I faithfully read Fit To The Finish, a blog written by Diane Carbonell, who lost 150 pounds and has kept it off (for more than a decade) by moving away from the “diet” mentality and towards a “healthy lifestyle” mentality. Although Diane and I are different in terms of what and how we write about, we share a passion for mind/body/spirit health and I have a lot of respect for her and her message.
And so I was truly honored when Diane’s publisher approached me and asked if I would interview her here on my blog, after reading her new book, “150 Pounds Gone Forever: How I Lost Half My Size And You Can Too.” In it she explains, with grace and humor, her trifecta of success: fat percentage, portion control, and exercise. It is a great resource to learn those basics. As much as I like to focus on the woo-woo stuff, I very much appreciate that a solid understanding of the basics of weight loss, and, more importantly, maintaining weight loss, is crucial especially for someone who is just starting out on their journey to health. Diane’s book is both comforting and practical.
(Disclaimer: the book was provided to me at no cost.)
Q: What role did addressing emotional issues play in your success?
A: Although weight loss may be mainly about the foods that you eat, I found that I was unable to have long-term success until I addressed the underlying emotions that surrounded my weight. A technique that I used to help me understand what emotions were driving my march into morbid obesity was to keep an emotions journal where I wrote down the emotions that I felt when I found myself wanting to pig out on brownies, or make a pan of biscuits just for myself.
Q: Did you ever get any type of counseling?
A: Not for my weight loss, but John and I did see a counselor early in our marriage to learn techniques to deal with a family member. Those techniques helped me when I had to tell people “no” when it came to food.
Q: Did you consider yourself a binge eater?
A: The definition of a binge eater doesn’t perfectly fit with my journey through obesity, although I did occasionally binge on foods. Instead I just ate food all day long, sometimes in large quantities, sometimes not. I do acknowledge that I had some disordered eating behaviors that I had to address. Addressing those issues such as lying about food I ate or hiding food was part of my healing and move out of obesity and the self-destructive behaviors that were controlling my life.
Q: Once you started your plan, did you ever self-sabotage? How did you deal with it?
A: That last time I rarely self-sabotaged myself. However, every other time I had tried to lose weight I self-sabotaged. When I was tempted during that last weight loss experience to “do myself in” by eating junk food, etc. I mentally reminded myself that if I made bad choices I was only hurting myself. I then followed that thought up with, “I’m worth the effort it takes to get through the craving or desire for junk food.”
Q: Has your body changed in terms of not being able to tolerate junk food? Do you crave junk food?
A: I cannot eat too much junk food without feeling physically ill. That has been one of the nice things about losing weight and eating healthy – the cravings for junk really do stop – unless I start to eat some, then those cravings can and do reappear.
Q: Did you have any physical imbalances that, once addressed, made it easier for you to lose weight?
A: Thankfully, I do not.
Q: What makes your program different than others?
A: I think what makes my program different is that I recommend that you eat to lose weight just like you will eat to maintain the weight. No weird foods, no counting calories, no extreme exercise. I believe that giving people the tools they need to understand what foods are good for them, and showing them how to embrace a new, permanent lifestyle is the realistic way to lose weight and keep it off.
Q: The way I use words is important to me. Certain words and phrases like “being accountable” and “goal weight” shut me down and so I learned to use words that felt good to me and that had the desired effect. Have you found the same to be true? Which words feel good? Which words do not?
A: Words that feel good to me are “sustainable, real, and choice.” Words that do not feel good are “must, rules, and absolutely.”
Q: Speaking of words, I find the word “works” (in relation to the various weight loss/fitness plans, programs, gadgets, etc.) to be fascinating. What does it mean when a plan/program “works” for you?
A: A program that “works” for me is one that lets me be myself, live my life, and be a better person while I am on the plan or living the program.
Q: There’s a famous quote by Carl Jung that goes like this: “We can not change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.” What role did self-acceptance (and by this I mean acceptance of not just the positive, but the negative, as well) play in your journey? Were you able to muster acceptance for yourself prior to losing weight or did you start from a place of self-loathing? Or maybe it was something in between?
A: This is an interesting question for me because I did start my journey more from a position of self-loathing rather than self-love. During the process I learned to make the switch but it was not there at the beginning.
Q: At one point in the book you write, “As a fat person, I felt judged. I was ridiculed. I endured humiliation.” I can relate to these statements. What I have come to realize over time is that it was me who was judging, ridiculing, and humiliating and so I projected that on to others. Do you think this was true for you?
A: In a lot of ways yes. My own lack of self-esteem and worry about what others though of me likely influenced others around me to treat me poorly. That being said, there were times when I was ridiculed or embarrassed by people I did not know, and therefore they were not making fun of me because of anything I did, but rather from their own opinion of overweight people.
Q: For me, “ideal” is when food does not control me, and I don’t have to control food. “Control” is not part of the equation. What’s your ideal?
A: My ideal is to live life without having to think about food all the time. Instead of focusing on food, I try to focus on life, my faith, and the people I love and care for.
Q: Any other words of wisdom?
A: Never give up on yourself. Only you can walk this journey and you are worth every bit of effort it takes to learn what makes you unique and embrace a new, healthy life.
Diane has offered to give her book away to one of my readers and as a special bonus, I will include a copy of my own book (AFTER) The Before & After (U.S. readers only). Please leave a comment if you would like a chance to win. I will choose a winner via Random Number Generator on Monday, May 28.