I’ve spent the majority of this year focused on fitness and healthy and losing just a little bit of weight. I chronicled my journey on my blog to keep me motivated, and when I saw The Shift: How I Finally Lost Weight and Discovered a Happier Life by Tory Johnson, I knew it was a book I had to read. The idea that a mental shift is the key to really losing weight resonated with me, and I couldn’t wait to see her insights.
The story begins in December of 2011 when Tory Johnson, a Good Morning, America contributor meets with an executive with ABC News. She is overweight and knows it but has used her significant talent to compensate for that in an industry dominated by the thin and beautiful. She feels the pressure from Barbara to do something about her weight in fear of her job, and for the first time she’s motivated to do something.
The book then chronicles the next year and her journey. It offers insights as to what has worked for Tory, along with where she’s discovered pitfalls and challenges. The book is chatty and easy to read, and I want to sit down and have dinner with Tory after having read it – or maybe just hang out on a beach since the focus isn’t food anymore.
Tory didn’t follow a specific diet. She didn’t visit a doctor. She didn’t follow an exercise regimen. Instead, she shifted her mind. Tory realized that her priority in life was to lose weight, and that became her focus. It was more important than a glass of wine. It was more important than a piece of cake or ice cream.
She simply ate approximately half what she had been eating. She didn’t measure it or count calories. It wasn’t what she needed. She found that carbs were a problem for her so limited them significantly to the point of not eating fruit. For me, I found that to be extreme and not something that is necessarily good diet advice for most people, but Tory is sharing what works for her and freely acknowledges that. She shares that any of the diets she’d followed in the past probably would have succeeded if she hadn’t been so impatient and given up on them too soon.
Part of the difference, I think, is in the initial attitude towards food. Tory had a large amount of weight to lose and had what may be some food addictions, as well. I had far less to lose, which I think gives me a different perspective to some of those limitations. That played out at the end of the book. As Tory came closer and closer to her goal weight, she was able to start to loosen some of her restrictions on herself without losing control.
The book is filled with all sorts of great observations from realizing that thin people don’t finish everything on their plate. They politely turn away from dessert without making an issue of it. And she found that people weren’t comfortable with her turning down food or how to interact with her. Some of her challenges struck home with me and made me sit back and think.
I loved that at the end of many chapters, there is a short list of “Shift Wisdom” points that provide little tips or bits of inspiration that can help you focus. And the prioritization I think really is the key.
At the end of the day, I’m not ready to give up every glass of wine. I want to have a small piece of cake to celebrate my son’s birthday. I want to enjoy a nice dinner out with friends from time to time. And I fully acknowledge after reading this book that this is probably why I still have another five or so pounds that I “just can’t” lose. But when I am, I know where to return for my motivation and support.
Written by Michelle who is so very proud of the 19 pounds she’s lost. You can see where she’s chronicled her journey on her blog Honest & Truly! and follow along with her on Twitter where she is also @HonestAndTruly.