My Story (A Love Story) ...

(The Good, The Bad, And Everything In Between.)

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I struggled with my weight for decades....

I attended my first weight watchers meeting
when I was 8 years old, after my dad caught me
using a whole stick of butter in my eggs...

My weight was embarrassing.

I sat on a glass table at a college party and it
cracked...

I was a weight loss success story

...but paid the price for it.

My own weight loss cost me back surgery at 25.
And while I was so inspired to help others
on their own weight loss journey,
I realized that they too would pay the cost of skinny
if I didn’t do something about it.
I changed my MIND to change my body and now,
I teach others to do the same.

If you met me, you might look at me and think:

What does this woman know about insecurity, adversity, feeling fat, or unhappiness?

Without even knowing me, you might look upon my blond haired blue-eyed happy healthy self and wonder:

How the hell could she possibly relate to the struggles that we as women face when it comes to our bodies, food, or living up to our potential?

But once you hear my story and my journey, you'll understand why.

I was 8 years old—making an omelette in the kitchen with my brother.

We were making them the way we liked to make them: plenty of butter in the pan, and lots of cheese sprinkled on top.

My dad walked in, noticeably pissed off and proceeded to call off the omelette party. The next thing I knew I was at my first Weight Watchers meeting.

A lady from our Temple was the meeting leader and my dad was there walking his talk…weight watching with me.

Even though I felt safe and supported, it didn't change the inevitable: I started judging myself based on how much I weighed and how much I ate.

It was the day I stepped into a world where food shame and fat shame would play a big part of my life.

It was definitely NOT my last Weight Watchers meeting.

4 dozen weight watchers meetings later...I was a college sophomore off to a party.

My shapewear (the Spanx of the early 2000s) was successfully hiding as much of my curvy body as possible, and my black cardigan covered up my arms and stomach.

I was at my heaviest—topping the scales at 240 lbs— about 100 pounds more than most of my friends weighed.

But with a couple of Coors lights in me, I wasn’t thinking about that—so much so that when I couldn’t find a seat, I planted myself on the coffee table.

After all, I had seen people doing it all night long.

I reached across to grab my red solo cup of beer, and I heard a crack. Then another one....then another one.

Oh my god!  I thought. My fat ass cracked the glass….

My heart was racing. I was sweating. I thought I might throw up.

To this day, I don't even know if anyone even noticed. Within seconds I was up, bolting towards the door, and in my car driving home (don't worry, I was below the legal limit to drive)

Clearly things had to change—and they did.

I lost 1/3 of my body weight, and I felt like a completely different woman.

All I wanted to do was help other women feel the way I felt— like my life finally belonged to ME.

I was running my 'semi-famous' Not Your Average Boot Camp program.

In walks Laura.

She's 42. Overfed, undernourished, and totally desperate to change.

She was the 'perfect' client.

Enthusiastic. Never missed a workout. Followed my nutrition plan to the Tee.

Day 42 of bootcamp comes around, and she is beyond thrilled about the woman she has become.

She almost didn't recognize herself in her 'after' pictures.

She's confident, walking differently, talking differently, looking differently!

But little by little that twinkle in her eye fizzled.

4 workouts a week turned into 1.

Following the nutrition plan turned into "sort of" following it.

It wasn’t long before she came in to talk to me.

"Leanne I NEED another 6 week challenge! I can't do this without it! When is it? I need it!"

I felt myself getting defensive and irritated.

I knew that If I put her through another challenge, 6 weeks later, we'd be standing right here all over again!

I took it as a sign that I wasn't doing enough to help her.

I took responsibility for her situation, and set up the next 6 week challenge.

And another...

And another...

Until one day I walked in to check on my challengers — now training with a team I’ve hired to work for me—I noticed Laura limping!

I vividly remember her justifications ...

"Oh it's no big deal"

"I felt a bit of a twinge during some lunges last week, so it's probably from that. I'm taking it easy though today...gonna go a bit lighter.” (As she looks over at her pair of 20 lb dumbbells compared to the pair of 25s she had been using. That was her idea of "taking it easy")

In that moment I had a flashback...

4 years before this...

My anesthesiologist has me counting backwards from 100 as the surgical team gets ready to go in microscopically and remove the calcified, hardened disc fluid that had been sitting on my nerves for the past 8 months.

A procedure I endearingly call, the Cost of Skinny...

I was so focused on getting 'skinny' or 'lean' or 'toned' or 'hot' or whatever words ruled my brain at the time, that I didn't pay attention or tune in to what my body needed and what my body was screaming at me to do.

If only I had listened to the screams from my body to "slow down!", "chill out!",  "and while you're at it, go eat a friggen sandwich Leanne!", maybe it could have all been avoided.

But I didn't care! I just wanted to be skinny and beautiful. And no back pain or injury or pesky flare-up was gonna stop me!

Until it finally did stop me.

It didn't just stop me—it landed me on an operating table at the Cleveland Clinic for major spine surgery at the ripe ol' age of 25.

There I was watching Laura hobble to her water bottle during her 1 min rest interval, and I knew...

If I don't do something about what I'm seeing, pretty soon my clients will be paying their own "Cost of Skinny" too.

Right then and there, I decided to change everything—to go from the business of body to the business of the brain.

Fast forward a couple years later...

I finally found the courage to admit (and act on) my truth. And that's when I realized:

I don't want to be a fitness 'expert', a health nut, or obsessed with my body
and every morsel of food that touches my lips...

I'll admit: I tried on all of those roles, but they all left me either:

  • Living a life (and in a body) that made me unhappy

-OR-

  • Living in a body that pleased me, but in a way that left me really UNHAPPY.

I went from feeling majorly out of control of my body, dependencies and addictions to food, and with complete disregard for my body...

To the opposite: Restriction, control, punishing my body, and convincing myself to do the things I thought I 'needed' to do to never go back to my old ways.

But the old stuff never went away. I just pushed it aside, locked it up, and worked my tail off to stay the course.

Until I finally said "I can't won't do this anymore! I'm 30 years old but if I keep practicing this way of living and being, pretty soon I'll be 40, then 50…"

And THAT scared the shit out of me. So I (literally) just stopped.

I said:

What if I just started listening to my body?

What if I started listening to my brain?

What if I started listening to my heart?

 

My body said: "You are friggin lucky! All this beating up and abusing of your body. You're lucky spine surgery and sugar addiction were the WORST of it. You've been choosing 'weight loss' over vitality and health and freedom for far too long… and I am feeling it!"

My brain said: "You are maxed out! You are overworked, overtrained, overscheduled, and (on top of that) you are STARVING me most of the time, then gluttonously over stuffing me. Then you furiously WORRY about it! It's almost like you know you have it 'handled' for now, but in the back of your mind you know you can't do this forever."

My heart said: "I'm done thinking, worrying, obsessing over my body, my weight, food, exercise, pumping myself up, being a good 'example', and trying to be perfect. I want to enjoy food, enjoy my body, and enjoy the fruits of my labor. I want to wear what I want to wear, be who I want to be, live with freedom, permission, and choice -- not obligation, not because I feel stuck, and not because I am afraid of what would happen if I STOP controlling and restricting myself. I want my life back!

So here's what happened next...

  • I started to get to know my body for the first time ever: I started to look at it, touch it, feel it.
  • I started listening to my body.
  • I started listening to my hunger and cravings.
  • I started listening to my pains and frustrations.
  • I started listening to my desires.

Here I am FINALLY able to eat a delicious cheeseburger without the shame and without the guilt. I call it Food Freedom.

And then I started tuning into my body, hunger, pains, frustrations, desires… and created my life around THAT.

I focused on influencing all of those things in the direction I wanted them to go…instead of just riding the waves of momentum in the direction they were already going.

Here is what I discovered:

  • I found my body needed less work, not more.
  • I found my body needed more food, not less.
  • I found my heart and mind needed more care, less punishment.
  • I found my motivation and mojo needed less convincing, coercing, and persuading...and more fun.
  • I found my sanity needed less control, more choice and freedom.
  • I found that I needed less judgment and criticism, and more understanding.

So…

  • I started giving myself permission to meet myself and my body were I was.
  • I started attending to and serving my body what it needed.
  • I started caring for my joints and my brain.
  • I started using food for pleasure, as medicine, and for vitality.
  • I started using movement as a drug, as my therapy, and my healthcare and insurance policy.
  • I started seeking out ways to have more fun and enjoyment in my life.
  • I started seeking knowledge and understanding where I lacked acceptance and compassion.
  • I started getting to know my fat, accepting my fat, and influencing my fat.
  • I started asking myself how I feel and how I want to feel and basing my decisions on THAT.
  • I started looking for my own answers instead of looking for someone to give them to me.
  • I started looking for ways to please myself and make myself happy.

This picture was taken of me in 2014 at the Dead Sea in Israel. I'd been there about 5 times before this, but was always too ashamed to get it. Not this time.

Bottom line:

I simplified, removed, lightened, and eased my journey… gave myself what I require and what I desire…and made it fun and enjoyable.

I call it EnLIGHTENment.

I mean, what's the fun in having a body you love if you hate who you have to be to get there?

The result?

  • I am at my 'happy weight' all year long (and when I do want to 'tighten up' a bit, it's easy!)
  • I live a lifestyle based on freedom, permission, and choice.
  • I feel like I am the one in 'control' of my body and my life – not the other way around.
  • I live (for the most part) pain-free every day, and when I do have flareups, I know exactly what to do to take care of them.
  • I eat however I FEEL like eating -- I now know how to eat to keep my body looking, moving, and feeling happy.
  • I've completely changed my relationship with food, my body, and with myself... and in turn increased my confidence, self esteem, and body image.

My whole life I sat on the sidelines 'waiting for the weight' to do all the things I really wanted. Then at the age of 30 I learned how to roller skate, ice skate, paddle board, and hoolah hoop. Just to name a few. It's never too late to start living!

My Big FAT Experiment...

My life is essentially one big FAT experiment.

I truly am like a 'mad' scientist.

But I also love to share the 'what' the 'why' and the 'how' behind what I do, so you can understand things and REALLY benefit from my 'madness'.

So that's exactly what I do. I essentially peel back the curtain and show you how exactly I live my life: How I eat, how I move, how I live, and how I've learned to love myself along the way.

That also includes when I have the urge to 'bump it up' a notch…

I simply do it with the same 'rules' I live by every day:

No restriction, punishment, or drive-myself-crazy control. To me, that's a losing game. 

You see I have my routines, but just like you, I don't always do ALL I can do.

I too can feel lazy, unmotivated, a bit flat.

So you'll never hear me shouting at you from up high on some pedestal.

This isn't me saying "That whole struggle 'thing' was soooo 2014. I've evolved. I'm past that. Been there, done that."

Nope this is me STILL there, DOING it.

But I also know that I feel better when I do certain things regularly and consistently, and make my own self-care priority numero uno.

So as I share my insights, wisdom, tools, and resouces with all you lovely ladies, just know I am officially double dog daring YOU to create your own Big Fat Experiment in your own life.

In the meantime, welcome to the Big Fat Experiment that is my life. I'm honored to have you be a part of it.

50% Complete

Almost There! Just complete one more step to download your free
5-Day Self-Image Makeover guide...

Download immediate access to
The Self-Image Solution AND Get Access to
My 5-Day Self-Image Makeover!

Simply enter your name and email below

Your Details are 100% Secure.