How I Lost My "Last 5 Pounds" and How It Did (and Didn't) Change My Life

“What I didn’t realize, back when I was this twenty-five-year-old pinup for geeks in that me-myself-and-iconic metal bikini, was that I had signed an invisible contract to stay looking the exact same way for the next thirty to forty years.”

- Carrie Fisher, AKA Princess Leia

You know what? There are no invisible contracts between your body and anyone else. You don’t owe it to the world to be a particular weight or a particular shape. Besides that, there is no weight or shape that will turn you into a new person or guarantee you a princess-perfect life.

We've received a lot of questions about our Nutrition Jumpstart. You can learn more below and by visiting the Barre & Soul website.

You know what? There are no invisible contracts between your body and anyone else. You don’t owe it to the world to be a particular weight or a particular shape. Besides that, there is no weight or shape that will turn you into a new person or guarantee you a princess-perfect life.

Those pounds you want to lose? They’re not the reason you haven’t started fully living. And losing them won’t cause you to suddenly do so.

We get the confidence thing all wrong, sometimes. Weight loss commercials talk about the confidence that comes from weight loss as though it’s a function of a certain number on a scale. I think confidence and certainty is a function of deciding to do something, mastering the process, and getting it done. Of deciding what you want and knowing you have the power to make it happen.

As a fitness professional and a blogger, I believe in giving you the tools to create what you want in your life.

I had a weight loss goal. It might seem frivolous to other people, it might intersect with all kinds of bullshit expectations our world places on women, but losing those last five pounds was what I wanted to do.

For five years I’ve wondered if I’d ever get back to a weight I hadn’t seen since 2010.

“Well, I have gotten a lot stronger since then,” I’d tell myself. “So maybe I just have more muscle mass. The scale isn’t everything. It doesn’t tell the whole story.”

And all of this was likely true. Still, every year when I updated my goals, I would stubbornly write that mystical number of my goal weight on the list, both hopeful and quietly frustrated that it seemed out of reach.

Having built my career on fitness, I sometimes feel that having an aesthetically “perfect” body is my job. Not going to lie: I feel pressure. My body is my business card - and for the record, I do think I’m in great shape. I’m also of the mindset that when I want something, and decide to get it, I go get it.

This was what I wanted. After five years of not doing it, I wanted to know Icould do it.

And then, this past fall, I did.

With the help of a no-nonsense coach, who is also a former physique competitor, I figured it out. I tried her method, and it worked. My weight loss even surpassed my goal weight of t-minus-5, which meant I was able to gain a few pounds back over the holidays and still land at that magic number I had longed for all those years.

I could not have done it alone.

The hardest thing about accomplishing any goal, including losing weight, is that we must persevere for days/weeks/months even when we’re not immediately seeing results. We don’t see the fruits of our labor. It takes time to notice a difference. It takes trial and error to find what works. A coach will help you hang in there long enough to get to your goal.

My coach is a fantastically knowledgeable trainer named Stacey Schaedler. Her “progress not perfection” approach resonated with me. In fact, the first time I reached out to her for nutrition advice, I described the amount of stress I was under with the newly opened Harvard Square studio, and an upcoming photo shoot. I was looking for some macronutrient goals to help me look my best for the shoot.

Her response was priceless: Call me when you’re less stressed and ready to make a sustainable change in your nutrition. In the meantime, you look great, just take it easy and enjoy the shoot.

I knew I had found the right coach for me. I like her philosophy. I like her style. I like her F-bombs. She’s a total badass.

I later reconnected with Stacey and joined her coaching group, and I’m glad I did.


  • Stacey gave me macronutrient goals, and I tracked my macros daily using a smartphone app
  • Strength days and non-strength days had different macronutrient goals
  • I increased my daily protein intake by A LOT. (This meant that I had to eat fewer carbs than I’m accustomed to in order to stay within my calorie budget.)
  • There were no restricted foods and no "cleanse" aspect to this plan
  • Using the private Facebook community group and sharing questions, recipes and food photos helped keep me on track
  • I finally made grocery shopping and meal prep a priority
  • I cut out most alcohol during the week – mainly in order to hit my macro goals, but I think overall this helped me feel good
  • I strength-trained twice a week (After the initial program, I increased my strength days again to about 3)
  • Stacey’s advice is to get 10,000 steps or a yoga class every day on non-strength days, so I tried to take a long walk or do yoga but I have to admit, this didn’t always happen
  • This approach prioritized nutrition over exercise very differently than what I had done in the past, and my results were better than ever

*Your individual recommendations may look different than mine based on different goals and lifestyle factors


Eating high protein helped me feel full and cut back on mindless snacking. Knowing that I was giving my muscles plenty of protein made me feel better about the workouts I wasn’t doing. Normally, I strength-train 3-5 times a week, so twice-a-week was a downward adjustment for me. The workouts I wasn’t doing also helped keep my appetite down. However, the lack of exercise (comparatively speaking) may have affected my mood at times.

At the same time I was doing this program, I was also doing a lot of admin work for my business, which meant I was sitting at my desk a lot. This left me feeling a little stiff and creaky. I didn't always follow Stacey’s advice about getting in 10,000 steps or a yoga class every day, and I probably should have, because it would have made me feel better both physically and mentally. It also would have helped me get enough time in nature, which is really important to my well-being.

On the whole, I did enjoy this gentler, more sustainable approach to exercise and to time management and it was nice not to feel guilty about getting in so few hours/week of strength training, especially since my work load was really high at that time and my schedule felt overwhelming already.

So, what was it like, that morning that I stepped on the scale and saw the readout was lower than the goal number I’d been chasing all along? Did a halo of light appear above my head? Did I levitate and float straight out of my bathroom and into the clouds?

Hmmm. Nope!


Life went on, some good, some bad. I had accomplished the thing I’d intended to do. That made me feel great. I went on vacation and felt more confident in a bathing suit than I have maybe ever. With lower body fat, my muscles looked extra awesome. I had an amazing time on my yoga and barre retreat to St. Croix. I noticed my face had started looking a little wrinklier (this is what happens when we lose fat from our faces, fun fact!) That month I also had one of the worst fights I’ve ever had with Jason in our 8 years together and dealt with some incredibly stressful personnel issues.

In other words, I reached my goal weight, sure, but I didn’t become someone else, I didn’t become perfect. I will never be perfect. I am human.

I don’t have everything figured out. But thanks to some great coaching, and my persistence, I did figure this one thing out.

I now have a nutrition plan that I know really works. It’s a new approach to eating, not a limited-time fix. There’s so much confusing advice about diet (and exercise) out there: High protein, high fat, low fat, gluten free, vegan, paleo… and I’m glad I no longer need to let all this noise take up precious head space - I have other things I’d rather focus on!

So if you’d like to be handed a blueprint for losing those last five pounds or jump-starting a different weight management goal of yours from someone who’s got it figured out, GREAT!

We can do this, and I invite you to join me and my coach, Stacey, this January for our first-ever Barre & Soul 4-Week Nutrition Jumpstart.


But in the meantime, extra pounds or not, don’t wait to fully live your life.  The bathroom scale doesn’t get to give you permission to do what you want to do. As the wise Carrie Fisher so eloquently said, you don’t oweanyone a particular physique or weight. There are no invisible contracts to sign. The only “contract” that matters is the one you make with yourself. There’s only you, doing what you want to do.

Want to do this with us?

Let’s go.

P.S. If you're no Betty Crocker and enjoy ridiculously easy recipes, check out some of my go-to meals here. If you like knowing that you're not the only one struggling with insecurity in the midst of your hustle, you might enjoy this post. And if you want to know my top 4 pieces of advice forgetting shit done, read this.

P.P.S. Are we friends yet? FacebookInstagramTwitter.

I Overcame Domestic Violence and Now I'm Talking About It

I Overcame Domestic Violence and Now I'm Talking About It

OK, it's official.  Right now is the most powerful point in my life (so far.)  I was recently honored to be a guest speaker to raise awareness for the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, serving the greater Newburyport, MA area.  Why was I asked to speak?  Because years ago, I was one of their clients, someone who needed a place to turn, and who came to them seeking help putting my life back together after domestic violence.

8 Life Lessons I Learned in Haiti

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It's taken me a few months to put this post together because, as it turned out, my trip to Haiti for a trauma-informed yoga training with yogaHOPE this past April was the start of a new phase of life for me. Like the shedding of an old skin, within two weeks of returning I had given my notice at my full time job, ready to pursue a deeper calling. I've been in the shaky world of transition since then. It's not that any specific event happened in Haiti to cause me to take a new direction. I think it was the other way around.

I chose to go to Haiti because I needed to be inspired. Something was missing. I felt I had lost touch with a fundamental part of me, my passion for women's issues, and I longed to be a part of something that was making a difference for women, especially trauma survivors.

Prior to the trip, I was burnt out with the demands of working and teaching full time.  I didn't have much time or energy to pursue my creative interests, but I squeezed them in because they were important to me. What that amounted to was little time leftover for self-care (like sleep) and, oh yeah, my family.

My experience in Haiti helped me get unstuck. Since going back to teaching part-time, I've got time to write, play in the ocean, practice yoga, prepare healthy meals, to actually listen to my kids and my partner when they speak to me...  And I'm making just as much money as I was before!!

...JUST KIDDING!!!! My paycheck is a lot smaller than it used to be. I'm just going to make it work for now. ;)


  • I learned to appreciate many "simple things" I'd been taking for granted.Food and water that is safe to eat and drink. A clean safe bed to sleep in. Toilets that flush. Education for my children past kindergarten. Paved roads. Warm showers.I never realized how fortunate I was to have all of these things. It's not that I've stopped having needless anxiety or falling back on old habits or complaints, but my eyes have certainly been opened, and I am so much more aware.
  • I learned what makes for a memorable evening...It's not a fancy meal, fine wine, or the right outfit. Sometimes the best moments can happen outdoors, on plastic chairs, among friends, where the only thing on the menu is hotdog casserole, and there is one type of beer, and it is great. Note to self: Have friends over more often. (And keep it simple.)
  • I learned that hugging, dancing, singing, yoga and massage are really awesome in any language.
  • I learned that making music with a group is one of my favorite things in the universe.Another note to self: Always travel with ukulele, because you never know.
  • I learned my favorite emotion.While in Haiti, I experienced a state where I was content to smile, observe and take in my surroundings. Where I didn't need to put in my two cents, because my words would not improve on the peaceful quality of silence. I called this feeling "quiet happiness."
  • I found out it's fun to ditch the iPhone.No cell service and WiFi only at the guest house, so I checked email/social media twice a day, around breakfast and dinner time.  This was hugely different from my usual routine of checking every 5 seconds. It felt AMAZING not to be zoned out on the iPhone, and it made those brief check-ins actually fun and exciting to see what messages I had waiting. This deserves a whole other post as I need to integrate this into life back at home.
  • I discovered my greatest fear. No big deal.Kidding of course -- this was big. One of the most powerful moments in the training was an exercise where we were all given a slip of paper and a pencil.  We were to write down what we fear most, fold the paper and place it in a basket. We then took turns pulling out a slip and reading someone else's fear to the group.  It was so moving to hear many of the same worries expressed in English and Kreyol. Things like "I am afraid I will grow old alone." "I am afraid of dying."It took me only a few seconds to write mine down. The thought that came up right away was, "I am not important." Interesting. Noticing and naming the fear has allowed me to ask myself, "What if I am not important??"Maybe I'm not! Maybe that's okay. This thought is freeing.I had to confront this fear when resigning my management role -- a job that gave me a feeling of status, importance.  In Haiti, no one knew the company I worked for, what my role was. I was just me.

I'll leave you with one final thanks to all those who changed lives, including mine, by donating their time and money to this cause.