“I never planned on being the poster child for losing 100 pounds…”
It’s so weird… with all the things that I’ve done in my life — recording music with major artists on major record labels, writing books that gave me opportunities to be featured on shows reaching hundreds of thousands of people, and creating unique responses to challenging situations (like the 4 years we lived an Indoor Camping Experiment by turning off almost all the electricity in our home, or selling most of our stuff and packing up to do a cross-country book tour and then, buying one-way tickets to live in Italy to help my son heal from the effects of bullying…)
In all of that and the many more stories that we’ve lived in our Unconventional Life, the thing that I hadn’t planned on was being was the poster child for losing over 100 pounds.
Or had I?
You know, it would be really easy to just write what happened when I gained the weight (which I will) and it would be easy to tell you the different food protocols that helped me to lose the weight (which I will)…
But I want to take you back to a few moments in my childhood because there were a few key times that I think were significant in this journey.
8 or 9 years-old: My dad called me to the end of the table in front of everyone and I thought that my larger-than-life Italian dad was going to praise me for something but instead, he smiled, grabbed my little bit of belly sticking out of my blue, Ziggy t-shirt and grabbed it and said, “Stasha, we’ve got to lose this.”
I wasn’t fat, I was a little girl not sucking in her gut, but suddenly I felt enormous and small all at the same time. I had my mother take me to the doctor so that I could lose weight. The doctor and my mom shook their heads and insisted I was just fine: No diet needed. I shook my head and the doctor sighed and said “Eat half the amount of potatoes you normally would and take out one piece of bread a day.” Which I did faithfully until I lost that weight.
10 years-old: We had just moved from one town in Central New Jersey to a home up in the mountainous area in West Milford, NJ. I was in 4th grade and as excited as I was to have my own pink bedroom with a pink princess phone and a new piano in our living room with the bay window overlooking the street, I was self-conscious.
I had already had a hard and secret life of pain and was already comparing myself and my body to images that I never should have seen and experiences I never should have had.
Even though on the outside, I looked like a normal girl who was developing early — with just starting her cycle and wearing a bra — to me, I felt large, ugly and was embarrassed to appear so different compared to the skinny girls with straight hair, flat chests, and no hips.
I already didn’t like my appearance and felt I had to make an excuse.
So, in my new school, taller than most of the boys and more developed than most the girls, I told a tale,
“Well, you know.. I have a thyroid problem.” I told them one rainy day in the gym when we couldn’t go out for recess and I had them in rapt attention.
“What’s that?” Someone asked.
And with a serious face, I spun the web of information about how it’s when this part of you doesn’t work and it makes you fat even if you eat normally.
I was just parroting what I had heard at the coffee klatch at the kitchen table one day when the relatives were chattering away about the aches, pains, and medical problems the family was dealing with.
I wasn’t sick. I was looking for an excuse. I didn’t have a thyroid problem.
I had a self-image problem and felt self-conscious so, I made up a story…
… that one day, I ended up living into…
A few years later, we were back in our old neighborhood. The market had turned and we had to sell that big, beautiful house in the mountains.
It was a step down and everyone knew it. The new place was small and ugly. A rental and a bad one at that. There was stress in our home and stress in our hearts.
My escape was reading and my music.
On Sunday, I would lie on my parents’ big bed and grab The Parade section from the Star Ledger. After reading the articles and book excerpts, and mentally filling in the crossword puzzle, I would inevitably find myself turning to the last pages where the classifieds were.
Music camps in the Berkshires.
Theatre camps in the Catskills.
Fat Camps in the Poconos.
Yes, I wanted to do music and theatre, but the thing that made me close my eyes and begin to dream was this idea of going away fat and ugly and coming back thin and beautiful.
Mind you, I still wasn’t fat and ugly. But in my head, it was a fun house experience of warped perceptions and ideas about me.
To have a before and after experience
And for everything wrong to be made right…
That was the dream that lived in my heart.
The next few years got harder with things that I just can’t even go into — but my way of coping with the chaos within our home and the abuse outside of it was to find some semblance of control through denying myself.
I started to not eat.
I stayed up for hours each night exercising.
I ate chocolate-flavored laxatives and didn’t leave the bathroom until the step on the scale was lighter and the numbers, lower.
It was quite literally, a s***show.
Fast forward to my 20’s.
I thought I was obese at 136 pounds and switched from the diets you read in a book to the diets you paid for at a clinic.
They all have merit as diets, but when you don’t have a food-balance issue but you have a love-yourself-enough issue that the food is medicating
Those diets don’t work.
But they can really mess with your metabolism during formative years.
- I went down 20 and up 40
- Down 40 and up 60
- Down 60 and well, you know…
It started getting silly
The more I dieted, the heavier I got.
And one day, it all changed.
Well, maybe not one day, but in one season of time, it all changed.
My marriage was on the rocks and we were separated
I was hit in the first of two car accidents
And my father began the process of dying from complications and choices with Type 1 diabetes, at the young age of 49.
That’s when the symptoms started: Hair loss, fatigue, hot and cold, food reactions, skin changes, mood swings, anxiety issues, panic attacks, sensitivities to light, sounds, fragrances, cleaning products, and so much more.
Oh, and yes:
Weight that just seemed to climb on but I couldn’t work off
Or diet off.
It wasn’t coming off
And I didn’t know when it would stop.
The doctors told me it was all in my head and put me on a ton of meds.
Then, a year and a half later they told me I was dying.
Another few months later they told me I had a thyroid issue.
(Another 2 years later, I learned it was Hashimoto’s.)
I was exhausted and at that point the game wasn’t “get cute and skinny and perform on a stage again”…
The game was “Stay alive and figure out what the heck just happened because if I could find the doorway in, then maybe I could find the doorway out.”
I felt like Alice in Wonderland.
A really fat, brain-foggy, ugly version of Alice in Wonderland.
And that’s what I did.. I went on this long and winding road of sorting out what emotions were behind this and what beliefs I had that were running my show. I dove deep into the thoughts, patterns, and actions that led me to this place that the doctors said there was no cure for.
I had to tell myself truths that no one taught me
And give myself the safety that no one brought me.
I had to discover my power that I had handed over to other people
In exchange for their approval
And the price tag they would place on me of my worth.
I stopped doing that
And I started the journey of re-loving me
The way I was born and designed to.
But that I had forgotten
With all I had been through.
So, when people ask me how I lost the weight and I know that they’re just looking for a diet,
The sojourner, healer, coach in me wants to say, “It might not be a food issue, it might be something else so, if I throw a diet at you right now because you’re inspired by my weight loss, it might be like handing you a band-aid after you just stepped on a land mine.”
And in that sense, it’s irresponsible of me.
That’s why, before I tell you what worked, I want to tell you the work that I had to do.
The gift that Hashimoto’s gave me that slowed me down to look.
The importance of looking at the fact that I spoke those words over myself of having a thyroid problem when I didn’t
And the desire in my heart to be a before-and-after picture when I wasn’t even fat.
I want you to see that and know that because in the same way that I don’t hand the keys of my car over to my teen without them knowing how to drive and understanding the value of their lives and others…
I can’t, in good conscience, just give a diet when it might be something so much more than the math of how much you’re eating to how much you’re burning.
It might be that you don’t know the value of you.
And THAT may be why you’ve started so many diets and stopped them.
Or lost the weight and re-gained it
Because the issue isn’t about the food on your plate as much as it is about the hunger in your heart.
A client just asked me the other day, “How did you love yourself when you were 270 lbs?”
I said, “It was hard. I started putting on my make up and doing my hair even though I felt ugly. I got out of the black muu-muu’s and into the cute clothes even though they were size 28. I’d grab my naked saggy breasts and my cellulite thighs with stretch marks so red they seemed like they were on fire and I said, ‘Thank you. I love you. Actually, I’m working on loving you. I’m willing to love you. I’m sorry for how I ignored you and I’m going to take better care of you….’
And I put away my scale for a few years and then, pulled it out when it stopped being my happiness meter…
I kept doing this loving myself thing and I still do it now.
But now, it’s not as hard. And that’s not because I’m skinny — because I’m not — I still have 25 pounds I want to lose.
And it’s not because I’m not saggy or cellulite-y — because I am.
It’s just that I built new habits and took on new ways of thinking and eating and honoring and the reason I trust myself now is because I loved myself then.
That’s how I did it and I still do it. Building new beliefs and re-learning to love myself, and expressing my gratitude as I build a life based on valuing me instead of letting my past or other people define me.”
That’s why losing over 100 pounds has been the long and winding road…
Because it took some time to find my way home to me.
I share all of this l-o-n-g (and incredibly valuable) story because:
- What if the power of those words and beliefs that I had as a child made an impact on not only my food choices but on my body and my health?
- What if those excuses of having a thyroid issue opened the door for that to happen?
- What if the seeing myself as larger than I was in my minds’ eye created that experience in my future body?
- What if not accepting myself led my body to not accepting my thyroid or certain foods?
- What if me being harsh with my body and not listening to its truest needs left it feeling unloved
I don’t know all of the absolute answers, but these are valuable questions that I had to ask myself. I got the opportunity to address these areas and bring HEALING to my process and not just weight loss.
All of this helps me to be conscious of how I speak over myself today
To examine what thoughts I am thinking about who I am
And to be cognizant of what pictures I hold in my mind’s’ eye about myself and life.
Why does THIS matter before we talk about diets and protocols?
Because trust me, I know a lot of skinny people who hate themselves so, I know that skinny isn’t the answer to a self-love issue.
And self-love trumps skinny any day of the week.
In different seasons, I’ve tried different food protocols.
My goals were to:
Have my thyroid supported properly with whatever the meds and supplements I needed
To listen in to my body through symptoms, experiences, intuition, and wisdom and match my season up with the foods that made the best sense to my body for that time.
(This is also why it’s a ‘longer story’ kind of answer when people how I lost over 100 pounds… It wasn’t just one thing at one time and then a straight line to where I’m at now. Nope.
Welcome to my journey.)
In somewhat of an order but not exactly:
- Weston A. Price Protocol
- The Yeast Connection Candida Cleanse
- South Beach Diet
- Atkins Diet
- Mediterranean Diet
- Food Sensitivity Test (via blood serum) and eating off the “no reaction” list
- AIP (Autoimmune Paleo)
- Green Juice Cleanses
- Water Fasting
- Dirty Keto
- Healthy/Green Keto
- Intermittent Fasting
- OMAD (One Meal A Day)
Aside from losing over 100 pounds, the symptoms that got alleviated were:
- Eczema went away
- Plantar Fasciitis went away
- Frozen shoulder went away
- Anxiety dramatically decreased
- Sleep improved
- Moods stabilized
- Pain in joints went away
- Brain fog decreased
- Stomach distress stopped
- Fatigue decreased
Peace, clarity of thought, energy, happiness ALL increased
Which benefited my family, my clients, and my community.
I was able to create new dreams of writing more books, helping others, traveling to Italy, leading Italian retreats and so much more.
I know we think that the end game is losing weight (and trust me, I get it. You know by now that I really, really do)…
I just want you to know this:
THE REAL ENDGAME?
– You coming home to you.
– You being at peace with you.
– You loving, accepting, and honoring you.
– YOU knowing your power
And trusting who you are
And living out what you’re here to do
With the people who also…
– Know your power
– Trust who you are
– And support you living out what you’re here to do.
Anything less than that is where the journey begins.
I would love to share the journey with you.
- 100 Day Experience STARTS JANUARY 21st, 2020:
If you’re ready to take your life to the next level or health, happiness, peace, and dreams coming true, please join me, along with our supportive community, for an empowering and transformational 100 days. Click here.
- Girlfriends’ Guide to Hashimoto’s Online Course: (DIGITAL ONLY)If you are a woman with Hashimoto’s and want to know the 7 KEY ELEMENTS of what I distilled my 20 years and over $200K journey to so that you can have the best shortcuts I know, Click here.