From Yo-Yo Dieter to CrossFit Queen

The following is an As Told To story I wrote for The woman speaking is popular blogger Roni Noone…

I grew up hating my body. I remember my father pointing out that I was 10 or 20 pounds overweight when I was in middle school, and it crushed me. At just 11 years old, I was already comparing myself to thinner friends and hiding behind baggy sweats. In high school, I’d have salad for lunch and do 100 sit-ups before bed, but it didn’t shrink my round belly and chunky thighs.

Gaining the freshmen 25 in college didn’t help. Over the summers, I’d diet and drop a few pounds, only to gain 20 more in the fall. Pizza and wings cravings always won out over my desire to be thin, and at graduation in 1999, I weighed 185 lbs, 30 more than when I left high school. By 2000, I’d passed the 215 mark. I was depressed, miserable and uncomfortable in my own skin.

Over the next few years, I tried everything from fasting to Phentermine, one half of the diet drug Fen-phen, finally finding success with the Atkins diet. I lost 45 pounds eating bacon, cheese and bun-less burgers. But I became consumed with counting carbs. It wasn’t sustainable. The weight crept back.

Starting a Family

In summer 2004, my husband, Bill, and I made the big decision, so I needed a more balanced way of eating to conceive and carry a child. The Weight Watchers Points System sounded appealing, not like a fad diet. Sure enough, I lost 11 pounds in four weeks, without feeling deprived.

Then we got pregnant. The high of seeing those two pink lines was soon replaced by fear over my impending weight gain. I stopped counting points and gained a staggering 70 pounds in nine months.

In June 2005, when my son, Ryan, was two weeks old, I returned to Weight Watchers. I didn’t want Ryan growing up with an out-of-shape, self-conscious mom, but I was nervous. I wasn’t a kale-eating, yogurt-loving runner; I was more of a 209-lb, Lucky Charms girl. But I followed the program to a T, downsizing my portions and journaling. Soon I realized I could have a huge salad with protein for the same points value as a half-cup of Lucky Charms—and I felt way more satisfied afterwards.

Back then, exercise felt like punishment, so I didn’t do much other than walking and trying the standard “park far away at the mall” tips; my focus was on breaking the yo-yo diet cycle and living healthy. I didn’t care if I lost a ton of weight—I just wanted to be a strong role model for Ryan. Finally, I was doing this on my terms.

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Rapunzel Goes to Medical School

“PLAY ARIEL!” our 3-year-old scream-demands from her car seat as I drive her to preschool three mornings a week. “The story, not the song, please!” So I press play—she did say please, after all—fast forward to Track 5 and allow the British narrator to begin his tale of sunken treasures, underwater rescue and finding your soul mate. Toward the end, as wedding bells ring for Ariel and Prince Eric, she and I always share a moment where I look back at her, our eyes meet and we smile as she announces, “They’re married! That’s nice.”

True love as deep as the blue sea and as pure as a young girl’s voice certainly does sound nice. But break down the story a bit and the “Little Mermaid” is actually a “Little Misogynistic”:

1. Ariel’s dad only wants her to date mermen (homosapienphobe!)

2. Pressured to conform to society’s idea of beauty, Ariel schedules an appointment with the sea witch equivalent of an unscrupulous plastic surgeon who agrees to replace her tail with long, sinewy legs. BOOM! she’s attractive to humans.

3. Even though she’s rendered the underwater equivalent of Jennifer Grey, the prince puts a ring on it and Ariel lives happily ever after.

Is this a moral we want to instill? Our toddler finds the story hopelessly romantic; she can Continue reading

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Dear (Unretouched) Cindy Crawford

Dear (Unretouched) Cindy Crawford,

Thank you. From the bottom of my cellulite-dappled ass and my spider vein-mapped legs, thank you. Thank you for the Valentine’s Day gift you bestowed on millions of everyday women with your real—and really quite exquisite—Marie Claire photo. In it, you are a 6-foot-tall sex bomb, decked out in lacy black lingerie and blingy jewelry and a feathered coat that likely costs more than our mortgage. You have the cleavage of a 20-year-old and are owning that fedora.

You also have abs that are not bounce-a-quarter-off-them rock-hard. And your thighs are not as smooth as liquid latex.

And you look incredible.


See me discussing the photo on the Today Show

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I’m thankful that Victoria’s Secret really gets me

Is there anything better than opening your mailbox to discover that your Sangria of the Month subscription tri-weekly Victoria’s Secret catalog has arrived?  Doutzen Kroes has the same taste as I do when it comes to pom pom outfits, Gisele is an uber-relatable breastfeeding mom, and Behati Prinsloo is practically my bestie (she married a Jewish guy…just like me!)

But as I opened my newest catalog this week, I was struck by something.

You know what I really love? What I’m truly grateful for this Thanksgiving? It’s how the folks at VS really seem to get me. Their photos, they just speak my language. I mean, how could I not see myself in these images?

This is exactly how MY friends and I hang out.








This is how I look when I box.









This is how I warm up by my radiator (please excuse my messy books!)









This is the kind of thing I wear when I'm cold on top but hot on the bottom.









I have a pair of undies just like these for days when I don't want anyone to stare at me.











This is how I look on Christmas morning.




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When I was in my early 20s, I fell asleep in a hotel room after a night of celebrating at my then-boyfriend’s annual medical school ball. I woke up about an hour later with a strange man straddling my hips, kissing and groping me. His belt was unbuckled; his pants were unzipped. Though I was not raped, the moment transformed me, kicking off years of PTSD-induced nightmares and fueling a general lack of trust towards men in particular, and humanity in general. When hotel security was phoned in response to my screams, the police were summoned; the first thing they asked was why it took me so long to call for help.  When I decided to press charges, the district attorney warned me that the attacker’s lawyer would attempt to drag me through the mud. Indeed, I was peppered with questions and accusations, ranging from indictments over having danced with more than one man that night at the party to the suggestion that by not wearing underwear to bed, I had been “asking for it.”

The guy was a medical student. He had to write an apology to me and got off with drug and alcohol testing for a year; I spent the next half-decade in and out of therapists’ offices, chasing various cocktails of medications that might allow me to sleep without waking up terrified that I was being sexually assaulted, and feeling the perpetual imprint of his hands on my body, like the flash of a camera that won’t leave your eyes no matter how tightly you shut them.

I haven’t thought of that attack in years, but the UCSB shootings have brought it all back. It’s not just because I was in a sorority like some of the murderer’s intended victims. It’s because practically every one of my girlfriends has a story like mine; a story of some man assuming that he can touch, ogle, leer at or penetrate our body simply because he wants to, starting at an alarmingly young age. It’s because my husband and I will soon have two daughters and I don’t want to have to worry about them disappearing because they one day may opt to not kiss a certain boy. It’s because girls and women worldwide have to contend with the omnipresent threat of being kidnapped, assaulted, disfigured or murdered simply because they desire agency over their bodies, whether it’s a college student being date-raped, a trio of ladies being held against their will in some monster’s basement for a decade, women splashed with acid in Bangladesh, girls subjected to Female Genital Mutilation in Africa and the Middle East, child marriage, child (and adult) pornography and more. Enough already. Enough. #YesAllWomen

More powerful #YesAllWomen tweets…





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