But aspects of her job motivated her to do things differently.
“In my position with the Kentucky Beef Council, I was in charge of their nutrition program, and I had to stand up in front of a group of registered dieticians, a group of influencers, a group of teachers, and I had to tell them about the nutritional benefits of beef, and it made me so uncomfortable,” she says. “I felt so hypocritical up there sharing about the amazing benefits of beef and not looking like an image of health. And I was like, ‘I want to walk the talk.’ ”
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Then, during a flight to a work conference — which was already “a reminder that I don’t fit in society physically,” because Twisselman needed a seatbelt extender on plane rides — she read motivational speaker Rachel Hollis’ book, Girl, Wash Your Face.
“That book was kind of my wake-up call to me that if you want to change your life, or live a better life, or create this life that you always dream about, then it is 100 percent in your control and nobody else's,” she says.
Twisselman decided to follow Hollis’ Five to Thrive plan, which focuses on adopting five simple habits: She started waking up an hour earlier, moved her body for 30 minutes a day, drank half her body weight in ounces of water, began daily journaling and practiced intuitive eating.
“I wasn’t going to completely overhaul my entire lifestyle,” she says. “I was going to make baby steps and see what happens.”
Over the next few months — from Oct. 2018 to Jan. 2019 — Twisselman lost 25 lbs., which encouraged her to keep going. She set a new goal of losing 100 lbs. by Oct. 2019. Her weight loss continued to be “fairly steady, but I definitely hit some plateaus,” she says.
“It was about continuing to make those baby step changes forward and not getting too comfortable in my routine,” she says. Twisselman started doing harder workout videos — all on YouTube — and experimenting with different healthy foods to give herself a boost.
But the biggest change, she says, was her mindset, especially when she would slip up.
“When I tried to diet before, if I messed up, I would say, ‘See, you failed, you always fail.’ But this time, I started from a place of self-love,” she says. “I had to love myself enough to show up and do the hard things each day, and when I failed I was more willing to forgive myself and say, ‘What can I learn from this? How can I use this experience to continue moving forward?’ ”
This time around, Twisselman hit her goal and lost 103 lbs. in one year, plus another 19 lbs. over the last seven months. She’s since moved back to her family’s cattle ranch in San Luis Obispo, California, with her fiancé and is working as a life and health coach and running her own marketing company. And now, she says, the number on the scale doesn’t matter so much.
“It’s less about hitting a number or a goal weight and more about showing up and loving myself today,” she says.
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