A Pound of Flesh

I am certain that Portia is not referring to an upcoming weigh-in day, when she exclaims “a pound of flesh” in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice – but it so aptly (and succinctly) describes the result I am hoping to deliver tomorrow morning.

I am scale obsessed.  If our scale is left on the floor of our bathroom, I will weigh myself every night, and every morning.  Craig (god bless him) has to find hard to reach places to hide it from me. If you believe there are no coincidences, then the cosmos were definitely aligned when they sent me a 6 foot, 2 inch man to marry.  Not just because I happen to be attracted to tall men, but because he could one day help me on my journey to self love by hiding our god damned scale in places that I cannot reach!

craig toilet


Craig’s first attempt at hiding the scale was a valiant effort, by any definition.  Not only was it unlikely that I would ever look up while standing in the commode closet of our bathroom – but even if I did spot it, surely it would be too much effort to actually try to attempt contact.

Oh husband, how you underestimate my willingness to risk humiliation and/or a couple of molecules of urine to qualify my body mass with data!

Like many divorces, the first attempt at separation did not take.  Specifically speaking, it lasted less than two weeks.  I spotted it after the first week, and then refrained from any spiderman-like attempts to retrieve said scale for a jaw dropping 5 more days.  I was just days short from my next “official” weigh-in, when I made the choice to reunite with my tile shaped nemesis. Craig was happily entertained with a video game in the living room, so I knew I had the time to do the crime.  I mentioned something about getting ready for bed, slithered back to the master bedroom, and shut the door. In the spirit of naked honesty, I was honestly naked.  Isn’t everyone when they are seeking an accurately low number on a scale? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?  Why I didn’t disrobe after retrieving the loot, I do not know.  Hindsight, amiright?? Though, given the bathroom mirror and my lack of clothing, I technically already had hindsight [whacka whacka].

I stand at a solid 5’7′ and not one centimeter more. Unfortunately, this was not enough height to reach the top of the cabinet – which meant that I had one of three options:

  1. Confidently waltz back through the living room and out to the garage without clothing or justification to get the ladder to reach the scale.  Or..
  2. Stand on top of the porcelain rim of the toilet in my bare feet to reach the scale.
  3. Spider scale the wall of the commode room like an American Ninja Warrior (see photo) to reach the scale.


Needless to say, I went with the second (still gross) option. I have, on occasion, been told that I have the footing of a mountain goat, so balancing upon a cold narrow ledge seemed perfectly obvious. On one hand, I was excited because I had dropped a significant amount of weight; on the other, I felt the familiar sting of disappointing myself.

Since that incident, I have had good weeks and bad, as far as the scale and me are concerned. If Craig forgets to put it away, I absolutely forget to remind him. When it has been put away, I have been slightly better.

“Progress, not perfection”

I hear Jennifer’s familiar voice in my head, when I begin to berate myself for not getting this 100% right 100% of the time. Instead of focusing on the number, I try to hang on to how I am feeling.  My fitted tank tops that are now puckered with the empty spaces that my flesh used to fill [a pound of flesh].  My bra that I now wear on the third and final set of clasps. The teeny tiny gap of light I noticed between the top of my thighs, when I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror at work yesterday.  Surely, these are far more meaningful examples of progress than a scale that I am only certain is accurate when it is in my favor.

Here is a letter that I wrote to my younger self – or to someone else who, like me, places too much weight on the weight….

Dear Holly

Knowing what I know now, I would like to save you countless hours of letting a square piece of plastic dictate how your day is going to go.  If I could count the time spent standing on a scale, I would probably burst into tears at the wasted time – and that is nothing compared to the impact that number has had on my life.

To start each day disappointed in myself for being fat, shaming myself for not being good enough, and berating myself for not having the will power to be healthy, is a tragic waste of time.  Time that I could have been feeling good about myself for the person I am inside, and all that I have achieved thus far.

Thanks to a number, I have missed social events like the Facebook holiday party, and even denied myself the experience of wedding dress shopping with my mum and girlfriends – instead, I bought a gown online and told myself that I was awesome because it was only $240 and that my wedding was about us, not a dress.

What I wish most for you is to love yourself, as much as the world loves you. Do not deny yourself the happiness that comes from adoration. Be as authentic about the space you inhabit, as you are in your writing.  Set boundaries when others try to drink from your positive energy to help fill themselves up and leave you drained. Take care of yourself in the same way you take care of everyone else – starting with food.

Food is not a reward.  Food is not a Band-Aid. You are not entitled to food because you had a good day, or a bad day, or you are bored, tired, or drunk.  .

Real food is energy.  It is life.  It is all the colors of the rainbow and it is healing. Real food is literally and figuratively medicine. The food you eat is poison and covering up your feelings of abandonment and entitlement.  You can start healing yourself inside and out with food.  You can have energy and vitality like you’ve never imagined with food by using the following formula: eat real food, mostly plant-based, and not too much (and include Fiber, protein, and a healthy fat with every meal).  It is the key to unlocking the one thing you want most in the world: becoming your authentic self.



Tomorrow is weigh-in day. In many ways, the results won’t matter – because it will not impact how I move forward. Even if I never lose another pound, I will continue to nourish my body with whole healthy foods.  Even if I never go down another clothing size, i will continue to exercise and move my body.  Even if I never experience what it is like to walk the earth in a smaller body, I will keep learning how to see myself as the world sees me: nothing short of absolutely beautiful.


The road ahead is paved with humble pie.

I am a healthy person.

I don’t even say that to myself as an affirmation, or self-fulfilling prophecy.  I truly am healthy.  My body is filled with all of the vitamins and nutrients that only whole foods can deliver. I get somewhere between 7-8hrs of quality sleep every night. I am making time for exercise, girlfriends, the arts, and even nature!  I literally picked jasmine and stuck it in my pigtails while on a walk last week…AT WORK! Every time I turned my head, I was reminded of how much I love the smell of spring.

I have shed 32lbs of self doubt, people pleasing, and unresolved wounds from my body.  I have worked closely with Jennifer (my amazing health coach) to identify and even name the voice inside of me who tells me that I am not good enough (we call her my negative roommate).  I named her Felicia, because at the time I was still leaning heavily on my sense of humor.  “Bye, Felicia.”  Ba da dum, chhhh!

Jennifer asked me to describe Felicia, so that I could recognize her, put her away, and begin to unveil the true Holly (the one I have silenced with food and fat).  Here is what I wrote…

Meet Felicia

If you look up the word “indulgence” on Wikipedia, that is Felicia.  Felicia is a very, very good time.  Felicia is larger-than-life and has an ability to have the most fun that anyone can have at any given moment. 

She loves all the best food – from fast food, to hole in the wall gems, to 3 Michelin star rated culinary experiences.  She loves excess: all of the food, all of the wine, all of the fun and all the laughs with all the friends all the time.

With my fat friends, Felicia is always game for another “send-off” before starting the next diet. That might include the greatest hits from all of your favorite fast-food joints at the same time – but even a day on the couch doing nothing but watching back/back movies all day and all night, while ordering doordash all day and all night is fun with Felicia.

When I am making good choices with my health, Felicia starts shopping. She loves clothing, jewelry, house hunting, online browsing, and filling up carts instead of filling up my belly. 

Felicia does not like to be still, or bored, or to nothing exciting to look forward to.

Felicia is WANTY

Felicia can be restless and exhausting.

Bye, Felicia.

My success thus far has been wonderful, and I am truly proud of myself. My initial success has also introduced a measure of complacency and cockiness. The idea that I have this all figured out and can just coast into the finish line. I need to be careful about that. Stay humble, Jennifer says. I have 100 pounds to go, and Felicia is waiting for me to think I have this all figured out, so that we can get back to the comfort of our cohabiting.  She is ready for this upswing to be over.

  • Stay humble.
  • Keep cleaning your soul and your environment.
  • Keep doing things that feel hard; hard is where the change is.
  • Stay in your lane.

Along with the sage advice above, Jennifer dishes me a slice of humble pie and it hits home…

“You can gain back 30lbs in half the time it took you to lose it. So there’s that. Stay engaged!”

I am a healthy person, but I am also a humble person. I have made great strides in sorting all of this out, but I am just scratching the surface.


WhatwouldI have been thinking a lot about what I want this blog to be.  Should I narrow the focus and write only about my health goals?  Or, do  I treat it like my personal Facebook page and write about my journey to self-love, how to find the will to move on after a lice outbreak, or the very personal decision to still keep our dog Walter after he consumed a feces filled diaper?  I have concluded that the latter is the way to proceed. The most important and most relate-able aspect of my writing is its authenticity.  If my focus is too narrow, I think I will feel pressure to produce content – and therefore lose the one thing that makes my perspective unique: its bold honesty.

I will use tags in each post, so that readers can more easily find  and read the content that is most relevant to them.  I also thought it would be fun to pull some of the more popular stories from Facebook and turn them into the occasional ‘throw-back Thursday’.

Maybe this strategy will end up being too broad and I will have to regroup – but that’s fine, too. Like everything in my life, this is a process – something I’m dipping my toe into as I search to answer deeply challenging questions like…

Why am I here?

What is my purpose?

I should note that because I am currently hyper focused on personal growth (or shrinkage, if you’re technical), my writing will heavily lean toward the struggles, successes, and things I am learning about myself along the way.

At least for now.

I will still write about the occasional plague that hits our home, or how-to manuals for getting cranberry booyah lipstick off of a wall and/or fire engine conjunctivitis nail polish out of your couches and carpets. Family life is what sparked the itch to story-tell in the first place, so I will continue to make that the core of my inspiration.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…



Hey sister, soul sister, go sister, soulcycle.

2016 was the year that I committed to running every morning (mon-fri). I ran alone. I listened to loud music that pushed me harder and made me feel strong and confident. For the first time since having children, I was carving out time just for me – and doing something that tapped into my inner strength.  I was getting back to me, and it felt good.

Unfortunately, I started to get discouraged when the weight-loss slowed and then eventually stopped.  Because I wasn’t integrating healthy habits in the rest of my life (other than avoiding bread), they caught up with me and I couldn’t out run them.

When I started working with my health coach (Jennifer at Project Healthy Body) , we agreed that I needed to focus on nutrition and portion sizes, at least initially.  Not because exercise wasn’t important (it’s super important), but focusing on everything all at once might have overwhelmed me.  Plus, running does make me hungrier, and therefore more challenging while I was working on shrinking my stomach back to something a little smaller and less vacuous than say a black hole.

I have been steadily dropping pounds since January and had kind of forgotten about the benefits of more strenuous exercise than just walking. When Jennifer asked if wanted to join her at a Soulcycle class, I immediately said yes. Not because I was just dying to spend 45mins gasping for air and bruising my lady-bits – believe me, I don’t have to drive all the way to Palo Alto for that. I said yes immediately because everything Jennifer has ever asked me to do has only brought me closer to self-love and a life of absolute freedom from the scale.

I arrived early (as all nervous people do) and sat in the parking lot blasting my favorite Metallica song – you know,  like all the other 42 year old moms at Stanford Shopping Center. It was essentially the live action version of this scene from Monsters University.

When I woke up this morning, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had done something wrong, or a little icky by exposing my innermost self in my first blog post. I questioned whether or not I should have done it at all, and even whether or not it was my authentic voice, or an obvious ploy to gain attention. It’s possible that Jennifer and the universe conspired to help me work through those feelings gifting me my confidence back in the form of vigorous exercise.

To say that Soulcycle was just what I needed is an understatement. I walked in with shoulders and spirit down, and walked out with my head high and spirit lifted. At one point during a particularly amazing remix of Under Pressure [Freddy Mercury, am I right??] I hit the wall and wanted to sit down. Instead, I dug down deep, and thought about the words written on the wall beside me…


As I rode, I visualized inhaling self-love and exhaling self-doubt – and I began to cry. Like, really cry! All while peddling like an uncoordinated crazy woman! I left all of the nonsense I’d been feeling all morning right there on my bike. Now I know why it’s so dark in there. Who wants to watch some broad with yesterday’s mascara running down her face bobbing and sobbing on a god damned bike?

I left the studio confident, relaxed, and feeling so strong. I used to workout to help negate some of what I was eating. Today I worked out and went to Whole Foods for a green drink, and to replenish the ample supply of vibrant fruits and vegetables that now reside on my kitchen island. Selfie

Anyone want to ride with me next weekend, if I promise not to cry? Green drinks after are my treat!




This is me distilled down to my most honest state: free of makeup, thick rimmed glasses, statement necklaces, and/or instagram filters.

I am sure at some point all decent Canadians have the urge to quote the Barenaked Ladies.  In fact, I believe there is a verse in the national anthem that reads, “with glowing hearts, we quote these guys, the bare nae ked lay deees.” So it was of no surprise that when I finally committed to turning my writing into something more than a Facebook post, I woke up with these lyrics repeating over-and-over in my head…

“I had a dream that I was 300lbs – and though I was very heavy, I floated till I couldn’t see the ground. Somebody help me, I couldn’t see the ground.”


Cheers, to rock bottom!

Only it wasn’t a dream.  I woke up on January 1st, 2017 and was just shy of 300lbs.  How did I get here – and, even more challenging, how to I begin to unpack the years of slowly but steadily piling on and carrying around this extra person?  All previous attempts at cracking the code had failed, though not completely.  I suppose my journey really started in February of 2016, when I committed to one year of running.  I will write more about my year of running later, but sufficed to say that one of many lessons I learned (and there were many lessons) was that I could not outrun my weight issues.

The proverbial other shoe wouldn’t drop until December 17th, when I stumbled upon this this [click to read] article that Sheryl Sandberg shared on Facebook.  Jennifer’s bold and courageous story drew me in like drunk person (me) to Taco Bell. In many ways, she was me – only she had discovered the road map to regaining her health and vitality.  After a few hours of binging (punny, punny) on every word she had ever written, every article she shared, and [stalker alert] her personal and professional Facebook pages to learn as much as I could, I took a leap of faith and reached out for help one more time.

Please, let this be the last time, I thought.

Hi Jennifer

I just spent the last hour pouring through your story and your coaching site, after reading Sheryl’s post. What an inspiration you are – particularly because I can relate to it.  I would be super interested in setting up a consultation when you have time. 

Warmest regards,


Now, I realize that the “few hours” that I admitted to you, and the “one hour” I noted to Jennifer do not exactly match up – but [stalker alert] this is no different than the universal data manipulation one finds on any online dating profile.

Single woman: I am voluptuous [I am 50lbs overweight]

Single man: I am 6 feet tall [I am 5’9”]

I was hopeful that Jennifer would agree to help me, and she did.  I was cautiously optimistic that she would give me the road map and the tools to help me lose weight, and she has.  But it’s honestly so much more than that.

On our first phone call, she told me that she looked up my BMI online and that I was literally fighting for my life. Of course, I burst into tears.  I had never thought of myself as unhealthy.  Fat, obviously– but not unhealthy.  I ran 3.6 miles a day for 10 months – and on the days that I did not run, I almost always got my 10,000 steps in.  I have never had high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, and I am not pre-diabetic. YET.  All of those data points had only been reinforcing the lie I had been living.

Healthy people do not weigh 300lbs (which, incidentally is the equivalent of 1361 blueberry muffins).  It does not take healthy people 30 painful steps before the joints and tissue loosen up enough to walk normally.  Also probably good to include on this list: healthy people could never even fathom spending $100 at Taco Bell.   [insert photo of fanning money outside a taco bell]


First ever mirror selfie, 25lbs healthier

It has now been three months since I have been working with a health coach, and life for me looks very different.  I AM A HEALTHY PERSON.  I can eat anything I want, but I choose to eat whole, vibrant foods that support my vitality.  My skin is clear and youthful, and my hair is thicker and less brittle.  I have gone from wearing a size 22 to a size 20, and even those are getting roomy.  Oh, and did I mention I’ve dropped 30 pounds? I have also gone from a BMI of 46.4 (which basically made it impossible for me to drown, or dive down to the bottom of a lake) to a BMI of 41.7.

The changes I am making aren’t just physical. My life, my house, and my health all looked pretty good on the outside. I have a fulfilling career at Facebook, a beautiful home filled with love, a smokin’ hot and supportive husband, and I spent almost all of 2016 gluten-free and physically active AF!  Everything passed the sniff test with flying colors.  Unless you looked under the hood, opened a closet, or slid open the wrong drawer – where much of my life, my home, and my body was a mess.

10 of the 12 women in the Project Healthy Body(the group my health coach leads) rated their lives a 10/10 in our first homework assignment.  When Jennifer told me that, it stopped me in my tracks because it meant that I was no different than any other over-weight person.  My situation wasn’t unique. Looking back, it seems so transparent and obvious that a) no one’s life is a 10/10, and b) mine certainly was not!  I am not minimizing the wonderful life that I have built.  I have been living the absolute best life I can possibly live, given the tools that I had.  Now that I have the tools, I’m chipping away at the one thing that has been keeping me from living my best life: self love.  How am I getting there? I am melting the layers of fat and uncovering my true authentic self. How am I melting the fat?  By learning how to love myself.

Self-love: regard for one’s own well-being and happiness

Some of the changes and progress that I have made thus far have been easy. Eating only whole and healthy foods that support my vitality has been shockingly easy. Even shifting to proper portion sizes has been easy.  Other changes have been more difficult. Confronting an unbalanced dynamic in my marriage has been more difficult.  Exploring the reasons why I started filling empty spaces with food in the first place has been difficult.

It takes courage and humility to truly own where I am at and where I have been.  And even that is easier than the courage it takes to share those things with my husband…and still more to share it with you. But I know that I can’t rebuild what isn’t fully exposed (figuratively, not literally – unless I end up really, really, super good-looking at the end of this journey…then, maybe literally, too).  I also know that the helper in me gets a great deal of positive energy and inspiration (and accountability) from connecting with others who can relate to some or all of my own experience.  I will say it out loud so that you don’t have to!


When you’re no longer holding onto the weight of your past, you are free to hold yourself up in your present

Project Healthy Body is three months long, and ends in April.  However, I won’t be short of material to write about because I have just signed up for a year long extension of this program.  I can only imagine what my life will be like one year from now. The clarity of mind, shrinking of body, and wholeness of being that I have gained thus far feels incredible – but I know it’s just the beginning of something truly amazing. I just know it.