“I have three older sisters and they were always skinny little whips. It was obnoxious,” she joked. “When I was 12 my dad lost quite a bit of weight – 150 pounds – with Atkins and Fen-Phen. It was at that point that he not so politely pointed out that was I fat.”
Perhaps not so aware of her weight before that moment, Betsy’s struggles all of the sudden became a preoccupation. She did everything she could to try and lose the weight, testing out various diet and fitness programs but they all ended up leaving her heavier than she was before. It didn’t take long before this pattern left her fed up and willing to do just about anything to lose the weight.
At 5 feet 7 inches tall, Betsy weighed just shy of 220 pounds at her heaviest. A big push came when she tried to eat better over one summer in an attempt to finally get in a swimsuit and feel comfortable. But when she stopped nursing her youngest daughter that year she gained an unexpected 10 pounds in one month, which sent her to a sinking point.
“Between that 10 pounds and the scale I lost it. I broke down and realized I had to change,” she recalled. “Even then it started out pretty much the same but I needed to do something drastic because my doctor was warning me I was pre-diabetic.”
In 2011, Betsy grew desperate and decided to try HCG. The first month of the program required her to eat just 500 calories a day, which she recalls being practically nothing. In addition to the pills she was taking, Betsy was very strict on her diet and ended up losing 30 pounds. But the night before she was supposed to start introducing normal foods back in, she started to grow nervous and heard that small voice in the back of her mind saying, “You’re going to get fat again. You’re going to gain it all back.”
Instead of giving into those negative thoughts, however, Betsy went online and did some research. What she found was both uplifting and discouraging at the same time. She discovered that barely anyone had positive results with HCG. Some people were left with food allergies, others developed sensitivities, still others couldn’t tolerate sugar anymore. The majority of stories she read revealed that HCG users had almost always gained back the weight in the long run.
“I found every horror story under the sun and realized I couldn’t do it anymore. That’s when I made the commitment to change and realized that those quick fix schemes weren’t going to work. I had to change my regular lifestyle,” she said. “And during the course of that year I lost 75 pounds and have kept it off ever since.”
Out of her weight loss struggles came her book “Finished Being Fat,” the story of how she lost the weight by trading her quitter mentality for a no-excuses finisher mindset. Betsy had always wanted to be a writer but it wasn’t until she attended a writing convention where one of the instructors advised her to write her story that she took the plunge. As soon as Betsy returned home she sat down to write her book, which she completed in 4-5 weeks.
As Betsy puts it, the book starts with the “crud” of her life: Hitting rock bottom, stepping off that scale realizing she was 10 pounds heavier, analyzing why she was so unhappy, even unwilling to crawl out of bed some days, and ultimately afraid of trying one more thing only to fail again. From there, readers can expect a first-hand account of how Betsy confronted those demons, and all the life lessons she learned along the way.
“I never intended to change my life,” said Betsy. “I was trying to get skinny again and hopefully not get fat, but it just kind of happened. There was the realization that I sucked at finishing things. I was great at making grand plans, but really sucked at the follow through.”
In that way, “Finished Being Fat” is Betsy’s self proclamation, her anthem if you will, that it’s possible to become a finisher no matter how many times you’ve failed in the past. And furthermore, how such a seemingly small perspective shift can change your entire outlook on life. This mindset shift even empowered Betsy and her husband to complete a full marathon in 2011 when neither of them had even been able to complete a mile before starting training.
“When I finished the marathon my world view shifted. Before I’d write 50 pages and then I’d give up, but I knew I wanted to be a fiction writer so I went to the convention,” she said. “In this last year I’ve lost 75 pounds, ran a marathon, climbed a mountain and change my life.”
Betsy says it starts small with little victories. She’d go to the gym late at night to be around less of a crowd and just play music and sing out loud as if nobody else was in the gym. “It’s really hard to talk bad about yourself when you’re singing Kelly Clarkson,” she joked. To Betsy, that was a major accomplishment.
“You just start going for it. I hope to inspire people that it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve failed. Each time you finish something you get a little finisher’s medal in your mind and then you start showing yourself those medals,” she said. “Each one of those starts canceling out the other failures. For me it was learning to tune out the voice and just shout over it.”
When it came to her diet Betsy admits it was nothing fancy, just eating less and moving more. This meant she could have a cinnamon roll if she wanted, but she knew it meant a 7-mile run afterwards. To track her intake she used the smart phone application My Fitness Pal. Marathon training kept her plenty active, though she now continues to stay fit by practicing Zumba, weight training and sport yoga, which she enjoyed so much she even got certified in so she would teach others.
For those who may be struggling with their weight or finally shedding that quitter mentality, Betsy offers this advice: “Take a stark look at what you’re doing and realize that you need to let go of the ghosts of fat past – all of those things that you’ve tried to do and failed to finish. You can look at why you’ve failed in the past but then let it go. Start today by first taking the no-quit pledge.”
Betsy’s no-quit pledge is the basic principal of believing you’re worth it and that you’re not going to give up on yourself until you’ve finished. Then, says Betsy, transition into becoming a finisher. In addition, Betsy believes it’s essential to realize you will never look like another person, so just become the best person you can be.
“Finished Being Fat” is now available for pre-order and is slated for release January 8. As if finishing a marathon, writing a book and losing 75 pounds in one year wasn’t impressive enough, Betsy has also finished two other books since then – one that’s due out in April and another that’s currently with an agent. Be sure to check out Betsy’s writing as she’s just as inspiring to read as she is to speak with over the phone. You can also follow more of Betsy’s life adventures as a mom and wife living near Provo, Utah on her blog Finished Being Fat.
December 5th, 2012