Media

US News and World Report: My Success Story Video

Helllllllo my long lost friends and happy 2014! Can you believe it!?

I owe you lots of updates (I’m starting a new DietBet on January 21 and also just passed the 5 month post-surgery mark), but before I can talk about anything else, I have something very exciting to share with you! I wrote a bit about getting asked to share my weight loss story and the whole making of the video for US News and World Report, and after almost 3 months of waiting, today the Best Diets 2014 list launched! Without further ado, here’s the video:

US News and World Report: Best Diets

I was pretty blown away with how it turned out, and as if that wasn’t enough, I’m also the first story on the list, which is crazy! Here’s a snap shot of the front page of the Best Diets page:

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Recognize anyone!?

Squeal!

Behind the Scenes: US News and World Report

I posted this exciting news last week on my Facebook Page, but I had a really amazing opportunity that I am so grateful for, and I got the go-ahead to share it, so here we go!

Over Labor Day weekend, I got contacted by the Senior Editor of Health+Wellness at US News and World Report. I get media inquiries pretty regularly, but most of the time they are for diet pills or some weight loss gimmick that doesn’t go along with my view on the subject, so I ignore them. This one caught my attention though because of the source.

Each January, they come out with the Best Diets list (here’s the list from 2013) and I remember having to wear the “#1 Diet by US News and World Report” pin as a leader for Weight Watchers since WW was ranked #1 in 2012. For 2014, they are releasing 8 real life success stories along with the launch of the list for the first time – and the email they sent me was asking if I wanted to be one of those success stories!! They found me through my blog and I was totally taken aback and excited, but wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. I was told they wanted to make videos of the 8 success stories in their studio, and asked if I could come in to be interviewed on film.

So last Wednesday, after work, I headed to their main office to get interviewed!

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They took a bunch of still shots of me holding one of my before shots in frame. This one, to be exact.

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After the still shots, they had me sit down in front of several cameras and under lights and asked me a bunch of questions.

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These included:

  • State your name, age, job, location, before weight, and current weight.
  • What caused you to gain the weight?
  • What was your turning point?
  • How did you lose the weight?
  • What type of support did you have during your weight loss journey?
  • What does a typical day of eating look like for you now?
  • How has exercise played a role in your weight loss?
  • What made you decide to have plastic surgery after your weight loss?
  • What is your best advice for someone wanting to lose weight?
  • How is your life different now than it was before?

I had been sent the questions ahead of time so I had a little time to think about what I was going to say, but I honestly don’t remember exactly what I said for each of the questions! I got a little choked up at the end talking about how different my life is, and was so happy to be able to share my story.

I also learned that I make really awkward faces when I talk on camera (and probably in general), so you’re welcome.

AwkwardThe story will be coming out in January 2014 along with the launch of the list, so I’ll be sure to share it when I hear more, but was excited to be able to write about this much!

 

2011 Highlights

2011 was a BIG year for me. It’s crazy to look back and see how many great things happened for me this year, and that all my hard work actually started paying off! It’s also hard to believe that this will be the last post of 2011… the new year is so close!

Some highlights from 2011 include…

I hit my goal weight.

Two years, two months, and nine days after joining Weight Watchers on March 3, 2009.

I made Lifetime at Weight Watchers.

I started working as a receptionist for Weight Watchers and also trained to be a Leader.

I’ve led two meetings so far and should be up and running with my own meeting early next year!

I had my first speaking engagement at the Healthy Living Summit.

I got a promotion at my day job in August after two and a half years at my company. Woohoo!

I ran my second half marathon and shaved 5 minutes 32 seconds off my time from my first half.

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I appeared in two magazines, one big local magazine and a national one!

The Washingtonian in September 2011:

And Fitness Magazine in October 2011:

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My blog was also featured on several media sites in 2011, including:

I’d say 2011 was pretty good to me!! I feel so lucky to have had so many great things happen this year, and I want to say a HUGE thank you to each and every one of YOU for reading, commenting, emailing, and tweeting me while I change and evolve and go through this journey called life. I am so excited to have a platform to share my successes and struggles, and the fact that people actually come here to read about it still blows my mind! I am so grateful!

How was 2011 for you? What is the biggest highlight from your year?

Makeover Takeaways

Over Thanksgiving, I was talking with my brother-in-law’s mom, who happens to have a great name, Beth. She was asking me all about the article in the Washingtonian, what it was like to have a stylist (mine was THE BEST), and what the main takeaways from the style makeover were. I’ve talked about the whole experience in several posts on the blog:

But I thought it would be fun to share the top takeaways from my style makeover, which are some tips and tricks you can use yourself!

1.) You Should Love Everything in Your Closet.

While this probably seems really intuitive to most people, it took me a little while to get my head around it. I have a lot of things in my closet that are OK or that I’ll wear, and only a few pieces that I LOVE. Kaarin helped me realize that the goal eventually is for me to love everything in my closet. When I think about the few pieces that I actually love, the idea of having a closet FULL of stuff I love is exciting, but will take a lot of time (and $$).

2.) The 80-20 Rule

The 80-20 rule applies not only to eating, but to style as well! The basic premise is that 80% of your outfit should be basics, with 20% “icing” (or flair, as I like to say). Before my style makeover, I’d say I was about 95-100% basic, with little to no icing. Icing basically means jewelry, accessories, or anything fancy that makes your outfit stand out a bit. If you have a funky shirt or skirt, that can count as your icing, and the rest of your outfit should be toned down so the 20% really stands out. Too much more than 20% icing just makes you look a little over-the-top and not as put together.

3.) Weekly Activity Chart

One of the exercises that Kaarin had me do was to make a chart of how I spend my waking hours during the week between working, exercising, going out, hanging out, etc. The percentage of waking hours spent doing any activity is the percentage of those types of clothes that your wardrobe should have. For example, if you spend 60% of your waking hours working, 60% of your wardrobe should be work clothes. If you spend 10% working out, 10% should be exercise clothes, etc. I’d never thought about that before!

4.) Layering

I always knew that you could layer collared shirts underneath sweaters, but that was where my layering experimentation started and ended. Kaarin showed me how you can layer just about everything, and especially dresses. When you wear collared shirts or sweaters over dresses, it gives the whole dress a totally different look and makes it seem more like a skirt/top combo. She said the biggest thing to consider when layering is to make sure the neck lines match up or compliment each other. I have some summer maxi dresses that I’ve been wearing lately with sweaters over them, and it goes from summer to winter just like that!

5.) Belts

While I’ve always loved the way that belts looked, I never in a million years thought that I could actually wear a belt. I hated how they would dig in and felt like they made me look chubbier rather than defined my waist. Kaarin helped me to realize that belts CAN actually make you look thinner, you just have to know how to use them and make sure you have belts of different colors and thicknesses, from skinny ones to thick ones. Adding a belt to an outfit can change the whole look and give you much more leverage with your clothes. I have a black skirt that I wear with different tops tucked in, and I wear a thick black belt over the top of the skirt and it makes it look like a dress. Just changing the top but keeping the belt/skirt combo means I can make as many “dresses” as I have tops from just that one thing!

What is your FAVORITE piece of clothing in your closet?

Fitness Magazine Questionnaire

I was cleaning out my inbox a few days ago and came across this questionnaire from several months ago in my email. I thought since I enjoyed re-reading my own responses, you might like it too! This questionnaire was first sent to me when I was contacted about having my story featured in Fitness Magazine, which was published in the October 2011 issue.

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What healthy accomplishment have you completed recently? When did this occur?

I just hit my goal weight, having lost 88 pounds since my peak weight in 2005. I used Weight Watchers to lose most of the weight and starting running, which was a big help in taking the weight off. I hit my goal weight May 12th, 2011, after two years, two months, and nine days of Weight Watchers.. but who’s counting!?

What did you learn along the way?

I learned so much about myself and my body. I learned that I am not destined to be obese or a couch potato, which was huge for me because my dad is very heavy and I always thought there was nothing I could do to avoid it. Despite my upbringing of being a foodie, I have learned how to transfer my love of food towards healthier food, and to balance it out with running, yoga, and biking. I also learned it’s very important to put myself first, so that I have more to give to others.

Did you have a support system? If so, who and how did they help?

I used Weight Watchers to lose most of the weight, and got a support system automatically with that since I went to weekly meetings. My sister was also following weight watchers at the time, so we were able to exchange meal ideas and check in with each other after each weigh in. I also started a healthy living blog, Beth’s Journey (bethsjourney.com) and the support I’ve gotten from readers and the healthy living blog world has been incredible!

What was the most difficult part of the experience?

My boyfriend is a chef and originally from the South, so when I started trying to eat healthier it was a huge challenge to our relationship. He wanted to keep living the same way he was, and never really had a problem with his weight so didn’t feel a need to change. It caused a lot of strain in our relationship, until we were able to both make some compromises. I would use my “cheat meals” for our date nights, and he agreed to use less oil and butter with cooking and more low calorie options for flavoring, like fresh herbs and vinegars. We also began to explore farmer’s markets together and got (and still get) excited about trying new ingredients. Since then, our cooking at home has gotten a lot healthier and we are both feeling a lot better inside and out!

How did you feel during and after?

I felt very unhappy and ashamed of myself before my weight loss journey began. I couldn’t believe I was so young yet so low energy and had let my health spiral so far out of control. Now, I feel refreshed, confident and athletic!

How has your life changed since this event?

My life has literally done a 180. I used to be very sedentary, eat a lot of fried, fatty, and processed foods, and was generally unhappy about how I’d let myself go. I was always very lethargic and ashamed of my body. Now, I cook at home most nights, exercise 4-6 times a week, and eat a mostly whole foods diet. I am now a very passionate healthy living advocate, and even work for Weight Watchers!

What are your three top tips for someone trying to reach the same goal that you did?

  • Realize it’s OK to say no to others sometimes so you can make yourself a priority.
  • Start small with your goals, and over time they can add up to huge changes.
  • Realize that snacking is not a bad thing – its critical to keeping your hunger at bay!

As Seen In…

Happy Monday! I am currently enjoying my last day in New Orleans and let me tell you, it’s been fun! I got to check out a few places I didn’t get to visit the last slash only other time I have visited NoLA, and even though I’m technically here for work, I’ve gotten to enjoy the city quite a bit.

Here’s a picture of Emily (the one who brought you microwave risotto) and I on our first night, sharing a noodle from our soba noodle with scallops and soft shell crab.

sharinganoodle

I go back to work tomorrow, which is a happy/sad time. Traveling can be fun, but it’s honestly been a little overwhelming and intense lately, so I’m looking forward to getting back into my routine and actually cooking dinner for the first time in weeks!

As Seen In…

Several of you have mentioned it, but I’ve been so caught up with traveling and being away that I haven’t officially shared it on the blog yet, but the October issue of Fitness Magazine came out last week!

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If you flip to page 26, you’ll see the full page spread with my weight loss story in there… so surreal.

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I’m really happy with the large photo with my bike, but find the smaller one of me grilling to be slightly awkward. Then again, I can be slightly awkward so maybe it’s fitting. =) The article itself is good, but there’s one thing that makes me a little crazy.

When I was doing the phone interview for the article, I was asked what it was like being overweight as a kid. I told the interviewer that it was tough because kids are mean, and when she asked for examples, I was having trouble thinking of anything. I mentioned how one time in middle/high school, this kid called me a Twinkie Queen and how that hurt because that’s all I could come up with for a specific example.

Then, when the article came out, all of a sudden that small anecdote got twisted into Twinkie Queen being my nickname in high school and also the opening line of the story. It’s honestly a little embarrassing/annoying especially since it’s not accurate, but I feel like things like that happen all the time with print stories.

Besides that little thing, I am really happy with the article and beside myself with how unreal it is to see my picture and story in a national magazine. It’s SO WEIRD (yet awesome).

Besides the magazine coming out, I have two other links to share from this past week featuring me/my blog:

    • Washingtonian Makeover Magic – the online footage finally went up, including a video of my wardrobe edit with my stylist Kaarin. They also put some other pictures up from the shoot – so cool! (You can read about the Washingtonian Style Makeover here, here, here and here in case you missed it!)
    • Fit Blogger We Love: Beth’s Journey – this short article went up on the Fitness Magazine website in conjunction with the magazine coming out this month where I answer a few quick questions.

So cool!!!

If you could only subscribe to one magazine, what would it be?

I’d pick Clean Eating Mag!! It has awesome budget friendly recipes/meal ideas and I just love it!