Model days
Regardless to whether you’re someone struggling over those stubborn 5-10 pounds, or someone with much more to lose – you’re most likely lugging around a lot of pain with the excess pounds. In fact, during the years I managed to stay rail thin as a model, I was in constant anguish, much more so than the discomfort I still feel trapped in not thin me. What I’m trying to say is, if weight is an issue, there is usually pain associated with it that isn’t necessarily visible or quantifiable in numbers on a scale.

Diets do not address pain, and worse, they can skew our relationship to food. What I love about A Course in Weight Loss is that it deals with the pain, therefore the issues that caused you to behave dysfunctionally in the first place. I’m finding as I connect deeper within myself (to source), I also connect to my natural on/off switch.

Julie Anne and Nick Rhodes

Owning my curves for the first time without shame made me feel sexy. I’m not saying I want not thin me to stay, but I will say – I’ve been asked out on more dates in the last couple weeks than the past couple years. This was a breakthrough for me since I’ve always believed men are only interested in thin me.

What an aha moment! Men are interested in women that are comfortable in their own skin. Sorry men – maybe I’ve been as tough on you, as I have been on not thin me – I’ll write an extra letter just for you.

Lets be honest – it’s the holidays. Healthy choices tend to be outnumbered by temptation. It also happens to be a crazy-busy time of year for me, so I’m not getting as much exercise as I should in an ideal world. I’ve felt my clothes get a little tighter, rather than looser, so my ego is screaming “see it doesn’t work” to derail me, but then I always have wanted “the quick fix.” I have to remind myself this is a process.

Leap of faith

I think the moral here is to appreciate the small miracles along the way. I did eat the piece of apple pie with salted caramel ice cream on Thanksgiving, but I didn’t have seconds of anything. That is change that needs to be acknowledged and celebrated. Maybe I haven’t made it all the way to making only healthy choices yet, but at least I’m not gorging myself with food, or beating myself up for a little indulgence.

I have no problem with the concept of surrender, or in a belief that a power greater than myself can restore me to sanity. Been there, done that, have the t-shirt. I surrendered alcohol entirely, but I still have to eat, so I felt I needed something symbolic to surrender. I decided to surrender my scales. I’m trusting the process will take me exactly where I am meant to be. My own healthy weight.

Candace, Marianne, and Kathy

Then I hit a snag. I felt silly building an alter, but decided to do it anyway. Sometimes “feeling it” comes after action for me. However, I came to a screeching halt when the kitchen was described as the alter of fear that needs tearing down. I’m a chef, the kitchen is my alter of love. That is exactly why people pay me to cook for them! Maybe I’m in denial here (feel free to call me on it Marianne, if you think I am – or if I interpreted it wrong), but my alter of fear is much more likely the bedroom for a multitude of reasons. It holds waaaaaaaay more emotional triggers to my eating than the kitchen, so that was the room that got the blessings and smudging in my house.

Linda, Brown, and Jewels

Can you identify the places in your home, and in your life that represent fear? What insights have you learned about yourself through this process? I’m bowled over by how much I’m learning about myself that I was never consciously aware of before!

PS. Don’t forget to enter the “What Have You Got to Lose” Giveaway for a signed copy of A Course in Weight Loss by Marianne Williamson. Click here for entry rules, and why not stir your weekly routine up a bit with this stir-fried cabbage? It goes great with the seared duck recipe on the last blog post.

Stir-Fried Cabbage, Carrots, Peppers, & Shiitake Mushrooms

Servings: 4


  • 1 teaspoon Safflower oil
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 head of Savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1 red pepper, seeded, deveined, and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, and diced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


1). Heat oil in a wok or large saucepan over medium heat. Add ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes, stir until fragrant, 30 seconds.

2). Add cabbage, carrots, red pepper, mushroom, and soy sauce. Stir-fry until cooked but still crunchy, 3-4 minutes. Stir in sesame oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

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  • December 2, 2010
    1:47 am

    Hi Jewels, I've been prolonging chapter two for two weeks now. I read it but have yet to write out the letters to thin me and not thin me. I was never really model thin. I've struggled my whole life with weight since I was 10. I know what happened at 10 but I'm not ready to share that yet on here.The only time I was ever thin was right after my divorce. I lost 20 lbs in 3 weeks b/I was so distraught I couldn't eat. It made me vomit. It seems only relationship break ups "help" me lose weight but once I heal (or so maybe I think?) I gain the weight back and now I am at what I weighed when I was pregnant-which is embarassing, frieghtening and scary to me all at once. I know "thin" people often have other issues, no one is perfect or without problems but I want to know just once what it feels like to go into a store and not worry that it won't fit or to go to the beach and not feel ashamed. I am curvy by nature and used to get alot of attention or looks from men but now its like a desert (insert tumbleweed going by here)and I feel washed up at 40! I am praying God will lift this negative behavior/attitude I feel towards the way I look but I'm still sceptical that this one book is going to change what has not changed for me for 30 years.One issue I know is that I feel my father compares me to my older sister who has always been thin and athletic. My dad is a healthfood nutcase, and works out everyday at age 67. My sister at 44 well, she looks great still but I think part of why she has stayed thin is she has so many dietary restrictions (thyroid problem,No wheat products and no dairy, no meat but fish). Yes, at 40 I still want my dad to be proud of me. I shouldn't care but I do.My whole house (rather small one bedroom flat, I share with my daughter) has not so much triggers as it does clutter and disorganization. Its a reflection of how I feel all the time! Mostly it shows a tired, single mom who needs a break and some help to relieve all the stress. I want to become happier and healthier to set a good example for my daughter who struggles with her own health issues(type 1 diabetes). We only shop at Trader Joes or Whole Foods, I read labels all the time since she has to watch her carbs, we dont eat fast food, sugar sodas, candy etc. SO for me I think its portion control and lack of exercise. I am trying to solicit some local friends to walk with me so I can get motivated, stay tuned for progress. So for now, I am going to play my favorite Christmas music in the world- Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas" and start tappin till I get happy for few minutes.P.S. Don't worry about bad wrapping, it'd be cuter anyway if you signed it from the dog and left a paw print.

  • December 2, 2010
    2:02 am

    It's so true people are attracted to confidence (women too). I think when you let go of your atttachment to being a certain weight and focus on health, you'll look & feel ur best (forget the scale). You look like a healthy happy person julie anne, so the outside's there & the inside is on her way! Good for you!Cupcake

  • December 2, 2010
    4:26 am

    I sincerely urge anyone dealing with big issues and pain, that is too scary to walk through alone, to seek help if you need it. I won't pretend to have the answers – I am not a therapist, spiritual guide, or any other kind expert here – I am just working my way through the book like the rest of you, sharing my experience in the hope it might encourage someone else, and that they might encourage me when I need it.Call it safety in numbers, or being held accountable, or whatever you like, but sharing my experience when I did a cleanse recently proved to be a powerful experience that helped me sail right through it, so I thought the same may be true in doing these lessons together.Penelope first of all – you should never share anything here you are not comfortable with sharing. Please go easy on yourself – you will write the letters when you are ready to, and not a moment before. I haven't exactly been speedy Gonzales myself, but sometimes I have to sit with the information before I can absorb it, and other times I have to sit with some unpleasant feelings until I find my way through them (stuffing them with a cupcake is no longer an option for me). This is deep work, and frankly I hope that by taking our time we really heal inside as well as out.When I did write the letters, I just sat down, held the pen, and wrote whatever sprang to mind – I was very surprised by what I came out in the writing. Once I did, I felt differently about myself. I'm so much more forgiving and kind to myself than I ever was before. We all want our loved ones to see our inner beauty and love us unconditionally, but how can they possibly see us that way when WE don't see ourselves that way? Or maybe they do, but we can't feel their love, because we don' love ourselves unconditionally yet?Having said all that – my favorite MW quote from the book this week is "Faith is an aspect of consciousness; there is no such thing as a faithless person. Right Now you have plenty of faith… faith that you'll eat too much, no matter what you do. Faith that you'll never lose weight and keep it off. Faith that overeating is your only true friend. The real question is, do you have more faith in the power of your problem or in the power of a miracle to solve it?" I actually wrote it out, and it sits on my alter to remind me I have a choice to keep my faith in the problem, or dare to put it into the solution. I choose to put my faith in the miracle to solve it.

  • December 2, 2010
    5:12 am

    Back in my stick thin/disordered eating days, I read Dianne Brill's book, Boobs, Boys, and High Heels, and she talked about how she carried herself at her heaviest. It was an excellent lesson in self-esteem that I have always held on to. At my heaviest, it was the lesson that kept me from hating myself. I am not the sum of my measurements. I am fitter now, but the lesson in confidence means just as much.I'm glad you're writing about this. It's good stuff!

  • December 2, 2010
    5:27 am

    WOW Lane! I am emailing her your comment- it will make her day to know she impacted you that way. I have that book, and will definitely be re-reading it thanks to you!

  • December 2, 2010
    9:07 am

    I too feel the bedroom is more the place for my altar. It's the room where I've hidden myself away for years. That and the bathroom. I can't say that I've ever felt comfortable in my skin, even now or maybe that should be especially now. I'm slow on getting through the book, I need to focus and that seems so difficult when it's about my weight. People still think they have the right to comment on it, one even keeps a record of it. This just destroys me. I want to be happy, eat healthy, I would like to have relationships, but know that won't happen. I do my best to hold my head up and be confident, but deep down, I feel like I'm trying to fool people into thinking that I'm someone. I ask myself "someone what?" and the answer comes back "someone worthy of being loved, respected for being true to themself." I know my head is pretty messed up from years of feeling hopeless, I had hoped by now, I'd be past that and feel good about myself. I'm good at faking in front of people, make them believe that everything's great, life is wonderful, when the reality is quite different. I'm in a better place healthwise since I lost the weight, but when people still see me as that fat person, I have to wonder about my self image and their perception of me. Somedays I wonder who I'm supposed to be and where I'm going. Maybe this book will point me in the right direction. I can't get more lost than I am, but maybe, I can find a way to accept me for just being me and not worry about not being the person people think I should be. Not sure if this makes sense, but I think you understand what I'm trying to say.

  • December 2, 2010
    5:31 pm

    Please do tell her! I cannot tell you the number of times I have read that book for the sheer delight it brought me. That's how I learned to style an updo, select the proper foundation garments, and really enjoy liking myself without feeling like I was being vainglorious. It was also where I learned to work a party…lol.

  • December 2, 2010
    7:57 pm

    Got a fb message from her earlier today – she loved hearing that she made a difference in your life, as I knew she would – she is such a kind hearted gentle soul.

  • December 3, 2010
    12:58 am

    I think you are much prettier now and think you look great!Rachel Day

  • December 3, 2010
    12:59 am

    Wow. I haven't bought this book yet, but your thoughts in this particular post have me ready to go get it! ๐Ÿ™‚ I can realate in many, many ways…Kim Phillips Cuccia

  • December 3, 2010
    1:09 am

    Ruthee, Marianne says in the book "The real question is, do you have more faith in the power of your problem or in the power of a miracle to solve it?" I actually wrote this out on a piece of paper, and it sits on my alter to remind me I have a choice to keep my faith in the problem, or dare to put it into the solution. I choose to put my faith in the miracle to solve it.Sweet Rachel – thank you.Kim get it and join us on!

  • December 3, 2010
    2:32 am

    I do believe in miracles, I've had a couple happen in my life. What holds me back, I think I'm grieving the loss of a very essential part of what defined "me." Pretty sad when excess weight is what defines you, that and being a compulsive worker. The two went hand in hand together and both are gone so I've lost my identity and am trying to build a new one, desperately. I'm getting there, but it's like a ride on a slow bus. With Marianne's book to read and your comments, maybe I can focus on what's down the road.

  • December 3, 2010
    4:03 am

    Ruthee – I get it – when I stopped drinking, I felt like I lost a part of my identity too – the wild, fun, celebutante. I felt like I'd lost my personality (as if it came from a bottle), and I hid away from the world for years. It took bumping into an old friend, and when he smiled at me – l saw all my magnificence form 27 years earlier reflected back at me in his eyes. I finally realized the essence of me is there no matter what size I am, how much I party, what career path I take, or how old I am – I am ME no matter what, so I'd better get to know and like me, if I'm ever going be able to let all the love that is already there in. Try being as kind to yourself as I know you are to me, you might just start liking her more than you ever imagined. The letters to and from "not thin me" really showed me where I was being cruel to myself, and I've made a conscious effort to stop that critical mean voice inside ever since. So far, that has been my favorite part of the lessons.

  • December 3, 2010
    4:25 pm

    I know better than doing this. I was brought up by seven women, and I know exactly what conversations men need stay out of, and women and their bodies is at the top of the list. I have been following this since you begun reading the book, and today I just had to say somethingJewels, men are not only interested in thin you. You are a spectacular woman and obviously have no idea of the impact you have on men, which by the way is something that came as a total surprise to me.I promise you for every man that asks you out on a date there are ten that were too afraid to do so.For the rest of the women posting here, I don't know any of you, I do know though that this world sometimes manifests in extremely harsh ways and without the softness that women provide this would be a barren weary place to live in. Let the sweetness that only a woman can provide flow through you into the world, and your body, regardless of how you feel about it, will disappear into the background. There is not a man in this world that could make it here without your tenderness, we need you, the world needs you. Now more than ever

  • December 3, 2010
    4:56 pm

    Oh Luis, you are probably the most romantic man I have ever met -thank you, and ladies – this is a man that truly appreciates women. I'm so glad you checked in with a man's POV. Do it more often!

  • December 3, 2010
    4:56 pm

    Just found your blog…what a gift! Thank you…Donna Fitch

  • December 3, 2010
    5:43 pm

    I finally got to a point in my life that I realized that I won't get back into those size 8 jeans I wore when I met Allen. I always try to eat well, then ice cream gets in the way and I'm definitely NOT a gym person, no matter how much I wanted to believe I could be. I went out and bought new clothes I could be comfortable in, and if I happen to lose a little weight, then I still have those clothes that will fit me as well. I look in the mirror and don't always feel sexy, but I'm comfortable with who I am and I think that just comes with age. We'll never look as good as we did in our 20's or even 30's, but we shine a different, confident light as older women. I never knew you stick thin, but I think you look fantastic as you are in comparison to the pics I've seen, AND you're healthy! That's the most important aspect of what you've done. You go girl! Hugs, Laura

  • December 3, 2010
    6:50 pm

    This past weekend we watched the movie "the last holiday" with Queen Latifah, and you know what, there's a gal who carries herself with self confidence and all kinds of sexy, who looks really good, though she probably is classified as "obese". She's probably one of the most beautiful women alive though.My big challenge with the weight and comfort with how I am, is my mom (who I avoid as much as possible, though I had to stay with her and care for her after her accident for a time)…and I've had to re-get to that place where I'm doing it for me and not for her. She thought that all of her verbal abuse over the years about my weight was finally paying off because I am losing weight…and it made me want to regain all of it (dumb I know)…though a recent trip to the docs showed that my blood pressure, ekg, and all the rest are finally super healthy (doc said my ekg was "Track star healthy"). Hubs even noted that I act frumpy and fat and dowdy after a visit from my mom, and yet look super sexy when I'm walking in self confidence.

  • December 3, 2010
    7:32 pm

    Great stuff here, thanks all. And especially to Luis!

  • December 3, 2010
    10:15 pm

    I know you weren't fishing, Julie Anne; but it's true!! You're journey has been interesting to watch and I thank you for sharing it.Justine Owls

  • December 3, 2010
    10:16 pm

    doesn't matter what you do these days.. people just like to judge and criticise. The most important thing to remember is that the people that are closest to you, friends, family, the ones that love you for who you are, they are the only opinions that matter. Real friends don't judge, they may guide you from time to time because they care but they would never judge. Beauty is within and there's nothing more beautiful than having a heart so big you can see it from space. I think you have that Julie Anne and that's what matters.Ceri Tron Nicholl

  • December 3, 2010
    10:17 pm

    Beauties!!!!! from right to left!!!!Nordine Kadri

  • December 3, 2010
    10:18 pm

    You're such a waif in this pic! You look way sexier now!Laura Dodd-Hodges

  • December 3, 2010
    10:19 pm

    Yep! Curves are sexy!Kathi Morris Harvey

  • December 3, 2010
    10:19 pm

    Embrace the curves!!! :)Jo Marsden Gonzales

  • December 3, 2010
    10:20 pm

    When the only choices are to embrace them or eat 1/2 of an iceberg lettuce leaf a day, then I'm sayin "Embrace!!".Jo Marsden Gonzales

  • December 4, 2010
    12:58 am

    Dear Jewles, Thank you for mentioning how you felt whan you stopped drinking. I stopped a year and a half ago, and I feel I have lost my personality too. When I go out with my 'ladies that lunch' group I feel so out of the loop. After a glass or two of wine they are on another planet than the one I'm on, and I feel lonely. So I've been skiping them, and that makes me feel lonely too. Hope this is not to 'off topic' but what you said is the first time I heard someone say exactly how I feel. Must find alternatives but that means no long time friends, honestly I do not know how they do it. Gosh, hope this isn't too long. Hugs, Joyce

  • December 4, 2010
    1:00 am

    My god this blog post has hit me. Im sending you a hug . you have me in tears very moving thanks lady Tracey aka pop trash beautyTracey J Whitney

  • December 4, 2010
    1:15 am

    It does get easier Joyce, but I sooooooooooooo relate. The friend I mentioned that I bumped into happened to have more time than me, so he got it, but wouldn't let me use it to hide behind any longer. He helped pull me out of my shell. Stick with the winners babe – you want what they have. Also, the longer you stick around, more and more of your partying pals will join you in sobriety, and those are some funky fun reunions – all the giggles without the hangover!

  • December 4, 2010
    1:16 am

    Thank you – Tracey, but I didn't mean to make you cry!

  • December 4, 2010
    1:39 am

    When will we all stop torturing ourselves, me included, with 'not enough'? I don't know anyone that doesn't, I don't care who they are. Do we get it from other other people, do we do it to ourselves, and why, does it serve some purpose for us? I do not think our 'Higher Power' would like us to feel ths way and I just think we have to work on it every day and some days will be easier than others. It hurts so we have to stop doing it,life really is too! darn short We need to say 'I am enough for this world that I live in' among other positive things. Best, CW

  • December 4, 2010
    3:19 am

    Dear Jewles, Thank you for creating this all so we can talk and share. Thank you also for the comment on my comment,I don't feel so alone now. Hugs, Joyce

  • December 4, 2010
    8:12 am

    Youre welcome, they were good well needed tears. lol I think between the honesty of your post. an the comments Luis an Ruthee's just got me. Im a little thin skinned shhhh don't tell :)Tracey J Whitney

  • December 4, 2010
    6:25 pm

    You look absolutely gorgeous. If you're carrying 5 extra pounds, so what? Although, I can relate all too well to wanting to maintain exactly what I once was, but at what cost? I think that we (women) put such high expectations on ourselves. And what guy would worry about 5 extra pounds? Not many. If they're not worried, why are we? Of course, I know the answer ๐Ÿ™‚

  • December 4, 2010
    6:37 pm

    Stacy – it is about what I AM comfortable with other people (not just mates, family, friends, and society included) do not have control over how we feel about ourselves unless we give it to them.I'm actually much heavier than my modeling weight, and have no desire to go back to that, however I know I'm too heavy for my own comfort at the moment. It is about where I feel I am at my healthiest weight – not what others think.

  • December 4, 2010
    7:01 pm

    Thanks for this post. I should think the same way…Isabel Ortiz Bernad

  • December 4, 2010
    8:06 pm

    "When will we all stop torturing ourselves, me included, with 'not enough'? I don't know anyone that doesn't, I don't care who they are. Do we get it from other other people, do we do it to ourselves, and why, does it serve some purpose for us? I do not think our 'Higher Power' would like us to feel ths way and I just think we have to work on it every day and some days will be easier than others. It hurts so we have to stop doing it,life really is too! darn short We need to say 'I am enough for this world that I live in' among other positive things. Best, CW"CW – I was hoping Marianne would chime in with an answer for you, but she is on both book and lecture tours at the moment, so otherwise preoccupied. I do think this is a crucial part of grasping what the book has to offer, so I'll give you MY interpretation, and perhaps Marianne will give hers later.We are human, and yes we all feel "not enough" from time to time. I agree that a higher power would not have us feel this way, which is all the more reason to reconnect to that higher power. It's what you do with those feelings that counts.The question really ought to be HOW do we stop feeling "not enough", and I can tell you from my own experience that when I walk a spiritual path and let love, not fear be my motivator – I am enough, the food I eat is enough, the love my family show me is enough, etc. In my humble opinion, the "not enough" is a manifestation of, or a distorted means of protection against fear. Meditation, moral inventory, forgiveness, reaching out and helping others are all ways towards how we stop feeling "not enough." That's my interpretation – any of you have another?

  • December 5, 2010
    3:14 am

    Dear Jewles, I think that is an excellent interpretation. Thank you, CW

  • December 5, 2010
    3:20 am

    I should have added prayer into the solution equation too!

  • January 16, 2011
    9:58 pm

    I started this book… a bit later than i thought i would. Having always struggled with my weight… my idea of my self image and the idea of self image as the world tells me i should be. One would think after 41 years of struggling to be what everyone else desires of me I would have it down pat. Instead, I have made myself miserable, depressed, angry and filled with raw self hatred. I see myself in this book entirely. I too struggled with this idea of a religious framework of "God", but a few years ago I realized that I am truly a part of this much larger divine energy. So, I took it away from the "church" and created what felt most comfortable to me and resonated perfectly to my deepest core. I no longer have any problem saying god and knowing exactly what i mean by it … and it isn't some male dominant giant in the sky.I have found my own interpretation of spirituality and allowed myself to surrender to it. It is actually amazing how fulfilling and releasing this is.I am anxious to continue my journey through this book. One reading will not suffice… not by a long shot.