Whenever people hear about my story, I get asked the same question. “What made you change your life? What happened?” I don’t even have to think about it. I remember the exact moment. It was the best and worst moment of my life.
It was the spring of 2005 and I was a married screenwriter / filmmaker living in Los Angeles. I had written a movie that was about to be released on 2000 screens across the country. You would think my life would have been great. It wasn’t. I was 5’5″ and weighed 265 pounds. It was a typical Saturday for my husband and me. We went to get coffee and got into one of our lame arguments. This time we fought over a magazine headline. The argument continued most of the day and by the early evening, he was locked in our bedroom and I was lying on the living room floor amongst the rubble of our fight. Whenever we fought, something was always broken. I had just cancelled dinner plans with friends at the last minute AGAIN. I lay on the floor listening to the sounds of LA outside my living room window. I was lost, praying for someone to walk into my apartment and save me. No one came.
Finally, I got up and walked toward the kitchen to get a drink. As I passed the living room mirror, I caught my reflection and stopped suddenly. I didn’t recognize the woman looking back at me. She was overweight and numb. I stared at my reflection. What happened to me? My life wasn’t supposed to be like this. This wasn’t the real me.
Four days later, I walked away from my life.
I moved up to Northern California to find myself and get healthy. I couldn’t think about the magnitude of how much weight I needed to lose (130 pounds). I couldn’t even process it. So, I took basic steps. First, I changed my diet.
Now, I’ve tried every diet on the market and have probably owned almost every diet book out there. None of them worked long term. It was the yo-yo effect. I’d lose weight and then put it back on. This time I wanted to lose the weight for good.
I decided to cut carbs. That jump started my weight loss, although I wasn’t working out and it was a slow process. After about 20 months, I had lost about 50 pounds, but hit a wall and started putting the weight back on again. It was the same issue I had struggled with my whole life. I started to get discouraged again. I couldn’t do it on my own anymore. I needed help.
Then in August 2007, a friend introduced me to Life Coach, Lauren Zander, Co-Founder of Handel Group and everything changed. On our first phone call together, Lauren told me that she could help me get thin and happy. She was so confident; I had to work with her. I wanted to know what she knew.
The first lesson that Lauren taught me was that diets work. People cheat and that’s what doesn’t work.
Lauren got me to see that I needed to change my whole way of thinking about food and diet. I felt like I didn’t have control over the food. It would talk to me. I had a bad day. I needed the pizza or the potato chips. It wasn’t my fault. My husband and I got into another fight – I needed some cake. Bullshit. Lauren taught me that no one was forcing me to eat. I controlled my hand and what I was putting in my mouth. I needed to tell the voices in my head to shut up and put the cookie down.
Get a feel for how The Handel Method® could benefit you.
This was a huge revelation for me. For the first time, I really got that I was the person who was making me overweight. I had been blaming everyone and everything around me for years. It was hormones or stress. My husband had done it. I had a slow metabolism. It was in my lineage. But the truth was, I had done it.
Once I understood that I was the one in charge of my life, Lauren put me on the Handel Food Plan. The best part was I catered it toward what I liked so I didn’t feel deprived. I ate my favorite protein, fruits and veggies. Limited healthy fats. Sugar-free everything. No rice, pasta or bread. I also got on an exercise program where I started doing cardio four to five times a week. Then Lauren got me to make food promises and implement consequences surrounding my diet. If I cheated on my diet, I was walking the dog at 6am the next morning. Having a consequence helped me stay on my diet and I started losing weight immediately.
After starting my new eating and exercise program, Lauren and I began to tackle WHY I was overeating. We looked at my life from as far back as age five until the present and tore it apart, dissecting everything. I saw that I had been repeating the same mistakes over and over. I was letting a six-year-old brat run my life without even knowing it. It was time for me to grow up. After I sorted through the wreckage, I went back and cleaned up every mistake and lie in my life including addressing a big secret from my childhood. (I’ve written a book about that process which explains all the steps I took and reveals what happened to me.) At age thirty-nine, I was finally dealing with the issues that were holding me back in my life.
95% of people who lose weight, gain it back.
Getting healthy is not just about cutting calories, losing weight, and exercising. It’s about transforming your life: cleaning up the inside and the outside at the same time. Healing your mind and your body, together. It’s important to look at your life and understand why you’re overeating. What are your issues? If you don’t address the emotional baggage, you’ll never truly be healthy and free, and statistically it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll put the weight back on.
Handel Group Steps To Losing Weight
1) DREAM: Write out a description of your dream body. What do you want it to look like? How do you want to feel? Create your dream and then commit to making it happen.
2) DESIGN: Design a diet and exercise plan for you. Research and figure out what works for you. I used a version of the Handel Food Plan, which I loved. Create an exercise program that fits your life.
3) PROMISES: Make food promises that are consistent with your diet and follow them. (i.e.: No cheating. No eating after 9pm. No skipping meals.)
4) CONSEQUENCES: Implement a consequence system if you break your food promises. (i.e.: Lose your wine on Friday. Do an extra workout that week.)
5) ACCOUNTABILITY: Be accountable to someone regarding your diet. If you can’t afford private coaching, there is group coaching. Get a support system.
6) ADDRESS ISSUES: Look at your life. Why are you overeating? What is going on? Do you hate your job? Are you in an unhealthy relationship? Tell the truth and deal.
7) CLEANUP: After you’ve addressed your issues, start cleaning up your life. Apologize to people you’ve hurt. Confess secrets that are killing you. Stop lying. You will be amazed at how good you feel once you deal with your emotional baggage.
Anyone can change his or her life at any moment. Your life is always starting RIGHT NOW.
I am now happy, healthy, a size 4 and weigh 133 pounds. I am half my size and have kept the weight off for more than three years. I’ve written a memoir titled, Just Breathe, which is about my emotional and physical transformation working with Lauren Zander of Handel Group.