The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, N.Y.

The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, N.Y.
One of My Favorite Places on Earth

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cue The Rocky Soundtrack

For those of you who haven't seen me in a few months...or years, I've made a few changes this year. None of which I thought would ever happen, but Life had other ideas. It all began on Jan. 5, when the voyeur in me taped Oprah to hear how and why she fell off the wagon. What I got instead was my jaw dropping in awe when the camera cut to Carnie Wilson, who was beamed in via satellite for a guest appearance to explain how she got on the wagon.

If you’re not familiar with her story, Carnie’s a pop singer descended from the royal bloodlines of Beach Boy Brian Wilson. She’s also had the mixed blessing of struggling with significant excess weight under public scrutiny in the extreme. She and I suffered the same way, but I got to do it in relative privacy. There was never a thunderclap of flashbulbs exploding in front of me when I went to the mall, or say, Kentucky Fried Chicken for a particular bucket I’d grown fond of.

Now would be a good time to share with you what I call my ‘wake-up-call-from-hell’ photo, taken in December after a holiday feast. It was the echoing moment that I realized I could no longer live under the illusion that black made me look smaller:

Back to January 5th: What I saw in Carnie Wilson that day transcended ordinary weight loss. She was luminous and serene and also undeniably lighter than she’d ever been. Carnie and I are essentially genetic twins (except where singing’s concerned), so I knew, absolutely knew, that whatever helped Carnie could help me.

…which led me to:

Diamond Dallas Page, a former pro-wrestler and current fitness guru who rehabilitated his suplex-battered body by devising a system of cardio-yoga called YRG. The combination of breathing, stretching, and isometric moves DDP devised proved to be the Holy Grail of transformation for me. Dallas is no hand-holder, which is a good thing because that would have allowed room for staying encased in my rut. He is however, motivating and supportive…you could say he's a blend of the nail-spitting Sgt. Hartman from “Full Metal Jacket,” combined with the level-headed guidance of Dr. Drew.

I also started corresponding with Terri Lange from Atlanta, Ga., who stars in a few of the YRG DVD’s. I admired how she transformed herself through YRG and wanted to learn from her. Terri has kept 50+ pounds off for eight years. Anyone who keeps their weight off that long has my vote, and my attention.

All this past winter, Dallas and Terri (or as I like to call them, Zeus and Athena) steered me through the sometimes-choppy waters of withdrawal from foods I’d become addicted to. I didn’t do it all at once…I’ve had enough experience climbing on and bungee jumping off the wagon to know if I attempt to change too much too soon, it’s going to backfire down the road. First thing to go was the white stuff: sugar, bread, pasta, etc. What got me through the first month was living on dairy (which I ADORE) and eating as many plant-based foods as I could tolerate. At about month-two, Dallas strongly suggested (OK, he insisted) that I stop eating gluten and cow-dairy, two components of the All-American diet that are as poisonous as they are ubiquitous. A session with Atlanta-based nutritionist Dr. Bernadette Saviano backed it up, so I listened. Thank God I was ready to listen this time. I’m neither celiac nor lactose-intolerant, but basically eat as if I am. All I can say is, I’ve never seen or felt change like this before in my body. It sort of hums now because it’s working so well.

And 9 months later:
I’m down 100 pounds (so far) and feel so different, it’s hard to describe.

Photo by Joan K. Lentini of JSL Photography, Lake Luzerne, N.Y.

Whether you're interested in weight release, better flexibility, better cardio health or overall well-being, here's the place to get started: .

Which brings me back to the Rocky soundtrack. It cliché to say that all roads lead to Oprah, but in my case, they do. A few weeks ago, while catching up on back issues of O magazine, my eyes landed on a full-page ad for Avon’s Walk to Cure Breast Cancer. The magazine was nine months old and most of the national walks had already taken place, but not the one on October 10 and 11 in New York. It's a 26-mile marathon and signing on would mean less than a month to train. But within seconds, I knew I’d be in New York that weekend and doing it...then I realized why. The truth is, I’ve been given a new life. I’m in a place I’d long ago given up on ever being. But I’m here and it’s real and what better way to usher in this new phase of my life? Oh, and I’ll be crossing the finish line the day of my 45th birthday. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate it.

Photo by Joan K. Lentini of JSL Photography, Lake Luzerne, N.Y.

This whole training thing is giving me Rocky flashbacks…circa 1977. Every morning when I lace my sneakers I can hear track 3 “Going the Distance.” That’s OK, I’ll take motivation from wherever it comes. No one-armed push-ups yet...maybe in October...

My other deadline: I have a month to raise $1,800 for Avon's Marathon (they don't let you walk for anything less). To be a part of it, click here, or copy & paste:

Here's to Going The Distance


Serena Kovalosky said...

Stacey, you are such an inspiration! To me, you will always be a beautiful friend, and it's great to see the transformation as your outside appearance is now beginning to match all the creative, glorious stuff you have on the inside! I applaud your marathon participation and I'll be cheering you on!

Rob Barendse said...

way to go stacey! i would love you at any weight and if this is what you want then absolutely go for it!
the marathon will be a challenge but i'm sure you are up to it. can't wait to read all about it.

Sarah Viola said...

I already knew your story but the way you wrote it made me weepy -- you are truly an inspiration!

Erin Reid Coker said...


Erin Reid Coker said...


Anonymous said...

The Goddess is Alive & Thriving Through You... Jai Lakshmi!

Khethi said...

I am proud of you my friend. Luv you lots.

Connie said...

Wow!!!! Your story and success is truly inspiring. Your sister and I will have to join you in this (by the way, Dory is now my "other daughter" along with Kellie).

Best of luck with the marathon. I will be thinking of you

Anonymous said...

Dory forwarded me your blog....all I can say is WOW and OMG!!!! You are truly an inspiration to me.... I have been up and down with my weight my entire life...3 years ago I had a little boy and never really lost all of my baby weight before getting pregnant again with my second child...I am now heavier than I have ever been....You have inspired me with your story and your success...My thoughts and prayers are with you....Good luck with the walk....Friend of Dory's....Bobbi

Anonymous said...

You look so radiant and you are inspiring so many of your friends!!!! Keep up the hard work, Stacey. Best wishes on walking the marathon!! You go, girl!!!!

PLC Buff said...

Stacey, your accomplishments take my breath away!!! I can't tell you adequately how impressed I am. You are an ispiration!!! I am truly thrilled about this exciting new chapter in your life.
I just checked out your page on the Avon website. I am so pumped for you to achieve this next monumental goal.
I wish you all the best and can't wait to see your next updates... Keep us posted.
You know you have all my love and support!
I love you!!! xo

Jeff Morris said...

Wow, Stacey! You have had an incredible year, and it's not even over yet. My thoughts and love are with you as you embark on this ambitious and highly commendable endeavor. It blows my mind that you're participating in a MARATHON!! All I can say is freaking "WOW, man!!!" As I said to you before, I'd like to say how envious I am of your progress, but envy is reserved for people who haven't earned their fortunes. But that sure ain't you, baby!! You have earned every inch, every step, every hard-fought drop of brow sweat. So keep your head down, and your arms swinging, and I'll see you at the finish line. YOU KICK ASS, WOMAN!!!!!

Anonymous said...


Congrats on your finding and succeeding with YRG. I am a fire fighter from Jersey and Dallas and I became friends via YRG and he's help coach me through losing 50 lbs. Keeep up the good work.

My sister is a breast cancer survivor. Thanks for walking!



Stacey said...

You're all proving how Amazing my Family & Friends are. Thanks for the support and encouragement. Tomorrow, I go for the 9-mile mark. Avon recommends increasing distance by 10% each week. That'll teach me to read O magazine 9 months after the fact.

Roger Guglielmo said...

Stacey .. what an inspiration you are. I recently devised and implemented a "Biggest Loser" competition in my office. I went to the doctor a few months back for what I thought was a sinus headache. Turns out my blood pressure was 225/130 and I could have had a stroke or a heart attack at literally any second. Luckily, neither of those happened. Long story, short ... I need to lose some weight. I figured, "why not get some support?" - which is why I did the B.L., thing. Just reading about why you made the decision to change your life, and how you've gone about it, is such a huge inspiration. I will definitely be sharing your INCREDIBLE SUCCESS, as well as your mission. God Bless and keep kickin' ass. Sincerely, Roger

Anonymous said...

Lots of luck, love and continued success on your journey of happiness and healthiness. And tell your brother to get some sleep! Suzanne

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I was so touched and inspired by you--putting yourself out there--words and pics--baring your inner thoughts and feelings. I am so proud of your focus and determination in taking control and taking action with regards to your health! I am so happy that our paths have crossed. Thank you for motivating me to continue on my healthy lifestyle journey. Athena