Food is our common ground, a universal experience.

– James Beard

I wake up, and for a good 30 seconds my mind is clear and I do not immediately start to
replay what I ate the night before. I am simply thinking of what my day will bring. Then, I
remember what I did in the kitchen … the ice cream, the cookies, the leftover cupcakes from the
kids’ party. CRAAAAAP, did I really eat all of that? I touch my stomach, and wow, am I bloated!
I lick my teeth and they still taste sweet. I must have been so out of it I didn’t brush my teeth
before I went to bed. Wait, I think I have a little bit of cake in the back of my mouth. YUCK.
Thankfully, my husband snores, so I had slept in the guest room last night as a
preventative measure. Let’s be honest here, the sleeping arrangement gave me privacy to do my
secret food thing at night. I go down to our bedroom and notice how dry my mouth is. I slowly
open the door. My husband is still sleeping, and the clock next to him shows there’s still nine
minutes before the alarm will go off. I never sleep well when I eat at night.
I go into the bathroom and get a look at myself. My face is pretty swollen and I
contemplate weighing myself to see if any of the damage “took” or not. I figure I still can keep
eating since I haven’t brushed my teeth. But then I get on the scale. YIKES. I step off the scale
and take off all of my clothes, silently praying my husband or daughter doesn’t barge into the
bathroom and question why I am totally naked and getting on and off the scale like it is a Magic
8 Ball that will eventually give me the right answer. I guess I am up a good 3.5 pounds since last
week. I must be retaining water or something. It can’t be real weight, right? I look at myself in
the mirror. I am super puffy in the middle. It is not a cute look. I throw on my pajamas and admit
defeat by brushing my teeth, going to get my youngest out of his crib, and heading for the stairs.
I’m grateful the coffee pot knows what time it is.

What happened that got me into the food? I wish I could remember. I put my two-year-
old down in front of Sesame Street, then head into the kitchen to grab the biggest coffee mug I

can find in the cabinet. It must be size of my head. I pour in a bunch of fat-free milk and then as
many packets of artificial sweetener as I can find. The white stuff sprays all over the place and I

stir as quickly as I can. I down the entire mug by the time my five-year-old pads down the stairs
in her nightgown. She demands French toast, which is the last thing I want to make. My food
hangover is in full effect.
As I cook, I start planning how little I will eat today to make up for all the sugar I ate last
night. I will do a double spin class when my daughter is at preschool and the sitter has come over
to watch my son. All I will eat is protein and water. I will be back to normal in time for the
weekend, since today is only Tuesday. I don’t want to have to call in Fat for our dinner plans
with our friends. I did that a few months ago and it was so embarrassing, which only led me to
eat more sugar. I am too old for this crap.
Time to flip the stupid French toast. The kids are bickering over something. My husband
comes downstairs asking about the dry cleaning and why the dog is barking. Where is my
stinking coffee? I add more skim milk and sweetener. My head has started to hurt, so I toss some
Advil down with the coffee.
Time to get moving for school. I need to leave in 20 minutes or so to drop off my
daughter, then go to spin to do a double, go to the grocery store to get healthy food, then I have a
meeting or something later. I really can’t think today, who was I supposed to call? Damn, I wish
I’d written it down. I hope it will come to me.
I start to clear the dishes, and as I am about to toss the leftover French toast into the trash,
I furtively eat the cold slices. I can hear my husband is in the shower. The sitter will be here in
ten minutes, and my toddler is, for the moment, busy with his iPad and facing the other direction.
I eat over the trash as quickly as I can. WAIT! I wasn’t going to eat anything bad today, much
less maple syrup and bread cooked in butter! What is wrong with me? Seriously, when will I ever
The sitter finally shows, and my husband asks me to do five different things on his way
out the door. Like I do not have anything better to do! Who was I supposed to call again? My
daughter and I head out to the car, and I grab more coffee in a travel mug. Caffeine will help me
when I work out! My exercise clothes feel super tight across my waist, and I feel disgusting as I
drive to school. Tons of traffic and really awful mommy drivers. I head to the gym and my head
is killing me. I can’t tell if it is from too much coffee or last night or if I am getting sick. I walk

into spin and try to avoid eye contact with my “friends.” I am not in the mood for chit chat given
how fat and gross I feel.
The first spin class is great. I feel like I could go forever, and I am really into the music
and everything else happening. However, the second is pure torture. Why didn’t I drink more
water??? I drank too much coffee and with no breakfast (the French toast bites don’t count,
right?), my mind easily wanders. It is eventually over, and I don’t feel as disgusting, I do not
look at myself in any of the mirrors in the gym locker room as I change and head out.
I am starving, and I pound a giant bottle of water on the drive to the supermarket. I walk
into the store and grab a basket, since I’m only here to pick up a few things. On my way to the
rotisserie chicken, I pass the bakery and throw in a baguette. I start eating it as I walk to the
prepared food aisle. I grab a few more odds and ends and go by the candy aisle, where I notice
they are having a sale on licorice. I pick up a 20-ounce Diet Coke and start to drink it as I wander
on through the candy and cookie aisle. I glance and note the duality of my basket. Protein and
low-carb vegetables on one side, sugar and processed food on the other. Whatever, my head is
killing me. I go to the self-check-out line to avoid having to talk to an overly peppy clerk and get
in my car. I tear open the licorice with my teeth and end up eating the entire bag by the time I get
back to my house. I throw the empty bag away in the garbage cans under the recycling, pick up a
Diet Coke from the garage fridge, and bring the rest of the groceries inside, where I make small
talk with the sitter.
I am not sure whether to have the chicken for lunch or to not bother, since I had so much
licorice in the car. I decide to think about it after I take a shower. I don’t have a decision by the
time I get back downstairs, but I do know I want to be alone so I can eat in privacy. I send the
sitter home early with the excuse that the baby is asleep. I end up eating random processed kids’
food after she leaves. I lie down, since I am so freaking exhausted from last night’s sugar, the
double spin class, the post-caffeine let-down, and my life.
When my two-year-old wakes up, we go to get my daughter from school. I glance at
myself in the rearview mirror. My chin will not clear up. It is so annoying. I have worse skin now
than when I was 15. The dermatologist gives me a different face wash every time I see her. If my

skin doesn’t get better by the next visit, there is talk of putting me on oral medication. I really do
not want to go on it, but discussing zits and freckles at the same visit seems crazy to me.
I see my daughter at pickup. She is so cute, until she gets in the car snarling over not
being picked line leader. I remind her today is Tuesday, so it is time for ballet and music class.
Neither kid wants to go to either. Thankfully, I have a large Diet Coke in my car and a bag of
Jelly Bellies in the console. I take handfuls of the candy and put them in my lap, so the kids
cannot see. The kids are so noisy in the back seat on the drive home, and traffic is awful. The
candy bag is gone, and the Diet Coke is empty.
I pull in the garage and think, “Oh no, dinner!” The kids are going to want to eat. I reach
for the chicken and am grateful it will serve some purpose. I can’t even look at food, but I throw
together dinner for the kids. I somehow get through feeding and bathing them. My head is killing
me again, but if I am ever going to get to sleep tonight, I cannot have any more caffeine. My
husband texts me that he is stuck at work and won’t be home until way past the kids’ bedtime. I
put them both to bed. My daughter is especially difficult tonight, as she wants to discuss why her
dad isn’t home yet and how come Christmas cannot be every day. I try really hard to not lose any
remaining patience with her. Ugh! I want some time to myself.
I check my phone and I notice an annoying email from a woman I volunteer with at
school. She is such a one-upper, makes me insane! If I am going to eat something before I go to
bed, I have do it now. Who was I supposed to call this morning? What did my husband want me
to do for him? Crap, I wish I could remember. Maybe we have ice cream left over from the other
That was how I lived forever, or so it seemed. If I was so smart, and had the family, the
house, the husband, the things I thought would make me happy and content, why could I not lose
the extra ten pounds? Why did I have secret stashes of candy? Same with the brain fog, given the
baby was now two and sleeping through the night and still I couldn’t remember anything for
long. Acne became a constant issue in my thirties, which everyone from the doctor to the ladies
at the makeup counter told me was either hormonal or I just needed a magic cream. I had low
levels of depression, and I rationalized it by telling myself that everyone with small kids is tired.
Wanting to nap all afternoon and stay up all night to eat in peace is perfectly acceptable.

This probably sounds familiar to you. If you are like me, you didn’t see the forest for the
trees. I was unable to see the relationship between what I was putting in my mouth and my
energy levels. No matter how noble my intentions were, every Monday morning when I would
start my newest diet or when I would do my walk of shame back in Weight Watchers, I somehow
couldn’t stay on my damn diet. Was I weak-willed? Why did it seem like so many other people
could do it? Why could I do it when I was younger? Maybe the answer was to eat less. Or to only
eat orange food. Or only fat. Or only dairy, or only watermelon, or whatever some D-list
celebrity told me.
Looking back on it, I was not suffering from a lack of morals nor was my life insufficient
in some major way. I was on a constant sugar roller coaster that I couldn’t get off of. I had the
best of intentions, but I couldn’t kick the habit. Even when I managed to go sugar-free for a
while, I couldn’t maintain it. I wanted a life without stashes of candy or hiding wrappers, but I
could not get there.
Once I did figure it out, I wanted to help other people, which I have been doing in my
own coaching practice. However, I wanted to reach more women, and that is why I wrote this
book. I wanted to help YOU. I know how you are feeling: the frustration, the annoying obsession
with what’s for lunch while struggling to be perfect, the “screw-its” that come on around 4 pm,
and the swan dives into a jar of Nutella. I knew there had to be a better way, and that if I could
find it and stay with it, I would share it with the world.
You, my dear friend, are getting the benefit of my years of green drinks, master cleanses,
challenge groups, rice cakes, and two-point bars. Now that I know better, we will both do better.
All you have to do is take my hand, and we will do this together.

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