At first I was apprehensive to read Mara Schiavocampo’s THINspired: How I Lost 90 Pounds — My Plan for Lasting Weight Loss and Self-Acceptance because losing weight and being “thin” isn’t part of my end game. It is about being healthy, being more active, and living my happiest life so I was pleasantly surprised that THINspired is yes, a plan for weight loss but also one for self-acceptance and making small lifestyle changes to be healthier and happier.
A little background: Mara Schiavocampo is an ABC News correspondent that found herself tipping the scales at her highest weight ever. After decades of trying to reach her weight-loss goals, she realized: it’s all about the food and has lost 90 pounds. This is something I realized too: you can’t workout a bad diet and focusing on the food will get you to your goals.
When I reading Mara’s backstory I did get teary. As a child she experienced weekly weigh-ins and a family member that firmly believed that a woman would never be happy if she was overweight. She binged and while off at college lost weight and was happier. However after college, she landed an on-air job and started scrutinizing her appearance and developed an eating disorder and depression. After emerging from her depression she tried different ways to lose weight–counting points, carbs, pre-packaged food…even a bizarre food cult. Mara’s story is so relatable. Like her, I would gain and lose weight and soon tired of all the gimmicks.
Mara stresses training hard, planning, and getting quality sleep. Now, she has a great relationship with food, exercises daily, and her body is used to clean food and lots of activity. Like Mara, if I’m not eating right and being active, I feel lousy. I think that is true at whatever size you are. Also finding out my fitness passions helped tremendously. I’m not a runner and I tried to make running my passion. I do love running but I also want to Zumba, spin, yoga, and weight lift. There’s isn’t enough hours in the day for all that plus working, taking care of my family, and pursuing my other passions so I’m doing things everyday that I love instead of training for races that I’m not 100% invested in. This means more 5K, 10K, and fun runs in my future! Mara agrees that you should find activities you love, train hard or go home!
At one point, Mara cut out flour, dairy, and grains to achieve her fit goals. This is something that I have also considered but when Mara said:
I couldn’t agree more. I’m a busy working mom too and I have to schedule each and every workout. I schedule my meals and I track using MyFitnessPal. This means putting in alerts (upon alerts upon alerts) to make it to the gym or the park. I even have alerts to remind me to snack, to move, to drink more water. Making time for rest is definitely a priority. Getting in naps and a full night’s rest is paramount to reach your goals.
Mara’s approach of ditching things in cardboard and cartons (as well as eating naturally low-calories and high-fiber foods) is solid advice and her chapter on food addiction is an eye-opener. She lists the Yale Food Addiction Scale as a tool and recommends if you meet the food addiction threshold to consult a professional.
This book is a definite must-read for those on their weight loss journey—there is even a chapter just for the sistas on self-esteem, astounding statistics, and support for our journey. The last part of the book is recipes which I would have loved to see some pictures–healthy food can be delicious!
I enjoyed reading Mara’s journey of losing weight and her action plan for being healthy and happy. If you are thick of curvy like I am, you may get discouraged reading it at times. Not everyone wants to thin, a size 6, or relish into fitting into a size small. I actually cheered on Mara as a plus-size anchor because she was showing women and girls that it is OK to love yourself. However since she was in a depressive cycle of radical dieting and bingeing, I understood that she had to do what she had to do. She was beautiful before the weight loss but health is paramount! I’ve never been a fan of the “I can do it so anyone can do it” approach of busy working moms either and don’t like shaming anyone to thinking just because I have time, resources, and energy to do that means other people should be able to do it too. However Mara doesn’t gloat on this–it’s all about the food, being active, getting quality sleep, and living your best life.