Ditch the diet and just 'shift' -- how I finally lost weight for good

Tory Johnson describes how she changed her life and shed pounds in her new book 'The Shift'


If you’ve spent your life as a fat person -- when you desperately don’t want to be one --  it’s like being in prison: you want to escape, but those steel bars keep you from making a break.

I know what it’s like because I was always trapped by my weight, powerless to change.

I failed at one fad diet after another and got to a point where I resigned myself to being plus-sized.

I figured that since obesity is epidemic in America, I was in good company. At some point, I guessed someone would invent a pill, a quick fix.

But I never felt good about my size. I fretted about how I looked every time I got dressed and panicked before attending any social event, embarrassed to be wearing pants, not a dress.

Then 20 months ago, something happened that changed my life. A top executive at ABC News, where I appear weekly on “Good Morning America,” said I didn’t look my best because my clothes didn’t do me justice and she wanted me to see a stylist. But I knew this wasn’t about my wardrobe: I was fat and needed to lose weight.

That did it for me. In one year, I lost 62 pounds, a journey I write about in my new book: “The Shift.” It’s not a diet book, just my story of how I set about to lose weight once and for all – and did.

In a nutshell, my message is simple: what you put in your head is far more powerful than what you put in your mouth.

When it comes to losing weight, no pill, potion or plan trumps patience and perseverance. That was the missing piece of the puzzle for me, the steel bar that kept me from acting. I expected overnight results and when I didn’t get them, I stopped trying.

Sure, I was successful professionally, with a loving husband and beautiful kids. But when it came to losing weight, I was a disaster, falling time and again.  That’s because I lacked the right mindset to lose weight.

Maybe that makes me normal: Judging from how well “The Shift” has been received in the past two weeks – debuting No. 1 on The New York Times bestseller list – my message has resonated with people who have fought longtime or lifetime weight battles.

I have gotten thousands of emails from people who thank me for telling them what they needed to hear. So many have said they, too, were lulled into complacency by one diet gimmick after another, only to lose a little and gain it all back again.

In this age of outsized Powerball wins, many of us think that all you need to do to get rich is to buy a lottery ticket.

Want to be the next Lady Gaga? A few appearances on “Idol” can do the trick. 

Looking for the quick fix, the easy out, to solve what ails us has become the American Way. Maybe that mindset has always been with us, but I never noticed it as much as I did during my journey.

Lost somewhere along the way is what anyone who has ever made a significant life change knows: it took plenty of work, long hours and patience.  

The road was often hard but and they kept going even when no one supported them. They emerged winners.

That kind of advice doesn’t sell diet books. Glad I didn’t write one.

Somehow my message is getting through. It makes me feel good. Come shift with me.

Tory Johnson is a contributor to ABC's "Good Morning America,"and author of "The Shift." Connect with Tory Johnson at www.shiftwithtory.com or @ToryJohnson or Facebook.com/Tory