but it is a rarity. Instead  I add a bit of orange juice to a glass of fuzzy water. It tastes so better than soda also. :)

She does everything!

9. How do you resist temptations and trigger foods?

I acquired some food allergies from the two years in the hospital. That helps me to avoid foods that are not so good for me to eat. I have to read the ingredients which can be a real turn off. While the packaging looks so good, once I read what’s in it, I’m like oh yuck, that’s anti freeze, I don’t want to eat that! I can now make all kinds of yummy deserts at home that have hardly any of the sugars. I also use real sugar that the body can process. I love having friends involved in the cooking process as well. That makes it so much fun. It becomes more then just food. I don’t have the binging sugary eating frenzies anymore. I learned how that correlates to candida and how that affects my health. Education and awareness has really helped.

10. Did you have support from friends and family? If yes, what kind of support? If not, why not?

Some support. They don’t really understand though. My families eating habits have not been that great. My changes have begun to influence their eating habits slowly. They were happy to see my weight loss and were supportive, but I had to be really strong in helping direct what I needed, because they didn’t understand how the food in their house was not so good. Many times I would bring a dish over, or food over.

11. How is your life different now than before?

My life is so much different now. I am much more conscious and aware of how I really am what I eat. My exercise really is important and can be fun.  I love going for Rolls (walks) with my boyfriend, and taking dogs out on a trail. Putting zucchini strips and hummus next to me when working on a paper instead of potato chips and cookies. I learned how important it is to take a moment everyday and reflect. Tai Chi helps keep my stress levels down. Recognizing stress and other emotional triggers is huge.

12. What is your exercise of choice and how often do you do it?

I go to Tai Chi once a week. I enroll in it to keep me going. :) I love bike riding and am finally purchasing a bike this week. I love going for walks with my boyfriend at national parks. We just mosey around. Nothing fast just enjoy the scenery. We aim to do that at least once a month.

13. Do you have any suggestions for someone wanting to lose weigh?

Find an activity you love. Enroll in a class and go. Find something you can do outside with a friend or loved one. Enjoy, make it fun, it doesn’t have to be work. This is a lifestyle change. If possible- plant something. If you have space outside, plant a veggie you want to try, or some herbs. You can plant herbs and grow them in a pot inside also. I love basil. Lastly, get rid of the corn syrup! You will be so surprised at the weight loss from just that. It doesn’t process the same, just stores. An increase in leafy greens will help clean the system. They are packed with omega-3’s which help increase your healthy cholesterol. Omega-6’s are for winter and storage, omega-3’s are for summer and cleaning the body house.

I am so impressed by her determination! Thank you again Sarah for sharing your story. It’s so incredibly inspiring!