10 things that losing the same 10 pounds over and over again has taught me. | Diane Sanfilippo

10 things that losing the same 10 pounds over and over again has taught me.

Diane Sanfilippo Diane: Direct, Health & Wellness, Weight Loss 120 Comments

Some of you may know this, others may not, but I am exceptionally good at gaining weight.

I cook delicious food, and I often over-work and over-stress myself in ways that make the balance of my life tip.

And, so, it happens. But over the years (and facing down the big 4-0 in a couple of weeks), I've learned a lot from losing the same 10 pounds over and over again.

All of these are things I wish I could have told my 20-something and even early 30-something year-old self. There were far too many hours and days (probably weeks and months) spent fussing over a little weight here or there. No one ever cared, yet, it likely stole away too much precious time and head space that could have been spent on far more valuable pursuits or creative endeavors.

And there are far more valuable pursuits in the world. I promise you this.

1. That it is *almost* never about the food.

The very first time I ever “gained weight” beyond a normal/healthy range for my height was through college when I had abandoned myself as an athlete (I played sports my entire life and was even co-captain of my volleyball team in high school, maybe soccer, too, but I honestly forget).

I'll never forget the gynecologist appointment when the nurse weighed me, then promptly asked if anyone had ever talked to me about portion control.

Um, what? No. I weighed in at 165#. I am 5'4″.

That college-gain was more than the 10 pounds I'm talking about here that I would go on to gain and lose more times than I can count.

And that was the first time I ever closely considered the food I was eating, how much, and what it could be doing to me. Mind you, I had no idea what to eat besides what I was eating, but I was now made aware that it mattered.

At this stage, it was partly about the food. For most of you reading this, you're well beyond this stage. Still, while the food I was eating was not healthy or well balanced, that I ate too much of it and that I gained weight to the degree that I did, was not about the food.

I wrote more about what I mean by “it was never about the food” in this post.

2. The people who truly care about you don't care about that 10 pounds.

They may care that you're not taking care of yourself. They may also care that you are inactive or not “yourself” if you've gained weight, but they don't care about the vanity of it. They see it, but they love and respect you enough to know that you see it, too. You aren't blind. And you know how your own clothes fit. But they aren't judging you for it. If you are judging others for it, stop doing that.

I'm not saying there won't be people in your life who have something to say about the weight gain, but you'll soon learn that those people's opinions have no place in your world. This video from Brené Brown's work on critics. will change your life if this is a struggle for you.

Sit with that one for a bit…

3. You may never truly know what's going on with someone when they gain or lose weight.

You don't know if someone who you thought looked “great” when they were thinner was truly unhealthy at that weight.

I couldn't begin to count how many women have told me at workshops I used to teach around the country or through various social channels that they've stopped menstruating while they looked what the Internet deems “amazing” or had visible abs.

So, especially if someone hasn't publicly stated a goal to do anything about their weight, to commend them for either losing or gaining is often a very touchy subject and something I recommend avoiding.

This is HARD to do.

We want to recognize people's efforts.

And, if you are talking privately to a friend who opens up about the intricacies of their own process, then that may be a good place for it. But be careful with this at large.

Even commending someone for their leanness, honestly, is very possibly feeding into a negative body image issue they've had for a long time, and that additional praise is only going to solidify that issue.

While on a book tour a couple of years ago, I received lots of positive comments about my arms. And, while undeniably well-intended and meant as compliments, I'm not sure the longer-term impact on me was positive. This may also be simply my own stuff to sort out – taking compliments and not being attached to your view of me in that moment. Still, I think it's worth raising all of our awareness around this issue. And recognizing when we may be doing this without realizing the potential outcome.

By the same token, the reason or reasons why someone gains weight are likely far more complex than you'll ever know. It's not as simple as “eating too much.” Yes, that can be a cause, obviously, but again, this isn't about the food.

It can be a hormonal issue they're desperately trying to resolve. Or a recently (or un) diagnosed hypothyroid situation. Or what if someone had been pregnant for a time and no longer is due to medical complications, but they never shared about that with anyone? Again, more reasons why it's not your place to comment, ya know?

What's going on in someone's life – stress, trauma, emotional strain – those all impact why we eat, when we eat it, and how much we eat. Or don't.

While many women (and men) are viewed as weak-willed or lazy when they gain weight, there are just as many women who will lose weight for the same reasons others gain. And neither is better, but societal norms today lead people to praise the leanness you see on Instagram, for example, when in reality it may be more natural or easier for one person to be lean versus not.

And, you actually don't know if that person is even healthy at that weight, even if you *think* you know or they “seem super healthy.”

I've been there, too. When I was 29 I was as low as around 18% body fat with a visible 6-pack (and again when I was 32 or 33 years old) as a result of over-training, yet I had lost my period for two months, and also suffered from massive adrenal fatigue as well as several injuries. At just under 130 pounds at 5'4″ and 18% body fat I was amenorrheic. That was a problem. 

(Side note on the Instagram stuff here: vote with your engagement – and steer clear of body-focused (in favor of education and inspiration-focused) content if it's triggering to you. I do.)

4. It's actually okay to gain and lose weight over and over again.

Now, there may be a lot more damage done when the amount of weight gets into larger numbers, and I'm not an expert on the topic of massive weight gain and loss, so that's not what I'm talking about here.

But, I am talking about anywhere from say 5 to 20 pounds. Seasonally, our weight can fluctuate, and that's okay. In fact, it's likely more natural for it to happen than not. That said, for many of us, the gaining is quite easy, and the losing, not so much.

And, I'm not really talking about “yo-yo dieting” in this case. Where you go from eating healthy foods to throwing caution to the wind and eating crap for months on end. I'm talking about gaining weight while eating healthfully. Because that's a thing, you know… though some people may not understand it. I know you do.

The hard part is that the process of losing weight seems to take an extreme emotional toll on many of us because we feel bad, or wrong, or as if we have made a mistake when the time comes to lose the weight (if that's what we choose to do).

If you find yourself going through this process, identify what goes on for you when you gain weight.

Is it that you don't want to think about what or how much you're eating all the time? You want to eat balanced meals of real, whole foods, and what you then naturally end up eating is probably a bit more calorically dense than you need?

That's me.

When I eat freely of healthy (and even some not-so-healthy foods like gluten-free treats at the holidays) foods, and don't put any special attention on portion sizes other than not snacking for no reason or not having too many treats all the time, I gain weight.

My body is SO good at gaining weight.

Lovely.

I'm sure there's probably one person out there reading this who is jealous of that statement, while most of you are probably nodding along as if to say, “YES, DIANE, MINE TOO.”

I'm not here to write a hall pass for weight gain ad infinitum.

And I'm not entirely sure I'm getting my point across.

What I mean to say is this: so what if you lose and gain the weight over and over? It doesn't make you a bad person.

It's probably seasonally appropriate. And it's no one's business but your own. Don't beat yourself up about it, just do what you need to do in a healthy way to find yourself where you want to be again, then move on.

Do your best not to dig an emotional hole about it. Look back at the past bit of time when the gain happened with an objective lens. What was going on at the time that led to the gain? Okay, you got that now. Identify that, own it, observe where you emotionally weren't taking care of yourself, then change it and move on.

I think I just saved you at least $1,000 in therapy right there. You're welcome.

5. Empathy and judgement cannot coexist.

You know that expression “if you wouldn't say that to your best friend, then why say it to yourself?” It rings true in this sentiment about empathy and judgement.

Because when we talk to a close friend, we work hard to empathize with them, and not judge them for the hard things they're dealing with, right?

What if we stopped judging ourselves?

What if we stopped judging ourselves and stepped back to, as I said before, observe the situation for what it is?  What if we empathized with our own journey and showed a bit more compassion for what we've been through?

The minute you drop the judgement, conversely, is the minute you will allow the empathy to flow.

When I step back and look at my life during any period where I've gained that 10 pounds back, it's been a time when I've been in extreme service to others.

And while, no, I don't want to use that as an excuse – and do think there is a way to balance being in extreme service to others while caring for ourselves, it was the situation at hand. I didn't balance it well. I just didn't. I have struck that balance before, but this time, I didn't. And I think I resented that time of extreme service a bit and then rebelled against the idea of more restrictions, and, so, the weight came on.

I do feel lucky that my personality is such at this point that I won't spiral into negative self-talk or a depressed state as I did in my early 30s around some of this stuff.

It's hard to explain in a single blog post all that comes with this topic. But, I'll say this: I've come to a place where I'm able to observe these things objectively, even in my own life, and simply make a plan to make changes and not attach myself to – or beat myself up for – what I did in the past.

I did the best I could. I am always doing the best I can. And so are you, my friend.

And, on that note…

6. Some people will judge you with or without the extra weight.

True story: several years ago, someone called me fat on the Internet.

Diane Sanfilippo

The above is a photo from an event the month before the name-calling/internet fat-shaming.

It was an interesting experience. I stated that I didn't like or recommend their food products, nor did I trust their labeling after some scandals about it had been shared.

Admittedly, I don't think I truly realized the weight of my own endorsement (or disapproval) at that time, and in hindsight perhaps I'd never have said anything, but people asked me about this product often back then, and so I said what I thought of it. I did not, however, lay a personal attack simply because I didn't like the product.

Now, had I been a less self-confident person, I think this experience would have broken me. Honestly, the character of those involved in the attempted fat-shaming was not at a level that I respected anyway, so I found it hard to take the name-calling seriously. (File this again under: who deserves a say in your life and life choices – aka: “Your Kitchen Cabinet” via Brené Brown's work on critics.)

And, shoot, if anyone hasn't been teased in their life by the time they're in their mid-thirties (which I was at the time), then I can see how that might be hard and perhaps cause someone to shut it all down and close up shop.

For many, those experiences are not worth even putting yourself out there in the first place.

But, I was taken right back to the grade-school playground, that's how childish the whole thing was.

Funny, because the name-calling happened after a time when I had just lost weight. And, by all normal standards, I wasn't overweight at all.

So, it was a perfectly hilarious situation to me because the words were said, but since I didn't believe them myself, they didn't stick or hurt. It was more of an “I can't believe the immaturity and nerve of these people” to take that type of action, not an “oh my gosh I'm so hurt or offended” moment – if that makes sense.

My point is that if someone is going to judge your appearance, you certainly have no say over it. You can be rail thin, ripped, or soft or overweight – and no matter what, someone will judge it.

You already know what I think about their opinions.

7. You are losing out when you say no to socializing because of your weight.

I'm still learning this lesson. Actively.

Even within the past year I've said no to several social engagements because I didn't feel like dealing with being in a bathing suit in front of others.

And, if you're a mom, you're denying your kids your laughter and presence if you're saying no to things in this way. I am not judging you for this, simply pointing it out. Because your kids don't care what you look like, they care what you love like, ya know?

I've learned this one, but it doesn't mean I've mastered it yet.

In recent experiences with this, I've been in a place where I am happy in my own body, but not yet feeling somehow “safe” enough to parade it around for a mostly-naked viewing party. Still, I've simply opted out of settings where anyone else is given a chance to make their judgement about it.

But, this is where I need to take my own advice and remember point 6. Because the judgement will likely happen no matter what I look like. So I can either show up and be present for my life, or I say no because of the size of my arms or thighs?!

Do we all realize how insane that sounds? That we miss out on life because of this?

I am working on it.

This is one where I also feel a responsibility to show up for life because I'm not serving anyone when I don't. More on this later.

8. As a rebel, I know that when my identity as an athlete slips away, maintaining my weight does, too.

Clearly not exercising would make gaining weight easy, however, it's not as simple as that for me. For me, including exercise into my almost-daily routine is part of who I am, and part of my own self-care and very decidedly an effort at putting my own needs first.

So, when I talked earlier about being in a time of extreme service when I did have more balance in my life, I was exercising very early in the morning before anything else hit my plate for the day. Downside there was that my sleep was pretty much in the tank. Sigh.

Balance is hard.

Again, I never claim to have it all figured out, but I am actively working on it.

Consider what your tendency is and how that might work for or against your own goals.

9. Simply wanting things to change doesn't make anything happen. Taking action does. (And, it's easier to maintain action than it is to re-start.)

I've learned this through my own experience, but also through all of you who've completed The 21-Day Sugar Detox, or followed a meal plan in Practical Paleo. It's very easy to want things to change, but taking action (duh) is the only way to effect that change.

Each time I've gone through gaining weight, it's been on the heels of an injury that had me out of the gym for either a week, two weeks, or even up to a month (several years ago). Injuries are difficult for all of us, and as someone who holds my identity partly in the fact that I'm an athlete, it's especially hard if I can't live out that part of myself.

We all know what happens when one healthy habit is broken, right? Others are much more easily broken as well. So, while, again, it's not like not working out means it's all Twinkies and Ho Hos over here, it can sometimes mean a gluten-free pizza more often than is necessary.

My lesson and reminder here is that when and if I'm injured again, I'll do my best to return to activity that I can do as quickly as possible while being safe and out of pain. The longer I wait, the harder it becomes to start again.

10. Your offering and service to the world is not weight-dependent.

Any time I hear Oprah talk about her weight, I want to give her a big hug and say, “girl, we don't care about your weight.” And, at the same time, I feel like the fact that it's a struggle she's had for all of her life makes her that much more human, relatable, and clearly just plain real. We all know she's been through some really hard times, and that she lives a wonderful life today. But, none of that removes any of us from this type of struggle. Still, we need to show up.

Can you imagine if she hadn't shown up to work during those years on the Oprah show when her weight was at a high? Now, you may not be an Oprah fan, but this woman seriously touched a lot of lives. Mine included. I think a lot of who I am and the confidence I have came from watching her show, day after day, my entire life.

I watched and learned about more things that I'll ever identify, not the least of which was that if there was something I wanted to do or become, that I could do it.

My point here is this: I recognize that I have things to do and say in this world that require that I am in front of people on a regular basis. If I don't show up for them, I cannot serve my life's purpose. And what good would any of this be if I didn't show up?

I've been in front of thousands of people both feeling more and less confident about the way I looked, and I observed their responses to me during both times – no change. And I can't imagine missing out on hearing all of your stories, exchanging hugs, and feeling your energy and vibes at each of those events. I am so, so grateful to do this work, and I can't imagine not showing that in return over something as trivial as some extra weight.

Through it all, I am no different than anyone else.

I'm a work in progress in many ways, and while these are lessons I've learned and am still learning, I guess I wanted to share this because I needed you all to know that I hear you, I see you, and I've been there. I am there. Here. With you.

And I'm committing to showing up. I hope you will, too.

Diane Sanfilippo, Oprah

The above photo is from Oprah's “Life You Want Weekend” a few years ago to which I purchased a VIP ticket for the opportunity to meet (and get a hug from – the best hug ever, by the way) and thank in this moment. 

Comments 120

  1. Thank you Diane for your honesty. I can completely relate to this vulnerability (as I’m sure all readers are as well). You are inspirational and I appreciate how you are true to yourself. I am also learning through you, taking my own path towards health and wellness. Hugs!

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  2. Diane this is fabulous, thank you so much for putting out there. My sister says every one of them to me at some point and I’ve reminded her of a few important bits too. There was such a flow and full picture to this article! Gratitude.

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  3. This is a post that really spoke to me. I especially love how you always acknowledge when you are working on things yourself instead of pretending like you have it all perfectly figured out (like many other nutrition/health coaches do). It makes your lessons more attainable and real. Thank you for this!

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  4. Really great post! Encourages a whole lot of introspection…and a shift in how I see my personal journey. I am really loving how much you’re encouraging self advocating, as well as personal responsibility. Thanks for this, Diane!

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  5. Thank you for sharing Diane. This topic has been on my mind so much lately. I’m turning 40 later this year, so maybe it’s an age thing. I’m working on the balance you talked about. Working on reminding myself that my worth is in no way tied to my weight. I spent some time rejecting exercise because it was feeling like something I “had to do” to lose weight instead of something I enjoyed doing. I’m finally getting back into the groove of movement and exercise that makes me feel good, inside and out. I’ve also given up the scale. There’s nothing it can tell me that I don’t already know from the mirror or how my clothes fit and I was letting that number control too much of my emotions.

    All that to say, I appreciate your vulnerability and your insight. Your work and the things you share have been extremely helpful and valuable in my life for the past 6+ years.

  6. Thank you for this, Diane. I needed to read it today. The timing is synchronous. Just today my youngest baby laid on my belly and with such love and honesty said, “mama, I love your belly.” I am working on loving my belly, too. Thank you for your authenticity and your willingness to share pieces of yourself with us. It helps us not feel alone with our thoughts and emotions.

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  7. You are truly an amazing person whom I adore!! I always read your posts and marvel at your complete honesty! I am proud to be your Mama!!
    Love you always and forever!!

    1. You are truly an amazing woman! I marvel at your complete honesty!
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and gifts with the world.
      I am proud to be your Mama!! Love you always and forever!!

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  8. Thank you, Diane, for leading the way with your honesty and willingness to share openly. I am 53, challenged with Hashimotos/hypothyroidism since age 16, and have gone through so many of the ups and downs you wrote about. I am actively seeking to STOP measuring my life by where I am on the fat/thin spectrum. I’ve lost the same 10-20 lbs multiple times in my life for sure. I am very active, eat very clean , and am pretty healthy considering gut/thyroid issues that seem to be ongoing, but I don’t want to live my life thinking about food, restriction, my abs, etc! I have recently begun to slowly let go of the food/ body obsession but it is a daily effort. I appreciate you so much and all you share. You touch the lives of so many of us and inspire me to want to love myself even better. Thank you!

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  9. Ugh.
    First of all, Thank you. As always.
    Secondly, I’m that mom that feels good with her body but still can’t take my kids to the pool because I feel unconfortable and damn, you pointed that out very accurately.
    And lastly, I was probably one of the persons that complimented your arms 2-3 years ago, and now I GET IT, even if coming from a good place, body compliments are… dangerous. I’m a mom of two tween daughters and I am VERY careful with anything I say related to their physical appearance because after a lot of work, I can say that for me that caused a lot of body image issues.

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      Thanks, Cecy. And, for the record, I don’t remember any single person who made a comment. It’s definitely not anything I’d hold a grudge about or be angry about. It simply is. It’s a good lesson for us all.

  10. Thank you Diane for the amazing, real, insightful post. As always, it is, awesome. Thanks for telling it like it is & thanks for sharing so much of yourself with the rest of us. Keep up the great work – we so appreciate it!

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  11. Diane, I am someone who answered yes to your three Instagram poll questions – thank you for sharing your lessons. This post reminds me I am not alone. Your work is very much appreciated!

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  12. I could cry reading this.. especially the mom in a bathing suit part. I was always in pretty good shape and looked good in a bikini in my 20’s ( although I complained)… and could pull it off in my 30’s (although my thighs were always touching).. but now that I’m in my mid-40’s.. well things just don’t look the same.. and it’s really hard to swallow. I am on a journey now to focus on health and happiness. So many people don’t have their health, no matter how wealthy they are. It is a gift and I’m trying to embrace it everyday! I love all of you’re info and am thankful for the information you share.. you have inspired me to take charge of my health and advocate for myself !

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      I don’t remember my mom EVER shying away from hanging on the beach with us as kids, showing up in whatever body she was in. I don’t remember any conversation about it at all, or her staying inside — just photos of us all there on the beach. I’m glad those are the memories and I hope to encourage them in women who read this.

  13. I LOVE this! Thank you Diane! I love how you take the shame out of what you say and write and by sharing so much of yourself you help to lessen mine and others shame too!! This is all stuff I’ve been working on for many years and it helps so much to hear your take on it.

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      THANK YOU for that, Beth. I am SO glad that this is how you received my message, because I do aim to help others feel less shame about so many things they carry around. More self-empathy, less shame. xo

  14. This is so needed! Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. You are such a refreshing voice of sanity in a world of negativity.

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  15. Wow. That was very raw. Thank you for sharing such personal insights which is not an easy thing to do. Some of your points really resonated with me and has made me rethink a number of “not so positive” things I constantly do, think and beat myself up about. I really love your stuff Diane, never stop what you’re doing!!

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  16. Great post, so much to go back and consider. A friend and I have joked that we have reverse body dismorphia, we feel fine, think we look fine and then see a picture and wonder where there chubby girl came from. As a questioner I need reasons for things, but as a person who’s always carried more muscle mass, even when I was thinner I weighed so much more than my friends, and I realized weight alone didn’t tell the whole story. So I feel lucky to have never cared about the scale, but I struggle to balance wanting to be thinner…but not ever really making the types of changes I would need to make to actually get smaller and stay smaller, then I wonder if I actually want to get thinner and if I am holding onto weight for other reasons, emotional or otherwise. Always good to have some points to go back and consider.

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      I think the desire to “be smaller” is unfortunately a culturally normalized suppression of female power. So many thoughts about this… like why do we praise men for getting bigger and women for getting smaller?! It’s not okay. Thanks for the note.

  17. Also heading out of my 30’s this year I am so appreciative of this post! Your honesty and perspective are so insightful, and, helpful to me in my journey of self-acceptance. Always a work in progress. Thank you sharing, Diane!

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  18. Wow, Diane. You hit the nail on the head here. I have undergone major medical trauma in the last few years- resulting in many life long meds that impacted my weight. I’m a survivor, yet I still pick on myself and my body so much. Thanks for this reminder. It’s so important.

  19. Thank you for your modeling of honesty and vulnerability. I’ve been at a weight loss plateau (gaining and losing the same 10#s) since August. I’m down 75#s from my highest weight and could easily lose another 30 maybe 50. It’s frustrating as hell. But it’s not been about the food – mostly. It’s the “in service to others” thing. It’s stress and lack of sleep that cause me to make decisions I wouldn’t normally make (for me it’s French fries or dairy free ice cream instead of GF pizza 🙂 ).

    These are decisions I’m making fully aware of what I’m doing, but the stress response is SO REAL. (And i just turned 40 in November and am trying to acknowledge and show grace to myself that that means things may take a bit longer but it doesn’t mean i should get frustrated and give up.) Thank you for showing camaraderie with your readers that it can be frustrating and it takes a hell of a long time to figure it out, especially for ourselves when it’s so much harder to be objective about things.

    Much love to you. Thanks for what you do.

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  20. Thank you for Sharing this Diane. I absolutely go through my ups and downs with weight, and it is not about the food. I deal with depression and it is worse with different seasons/the craziness of life/holidays & we have been trying to find the right combo of meds to work best.
    One month I am gung ho on meal prep and daily workouts, then the next I’ll eat everything in the pantry and not workout bc I have zero motivation and eat all my feelings.
    The struggle is real, but I know I’m not alone.

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  21. Thankyou for this Diane. I am reading this while on a three week vacation in Italy. I am also on vacation from the low carb, no bread or pasta life I live back home. It’s pretty good, this life here, with pasta, sweets, fresh baked bread and oh yeah, cheese. Don’t eat much of that back home either. And wine. Im often calculating calories on that at home too. But not here. Menopause and anti depressants have made weight gain inevitable and weight loss and even maintenance, impossible without significant deprivation. But not here. It’ll be what it will be. Your beautiful, vulnerable, open hearted post came at just the right time. Bless you…

  22. Hi Diane! Thank you for writing this. Especially #6. I don’t have an issue with weight gain. I have an issue with keeping weight on. I have always been naturally thin. It is just my body’s make-up. I got teased growing up and my mother even had people say to her “Don’t you feed your kids?” More recently, I had my second child and for no reason other than it is just my body, the weight dropped off. I’ve had people say to me “It’s disgusting how fast the weight dropped for you.” “You must be anorexic.” And the best “Are you sure that baby is yours?” It blows my mind that people think it is okay to say this to someone. I feel like if it was the opposite where I was larger, no one would ever say anything but because I’m thin, some how it is okay to say these things. It is still body shaming and it is never okay. I literally have no control over it no matter how I eat. I do enjoy a healthy diet and I get people who say but you don’t need to eat that way, you’re already thin. Eating healthfully is not about being thin! It drives me insane. Anyway, thank you for being vulnerable and always being true.

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      Thanks for sharing your experience, Noelle. I know I personally have struggled with ever feeling empathy for those who naturally look more like the socially acceptable “norm,” but it’s something I work on consistently.

  23. This post resonates with me, it’s basically the story of my life. I was an athlete in high school but also gained 90 pounds in 9 months during that time. I was also without a menstrual (hello, PCOS!) and has some other issues as well. Snowball into 20 years of hormonal issues and misdiagnoses, and hello Hashimotos and lupus as well. I know understand the physiology of the autoimmune trifecta for me, but finding the balance is hard. My career is stressful, so I need the life balance. I’ve tried to change up the career but cannot that easily (not that those choices ever come easily anyway). I’m just learning to take time for myself and still trying to find the right activity for me. Eating correctly is what my saving grace has been for me since I discovered you and paleo almost 6 years ago, but weight loss is definitely something that doesn’t occur for me. I am working to find that balance and am working on how this weight affects me emotionally. I appreciate your post and thank you for sharing a bit more about your own personal struggle.

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  24. This completely speaks to the heart of being human…the measurement of the gravitational pull on a given body doesn’t change the said bodies constitution. I needed this confirmation. Love ❤️ this one

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  25. Thank you for this post. I can completely relate! One of the hardest things for me to grapple with when I was in my early 20s, was when everyone in my world would tell me how incredible my body looked – yet I was 20lbs underweight and had no periods for several years. It’s tough. I’m finally at a healthy weight but I can totally relate on how it’s tough to keep my mind in check and not backslide into old habits. You’re not alone. ❤️

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  26. You have clearly struck a crucial note for so many of us — thank you so much for your vulnerability and willingness to post this. And happy 40th! The 40s are fantastic! I turn 50 this week and seem to be going through menopause (so happy for this.) I am also 5’4″ and always strove to maintain a 120-125 lb body weight, which, come to find out was too thin for me, stressing my thyroid and adrenals terribly over the years. In my 40s I decided that 130 was healthier, but my body prefers to be in the 140-150 range. So be it — it feeeeeeeels healthy, despite ANY judgement. How I feel is my #1 priority these days and it is incredibly freeing. Again, thank you for your honestly and for all you do!

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      Shalley- I think 140-145 is a comfortable and healthy set point for me, as well. 130 is *very* lean on me and around 125-128 was where I was amenorrheic (along with the over training), though it may look “nice” to others and I think it really also depends on muscle mass. When I was younger and had less muscle, at 125 I wasn’t unhealthy. It’s all relative to that, really. Keep feeling good, girl! xoxo

  27. Me too. Thank you for your vulnerability, most of your thoughts resonate with me beyond belief. It’s true, I have many times, skipped on going to the beach so no one has to see my “fat thighs”. Only in the last year have I started to learn to be comfortable with my body the way it is. More podcasts about this stuff please!

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  28. Thank you for sharing. I too gain the weight easily and have been nursing an injury for the past few months. We had a beach trip planned for spring break that I was not ready for and spent way to much time stressing over. As we arrived my anxiety was at a major high but I just threw on my coverup and allowed myself to relax and enjoy the beauty of the beach. I actually enjoyed my time with family and friends regardless of the size of my thighs. All those wasted moments of worry did nothing to help me. As summer approaches I hope I remember that moment at the beach and this post because it’s just not worth missing out on the good stuff.

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  29. Thank you for this post. I yo-yo so much and a lot of it is mood/anxiety dependent. Adrenal fatigue and being too hard on myself are real things. Honestly, the 21dsd is one of my go-tos not to lose weight but just to feel better in general. And it’s not even about the food on the detox (SHOCKING) I feel better because I’m in my home and cooking and prepping food and that’s something I love to do and often lose first when I’m in a funk. My mood has soared the last couple of weeks just by cooking so much – I feel much more ME again (while going through a divorce and an injury that has meant I can’t currently dance with my dance company).
    I appreciate so much of what you’ve created here and how real and raw you are, so again, THANK YOU!

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      I’m so glad to hear that, Katy – and, me, too about cooking. I love it and it’s just such a great therapy. Divorce and injury are two major stressors, you’re doing the best you can. xo

  30. This post is everything. Thank you for putting your heart into it- and everything else you do! I’ve become really aware of not commenting on how people look when I believe they have lost weight. It’s amazing what saying “How are you feeling?” can lead to a much more meaningful discussion than just a “you look amazing! You’ve lost weight” kind of comment. I’m more conscious that people can imply different things from that. The reminder that my kids don’t care what I look like is so great; even though I know it, it’s good to put it in the front of my mind. And as someone who also serves others I also shouldn’t beat myself up as much as I do when I find myself not taking the best care of myself. Acknowledging it is good though! Anyway, this feels like such a ramble compared to your thoughtful post, but again, thank you, thank you.

  31. The timing of your post couldn’t be more needed in my life right now. I’m struggling big time after gaining 15lbs in a 6 month period. I am working through it with my NMD but man it’s hard. I feel like how can I have gotten to this point so quickly when I’m eating really well and still exercising. I know the series of events that have led me here. Major jaw surgery, trauma with my family losing their home in the fires in Santa Rosa, selling our house and moving into an apartment with my young kids while my husband moved out of state for work ahead of us for 7 months and I’m in the NTP program. Now I have major candida overgrowth and leaky gut and am beginning to work on that. I know what’s led me here. This combination of traumas and major life stress… but it’s soooo hard. I was crying reading your post because it hits so close to home. Im really hoping this summer when I graduate, we are reunited as a family and can establish some sense of normal again I’ll begin to feel better.

    I always find your words so valuable and this level of vulnerability from you is beautiful and extremely valuable to me and others right now. To me timing is not coincidence and this is no exception. Thank you for being you and sharing. Keep rocking what you do Diane, because you’re changing lives and helping others so much. 💕

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  32. Thank you, Diane, for your willingness to share your journey, the ups and the downs, with the world. You truly are an inspiration. Your honesty and vulnerability are a rare find in today’s world, and I so appreciate how you’ve embraced those qualities. Body image is something I have struggled with for as long as I can remember. It is a daily battle to see myself as beautiful, as good enough, to not find my self-worth in a number on a scale or a size of a pair of jeans. I find great comfort in the fact that I am not alone in this, that other people have similar struggles and are actively working to overcome these mentalities and encouraging others to do the same. Thank you for being that voice. Thank you for your courage. Thank you for reminding me that my self-worth is not dependent on my weight. Thank you.

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  33. Wow, thank you so much for this! This has been on my heart after losing my grandma and Uncle to a tragedy last December. I’ve gained some weight during my grieving. I come from a lot of childhood abuse and thankfully when I experienced the lose a few months ago I’ve already been in trauma therapy for over a year, so I’ve had a great counseler to help guide me. I’m 25, and there’s not a day that goes by that I’m not thankful for my struggles because they made me who I am, and I’ve gained a lot of insight at a young age(people tell me that all the time). I turned my pain into passion and will soon graduate from college to be a social worker. Thank you for all the great knowledge you’ve brought into my life.

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  34. #3 and #6 meant a lot to me and where I am in my life. At the beginning of this year I went through a pretty bad flare of UC which caused me to lose 10, maybe 15 pounds. FAST. From the perspective of my friends and acquaintances I looked “great”. However, I felt completely skin and bones, achy, fatigued, and malnourished. Due to the circumstances of why I lost the weight I found myself annoyed that others would comment that my weight loss was a positive thing. I was very sick and disturbed by the way my body seemed to be shutting down. Ironically though, as soon as I started to feel on the up and up I began to think it was sort of cool that I was now this skinny. In, a super twisted way I felt happy about it. I’ve never been one to struggle with self-esteem or body image issues. But as I became increasingly nourished and inflammation decreased, I quickly gained the weight back (putting me back at my normal weight) and found myself struggling with feeling like I failed. Since then I’ve had moments where criticize myself for not being back in the gym, or eating correctly. I’ve been less empathetic toward myself and my own journey than I would ever be towards someone else. When in reality, I just came out on the other side of a major autoimmune flare that wrecked my body in more ways than just my weight.

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  35. Diane,

    The whole article resonated with me. I almost felt like I was having a conversation with myself that I’ve had many times before….
    I have recently struggled with the ups and downs of weight gain, but I was also trying to get back in balance with what years of hormonal birth control did to my body. I knew that I wanted to grow my family soon, as I am in my early thirties and wasn’t sure how long it would take my body to return to normal.
    About two years ago Is when I came off the depo shot ( please don’t let anyone you know take this! )
    I’m 5’9” and bounced between 125-130 lbs, I was lean and muscular, working out was my life. I ate a very well rounded paleo diet and rarely ate sugar. At this time I was very restrictive and really cared about my self image, or what I thought I was supposed to look like.
    After 6 months of being off birth control and not seeing my period come back, I knew I was going to have to make some changes and accept what came along with that knowing that I needed to get my body back to normal again.
    The weight came on slowly as I continued my strict workout regimen and restrictive eating habits – I knew my body was trying to get back in balance hormonally, but I started to panic about the extra weight gain which added stress and less sleep to the mixture. I started working out more, but things weren’t getting better.
    I decided to quit my gym membership and start taking lower impact yoga and cycle classes and started running again. When I became more lax with my workout routines, I found that I also became more lax with the food I put into my body. Not that I was eating outside of my normal paleo lifestyle, but like you said, maybe I had more gluten free pizza, than I needed. 😉
    After about a year and a half I had gained between 15-20 lbs. I didn’t like the feeling of this, but I knew that my body needed a break to repair itself. I wasn’t restricting foods with the exception of dairy and gluten and my “workouts” consisted of running ( no more than 7 Miles) and yoga.
    A few months later I had my first period in almost 4 years! ( I didn’t have one while I was on the depo shot)
    I have been working with a naturopath since last November to help tweak my hormones as they still weren’t on track, but I have managed to keep my period around, so I knew I was doing something right.
    I have maintained this extra weight for awhile now, but decided to try and at least lose half of it. I figured I wouldn’t go back to being as strict as I was before, but find a happy medium, a balance.
    I increased my mileage in running and started to lift weights at home, I have cut down portions, but feel like I needed a little extra kick – I ordered the 21 DSD book a few days ago!! Also just started at a Pilates studio.
    I feel like I am more connected with my body now after going through some of these changes and maybe this weight is where it feels most comfortable. I would still like to replace some of the fat with muscle and hopefully I will get there eventually.
    I struggle from time to time with the image of being thin is in, but then I think back to my health and why I wanted to get here, I wanted my body to function as it should. The weight I have felt may even not be noticed by others, but we live in a world that constantly compares and judges. I am slowly accepting the changes to my body, but being able to read articles such as this one from you, helps me feel more human. There are others out there that go through the same things. It is the ebb and flow of life and we all as women need to better accept the changes.
    Thank you for being an open book, your hard work and dedication is much appreciated! 😊

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  36. Thank you so much Diane!
    I could resonate with so much of this!
    But my take-home lesson and homework. To take comments about ones body out of the conversation! I always comment if someone looks great or lost some weight, I do however carefully ask if it was intentional? But such a sensitive topic, and yes!!!!! The long term may feed a negative behaviour. So I will just stop, unless asked!
    Thank you for sharing your true self with us!

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  37. Thank you for this post. I’ve been working on resetting my mindset about my last 10 pounds to lose and how that shouldn’t affect how I love and interact with family and friends. Your openness continues to be some of my favorite “a-ha” moments! 💐

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  38. “Empathy and judgment cannot coexist.” Thank you for these words, I am a very harsh judge of myself but have endless empathy for others. These words really hit me. A reminder to appreciate who I am and what I’ve done instead of the weight I’ve gained or lost.

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  39. I cried while reading this! I’m currently in the “gain” phase of that 10 pounds. I’ve felt like crap about it many times as I have to buy pants and tops 2 sizes bigger. I’ve struggled my whole teen and adult life with this. It’s time to put the beating stick down and stop feeling so much shame about it.

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  40. Thank you for sharing this, Diane. I recently got engaged and have been putting off wedding planning, engagement photos, and anything having to do with my wedding because I’ve gained 15 lbs while going through my first year of grad school. I know my fiancee loves me no matter what size I am. This post totally comes at the right time for me and is so inspirational. I greatly appreciate you sharing this and for your vulnerability with an issue that so many of us struggle with. Thank you!

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      When we were getting married, I thought for about 1 day about trying to lose weight ahead of it, then quickly rebelled at the idea of it. I was so angry that I felt the pressure that I decided to say eff it, and didn’t bother. I’m glad my face looks more youthful in those photos as a result of my normal body weight 😉 Thanks for connecting.

  41. Diane, it was like reading a conversation I have so desperately wanted to have. I just went through a big life transformation that included a lot of physical downsizing of stuff. It’s exciting and wonderful, but as I let go of so many physical items, I gained weight. I was “too busy” donating things to exercise. I was “too busy” packing to cook healthy food every day. I was “too busy” taking care of everyone else’s emotional needs about our change to care for myself. So up went the weight. The transition went great (my husband and I moved into our Airstream full time) and we love our new home but I’ve been so vicious to myself in my head about my weight that I’m robbing myself of all of the joy our new life is affording us (including an incredible little kitchen to cook healthy meals). And a part of me can’t let go of when I was my skinniest, a handful of years ago when I lived in SF. Ironically, I wasn’t slimmer for good reasons – truth was, I barely made enough to cover rent (and even then had to borrow from a friend). Most days I had enough for either public transportation or A meal. Not both. And I was single so I had the time (so much time) to walk everywhere (and SF is truly the most incredible city for walking). Yet some people made such a big deal of the weight change that it left this little mean monster in me that I still battle. Can I find a happy medium? Yes. Have I done it before? Yes. And I can do it again. So, thank you for putting yourself and this post out there, Diane. I finally had the conversation and connection about this I’ve been so desperately wanting and needing to have. I’m always so grateful for and empowered by how you put it out there.

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  42. Thank you for this post, Diane. Love when you get going with the #realtalk. 😜 This post made me tear up (I’m just an empath trying not to cry on the internet daily) and I just want to say, I am so glad you continue to show up!! 😘 🤗

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  43. Diane, this resonates with me so much you have no idea. I’ve been on this high fat low carb paleo “diet” for a couple of years and have been successfully able to maintain my weight without much fluctuation; no counting macros or calories, just simply eating “right”. Then Christmas came along and I indulged in way too many gf treats including your husband’s amazing handpies lol! Ever since, my weight’s been on an upward slope and I’ve been struggling hard even after changing back to my old ways. I realize now that I’m putting way too much focus on how I look to others and not putting my energy into where the real focus belongs, which is my kids/ family and any underlying causes as to what could going on with my health (bacteria overgrowth, hormones, thyroid??) The thought of how I look to others has come to mind whenever the pool or even volunteering at my son’s school comes up. It’s a sickness for me (Hx of eating disorders doesn’t help) and a real struggle. It’s embarassing to me that I even care so much. I have however completely changed what my “ideal”
    Image of myself should be. I no longer care to be rail thin and hangry. I no longer see someone rail thin and wish I looked like that. I no longer see other peoples images as being automatically healthy or unhealthy just based on how they look. I used to teach aerobics in college, was also 18% body fat, sleep deprived, smoked, drank way too much alcohol and lived on Nutrigrain bars, grilled cheese sandwiches and canned tomato soup, bagged chicken, skim milk with nestle quick and kettle corn! Were my 6 pack abs and size 0 jeans really an indicator of health? Heck no! I had high blood pressure (so bad I was hospitalized at one point) and would get constant psoriasis breakouts (which tend to only happen to me when I’m under stress). It’s definately a journey and I give you a lot of credit for sharing yours. As the spouse of a former blog owner, I’ve learned how hard it can be to put yourself out there for the world to see. I’ve never commented on your blog post before, but this time I felt I needed to thank you for this. Also, Happy Birthday! I’m all in for making 40s fabulous!

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  44. This story is reminiscent of my own. At about to turn 36, I think yeah my weight goes up and down, but so what? There is more to life than those 10 pounds. I am still working to reduce my winter weight gain, which happens every year due to constant catching of colds, less activity from hating cold weather and I’m looking at that weight gain as a completely normal thing that happens. Does it really matter so much when my pants are a little tighter? I’ve put way too much thought and time into hating my body when i gain weight. I love food and I love being active and sometimes my food love is greater than my activity. I wish I approached it differently 10 years ago. Its nice to read other people’s stories and I hope as a society we move away with determining our value by the number on the scale

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  45. Thank you Diane! I’ve been thinking on this topic so much lately. Same thing for me, losing and gaining, it’s not alot of weight most of the time, but it’s been “a thing” through alot of my adult life. In the past year, I leaned out & got alot of “compliments” on how I looked, it was unmaintainable, but my weight is still down. It’s been interesting to me how much I still, at 53 years old, allow what others think of me to affect how I think of myself. like my value is still based on others approval of me. And sad, that I still struggle with body image, even when I know I look good. I very much appreciate your honesty. Thank you for all you do. I love the podcast & refer folks to Practical Paleo all the time!

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  46. This post couldn’t have come at a better time. As a women in my early 50’s, there are so MANY conversations I wish I could have had with my 30 and 40 year old self. Thank you for what you do in the world. I’m so grateful to have found a path to your wisdom. My only regret is that I didn’t find it sooner!

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  47. Good one Diane.

    Not to focus on the Oprah photo, but how bout that Oprah? Would love to get that hug.

    Great points. I’ve been struggling with an injury for the past few years and currently coming out of 3 months without activity. Your point about the loss of athlete identity… I’m learning the same lessons the hard way.

    Keep up the great work.

    Any chance you’re going to AHS in Montana this year?

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  48. I could’ve written this same post from my experiences and those of my clients!! Such important information to share! Thank you for getting so vulnerable and doing so! ❤️

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  49. I needed to read this, thank you. I just accepted my dream job but I know that between the already early hours and long commute, losing the weight I gained in grad school will be harder and likely take longer. And if I’m being honest, may not happen at all for a while as I take on the stress of a new position, but I have so much more to offer my patients and I shouldn’t have the guilt I sometimes feel from not being able to lose weight like I’m 20 again.

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  50. I can’t tell me how often in my lifetime your words have totally motivated me, shaped my decisions and guided me. Thank you for this beautifully written and inspiring post on self-love.

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  51. I haven’t read all the comments so maybe this has already been discussed. But how do we know the difference between where our bodies are comfortable (maybe 10 lbs up) and where we have to try harder to maintain – how do we decide what is healthy?

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      I really think that only your blood work can tell you if your body is healthy. I am perfectly healthy with extra weight that society may not “approve of” or without it. It’s all just vanity, nothing more and nothing health related.

  52. Wow. Thank you so much for writing this post. I totally relate to hearing what’s meant as a positive compliment regarding your body, and it doing more harm than good in the long run. You’ve given me more to think about on this whole topic! Thank you for sharing some vulnerability!

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  53. I’ve had tears in my eyes the entire read. First, THANK YOU for sharing. Its as if you have been in my head. Not only with weight but just life, I am not kind to myself. #5 Hit me the hardest, because I struggle with showing myself some grace. I am single mom of a college student and 10yr old twins. They are active in sports, have a very busy social life, I work full time and I crossfit. I also meal prep on sundays. Everyone tells me how amazing I am but none of it matters when you dont see it yourself. I struggle with my weight so much so that I believe I am in a depression. Watching your stories and following you gives me glimpse of strength (dont know why, I dont know you but i admire you)
    Finally #7. I have missed out on friends birthdays, beach with my kids etc because I wont wear a bathing suit and I feel fat in whatever I wear.
    So thank you for your transparency. It has touched me.

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  54. Diane thank you, this is a FANTASTIC post. There is so much noise out there and especially when you are in the midst of a struggle, it’s hard to objectively choose what is the “right” way to think, eat, move, etc. to create change in your body. And it’s a journey, not a quick fix. So much of it is really just about mindset and I so appreciate that being woven into each of your 10 points. I can relate to just about all of your struggles, and I am turning 40 in May so I feel like these struggles (and coming out of them) came at the exact same time in both of our lives!

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  55. Thank you so much for sharing, Diane. I really appreciate your vulnerability and authenticity. The point that resonated most with me is that empathy and judgement cannot coexist. I am pretty hard on myself, sometimes, without even realizing it. As a health coach, I’m constantly telling others to be patient with themselves as far as making changes in their lives, while judging myself pretty harshly when I get off track, get stressed out or don’t attain a certain goal in the timeframe I thought that I would.

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      I hear you, Tricia! Trust me, when I think about these things deeply to pull out the essence of my life experiences, I share them because they resonate with ME as well! I’m in the same boat – always working on being more forgiving of myself so that I can be more loving of myself in turn.

  56. This sentence spoke to my heart: “Because your kids don’t care what you look like, they care what you love like, ya know?”

    As a mom of three (which includes a set of twins) with Hashimoto’s, I have struggled with my weight longer than I care to admit.

    I need to keep this gem tucked into my mind for those times when I worry more about the scale or photograph, than time with my precious children.

    Thank you, Diane ❤️

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  57. Very practical, helpful advice, thank you for sharing! One thing that has helped me develop and maintain confidence is wearing a bikini on the beach, no matter how much I weigh. I lived near a beautiful, touristy beach, and one thing I realized: no one else cares what anyone else looks like! It just made me happy to see the tourists come and enjoy my beach and the sun, no matter their size. Plus, I just love the feeling of the ocean on my skin and hate a constricting (yet less revealing) one piece or tankini, the heavy wet Lycra on my skin. And there’s something empowering about frequently wearing such little clothing publicly and still feeling confident and happy. Plus, that’s the only way I can tan, hehe.

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  58. Really love this blog. Thank you very much, reading this was great support for me, because in my life, I am only one following keto and living keto and everywhere abound me are too many distractions.

  59. Thank you for always being so TRUE to yourself! I’ve been following you for a little bit now and I appreciated all of your honesty and sarcasm. I personally LOVE your recent instillation of your boundaries re: DM’s. You do you. That’s all that matters. Stay bold and beautiful!

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  60. Where’s the love button!?! Great blog post and insights Diane. Ive struggled with my weight my whole life. Some of these words you wrote had me going “preach girl!” And other parts had me thinking….I’m not there yet mentally/emotionally and want to be. Thank you for writing this and resharing on social today – I totally missed it the first time and you wrote this on my birthday 😁.

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