Kiss My Formerly Fat Ass

September 13, 2013
Kelly Coffey

Formerly obese personal trainer invites portion control-pushers to kiss it.

I’m a personal trainer. I make my living teaching people, mostly women, how to exercise safely and effectively. If folks didn’t consider exercise a critical, or at least very important, factor in their health & wellness, I’d be unable to make ends meet doing something I adore and at which I am, if I do say so myself, wicked good. Luckily for me the media is on board with driving home the importance of exercise. We all understand, at least academically, that exercising produces innumerable benefits from helping folks manage depression to increasing a woman’s odds of conception. But the idea that most women’s magazines and TV shows want to sell is that exercise, specifically cardio, is an effective tool for weight loss: our Collective National Obsession. So I owe the lion’s share of my monthly mortgage payment to The Biggest Loser and the message it relays: Exercise like a cocaine-fueled rock star and the pounds will melt away by the dozen until you reach your goal weight! Tra la!

You’re being lied to. I know, I know, shocker. The truth is exercise can only ever be an effective fat loss tool if the loser, biggest or otherwise, is also eating foods that encourage the body to drop its excess stores of fat. And eating only those foods consistently. And eating only those foods for an extended period of time, if not for life, with the very occasional foray into food-purely-for-a-quick-jolt. Very. Occasional.

Cue the Weight Watchers enthusiasts and the Skinny for Life nutritionists who did-gain-30-pounds-freshman-year-and-it-wounded-me-forever-and-inspired-me-to-help-other-people-lose-weight-so-I-became-a-“nutritionist”-and-I-love-what-I-do-thank-you-very-much. “The key is moderation!” they say; “Eliminating foods is unhealthy!” they say; “You’ll feel deprived!” they say.

Kelly Coffey Before 307lbs c

Younger Coffey, after two nutritionists and 5 stints in Weight Watchers

They can kiss my formerly fat ass.

I’ve done a lifetime of — let’s call it field research — and have had hundreds of overweight clients who can attest: Diets don’t work because they’re finite. Portion control works for only one kind of person: the kind of person who can be satisfied with half a cup of rice 1. If you’ve maintained a significant & healthy fat loss over 3 or more years and you’re footloose and fancy free, or if you’ve never felt compulsive and insane around food, then this blog isn’t for you. If you obsess about food, living every day in one or more of the states of regret, desire, fear of scarcity, self-loathing, and shame around food and eating, odds are you have what I have: an addiction to simple starches and sugar. You may likewise find that doing what I have done to maintain a healthy weight is your solution: eliminate the foods that make you feel unwell, at least temporarily.  Eat your fill of nutritive, delicious, whole foods. Rinse. Repeat.


Guess which one is the nutritionist

Be warned: I’m not a registered dietitian. I’m not even a nutritionist (not that that’s a meaningful title). I’m an intelligent woman whose addiction has brought her to her knees, and not in a good way, many times. If you can relate, I’m sorry. Welcome.

Still unsure if you’re in the right place?  Visit this helpful flowchart.


  1. Meanwhile, folks like me get homicidal at the thought.


 We all feel stuck in the cycle of self-sabotage, out of control and powerless. I put together a workshop to give you practical, actionable next-steps to ensure that you feel healthier and more in control, starting now.

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Showing 3 comments
  • Pauline

    Love it! I have to admit, I *did* join WW (which made me feel ancient because it was something my mother did), but it helped me make better choices after some lame 2-3 year bad-choice-bender. What I mean is I’d choose a crap-ton of fruits and veggies and then use my points on healthy, satisfying proteins. Very little portion control needed. But I totally see your point. Rock on. Can’t wait to read more!!!

  • Cynthia

    ¨Portion control doesn’t work because no one I know can be satisfied with half a cup of rice .¨

    YESSSS!!! Omg ain´t that the truth!!

  • Lenore Brooks

    You are at a point where I want to be. I am now on my knees crying “UNCLE” to food. My body brought me to my knees with food intolerance. I am ready, “finally” to change what I thought I was changing every other time I thought I was fed up. Once I finally change, my plan is to reach back and help others. You mentioned in an article I just read, that being fat made you more compassionate. I find that to be true of myself as well….so much so, I got it tattooed on my body. It says Love, Compassion, Kindness and Peace with a butterfly which stands for rebirth. I plan on reading your other blogs. I’m just letting you know so when I start showing up in your comments, you won’t feel like you’re being stalked. LOL Your story seems like it may be my story already unfolded. I want to read it so I’ll know what to expect. LOL. Until next time. Different post. Same blogger.

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