The rigors of appearing on the reality TV show The Biggest Loser led Lisa Mosley to the emotional breakthrough that empowered her to lose almost 100 pounds. But it was controlling her portions that kept her losing weight when she returned home from the set.
“I live on the motto, moderation not deprivation,” Lisa says. “As soon as I got home from the ranch I started using a small plate instead of big dinner plates. It has been extremely successful for me.”
Lisa had always been thin and didn't start gaining weight until she was about 20. At the age of 17 she started experiencing “these unexplainable, terrifying feelings.” At age 18 she became pregnant. The child’s father disappeared. She became depressed and continued to experience panic attacks. The only time she could overcome her fear was by going to her prenatal checkups, as long as someone else drove.
For a long time, she didn’t tell anyone about her fears. Then, a few weeks after her daughter was born, Lisa says, “I realized that I could not be a parent to her if I didn’t do something about these episodes. I finally decided to talk to my doctor about what I had been experiencing for almost two years.”
Her doctor told her she was experiencing panic attacks as a result of severe anxiety disorder. Just having a diagnosis was a tremendous relief for Lisa. She began taking anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication and going to therapy.
“I had grown up in a very good family and had never really had anything bad happen to me, so we were baffled as to why I was experiencing these in the first place. Then we found a genetic link. My dad and my dad’s mother both had anxiety attacks.”
The medication made her feel like a new person. But within six months she began to gain weight. Over the next 10 years she gained about 120 pounds.
“I knew the medication had something to do with it, but by this point I had also developed a serious dependence on food as a source of comfort,” Lisa says. “I had gone through the birth of my precious children, infidelity and single motherhood. Food was one of my closest friends and my best coping mechanism.”
By 2010, Lisa had suffered several personal setbacks. She had been laid off from her job, lost her home and had no prospects to find work. The defining moment in her struggle to lose weight came when she discovered that her daughter had stopped eating and drinking because she didn't want to be heavy like her mom.
That spurred Lisa to take action, including her willingness to bare her soul on The Biggest Loser.
“My wonderful aunt and I stood in line for seven hours until it was finally my group’s turn to speak to a casting director,” she recalls. “I knew it was now or never. I had one minute, literally one minute, to impress this person.”
She ended up being cast on the show’s 10th season. The rest of her story was played out on national television.
”The ranch was the hardest thing I have ever been through, and I have been through a debilitating disease (anxiety attacks and agoraphobia), abandonment when I was pregnant, infidelity, loss of my job and home, and the hardest of all, single parenthood,” she says.
Although the physical exercise was grueling, it was more of a mental and spiritual ordeal for Lisa. For three months she could not be with her children. She quit smoking and stopped her anxiety medication. And she faced her demons on national TV. This meant admitting that she had been denying her negative emotions her whole life.
“Emotionally and mentally you act a certain way to compensate for the fact you are morbidly obese and you know people see that,” she says. “If you are having a bad day you shove that down and pretend everything is wonderful. You feel like you have to do something for people to accept you; you always have to be positive, happy and cheerful. You literally think you can’t take on any more, so you pretend life is wonderful while you are still dying inside.”
Before going on the show, Lisa met with a therapist and took personality tests. “He said I have to stop pretending,” she recalls.
And she did. On national TV she experienced a breakdown, much of which was edited out, in which she stood on a scale, screaming, crying and cussing for 10 minutes. In that moment she was finally able to experience the negative emotions she had been hiding for years.
Although she wanted to leave the ranch and the show, she is glad she stuck it out. “To me it wasn’t a positive environment — it was extremely negative and God really blessed me with that. If I had not been going through the weight loss, extreme exercise, and negative environment, I would not have been able to literally break down and have what I call ‘my nervous breakdown episode on the scale.’ When I was on the scale, I verbally vomited out years and years of negative feelings.”
When Lisa left the show she had dropped 60 pounds. But she continued to lose weight, dropping another 37 pounds at home after she learned to control the size of her portions.
She recently became the national spokeswoman for Yum Yum Dishes, sets of hand-painted 4-ounce ceramic bowls. Tracy Adler, mother of two and former restaurant owner, created the bowls to help parents and kids control the size of their snacks.
“The idea for these dishes is what got me through this,” Lisa says. “A lot of times when I have entered into diets in the past, I went into it thinking I am never going to get a cookie, ice cream, or a piece of cake again. I was never successful with that,” Lisa says. “These dishes remind you that your life isn’t over and you are not going to be missing out.”
They also help people who are chronically overweight to control the amount they eat.
“I was so excited to find these. Because you can say moderation, moderation, moderation, but moderation for an obese person means one Big Mac instead of two, half of a large pizza instead of whole one. That’s not the way moderation works.”
Today Lisa works as a “fitness boot camp instructor” and personal trainer. She weighs about 190 pounds, wears a size 12 and is happy with herself.
“I am literally a different person, not just in how I feel physically but also how I feel mentally and emotionally,” she says. “I embrace every emotion I have whether it is happy, sad, or angry; I embrace every single one of them. God gave us those emotions for a reason.”
The Yum Yum Dish is perfect for children, teens, and adults who want to enjoy all their favorite foods in moderation. Not concerned with portion control? Use these hand-painted dishes for sauces, dips, entertaining, and more.
A Yum Yum Dish is a creative gift for the foodie in your life and a smart addition to any weight loss plan.
To purchase a set of Yum Yum Dishes or for more information, visit http://www.YumYumDish.com.