Living Your Best Life
Alicia says she began to gain weight after having kids. After her first child was born, she gained 100 pounds. After the birth of her second, Alicia carried 267 pounds on her 4'11" frame. In denial about her weight, she spent 14 years hiding from the truth. "If I saw someone else bigger, I thought, 'Well, I'm not that bad.'"
Her out-of-control eating habits—including fast food every day—began to take a toll. Alicia rarely left the house and had little energy. She couldn't walk to the park with her kids and refused to attend company parties, even family gatherings. "I felt people stared at me when we went to restaurants to eat," she says. "It's like I didn't belong there, like I didn't need to eat."
Alicia says she hit rock bottom when she was turned down for a job in the cruelest way. "I went for a job interview for a radio station and I didn't think it mattered how I looked, but the man's like, 'Look at you.' And I asked him, 'Why?'" she says. "And he said, 'You're just too big.'"
"I started with the eating habits because ... my problem was eating," Alicia says. "Once I got that, it was on."
Julee says her feelings of isolation fueled her out-of-control eating habits, and her weight hit an all-time high at 270 pounds. "I would avoid looking in the mirror. I found that if I ignored it, it wasn't there," Julee says.
Her weight also made her feel "unlovable," she says. "Who would accept a 270-pound woman in his life?" she says. "I just couldn't imagine there was someone who could take me as I was."
Still, she wasn't sure she could confront the issues behind her weight problem. "It's so hard to change, and I just didn't think I could do it because I knew I was going to have to answer some questions and I didn't think I was ready for that."
Julee says something Bob said really struck a chord for her. "Sometimes we lack the motivation to do something, but oftentimes we need to do it first and then the motivation follows," Julee says. "And that's what I found over and over again."
Bob urges others to follow Julee's lead. "Just start and don't think about tomorrow. Think a month out, two months out, or a year out," Bob says. "And guaranteed if you can focus on waking up and taking small steps, your life will be different a year from now."
Growing up, Cindy says she was self-conscious about her weight. "When I was 11 years old, a boy teased me about being overweight and I was humiliated," she says. "That triggered my first diet. This cycle of extreme dieting and binging continued for decades."
In college, Cindy majored in nutrition because she thought she would find the answer to weight loss. Instead, Cindy felt more pressure to be a lower weight, and at one point in grad school, says she became bulimic. Still, she eventually earned a Ph.D. in nutrition.
One day, Cindy saw Bob on The Oprah Show and his message of change "reverberated in my soul," she says.
Then, fate brought Cindy even more motivation. "I got this phone call one day from an exercise physiologist, and he was looking for a dietitian to edit one of his books," she says. "It wasn't till I hung up the phone and I thought, 'Oh, my gosh. That's Bob Greene.' I knew from that moment on that my life was going to change."
Cindy now practices what she preaches and says she dropped 30 pounds within a few months—by cutting out her heavy soda intake. "That one thing was the first dietary change I made," she says.
Bob says he recommends eventually removing even diet soda from your eating habits. "It has its place in a weight loss mode, but I don't like overdoing that either because you never break your taste for real sweets, so it's better to weed that out as well in the final phase of the program."
Like so many, Brie eventually fell into an unhealthy routine. After work, she'd settle in on the couch, turn on the television and ask her husband to pick up some fast food for dinner.
Brie's weight tipped the scale at 215 pounds, but she didn't realize she had a problem until seeing a shocking home video. "There I was on the videotape with my daughter in a bathing suit and I was shocked," Brie says. "It was shattering to me to see myself looking that large. I left the room in tears. I was devastated."
Brie lost 75 pounds and is now a size 4! She also says after she started living her best life, she decided to turn her new passion into a career. "I'm a wellness coach now, two years, and it's just been amazing," she says.