Frenchie Friday: How I Lost Weight and Finally Made Peace with My Body

10407375_10202850396994633_4375136666921571564_nThe magnitude of pleasure reaches its limit in the removal of all pain. 

When such pleasure is present, so long as it is uninterrupted,

there is no pain either of body or of mind or of both together.

- Epicurus

Fifteen years ago, my body was carrying around 75 extra pounds. Yes, you heard me right… 75.

Underneath that exterior, was a sad and confused woman. She had become so disconnected from her body that doughnuts and ice cream were pleasurable escapes and the idea of lying on the sofa after work, glued to the television, was the best way to wind down.

She believed that any effort to change should be extreme and involve deprivation. I was a yo-yo girl: I went to South Beach, tried to be a Skinny Bitch and lived in The Zone.

Sure, I lost weight through dieting, but it was torturous. Even when I starved myself into a size two, there wasn’t a single moment that I wasn’t obsessing about food and my body.

And what do you think happened after I lost that weight?

Yep, it always came back.

Why?

Because, regardless of how skinny I became, I had a fat mind.

If you only focus on changing your external circumstances and are not mindful of what’s happening internally, you will never be at peace. (Tweet)

So… what changed?

I discovered Paris. My love and passion for the City of Lights is about so much more than great shopping, culture and art. The city taught me how to enjoy pleasure and fall in love with the world.

Now, I teach women around the world this life-changing philosophy to help you think, eat and live like a natural Slim, Chic and Savvy woman.

True pleasure and satisfaction comes from that which keep giving, long after the experience ends. (Tweet)

Pleasure takes on many forms, which is fabulous news. There are endless possibilities of what we can derive pleasure from. A bite of decadent chocolate, a pleasant moonlit stroll after dinner, snuggling up with your darling, dressing exquisitely for work or a very special occasion, reading a juicy novel, or dancing in your living room to your favorite music.

Unlike false pleasures (the ones that aren’t very long-lasting), true pleasure doesn’t leave you feeling guilty, shameful, or in a state of self-loathing.

True pleasure fills your life (mind, body and soul) with beauty, love and connection with yourself and others.  (tweet it)

Many women who I work with regarding weight have something in common: lives consumed with false pleasures.

When we begin replacing these false pleasures with true ones, it’s amazing what the results look like. I have been so fortunate to witness lives and bodies transformed and becoming beautiful canvases with pleasure as the brush.

Ask yourself: what are you painting your life with?

With Pleasure,

Signature

Tonya

(P.S. I am opening enrollment for my signature Slim, Chic and Savvy 12-Week Immersion program in the fall.  As one of the graduates said, “Out of all the programs I’ve ever done (and I’ve done a lot), this one is hands down the best.  It’s about so much more than weight loss; it’s now my lifestyle.”  Click here to get on the waiting list and be the first to know.)

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Frenchie Friday: The (Not So) Hopeless Romantic

 2013_sunflowers

“Medicine, law, business, engineering: these are all noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life.  But poetry, romance, love: these are what we stay alive for.”  

John Keating, Dead Poet’s Society

I love love.

I am a romantic.

I am an idealist and a dreamer.

I am a lover of classics: chateaux, castles, and churches.

I am a lover of art, poetry, music and theater.

“Romance is the glamour which turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze.”
― Elinor Glyn

The romantic side of me has been indulged this last week. As I write this, I am a guest at an endearing chateau in a small village in the Bordeaux region of France, surrounded by grapes and sunflower fields. The smells are intoxicatingly fresh and the colors are vividly alive.

You may think based off the sounds of that, my week has been sheer bliss. Yes, there have been moments filled with unquestionable joy but … there has also been some sadness.

Let me explain . . .

I am in France celebrating the wedding of my dear friends– Julie and James– along with 31 other wonderful people from around the world.

My heart is so happy for them. But, inner-reflection is sometimes required and it has a tendency to sneak up on us when we’re not expecting, or wanting, it to.

The truth is that I’ve been working through shame surrounding the whole marriage thing. I’ve tried it twice and, even though I don’t like to frame timepieces as failures, I sometimes feel inadequate in the whole business of staying hitched.

As young girls, we daydream, obsess, and try ceaselessly to find our “Prince Charming.”

It becomes an endless search for love, adventure and satisfaction until we either A) find who we’ve been looking for, B) become jaded by the idea and give up, or C) discover that who we’ve always been looking for is actually ourselves. Personally, I would gladly choose to put myself in both categories A and C.

The trouble is that we wait for that special someone who we have envisioned for years to show up on their white steed, sweep us off our feet, adorn us with flowers, love, diamonds, and unlimited kisses, and embody the Hollywood romance.

Then, that special someone– who, in our fresh minds, is the embodiment of perfection– may break our hearts (or we break theirs), the flowers lose their luster, and the diamonds sit without really becoming “a girl’s best friend.”

We, then, become discouraged, gain (or lose) weight, work tirelessly, focus on the kids, and wonder what happened to our grand vision of a life of romance.

Does this sound familiar? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. It does resonate for me, however.

In the back of our minds, we can’t deny our desire for the childhood innocence and hope for romance– passionate adventure, sunlit dinners that creep into the early hours of the next morning, trips to Paris and kisses at the Eiffel tower, or in the most mundane of places, that completely sweep us off our feet.

A life of luxury and elegance without romance is not complete. Bouquets of flowers, sensual seduction, divine perfumes, decadent wine and food, and a fresh awakening to a new day with fiery passion and love do have the potential to invade every aspect of our lives elegantly.

As I sit here, atop a rich valley of sunflowers and earth, I embrace that I am a lifelong romantic.

Yes, I have had my fair share of heartbreaks, disappointments, and struggles. But, through it all, what I have learned is that I am part love/part fighter.

I will never give up on the idea of true love and romance.

Some may think that after what I have experienced, my heart would close. However, with such electric excitement, it’s only the opposite: my heart is so much more open.

Life is to be lived with beauty, passion and thrill. If, through past experiences, we allow someone else to come and take that from us or we wait for that someone else to provide what our heart desires, we have given that person a power that is only ours. Take that back.

Allow your inner goddess to be a fighter. The quest for love is one of the most honorable and worthwhile fights that we could ever encounter and one that we can, absolutely, be champions of.

How does one begin?

Oscar Wilde once said: “To love one’s self is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”    

A romantic life begins and ends with you, darling.  Yet, just focusing on loving yourself isn’t enough.

When it comes to the whole self-love movement, I’m a little cynical.  When I claimed my own romantic life back, it was about so much more than just me. The more I focused on loving myself, the more separate I felt.  But, when I focused on loving life?  Everything changed.  I began to see how I was connected to everything, and the love I had for myself grew as a result.

I often tell my clients this:  if you want to fall in love with yourself, fall in love with the world. (tweet it)
 

And, it requires continuous awareness.  Sometimes, like this week, old programming that states I’m not complete without another, and I must remind myself that I’m not separated from anyone or anything.  My thinking tries to convince me that I’m all alone, but there is always love all around me.  And, even though I didn’t have a man by my side for this event, I was surrounded by love.

At the reception, I danced with myself and friends.  I have walked through the vineyards alone, feeling the company of sunshine.  I have picked sunflowers with Inge, my beautiful new friend.  I have laid in bed belly laughing with my traveling pal, Carson.  And, as I write, there is a bird perched beside me; there is a single, fragrant rose in bloom; there is a life of beauty to behold. And, I realize that I’m never alone.

Romance is everywhere. (tweet it)

It would be a tremendous shame if I missed it all, because I thought it only existed with another person.

This week has brought me yet another revelation.  My grand romance is not with a certain person or experience.  My romance is with the world and each moment it offers me.  And, when I’m with that person, it’s just a beautiful extension of this whole experience.

Even deeper, I feel that my greatest love affair will be not just with myself, but with God, which is in everyone and everything I meet.

And, at the end of my life, I want to say that I loved him passionately.

With a Romantic Heart,

Signature

Tonya

xoxo

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