Tory Johnson has never let a few pounds get in the way of success.
The highly successful entrepreneur is not only a contributor on ABC’s Good Morning America, but also a New York Times best selling author and motivational speaker. (When we spoke, she was just completing a four-day run in Seattle as a guest speaker for Urban Campfire, an inspirational conference for women.) But like many, Johnson has struggled with her weight; for many years it was an unspoken shame that lingered underneath her confident exterior.
“It’s like living in a prison,” says Johnson, “but it was something I never thought I’d speak openly about, until Barbara (Fedida) gave me a wakeup call.” Fedida is ABC’s Senior Vice president for Talent and Business, and one day two years ago, she pulled Johnson into her office and suggested a makeover.
“What I realized instantly was that her solution was flawed,” said Johnson. “Because no matter what clothes I wore, the reality would still be the same. There were no clothes that would mask that I needed to lose a lot of weight. For the first time in my life I was ready to recognize that doing something about it was in my control.”
The conversation turned out to be “the shift” Johnson needed to make a change. Two years and more than 70 pounds lighter, Johnson has written a book about her journey, fittingly titled The Shift.
“You have to be in a place to want to hear it and to take that step and that’s the shift, the shift in thinking.”
Johnson says her book is not a “how to” on the right foods to eat or how to lose 10 pounds in 10 days. Instead it’s for the person that has read all of those books. It’s an inside look at how she has been able to make that shift in thinking.
“My weight has always been my personal shame. But I realized after I was flooded with emails and letters from viewers, that I wasn’t alone in this journey. I realized I have this opportunity that shouldn’t be such a hidden shame, because we can change. It’s within our control.”
Johnson says there are three health rules she lives by everyday, and she wants to make a point these rules have stood the test of time.
1. Eat less
It sounds simple, but Johnson says simply cutting portions in half will make a big difference.
2. No Cheat Days
“Every single diet I’ve ever been on says you should have a cheat day,” says Johnson. “But would you reward an alcoholic for sobriety with a beer? I stopped rewarding myself for losing pounds with food and instead I reward myself with other things.”
3. Move more
“Moving was the easiest for me,” says Johnson. “I in no way went from couch potato to a marathon. I would start by walking around the block and moved more from there.”
Johnson says she lost an average of 2 pounds a week. The old her would have pushed to lose it fast, but as part of her shift in thinking Johnson realized quick fixes never worked. “We underestimate what we can do over a long period of time. I celebrate everyday – I’m happy and content. I’m still working towards my goal weight, but it’s the little things that make me happy, like being able to walk into a Banana Republic and say everything here will fit. That’s something to celebrate.”
Tory Johnson’s paperback version of The Shift comes out in paperback on September 9th.