weight loss community

Just imagine what we—all of us—could be doing with our lives . . .

Following our own dreams and reaching our own goals

Cultivating our own passions

Making both our inner and outer worlds a more blissful and peaceful place

. . . if we weren’t running in circles on the diet-go-round:

Chasing a number on the scale

Catching the goal weight

Only to have it slip away so the chase begins again.

The diet-go-round is what I call it when you jump from one diet to the next to the next, hoping that this next one will finally be the answer. It rarely is, but there’s always that sprig of hope that keeps you trying again and again. You could also be jumping from one food-abusing scenario to another—compulsive overeating, bingeing, purging, starving, and the like—so that you’re still going around in circles in your life.

I spent two decades trapped in that circle, around and around and around I went, never moving forward to create the life I really wanted.

So if that’s what you’re looking for, to get out of that cycle now and start moving forward in a straight line toward your future, then I invite you to find out more about Start Where You Are Weight Loss®️ and this weight loss community full of people ready to feel at peace with food and at home in their own bodies so we can all go on to create a life we love.

And if you're searching for more personalized one-on-one support than you can get from a weight loss community, please click here to learn about weight-loss coaching and working with me to help you reach your weight-loss goals.

Start Where You Are Weight Loss Community

Get off the diet-go-round. Get on with your life.

Voice your opinion or share your story in the comments below.

27 thoughts on “Start Where You Are Weight Loss Community”

  1. Gabriela Popescu

    I watched my father struggle with obesity all my life. Although he acknowledged that food was ruling and ruining his life he could not get his bad eating habits under control. He had tried many different diets and had procedures that were supposed to help him lose weight. Over time he was diagnosed as a diabetic and had to have insulin and later dialysis. Eventually his kidneys began to fail him and at last his heart. I learned a lot from him about how easy it is to lose control of an addiction as his eating became for him. Losing my father was difficult especially since to me I always felt that if he just tried harder or just simply did not eat so much. But in the end I learned that your body needs constant maintenance and care. We have to teach ourselves that self care is critical and good habits are part of that self care. Working out is a life long commitment that we need to look at as a need and a must.

    1. Hi Gabriela,

      Thanks so much for sharing your story. I’m so sorry you lost your dad. Hugs for you, doll.

      It’s really true that self-care is critical, not just for happiness but for longevity too. I know sometimes that’s hard to do when food/eating becomes more important than caring for yourself. I also know there are a lot of emotional reasons involved in why people overeat, which have nothing to do with food or being hungry. I’m glad to hear that you look at your health as a life-long commitment. I find that’s true of any weight loss/maintenance regimen; it’s a lifestyle because you’re in your body for the whole of your life.

  2. I believe I have been on every diet known to man. Gain, lose, gain, lose, gain, lose. Its such a frustrating and demoralizing cycle. I truly do want to lose weight so I can feel good both physically and mentally. I want to be able to do physical activities easily. I want to be able to pick out clothes and have them fit and look nice. I want to stop obsessing about what and when I eat.

    My husband LITERALLY forgets to eat much of the time. Just like Erma Bombeck, I have never forgotten to eat and that is part of how I am where I am. 206 pounds, 5′ 3″. I’ve recently lost 22 pounds and have mostly kept it off but I know its lurking there and could come back so easily. I joined Healthy Wage and thought if I had to pay I would definitely lose the 50 pounds I set out to lose. I have 6 weeks left to lose 27 pounds or I lose my entire investment. If I had made it, I would have tripled my “investment”. Even this did not get me to do it.

    So what next? Nothing. Something? I ran across an article about Shelli on MSN and thought, “Well, how DID she do it?” and so here I am. Asking myself what next? I don’t want to give up on myself but I cannot continue to obsess about food and my weight. So here I am and I’m going to get the books and read and work on myself.

    1. Hi Jamie!

      Thanks so much for sharing your story.

      I too spent a couple decades yo-yo dieting, so I feel your pain about the endless and demoralizing cycle.

      Don’t give up on yourself, doll. There is hope to be had. It’s not about the food, at least that’s been my experience. It’s what you think and believe about the food. And once you change that, you’ll come to find that you won’t continue to obsess about food and your weight.

      I’m glad you’re here. I hope you’ll come back and let me know how you’re doing after you start reading through the books. Big hug for you!

    2. Jamie – if you do not lose the 27 pounds, please do not see yourself as a failure, because you are not. I too have ordered the books. Like you, I want to be able to buy and fit into normal size clothing, I want to at least be able to buy my cloths with one ‘x’ behind the size and not 3!

      1. Hi Tammy!

        Thank you so much for stopping by, offering encouragement, and sharing about your life! Thank you too for saying that to Jamie because losing weight or gaining it doesn’t make you a failure. The only way you fail is if you give up on yourself; and even if you do quit, you can always start again right where you are.

        Thanks so much for ordering the books. Please stop back and share your journey after you’ve started reading them. Hug for you, doll.

  3. Understanding our relationships with food is very difficult. I remember being 315 pounds when I had Gastric Bypass. Breaking up with food was the second hardest part of the journey. Addictions to other things allow an abstinence mentality. Addicted to alcohol? Stop completely. Addicted to porn? Stop completely. Addiction to food is a different beast. We are required to modify our relationship with food since we are required to continue it. I would tell you all, just as I remind myself, our success is in every single bite that is quality nourishment. It’s every decision every day, and every single one of us is worthy and deserving of that victory.

    1. Hi Sarah!

      Thanks so much for sharing your story.

      Congratulations, doll, on all your successes!

      I completely agree that changing my relationship with food is what healed me. I used to look to food for emotional comfort, a friend when I needed one, a way to numb myself emotionally, and a myriad of other things that food was never intended to do. Changing my mind to look at food as fuel, and that’s all it is, stopped the obsession and crazy-making behavior I was having around food. I love that you wrote this: “every single one of us is worthy and deserving of that victory.” That’s so beautifully said and absolutely true! We are all born with worth and value; it’s innate. Nothing and no one can ever take it away from us, and our worth and value has nothing to do with our size.

    2. Sarah, I have been saying that for years, we are the only “group” of people who cannot give up our “addiction”, we need our “addiction” to survive. Drugs, alcohol, sex, smoking, all these things are not necessary for life, but food is.

  4. Somehow I managed to live in denial about the fact that I wasn’t really living at all. Instead I was a ticking time bomb on the fast track to an early death. It wasn’t until I was on vacation with three friends that I finally came to terms with this obsession I had and decided that I no longer wanted to live on the sidelines. In order to be present in my life I needed to get the weight off. By moving more and eating better (not necessarily less). I’ve lost 153 pounds and life is marvellous and fun and worth living.

    1. Hi Lindy!

      Thanks so much for sharing your story.

      Congratulations! I hope you’re proud of yourself for such an amazing accomplishment. You are not alone in being in denial, darlin. I was in denial too, especially about how heavy I actually was. I would avoid scales and mirrors/reflections and refuse to get my picture taken so I didn’t have to face it. I’m so glad to hear that you’re present in your life now and having a fabulous time!

  5. I am so sick and tired of setting myself up for successive failures with diets. I have gotten to be afraid of food, as if almost everything is off limits. I need to change my relationship with food.

    1. Hi Christine!

      Welcome, darlin. Thanks for sharing your story.

      You are in the right place. You don’t have to be afraid of food because no foods (except ones you’re allergic to) have to be off-limits. Once you change your mindset about food–that food is fuel and that’s all it is–you’ll come to find the fear of food will lessen over time.

      Big hug for you, doll. You’re not alone.

  6. Shelli…..yours it the best/most helpful book I have ever read. REALLY! Your ideas, comments, suggestions were just “spot on”. I could relate to many, if not most of these issues. Your opening anecdote for Chapter 5 brought me to tears. I recognized myself, my friends, my family, my co-workers, again and again in this book. God bless you, my child.
    I have watched several, maybe a half dozen friends and acquaintances go through bariatric surgery desperately longing to be thin. I often said to myself, “the problem is not what, how, when I eat. It’s ALL in the head” How do I fix that?
    Your book showed me EXACTLY how. (At least 3, if not more of those surgery folks GAINED IT ALL BACK) How sad…..
    They didn’t fix their heads as well while they were fixing their bodies.
    I’ve come to believe that the actual food doesn’t matter at all. Fix what’s in your head and the weight will come off by itself, as you so aptly explained.
    I’ll be around here a lot.

    1. Hi Maggie!

      Welcome! Thank you so much for stopping by, sharing your story, and for the kind words you wrote about my book. I’m so glad that the book helped you.

      I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had friends and acquaintances who’ve gained all the weight back. Unfortunately, it’s quite common and I agree that it’s sad.

      It’s so true that it’s about fixing your mindset. It’s not about the food. It’s never about the food. Once you fix your mindset, the weight will take care of itself. It’s fantastic that you recognized that for yourself!

      I’m glad that you’ll be around here. Makes me happy to hear that. Hug for you, doll.

  7. Well, here I go!
    I read “Start Where You Are Weight Loss” once through on my kindle. Now, I have a hard copy and the companion workbook. I put stickers on it, high-light passages, scribble pictures, write notes all over it. I can see that the “work” is thinking about and answering ALL the questions, even if the answer is “I don’t know” .
    One thing bothered me, though. On page 40 there is reference to a “no sugar/no flour” diet. I have had it with diets, ANY kind. I felt that if I worked on the issues in the book and tried to “Eat when hungry, Stop when full” I would be successful………eventually. Healing my wound would make eating and food sort of a “non-issue” in my life.
    So, I “cherry picked” and threw out that “no sugar/no flour” idea.
    Do you think I can be successful this way?

    1. Shelli Johnson

      Hi Maggie!

      You can absolutely be successful by working through the reasons behind why you’re using food in a way it was never intended. You don’t have to do a no sugar/no flour diet or any diet at all. I only mentioned using no sugar/no flour as a temporary option for people who might feel out of control around food because it helped curb that behavior for me. Then once they’re calmer around food, they transition to eating whatever they want when they’re hungry and stopping when they’re full. But again, as I wrote in the book, you don’t ever have to go that route if you don’t want to.

      It’s excellent that you’re cherry picking and throwing out what doesn’t work for you, doll. That’s how you’ll find what works best for you so that you can create a lifestyle that’ll help you thrive.

  8. Thanks for your self-care coloring pages. I believe coloring is therapeutic.
    Such fearful times right now because of this virus. I think coloring the pages and trying to practice self-care will help me be calm and avoid “food abuse” as a coping mechanism. My bingeing has escalated these past few weeks and I want to get back on the path. So, I’ll start where I am.
    You’re a “love” Shelli. Take care and be safe.
    PS- your books and this website are going to take off like a rocket ?? because this is the only solution that works long-term.

    1. Hi Maggie! You are most welcome. Coloring helps get people out of their emotional brain (where food abuse happens most often) and into their logical thinking brain (so they can make better choices).

      You are not alone, doll. I’ve been struggling with wanting to abuse food not because I’m hungry but because I’ve got fear and anxiety about the virus. I’ve also been getting a lot of emails from others who are struggling to not abuse food as well. Just remember: food won’t fix it. I’m glad you’re going to start right where you are, not beat yourself up, and get back on the path.

      Thanks for the kind words. Made me smile. 🙂 You take excellent care of yourself, especially now.

  9. I am forever grateful to you Shelli for the gift of your words, your actions of putting your writing and experiences into the book, the journal, the coloring books and this online community. I bought the book, journal and coloring books yesterday and I have began the journey. I join myself in finding my inner soul/ feet on the journey and this tribe. As I begin the journey through- Recognizing Stages outlined in the book, and Create self care rituals through (journalling, coloring, breath, body awareness, recognition cannot think away a feeling)-
    I have a question about how to respond to others and the process of not running back to others. As I secure my own self and stand up strong for myself I also found myself in a place of recognizing my own self and recognizing my own and others Lies. As said in Stage 3, “A lie said as this person looked me in the eyes. Repeatedly. Convincingly. And then, as these things usually go, I got blindsided by the truth like a sucker punch to the skull.” I do not go running back.
    – How did you disconnect and respond to others?
    – How did you respond with authenticity while not running back to others?
    – Is there a practical way through words and/or actions?

    I am grateful that in the month of May 2020 my lifelong 33 year journey of life has begun and I am in rebirth mode as I shape myself into my true self.
    As I begin the journey of being secure in my own self, moving forward, facing scared/fear and standing on my own two feet and recognizing I am the only person I can one hundred percent count on.
    Thank you one hundred percent Shelli for sharing your wisdom.

    1. Shelli Johnson

      Hi lovely Hope,

      Thank you so much for the kind words and for buying the books. Made me smile. 🙂 I’m so glad to know the books are helping you.

      In answer to your questions based on that particular situation you reference:

      1. I let myself feel what I needed to feel without numbing it by abusing some substance/behavior, including food.
      2. I trusted myself to meet my own wants and needs regardless of anyone else. I trusted myself to fully take care of myself.
      3. I decided what I wanted for myself, what mattered to me, what I was willing to allow in my life and what I wasn’t.
      4. I sat down with that person, calmly, and spoke the truth about how I saw the situation and how I felt, not expecting anything from that person and also willing to let the relationship go.

      And that can be the challenging part, doll, because you have to know you are strong enough to take care of yourself (which you absolutely are), and you also have to be willing to let the damaging relationship go and move on without it. I know you can. I hope you will. 🙂

  10. Hi! I am new to this process and absolutely fascinated with it. I want to stop turning to food for the wrong reasons. And I also want to focus my energy on a purpose filled goal, rather than fitting into a smaller coffin…
    Thank you to those who shared, I hope to come back here and little by little feel a part of this community of beautiful souls.

    1. Hi Annie,

      Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here.

      I’m so happy to hear that you’re ready to stop using food in a way it was never intended and also to focus your energy on things that will make you come alive. I do hope you’ll come back and share your journey. I’m excited to hear about how you transform your life, doll!

  11. My first diet was with the school nurse in grade 4 and I’m 68 yrs. old now! I know the food issue started with a neighbor molesting me at age 4-5 years of age. Long ago I dealt with that in years of therapy, hospitalizations & shock treatments. But the diets continued & recently I’ve been thinking its more than the food. While in the ER 2 yrs. ago after a chemo treatment that made me very sick, I suddenly remembered I still had not lost the weight. I had been spinning my wheels for years. That upset me and I vowed to try harder on the next diet. But that didn’t work. I had a dream about running with a heavy backpack—it made running very hard. A voice told me to drop the backpack and when I finally did, I ran with such excitement and aliveness. Had that dream for several days in a row and then found your book. Think I’m headed in a good direction now.

    1. Hi Ann!

      Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here!

      I’m so sorry to hear about what happened to you as a child. It’s been my experience (both personal and as an observer) that trauma and shame are the source of many eating disorders and unhealthy relationships with food. I’m glad to know that you got help processing what happened.

      Weight loss really isn’t about food. It’s about what you think about food and its role in your life. Once you address why you’re using food in a way it was never intended, you’ll come to find that weight loss and maintaining a weight where you feel comfortable in your body is simple.

      I love your story about dropping the backpack because letting go is the key to excitement and coming alive. I’m so glad my book found you when you needed it most. Please stop back and let me know how your journey is going!

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