She dropped the weight, but then what? "Good Morning America" contributor Tory Johnson is sharing the next chapter after her weight loss in a new book, "Shift for Good: Simple Changes for Lasting Joy Inside and Out."
Once 62 pounds lighter, Johnson assumed everything would be perfect, but soon discovered that life doesn't work that way. She turned inward and set out to transform and invigorate herself applying the same principles and focus she used to shed the weight.
"I wanted to experience the kind of inner satisfaction and contentment that couldn't be measured in numbers. I wanted to Shift the way I viewed and lived other parts of my life with the same determination I had used to lose weight," she writes.
Read an excerpt of the book below. "Shift for Good" is on sale Tuesday Sept. 15 in hardcover, ebook and audiobook.
I had battled obesity since childhood, a secret shame that haunted me.
As a regular on Good Morning America, my biggest fear was being called out about my weight. So three years ago, when my ABC News boss said she didn’t think I looked my best and wanted me to see a stylist, what I heard was lose weight -- or lose your job. Those words never crossed her lips, but that’s the message I got loud and clear.
After a good cry at home, I had an honest conversation with myself about my forty-year battle of the bulge. Enough is enough, I thought. It's time to lose weight once and for all. No more gimmicks. No more lies. No more excuses. You’re a smart girl. Figure it out.
I didn't have a clue how to do it. What I did know was that failure was no longer an option. I knew I could fix this, despite having failed at every weight-loss plan ever invented.
Besides, I was the breadwinner in my family, the salary mattered. But I was also tired of the withering looks that all fat people get -- the stares that say you're lazy, weak, and undisciplined. I would prove to everyone that I was none of those things and that what they saw on the outside hardly mirrored the strength I had on the inside. Over the course of just one year, armed with a game plan, plenty of support from my family, and grit that I never knew I had, I did the unthinkable: I lost sixty-two pounds. How did I do it? For the first time, I shifted the way I viewed food -- and myself. That journey became my bestseller, The Shift. The best part? I haven't gained any of it back. In fact, I’ve shed a few more pounds. For me, there is no going back.
The response from readers has been my greatest gift. They thank me for sharing a struggle that had always humiliated me -- an uncomfortable topic that I never expected to share publicly. They say that reading about my challenges gave them the courage to make shifts in their lives, too.
After my Shift, I felt better about myself than I ever had before. I went to my doctor after avoiding having a physical for more than ten years because I hadn’t wanted to be lectured about my size. Dressing rooms were no longer frustration destinations but places to explore the new me with clothes I had never thought would fit. I was a better role model for my kids, especially my teenage daughter, Emma. I embraced exercise, had more energy and enjoyed better sex, and became confident about my appearance for the first time ever. I genuinely valued all of the empowering things that came from losing weight.
But I also expected something more to happen. I had always thought if only I could lose weight, everything in my life would be perfect. I had attributed all the challenges in my life to being overweight and had convinced myself that once my weight was under control everything would be perfect. In some ways, everything did feel perfect -- for a while.
I had Shifted on the outside but I wasn’t really any different on the inside. I was no longer obese, so why wasn’t everything perfect? Why wasn’t I so much happier? Looking back, I put too much emphasis on the notion that a lower number on a scale would fix everything: I would get the recognition I deserved, phenomenal job opportunities would open up, motivational speaking engagements would pour in, and I’d be a kinder, gentler, less stressed-out version of Tory Johnson. Instead, I discovered that size does not determine inner happiness. I wanted to experience the kind of inner satisfaction and contentment that couldn’t be measured in numbers. I wanted to Shift the way I viewed and lived other parts of my life with the same determination I had used to lose weight.
I wanted to Shift for Good.
So for the second time, I had an honest conversation with myself. Enough is enough, I thought. No more gimmicks. No more lies. No more excuses. You’re a smart girl. Figure it out.
And I did. I stepped out of my comfort zone with the same grit and determination that had served me well during my initial Shift. This time, I focused on what was happening on the inside. Shift for Good is the story of how I learned to ride more waves instead of crashing onto the rocks—and how you can, too.
The Shift was a pretty straightforward journey for me. Shift for Good takes a more circuitous path, and I experienced some hiccups along the way. Being more present, finding peace and joy and sharing them with people I love, continue to evolve.
Appearing on Good Morning America each week makes me a familiar face to viewers. But I'm not a self-help guru, psychologist, or shrink. I'm just a woman with a happy family and a good career who found herself in a jam and needed to find a way out. I embarked on a mission to figure it out for myself. In SHIFT FOR GOOD, I share what I did. It’s up to you to decide which parts might work for you.
All I ask is that you keep an open mind, which is the one promise I made to myself going into this.
This excerpt is reprinted from "Shift for Good: Simple Changes for Lasting Joy Inside and Out" by Tory Johnson, a Hachette Books Hardcover. Copyright © 2015 Tory Johnson. All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission.