Welcome to September Success, a month of inspirational weight loss success stories from real women like you who achieved real amazing weight loss success.
My second guest is the inspiring Stacey Ogden, a mom, wife, and lifelong learner who is passionate about Living Intentionally, which is also the name of her book and upcoming course. The chief officer at Creating My Happiness, Stacey intends to live every day with more joy. Stacey was also able to lose a whopping 55 pounds in 8 months, and her weight loss success story might surprise you.
Listen to the interview, and read highlights below
Jenn: Hello and welcome. My name is Jenn Espinosa-Goswami. I help moms achieve body bliss in just minutes a day using a process that helped me lose 100 pounds. I am super excited to share our special guest today, Stacey Ogden.
You may recognize Stacey’s name, as she wrote “Letting Go of the Inner Fat Kid.” Thank you so much for joining us for September Success!
Stacey: Thank you for having me.
[00:01:30] Jenn: We’ve had a great collaboration through our blogs in the past year or so. Your personal weight loss success story really hit me. Even though you’re not a client of mine, I love to celebrate weight loss success in all its many variations. I knew you could do it, but I’d love to hear more.
Stacey: Well, I’m surprised on there. Yeah, I’m sure most people know that every time you start a new diet there’s always that little piece of you in the back of your mind that’s not quite positive about it.
Jenn: I hear you and I work with a lot of women who share the same sentiment as you so thank you for being honest about that and how maybe there were times when you weren’t quite sure it was gonna work out for you.
Q1: What in particular triggered you to lose weight back in February this year?
[00:02:30] Stacey: Well, there were a couple of things. The end of 2016 was not great for us. We had a lot of personal things going on. The biggest of which was that my mom was diagnosed with cancer and you look at things a little bit differently when you have those major moments come up in your life.
I started to look at 2017, as a year I really wanted to take more control of things. I felt I had just been letting stuff happen around me so in January. I started doing some research because if you are a very out of shape person as I was, you can’t just jump into a full-on exercise routine or anything else because it just doesn’t work that way. You need to dip your baby toe in first.
The first thing I did was I started with yoga. If you haven’t heard of Yoga With Adriene on YouTube, it’s phenomenal. She’s awesome. She’s funny and forgiving.
Jenn: Yeah, I’ve heard of Yoga With Adriene. I think she’s the most popular yoga workout on YouTube and I’ve actually linked to it in some of my other posts. I’m so glad you found her.
Stacey: Adriene is awesome! It even got my daughter in to doing yoga; that she does Cosmic Kids Yoga so she’s into it as well. Then I started noticing a couple pounds dropping off here and there. Of course, then I was watching TV one night and I was having dessert, which doesn’t really help.
[00:04:00] I saw one of those ads with all the women in the purple tracksuits and everything for Contrave, which is a relatively new FDA-approved weight loss supplement that you can get through prescription only. I decided to ask my doctor about it.
I started that in mid-March. I’d probably lost about 10 pounds at that point. Then as soon as I started it, it was like a totally different world for me. I was able to control my eating much better. I wasn’t stress-eating. I had no interest in sweets at all, which is really bizarre for me and it just started becoming easier to be the healthy person that I always wanted to be.
Then the yoga morphed into walking and I’m signed up for the Avon 39, which is a 39.3 mile walk through New York City. I’ve been training for that. I’m up to 11 miles now at a time so yeah, it was baby steps; one little thing at a time- adding on, adding on, adding on. Now I feel pretty good.
Jenn: Awesome. It sounds like from your experience, you initially started with a forgiving type of exercise. In this case, it was yoga for you back in February so you knew you wanted to make a change of some sort, but as you mentioned, not everyone can jump straight into a very intense exercise regime so you started with yoga. How often were you doing yoga?
[00:05:30] Stacey: I did one of Adrian’s 30 day challenges. I did it everyday straight for 30 days.
I think I took one day off and I jumped right back in after that, but yeah, I really wanted to make it a habit so I had to go there, but I had plantar fasciitis before that in both feet. It was chronic. There was nothing they could do about it so I couldn’t just start walking in order to get ready for this race.
My husband happens to be a trainer and a coach. Although, he would say, he’s not allowed to coach me for a lot of reasons.
I’m not a good coach-able person, honestly, so he suggested I start with something that would strengthen my core.
That’s what I did. I started with yoga, got my core strength and then I started walking little tiny bits after that until it just started becoming more natural. I didn’t walk this morning ’cause I had to get up for school so I feel really bizarre right now.
Jenn: You’ve made it into a habit for you. And when you don’t have it, you feel the lack of that exercise.
[00:07:00] Jenn: Well, that’s fantastic. Not that you’re feeling off, but that you’re missing that exercise. It is a very important thing for our bodies, not just for weight loss.
In fact, I often talk about how exercise by itself doesn’t really help with weight loss, but it does change our mood.
- It changes our circulation.
- It changes the kinds of choices we make when we do sit down to eat.
I think it’s an important distinction that you realize okay, I need to do something to move more. Luckily, you had the benefit of your husband’s knowledge as a trainer and you were open enough to his suggestions to say, “Okay, I’ll start with some core strength and go from there.”
Now you mentioned that you started with Contrave, which from what I understand is a very new weight loss supplement. What in particular were your concerns with starting with Contrave?Curious about #Contrave? Hear how Stacey dropped 55 pounds using this #weightloss solution! Click To Tweet
Stacey: Well, anytime you see a commercial for a prescription medication nowadays, they have to list all the possible side effects, which takes up more of the commercial than the actual benefits.
There’s always that in the back of your mind like is this really worth it?
Of course, if you were cognizant during the Fen-Phen issue, then there’s that that’s going through your head as well.
Is this really safe?
Are they gonna find out in 10 years that it’s really not good for you or anything like that so you definitely have to go through that process, but I did, a long time ago, write about why I decided not to have weight loss surgery because it was just a step that I wasn’t willing to go to just yet.
One of the reasons why is because I felt like I hadn’t tried everything else. When this came up, I said, “You know what? If it doesn’t work, if it makes me feel awful, if it makes me start feeling depressed as opposed to better about myself, than I just don’t have to continue with it.”
But bariatric surgery is a rather permanent thing so I said, “You know what? If this is my last stop before surgery, I gotta take it.”
Jenn: I love that, especially as a long time reader of your blog. I think I remember that article you wrote about weight loss surgery, which is a very big decision to make.
Once you make those changes, often you can’t reverse them and it sounds like you’ve explored a variety of options that might work for you.
[00:09:30] You already identified that you do not feel you’re a very coach-able individual. I don’t know if you mean by your husband in particular or just coach-able in general, so you felt like Contrave was a good solution for you without jumping into something as extreme as weight loss surgery. Is that right?
Stacey: Yeah. That’s true and the other thing is that in that post that I wrote, one of the things I talked about is that the surgery doesn’t actually fix your brain, which is where a lot of weight loss issues start so it doesn’t actually do anything for those cravings. You can’t eat much, but you still want to.
Or you can’t eat sugar, but you still want to and that has not worked for me in the past.
Deprivation just doesn’t do it. When I saw and I researched how the Contrave works for me or on people in general, it seemed to do exactly … It dealt with the problem that I was actually having, which was yes, I can start a diet. Yes, I can start an exercise program, but I get derailed after a very short amount of time because cravings and holidays. There’s all sorts of excuses to not exercise.
Jenn: Contrave is something that helps you not just with, not allowing you to eat certain things, but it helps you with the cravings for certain things and perhaps strengthen your willpower. Is that how it works?
Stacey: Yeah. I’ve had a lot of questions about that so I’m trying to do free monthly webinars, where people can ask me questions about it in terms of my experience.
I want to be able to help people as much as I can with my own experience, which is one of the reasons that you start a blog. That’s one of the things that I’ve been doing is putting that out there as a free option for people to just ask away. If you want to know, I will tell you.
[00:11:30] Jenn: Good for you. I appreciate that you’re sharing your experience with us because there is a lot of unknown especially with prescriptions like you said.
I had a friend who actually took Fen-Phen ages ago and it caused … It didn’t cause those heart problems for her that it caused for some other folks who were on it. She wasn’t on it that long, but even so she does feel that it screwed with her metabolism.
It wasn’t really the right solution for her so she eventually ended up going a different route, but there were so little known ’cause usually when the FDA approves a new prescription, long term research studies have generally not been done on these types of things, but it sounds like you’re very open to the process.
You’re very open with what your experiences are. You’re having regular conversations with your doctor. It’s medically supervised so that provides some reassurance that it’s the right method for you.
Q2: What was one of your biggest personal milestones as you’ve been becoming a thinner you?
Stacey: I actually remember when I hit 37 pounds lost, which seems like an odd number, but the reason I remember it is because at the time, that’s what my daughter weighed.
I actually lost my six-year-old, which I thought was a really cool thing.
I got this picture of me holding her up and I’m like “I used to carry this around all day long.”
[00:13:30] Jenn: Isn’t that a powerful visual of quite what that weight is like? It’s really hard to visualize it and sometimes see it. Sometimes, we have to lose up to 20 or 30 pounds before we even see a difference in our own bodies.
Other people might notice it before us, but just that very power visual of I lost my own daughter’s weight; the size of my daughter. That’s a really powerful thing to hold on to.
It was very sweet, very cool. I know you’re looking forward to the Avon 39. Tell us about that.
Stacey: I actually signed up for it last year, for the 2016 Walk and I wasn’t able to complete it because of my feet because I had plantar fasciitis. I just wasn’t … Let’s say I wasn’t open to listening to my husband’s ideas about training.
I might be a bit stubborn. I don’t know.
[00:14:30] Yeah, I signed up for it last year and I wasn’t able to do it because my doctor basically said, “If you do this walk in the condition that your feet are in, you are signing yourself up for surgery.” That was not okay, but then about a month after the walk was supposed to take place is when I found out my mom had cancer.
I said, “You know what? I’m gonna do this walk come hell or high water even if it means I have to take directions from my husband.”
I did. I started out. I followed his advice and I have to stay as much as I hate to admit it, he was right. That it was a great way to start is start slow and work on building strength and core muscles. Then take it to the next step and my feet don’t bother me at all anymore.
Jenn: Wow. Even in just this short period of time, from you doing the walk last year where the pain was so intense in your feet that it was challenging for you to nine months later today, you don’t have any issues with your planter anymore?
Stacey: I don’t at all. Well, you know 55 pounds less. That’s gonna do it for ya.
Jenn: Now that is another milestone!
Stacey: Yeah, I was really excited about that.
Q3: How do you stay motivated when you have a setback?
Stacey: Well, it is a big motivating factor to be able to walk for my mom so that right there is big bang. Plus, the fact that I actually learned to enjoy it so now it’s not so much work as it is something that I get to do, but, yeah, I did. This summer, I experienced a pretty hefty plateau where I was just stuck at 50 pounds for a couple months.
I could not get past that marker. It is incredibly frustrating, but I had to keep reminding myself that it’s not just about what’s on the scale. That it’s also about how I feel and it’s also about reaching this goal that I set for myself. Little by little, at the end of the summer, it started to drop again.
Jenn: Good for you and having that future date coming up is a very big motivating factor. I wanted to ask. How is your mom doing?
[00:17:30] Stacey: She is fantastic. She had her surgery first. She moved in with us before her surgery, which made me feel a lot better and I hope it helped her as well. Then she started chemo a couple months after that, which really took a toll on her.
It was really rough so I know there were a few times she’s thought about quitting it completely and just saying, “Screw it,” but she stuck with it. She toughed it out and she’s now done with radiation as well. She’s back in her own home. She’s been released from physical therapy so she is well on her way to a full and complete recovery.
Jenn: I am so happy for her and happy for you that you were able to be a strong presence for her during this tough time. Going through cancer treatment is not a fun thing for anyone, but not having that support would’ve made things even tougher for her.
That you dropped what you were doing, still were motivated for yourself, but was also there for her, it was probably a very special thing for her. I’m so happy that she’s on the better road right now and things are looking good. I know it’s tough with cancer. My father had cancer. Unfortunately, he did not survive it, but I dropped everything. He lived out of state.
I said, “I’m gonna be there for him.”
Also, kudos for sticking to your health goals while we were doing that ’cause that adds a lot of stress to take care of someone who’s going through that type of treatment.
Stacey: Yeah, I think, the walking and the yoga actually helped. It gave me some time to myself every day. It gave me some time to just sweat and not think about anything.
If I wanted to, I could listen to some cool podcasts or if I wanted to I could just throw on my Pandora Taylor Swift Station and entertain myself.
[00:19:30] Jenn: So you could “Shake it off, Shake it off,” with Taylor Swift!
Self care is so important. That’s one message that I can’t stress enough, especially for moms.
It’s not selfish. It’s necessary.
If you are not feeling fulfilled yourself or that you have that space to just be you as a person, then it’s really hard for you to stick to your health goals. That’s a really important thing that I just want to Curious about #Contrave? Learn how Stacey dropped 55 pounds using this #weightloss solution Click To Tweethighlight for our listeners today.
Q4: How close are you to your goal or do have an end goal in mind?
Stacey: I originally said, “I just wanted to be somewhere around 100 pounds lost.” I don’t really have a timeline for that. I turn 40 in June so I’m setting that as a round about time, but I realize all this weight didn’t come on in a year and a half.
It probably won’t come off in a year and a half and I have to be okay with that.
June is my goal, but we’ll see how it goes.
Jenn: Considering that you’ve already lost 55 pounds in about seven months, and you have nine more months to go, you’re gonna get pretty darn close to your timeline there! I’m gonna be cheering you on from the sidelines in the meanwhile.
Want a cheerleader and support for your goals? Join Stacey and I in Weight no More.
Stacey: Excellent. I need that.
Jenn: I’ll be checking with you, Stacey. You’ll get there. Well, I did want to ask you for your feedback because people who are listening to this interview may be at a place where they’re feeling a little disheartened or maybe they have a lot of energy around, a new change that they’re making in their own health.
[00:21:30] That’s one of the reasons why I have these weight loss success interviews during September because often it’s a time of renewal, it’s a time of back-to-school, getting back to you and to your goals before we hit the busy holiday season.
Q5: For those people who are listening and perhaps are energized to really take control of their health, what is the first thing you would recommend they do?
Stacey: That’s a good question. I think the first thing that you really need is give yourself a good honest look.
What is it about your life right now that is keeping you from meeting that goal?
Then you can start to figure out what to do about it, but for a long time, I was in serious denial about why diets wouldn’t work. It was because the plan wasn’t easy to follow or if it was too easy to follow, it was too easy to cheat.
Or there were all these reasons I could come up with as to why it wasn’t working for me that maybe I was just some special person that it just didn’t work for me. You really have to get honest and give yourself the space to be okay with not being perfect.
When you look at yourself in the mirror, you can say, “I am not perfect, but I know where I need to go now and I have a path to get there.” For me, it was indulging in cravings. Every single time I would start to have successes, I would celebrate my successes with junk food.
That’s counter productive. I really had to admit to myself that it was not the diets that were failing.
- It was not the exercise programs that were failing.
- It was me letting myself down.
This is how it happened every single time. Couple weeks in, I’d give myself a little treat. Then you have that little treat and you say, “Mm, that was really yummy.”
[00:23:30] It’s hard to get back on the track of not having that little treat all the time. That would be my advice for a very first step is to get totally honest with yourself about what’s actually happening. Then you can make a plan.
Jenn: What a beautiful insight and that’s the first part of the process I do with folks when I get on a phone call with them for a weight loss break-through session is to okay, what have you done before?
- What worked for you?
- What didn’t work for you?
- What is it that’s really holding you back?
It’s different for everyone. I can’t necessarily predict what’s gonna work for you versus what’s gonna work for anyone else, but that’s where you have to start is what have you done before and what wasn’t working about it.
Often it’s something that maybe wasn’t a perfect fit for them, but was almost there. Then they just got discouraged and old habits came in. It’s very fun for me to strategize this with clients.
Okay, so this is your craving and this is your concern. Okay, we can go from here, but you always have to start with the baseline of where you’re at today.
Creating that awareness around where you are right now is such an important piece of any health journey.
I appreciate your insight on that and that you provided that as here’s your first step. Here’s what worked for me because it’s entirely true for everyone, no matter what their path may look like in the future.
Stacey: You get to start somewhere and if you don’t actually admit where you are, you can’t really move.
Jenn: I couldn’t have said it better myself, Stacey. Now, I know that you have an amazing book that’s available. It’s called, “Living with Less.” Can you tell us a little bit more about what this book has for us?
Stacey: Well, “Living with Less” is actually something that I went along with my weight loss. It has nothing to do with weight, but I found that as I was losing weight on my body, I wanted to lose weight around me as well.
I started on the blog. I did this summer series called “Living with Less.” We went basically space by space in the house of things that accumulate that just clutter up our minds and clutter up our lives and make things harder for us.
I decided to take some of the things that I couldn’t say on the blog or they just didn’t fit into a regular blog post and add them in and mix it all up and make it into a book, which is hopefully very helpful.
I’m gonna build a couple of courses out of it, as well, so that people can take some courses online and really strategize how to move forward in their own lives. That’s very exciting to me because I got rid of a lot of stuff this summer between clothes and furniture and electronics. I mean why do I have a phone from 2004? It has actually moved with me three times and it’s ridiculous.
That was one of the things that came along with the weight loss is I don’t just want to lose weight, I want to lose all the other stuff, too.
Jenn: I love that. It’s so true in so many different applications; living with less. Yes, you have lost weight and it has cascaded into other areas of your life where you say, “Oh, my gosh. I’m surrounded by clutter.”
That clutter does have an emotional and social impact on us so that you’re able to remove that phone from 2004, from your house because you don’t need it if it’s not doing anything for you. It creates so much more simplicity in your life, so much space and most likely, a lot of joy as well.
[00:27:30] Stacey: Oh, yes. Oh, I loved throwing stuff away. I was quite gleeful when I was doing it. My husband thought there was something wrong with me.
Jenn: Well, Stacey, this has been a huge pleasure to chat with you about your experiences with losing 55 pounds since the beginning of 2017. All at the tender age of 39-years-old.
I’m so excited for the Avon 39 coming up for you, that your mom is now cancer-free and that you did admit yeah, your husband can sometimes be right.
Stacey: I know. Well, don’t tell him that.
Jenn: No, we won’t tell. We’ll keep it quiet here. I encourage everyone who’s listening today to pay attention to what Stacey said about where are you at today and what can you build upon today.
Don’t forget to check out her website where you can get further details on her book Living Intentionally. Reduce that clutter in your life. Find some ways to create that space for joy and enjoy a more simple and abundant life at the same time.
Q5: Do you have any parting thoughts for us today, Stacey?
Stacey: Oh, gosh. I guess just start by being okay with where you are and then everything falls into place. That’s when you can really start putting the other pieces in line.
Jenn: Yes, put those other pieces in once you’re okay with where you’re at. Thank you so much for joining us for September Success here, Stacey. I really appreciate it. I hope you have a beautiful school year and have a great time at the Avon 39.
Stacey: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.