Love Can Make You Skinny

Kourtney Ferrua was a size 10 when she headed to the foodie mecca of San Francisco for college. “I loved the burritos at one restaurant, the fried calamari at another, and I had to hit the happy hour at another place,” Kourtney says. “I always rationalized the food, convincing myself that I deserved it after a hard day or because I was celebrating something.” By graduation, Kourtney had ballooned to a size 16.

Hovering at 212 pounds in her 20s, Kourtney mostly ignored her weight problem. It wasn’t always easy. After getting married, Kourtney, then an elementary-school teacher, had difficulty conceiving. She was told by a midwife that obesity might be to blame. To hear herself described as obese was devastating. “I didn’t own a scale or pay attention to how I looked, so I had never considered myself obese,” Kourtney says. “I felt embarrassment, guilt, and a horrible sense of self-loathing.”

When she was able to become pregnant without losing weight, she slipped back into denial about her size — until another dose of reality hit. After her daughter, Eva, was born in 2005, Kourtney watched other moms in playgroup swinging their babies around; meanwhile, she was worrying how she’d push herself up from the floor without dropping her daughter. Wearing a bathing suit during Eva’s swim lessons was so humiliating that Kourtney stopped going.

By the time Kourtney’s son, Dylan, came along two years later, she felt disgusted about her body once again. Worse, though Kourtney had never really tried to lose weight, she believed that change was impossible. Then a friend turned her on to podcasts from Dr. Joy Browne, a clinical psychologist and radio personality. Listeners with a range of problems, often weight-related, called in to hear Dr. Browne present positive ways to solve their issues. “When people on her show try to paint themselves as victims, she says, ‘Interesting, but not particularly helpful,'” Kourtney explains. The message sunk in. Kourtney decided, No more excuses. It’s time to start doing. “I thought, I’ve been blessed with two children who I love so much. Conquering my demons about food, weight, and body image was going to be my way of showing them that anything is possible.”

She began walking to the 45-minute podcasts — essentially pep talks — and lost six pounds. Then, in August 2008, she joined Weight Watchers. Her food journal showed that she was consuming too many calories. She made swaps: Her high-calorie granola breakfast changed to a low-calorie, high-fiber cereal; ground poultry substituted for ground beef; and she served whole-wheat pasta rather than regular. When she had slipups, she avoided the negative self-talk that had become habit. Rather than telling herself she was a total failure after eating a few cookies at work, she acknowledged the indulgence, wrote what she ate down in her food journal, and moved on without letting guilt consume her.

In October 2009, Kourtney reached her goal weight of 159 pounds. But the real achievement was giving her children an active, happy mom. She half-jokingly prides herself on performing a superfast version of “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” with her kids without getting winded. “It’s important that I’m a good role model,” she says, “because I love my kids too much to ever want them to feel the way I did about my body.” Source: Redbookmag