This One Word Finally Helped Me Lose Weight—for Good

Updated: Feb. 01, 2020

On my weight loss journey, it took a text from my mother to get me on the right track and help me focus on my health.

before after emilycourtesy Emily CappielloNot long ago, I was on a pretty serious weight-loss journey—the kind this woman undertook. I was focusing on dropping pounds and dropping them fast.

I didn’t do anything too crazy, but I did subject myself to the Whole30. If you haven’t heard of this approach, it’s a month without sugar, dairy, alcohol, beans, legumes, wheat, and grains. OK, maybe that was a little crazy. But I did not one round, but two, and added in some intense SoulCycle classes. (Here are some other easy tips for losing weight.)

By the end of the summer, I was down almost 30 pounds. People started taking notice—probably because my clothes had begun falling off. So much so that I had a friend give me a pair of pants because she was a bit embarrassed by my look. (I was insisting that the palazzo look was back in even though my pants weren’t technically palazzo.) So, on one of my lunch breaks, I decided to hit TJ Maxx and see if I could pick up a few things.

Trying to decide which size to try on was tricky: I was still wearing my size 10s and 12s, but I also knew that I could fit into my pair of size 8 jeans, so focused on 8s. I grabbed a few staples and made my way to the dressing room.

The first pair was too big—I figured it was just the brand or material. Then the pair of pants didn’t fit—or the next. I was stunned. I went and pulled a few size 6s. To my surprise, they all fit comfortably. No muffin top. No squeezing. No breath-holding for the button up.

I was elated! I immediately texted my mother, writing: “Mom, I just have to share a little victory. For the first time in my adult life, I fit into a size 6 pant!”

Her response floored me: “Congratulations! You are on the road to being super healthy!”

Healthy. Not skinny. Not thin. Not small. Healthy.

I stopped right there. Little did I know that text would change the perspective about what I was trying to do.

At first, my focus was just on losing weight. I didn’t even notice the other things going on around me. I was lifting heavier weights. I could run faster and longer. The resistance on the SoulCycle bike was increasing every session. It hit me that my mom was right: I may very well already be at a healthy weight for my body, but it’s time to switch the focus from my weight to my health. I’m in my 30s. I should be making that a priority because it’s only going to get harder to change bad habits as I get older.

While my old focus was my weight and a number on the scale, healthy means much more to me. I’m excited to keep my eating habits balanced, and the word also refocuses my exercise efforts. Not to mention, I have made appointments with all of my doctors—from my general practitioner to my dermatologist—to check my body from the inside out and make sure I’m on the right path.

It’s amazing what one word can do.

(Check out the 50 things your doctor wishes you knew about weight loss.)