I decided to share more about my personal wellness journey. What better way to do that, than through my own words. Below is an excerpt from my book, The Weight Loss D.I.V.A. Post/comment questions and whether you can relate below. Enjoy! – LeeAnn

Being skinny is not all it’s cracked up to be.

When I was a little girl, I had dreams of being thin. As early as the fifth grade, I was aware of being overweight and instinctively knew that to be successful in this world, you had to be thin. 5th grade photoI thought everything would be perfect, that I would be perfect, once I was thin. It was in the fifth grade that boys and girls split up in health class to learn about the beauty of puberty by an outdated video of course. In the back of the classroom I sat with my legs crossed, listening intently to the narrator as he said, “some girls gain weight when they begin to menstruate, and some may lose weight.” Silently, I said to myself, I want to be one of the girls who loses weight. It was also in the fifth grade that I stood on the scale in the nurse’s office weighing in at a solid 150 pounds. She sent a note of concern home to my mother and told me that if I just stayed at that weight (forever) I would grow up to be a healthy adult. Are you serious?? How can you expect an already chubby kid to not gain an ounce over the next fifteen years?

For me, being thin was not an option. I have diaries full of other dreams, like marriage, children, and acting on Broadway. Yet, all of the mental images of my future included a “thin” LeeAnn, not the one I saw in real life at 289 pounds. Losing weight seemed to be the key to success in my life and the only way to start my life’s journey. And finally, in the year 2008, I achieved that goal.

I started this book four or five years ago, as I was nearing the end of a very successful weight loss plan. By the beginning of 2008 I boasted a 144-pound weight loss. I was on top of the world and featured in some national magazines and even on “The Today Show” for my accomplishment. Everywhere I went people who knew the larger version of me asked how I lost the weight. Quite honestly, I didn’t have just one perfect way to lose it. I started a few years before that on a protein shake and supplement diet; then focused on holistic health with many vegetarian options; and then ended with another meal-replacement plan that helped me drop the last set of pounds. Slowly but surely, I changed my life. I was so proud that I had finally accomplished a childhood dream—to be thin! I wanted to share what I learned with the world. After years of dieting and weight loss plans, I had realized that it took much more than just eating well to lose a substantial amount of weight.

Although I had tons of diet and exercise tips to share, the best tip of all is this: Being thin does not equal happiness. For a skinny person, this may seem like an obvious fact, but it is not so obvious for people who’ve struggled with their weight. When I finally reached the size I always wanted to be, I realized that I was not satisfied. I still had insecurities about my body and began to focus on other characteristics about myself that appeared to be lacking.

Years later, I am nearly back to the weight at which I started my journey. I’m not as cheery as I used to be, and sometimes I honestly doubt whether or not I can lose the weight again. So this book is as much for me as it is for you. I’m reminded that being successful does not mean you have a perfect story. It means you just don’t give up. If I had released this book in 2008, it would have sold a ton of copies—“Hear tips from a weight loss success story!” But that’s no longer my platform. Instead, I encourage you to join me on this journey to rediscover (or discover for the first time) the strength that’s within us to achieve our dreams.

Yes, weight loss success takes more than eating salads and becoming a gym rat! I’ve learned that it’s about Discipline (physical, mental, and spiritual); seeking Inspiration; walking in Victory; and Accepting yourself, no matter what. That’s what being a “Weight Loss D.I.V.A.” is all about. In this book, I will reflect on a few lessons I’ve learned along the way that helped me lose half of my size, and that will hopefully help you to rediscover the D.I.V.A. within you.