She (More Than) Lost Me

Diane Carbonell has done what many of us only dream of doing – lost a significant amount of weight and kept it off.  She lost half herself, an amount equal to an entire person, and has maintained that 150-plus pound loss for 13 years through multiple pregnancies and as the busy mom of seven kids.  If she can do it, WE can do it!

And in her new book, “150 Pounds Gone Forever,” Diane tells us how.  Part memoir and part self-help guide, the book is filled with vivid stories from Diane’s experience, like the time she made her first plus-size clothing purchase and how she got stuck on top of a carousel horse.  She goes beyond the anecdotes she shares on her blog, Fit to the Finish, and outlines the key steps in her plan for a healthy life that is more than just a traditional diet.   She asks the reader questions that encourage introspection.  She describes how to handle many of the challenges that one would face following her example and shares some of her favorite recipes.  As in her blog, she writes clearly and with honesty and is both thought-provoking and relatable.

Diane and her publisher asked if I’d like to read the book and share my thoughts with you here.  (Disclaimer:  the book was provided to me at no cost.)  Rather than give a traditional review or summarize the book’s content beyond what I’ve already said, I’ve asked Diane some questions and will share her responses below.

Q.  If you could get one and only one point across to someone with weight to lose, what would it be?  

A.  To never give up on yourself. It does not matter if it takes you a long time to get to a healthy weight – the main thing is that you keep trying.

Q.  If you could go back to when you first started your plan, what advice would you give yourself thanks to the benefit of hindsight?

A.  That’s a great question. I think I would have kept a more detailed record of how quickly the weight came off, how I felt physically, and what emotions I dealt with. Those things would have give me a more complete picture of my journey.

Q.  You have developed and adhere to a “plan.” When did you start viewing this as something other than a diet and what advice do you have for someone who hasn’t made that paradigm shift yet?

A.  I call it a plan, but in reality it is just a lifestyle shift. When I lost the weight I did not want to have to follow a set of rules for the duration of my weight loss experience and then try to follow a different set of “rules” after I lost the weight. So instead the plan that I used to lose weight is now my life plan.

Q.  I love that rather than thinking in terms of numbers, as many dieters are prone to do, you think instead about how you feel and your life, and that you’ve used this in explaining how to set goals.  Tell us more.

A.  I really believe that looking at our weight in terms of our overall life is a sound mental health strategy. Instead of being held hostage by one number, I try to set goals in a variety of areas in my life. I have spiritual goals, relationship goals, fitness goals, and personal goals. A personal goal this year is to read at least 25 books, while a relationship goal is to reach out to new friends I meet in a deliberate way.

Q.  Have you set any new goals for yourself as relates to a healthy lifestyle?

A.  I am working on two things. One is reducing how much refined sugars I consume and another is to be more consistent with strength training.

Q.  You have great success with portion control and being very selective with eating treats. As someone who has struggled with moderation, I wonder if there are any foods that you just don’t eat anymore because they might trigger cravings or overeating.

A.  No Snickers bars, no goldfish crackers, and no Oreos! Other “treats” such as brownies, cookies, or cakes are occasional parts of my diet. The first three I listed are foods that I still have a tendency to overeat, so I just say “no” to those.

Q.  As a classic yo-yo dieter, I’d love to know more about how you made the change from “losing weight” to maintaining, both in terms of behaviors and thinking.

A.  Because I did not have to shift from one “plan” to another once I hit my goal weight, the transition from being in weight loss mode to maintenance mode was seamless. The only thing I did differently once I reached my happy weight was to eat a tiny bit more a day in order to stop losing. I did not change how much I exercised or the types of foods I had been eating to lose weight. I think that strategy really helped me maintain my weight and gave me a solid basis to continue a healthy eating plan through tragedies of life that occurred, pregnancy, stressful moments, and busy times.

Q.  Where did the name “Fit to the Finish” come from?

A.  I was standing in my kitchen in Tallahassee, Florida trying to think of a name for the weight loss class I had just written. It just popped into my head and it has been what I have called my weight loss plan ever since!

Q.  What are you most often asked about your journey and how do you answer?

A.  Two questions: What about the skin? I tell them that yes, it can be an issue, but no, it should not be so much of a concern as to make them not try to lose weight.

Second question: Do I ever cheat? I tell them no. Because in my life, cheating implies that there are set rules that cannot be broken. Instead I tell them that I do have moments where I eat too much or fail to eat healthy, but I don’t let those times define the rest of my day or derail my desire to live a healthy life.

Q.  What do you WISH you were asked?

A.  I wish people asked me how my weight loss has positively affected my family. Because the truth is that I am a better mom and wife now because I feel better physically and emotionally.

If you’d like to read Diane’s book for yourself, let me know in a comment below.  Diane has graciously offered to give her book to one lucky reader and I’d also love to pass on my copy to someone.  And, of course, you can purchase one for yourself from Sunrise River Press.  And you also can read my recap of Diane’s 2010 appearance on the Dr. Oz Show; I’ve been following her as long as I’ve been blogging!



Filed under review

41 responses to “She (More Than) Lost Me

  1. Miz

    I adore me some Diane.

    and can not wait to read her book.

  2. Therese

    I love memoirs, and I could sure use some motivation right now. Diane’s book sounds like just the right thing!

  3. My book was scheduled to arrive before I left on my trip, but got a email from Amazon telling me it was delayed with new delivery date of May 13-17 and of course I’ll be long gone. Darn it!!

    Since I’ve already ordered the book, give your copies to someone else!

    • Well that’s frustrating! But I guess now you have something to look forward to when you fabulous trip is over and you return home.

  4. I love to read Diane’s posts! She is incredible! I would love to read her book. I am in a funk- and perhaps that is just what I need to get my butt back in gear!!!

  5. It’s interesting how just a few questions and answers can shed new light on or bring to attention something or someone that’s been right there all the time. I’m slightly familiar with Diane’s blog, but after reading this, I’m sure to click over more often.

  6. I’d love to read it!

  7. Sounds like a book that will hit home for many, including me. Yes, but my name in the hat for the book! Her attitude comes through your interview about how this was never a diet, but about a lifestyle. I believe that is he only wat it can be done ?

  8. I am such a great admirer of Diane! She really shows that large weight loss *and* maintenance is possible!

  9. Sam

    I would love to read this book. Maintaining weight loss has always been the harder part of the journey for me.

    • Me too! And I feel I always need to explain that to people because losing was/is never “easy,” but maintaining, for me, had been the bigger struggle.

  10. I would love to win a copy of this book. Much to learn from those who have successfully made a total weight/life transformation and are maintaining.

    It was important to me to read about others jorneys and see that it could be done. Thank you both Diane and Karen for sharing. Life is rich, and the loss has been sustainable.

    • Funny how just a few years ago I was not even aware of this amazing community of people who I share so much about themselves online.

  11. Sounds like an inspiration journey, thanks for sharing this!

  12. I’d love to read Diane’s book – she was the first blogger I followed; and she and her inspiring journey provide me with continued hope that I can achieve the health and fitness success that she has.

    I loved this format you used to give us a broader view of Diane and her book, Karen. Well done, with excellent and relevant questions.

    • She was one of my first too. Not sure who was number one. In hindsight I wish I’d paid attention to that; it would be fun to consider who is still blogging from back then.

  13. I didn’t realize she’s written a book – and I read her blog! Guess I need to pay closer attention. I am trying to do what she does – eat now what I plan to eat when I’m at my goal & maintaining – so that it is all just healthy eating for a healthy lifestyle.

    • I think that approach sets you up for likely success maintaining. It’s a newer paradigm for me but I now know several other bloggers who have success that way.

  14. Heidi Morrison

    I would love to read her book!

  15. Tammy1409

    I enjoy Diane’s blog and would love to read her book! She’s very inspiring!!!

  16. LOVE LOVE LOVE Diane!!! One f the first blogs I started following! I am reading her book too so no need to enter me but she is an amazing person & an inspiration!!!

  17. I would love to read the book too. I’m fairly new to her blog but I love it and she has made some really nice comments on my blog. 🙂

  18. Can’t wait to red Diane’s book. She is a wonderful person and inspirational role model. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Karen.

  19. I love Diane and her blog. She’s been such an encouragement to me. Stories like hers give me hope. I’d love to read her book!

  20. Great idea for a book review, Karen! Love reading Diane’s blog, and get all nervous and stuff when you or her comment on my blog. 🙂

  21. Elaine

    Count me in-it’s bound to be a great, inspirational read, just like her blog.

  22. What a great review! Congratulations to Diane on her book – such an inspiring lady.

  23. Lina

    sounds like a really inspirational story, thanks for sharing the Q&A session!

  24. Pick me! Pick me! I want to win this…. I love Diane’s mindset and this is exactly what I’m grappling with at the moment. How to NOT diet, but not to NOT binge eat!

    Great post and interview questions Karen (and Diane!).


  25. Great interview – thank you for sharing! I’d love to read the book!

  26. Great interview Karen! I love Diane too!!! I am definitely going to have to get my hands on her book!

  27. I do read Diane’s blog and she is such an inspiration. I love her last answer, you can tell through her blog and this response how important her family is to her.

  28. what a great review! I love that you asked questions. I would love to read her book… but count me out. It would just sit in this pile by my bed. I have a little someday wish list and I’ll put it there.
    I hope it’s really successful for her.

  29. Pingback: A Day Late on the Weight Report | Balancing My Chemicals

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