How ABC's Tory Johnson Became a Healthier Woman

Ed. note: This blog is cross-posted from Everyday Health. The original post date was May 8, 2015. Read the original post.

Tory JohnsonIt's been three years since the conversation that changed my life.

My boss at ABC News told me I needed to "lose weight or lose my job." Okay, she didn't actually say that, but I thought that's what she meant when she told me my clothes didn't do me justice and that she wanted to send me to a stylist.

While I completely misinterpreted her meaning, I'm glad I did. It forced me to face a demon that had plagued me forever. I had been overweight and unhappy about it for too long. Plus, I was an unhealthy role model for my kids and I hadn't been to the doctor in more than 10 years. That conversation helped me realize that I needed to make a shift for good.

To make a real shift, I knew I would need to take a different approach. No more fad diets. No more quick fixes. Things like that had never worked for me in the past. I needed a forever plan. It may sound simple and obvious, but my mantra became: "Eat less, make smarter choices, and move more." It's manageable lifestyle changes like these that have long-term effects because you can actually stick with them.

I certainly didn't slim down overnight, but I experienced steady results. I lost about a pound a week. It felt like slow going, but after only a year, I had lost 62 pounds! And it feels good.

I'm happier and healthier. I don't hide when people take pictures anymore. I can wear dresses for the first time in my life. I have more energy. I sleep better. I'm no longer making excuses and living in a body I hate.

Losing weight also gave me the courage to visit the doctor again. I went in for a full physical and a mammogram, and I'm happy to report I got a clean bill of health. Thank goodness! I was terrified.

Looking back, I can't believe I waited so long to go the doctor. I was lucky — I didn't have any health issues. But please don't do what I did. Take advantage of the preventive care that's available to you. Knowledge is power. It's not worth it to wait until something is wrong to get checked out.

Tips to Prioritize Women's Health Today

You can make today the day you prioritize your health. I know that means different things to everyone, but to me, it means being honest with myself and recognizing what I have the power to change. Two years ago, it was more about coming clean with myself about why I needed to take a different approach to my health, and here's what I learned along the way:

  • Give up the "diet" mentality. I see diets as a temporary pause on bad behavior. There should be no end date, especially if you want to maintain a healthy weight. I see myself as a work in progress. I'm still losing weight. I'm a lifelong project.
  • Get moving. You don't have to run three miles on the treadmill tonight, just start moving more than you do now. Start small. Try a walk around the block. Add some distance every day. My goal is to hit at least 10,000 steps every day. For extra inspiration, try making it a competition with friends or family.
  • When you slip, start over immediately. We all fall off the bandwagon sometimes, and it's okay, but make sure you start over immediately. Don't wait until the next day or the following week. It's so easy to say, "Well, I already ate a bag of chips, I might as well be bad today and then I can start over tomorrow." And then what happens tomorrow and the day after that? You'll have the same attitude.
  • Pack healthy snacks. Don't wait until you're famished to eat. That can often lead to overdoing it. Bring smart snacks with you that you can munch on throughout the day. Sour pickles, salsa and celery, and pumpkin seeds are a few of my favorites.
  • Apply a clear topcoat of nail polish. Whenever I wanted to snack on something that was unhealthy and I would regret later, I would put a clear topcoat of nail polish on. Why? Because you're not going to reach into a container of cookies with wet nails. Taking the time to paint my nails generally helped me beat the craving.
  • Accept that change is hard. But that doesn't mean it's impossible. It just takes time and a lot of hard work.

I know people always says this, but in this case it's true: If I can do it, anyone can.

That's the message I want to share this National Women's Health Week. You don't have to make radical changes. Look at me. I picked simple, manageable lifestyle changes that, over time, yielded huge results.

Tory Johnson is a weekly contributor on ABC's Good Morning America, the No.1 New York Times—bestselling author of The Shift, and a popular speaker. She built two businesses to support women's career advancement and entrepreneurship. After fearing that she had to lose weight or lose her job, Johnson dropped more than 60 pounds in a year, and her mission is to help others change their minds for a better life. She's a wife and mom, too. Connect with her directly at www.toryjohnson.com and @ToryJohnson.