How To Lose Weight: Anorexic Woman Gains and Loses 107 Lbs

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This blog article based on an interview! Brianna and I explore how to lose weight the right way by examining Brianna’s 107 pound weight loss journey.

What do I mean the right way to lose weight? As Brianna says … You have to not care about weight loss and put self-care first!

It’s a paradox. You first need to forget about weight loss and especially dieting.

You need to get a grip over emotional eating, binge eating … (and this is tough that’s what I help people with)

This article unique in that Brianna was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa. She’s been to eating disorder treatment! This makes her uniquely qualified to talk about weight loss with respect to eating disorders.

Hopefully this article reveals the best way to lose weight so that you can avoid:

  • yo yo dieting
  • binge eating
  • emotional eating
  • self-hatred
  • low self-esteem

How To Lose Weight The Right Way Show Notes

Brianna’s website can be found here –

Farther down below I have included Brianna’s dialogue to help answer various questions. I’ve lightly edited Brianna’s remarks for clarity and context.

Brianna’s Weight Loss Journey Beginning With Clinical Anorexia and Depression

Before we get into the strategy of weight loss …

Let’s set the stage by exploring Brianna’s journey.

How Brianna’s eating disorder began

So when I was 15 years old my science teacher organized this trip. She then picked about 20 different kids to go on this trip. There was a lot of inappropriate discussion about my body from my teacher during this trip. There was also inappropriate touching from him and that completely changed my perception of my body.

It was probably one of the first times I really thought about the way that I looked. Especially how men or boys perceived me. And I came back from that trip a completely different kid than I left.

And it completely changed the trajectory of the next couple of years of my life.

During that trip I was very aware of what I was eating. I basically stopped eating during the rest of the trip. So I ended up losing weight on the trip but I didn’t need to lose weight.

And I was already a normal or a skinny teenage girl. I ended up losing maybe 10 pounds in a week just because it was so different than my normal routine.

So when I got back I started exercising every day. I went for a two mile run every single day and I just continued to lose weight from there. And over time it went from being like, “Oh, I’m eating healthy,”. But eventually I started thinking “I’m just going to start eating less because I’m losing weight.”

It just kind of spiraled from there.

How Brianna’s Mom found about her eating disorder

And my mom went and read my journal where I had wrote all of these terrible horrible things about myself and my body in this journal. She’s like, “I’m really sorry Brianna, but I needed to read your journal because I love you and I want to help you.”

And so I started seeing a therapist, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, and a dietician at the eating disorder clinic. And I would meet with all three of them every time I went, which was usually once a week.

The one thing that changed Brianna’s mindset

I think the biggest revelation that we had was they decided to do a depression test. And I took it and thankfully I was really honest when I was taking it and it came back positive that I definitely had depression. And so they started treating me for that and that changed everything.

They realized like there’s a chemical imbalance going on here that is part of the problem. And if we could fix the chemical imbalance, let’s see what might happen to the eating disorder piece.

And so they put me on antidepressants and I became a new woman very, very quickly. It works for me.

Brianna’s Weight Gain And Why

How Brianna Gained 100 Pounds After Getting Pregnant and Meeting Her Husband

I’ve really lived all ends of the spectrum here. I was normal, then I was anorexic, then I became normal again.

And then I gained 70 pounds during my pregnancy and I had already gained probably 20 or 30 pounds after I met my husband.

I gained 70 pounds during my pregnancy and a year after my little boy was born I was still 70 pounds over where I should have been.

And so yeah, I went from extreme underweight to extreme overweight.

The moment Brianna decided to begin losing weight

I had thought, “Well, Oh, the baby’s going to come and I’m just going to lose the weight.”

I felt really stuck, not only in my weight but just in my life in general. At that time, I not only was a hundred pounds overweight, but the week after my child was born, I knew that my marriage wasn’t going to last.

I just felt super stuck and I thought, “Well, what can I control here?”

I can control how I move my body and I can control what I eat every day. And so I was at the grocery store one day and picked up a copy of People Magazines annual, how they lost a hundred pounds issue and looked in that magazine.

And there was a woman who had also lost over a hundred pounds and she lived in Minneapolis and worked out at a gym that was like 40 minutes from my house.

So I looked up her story and decided to hire her personal trainer, started going to that gym and I thought “If this guy can help her lose weight, then maybe he can help me too.”

The Best Way To Lose Weight – A Paradox Revealed

Brianna’s mentality when starting her weight loss journey.

So I decided that it wasn’t going to be about weight loss …

Because I had tried to lose weight back when I was anorexic and even at times afterwards. I was always unsuccessful and knew there had to be a different way.

I would start something and I would do it for a week or so if I was lucky and then I would fall off the wagon and go back to my old habits.

So I knew that I’m going to need to think about this differently.

I can’t keep trying the same thing …

So instead I made my health journey about self care and I decided that 2014 was going to be the year of self care and I was going to practice self-care instead of weight loss.

And the moment I stopped trying to lose weight, I lost 107 pounds.

But how do I lose weight if stop focusing on losing weight. Is there another way?

  • Focusing on more positive things than body weight
  • Getting excited about other ways to measure ‘success’ besides body weight

Focus on more positive things than body weight

It’s a huge mindset shift and I had to essentially break up with that part of myself that cared so much about weight loss.

I had to stop the judgment, stops the limiting beliefs, stop all the negative thoughts that were coming into my brain.

I had to realize that it wasn’t about being perfect. And at some point in my journey it stopped being about being skinny, stopped being about being thin …

Getting excited about other ways to measure ‘success’ besides body weight

Instead of weight loss it became about being strong and instead of focusing on the number on the scale, I was focusing on how much weight can I bench press, how much can I dead-lift?

And I was more excited about those numbers.

Which water can I drink today, next week? 128 ounces of water.

And so I started focusing on different things. If I had woken up every day and weighed myself and thought “97 pounds to go …” I would have given up.

That would have been depleting and I would have given up, my eating habits would have never changed.

But instead, the focus wasn’t on this scale as much as it was on being strong and focusing on different numbers to measure my success.

And if you’re trying to be strong, you can’t be a little toothpick, thin, skinny anorexic girl and be strong.

I wanted to be ready and I wanted to have muscles and I wanted to be able to double my body weight in a dead lift.

So it became about different things for me. And that was how I kept it from going back down the path of an eating disorder.

How To Lose Weight Naturally According to Brianna

how to lose weight fast quote by brianna bernard - i decided that 2014 was going to be the year of self care and I was oging to practice self-care instead of weight loss.

For Brianna here are her primary wellness tips:

  • Go to the gym
  • Eat healthy
  • Log food
  • Drinking water (100 ounces of water per day)
  • Meal prep

And it’s about the habits that instead of trying to fight all this old diet stuff that keeps creeping in.

You must think that I’m going to build this new human being and these are the new standards that I’m going to create in my life.

I go to the gym, I eat healthy, I log my food, I drink a hundred ounces of water every day and I meal prep and like this is my new thing.

This is the new normal.

And over time those things got much easier and they felt more natural and it didn’t feel like such a pull from who I was. It just became me.

About the Author

Jared Levenson is a former binge eating wrestler turned Zen Buddhist Monk, Internal Family Systems counselor and nutrition wellness coach. He's helped hundreds of people through universal meal principles and internal family systems to make peace with food, stop binge eating, and find true health and wholeness.


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