In May 2019, Rachel Williams, then 39, tipped the scale at 233 pounds. She could barely squeeze into a size 20/22 pair of jeans and an uncomfortable size 40 double-F bra. She thought her chances of ever feeling good about her “ballooned” body were slim.
So, in June of that year, as an early 40th birthday present, her husband, Anton, gifted her weekly exercise sessions with a personal trainer. But after months of compulsively counting calories, cutting out sugar and flop-sweating through hourlong, high-intensity workouts at 6:00 am three times a week, the scale barely budged.
“One day, I just started crying my eyes out – like Kim Kardashian crying – to my personal trainer saying,‘ I can’t lose weight, I’m not losing weight. I’m just this fat, ugly ogre, ‘”Williams, now 42, told The Post. “I’d lose a couple of pounds. But for the amount of work I was putting in, I wasn’t seeing the proper results. ”
By the fall of 2019, she was depressed and on the brink of giving up. Williams turned to self-help tomes by motivational coaches like Tony Robbins, Brené Brown and Mel Robbins.
“They helped me realize that all I was doing is talking so negatively to myself. All I’m focusing on is, ‘I can’t lose weight. I’m ugly. I’m not doing great, ” Williams said.
Self-slander was second nature to Williams. She’d been condemning herself for being overweight since age 8, when her mom dragged her to weekly Weight Watchers meetings.
And the inner ridicule worsened over the years as she failed to cut the fat while trying every fad eating plan, from the all-cabbage diet to low-carb Atkins to a highly restrictive cleanse Beyoncé was said to have done. (Queen Bey reportedly lost 20 pounds in two weeks for her role in “Dreamgirls” with a cocktail of water, cayenne pepper, pure maple syrup and fresh-squeezed lemon juice.)
But, after reading Robbins’ ‘The 5 Second Rule,’ a guide aimed at helping readers break self-doubt and negative self-talk, Williams realized that her malignant mindset was the core of her weight-loss woes. So she set about being more positive, making a habit of high-fiving herself every morning and looking at herself in the mirror without negativity.
“As awkward as it was, I started to embrace my body. I started to give thanks to my body, ”she said. “And I’d say, ‘Wow, isn’t my body amazing? My body grew two children. My body went from being a little cell to growing into a full human being. How awesome is that? ‘”
She continued with her three-weekly personal training sessions, doing a mix of cardio and weight training, but thanks to her positive mindset, they became more effective.
By September 2020, the mom of two from Cheshire, England, had dropped a staggering 102 pounds. She has since managed to maintain the reduction – without being on a restrictive diet.
“It’s a game changer,” said Williams, who now weighs 131 pounds and works as a health and wellness coach. “The moment you change your mind, you will see results happen, and you don’t have to be on a diet.”
While she doesn’t deprive herself, Williams says she is extremely mindful of her gut health and the ingredients in the foods she eats. She still enjoys burgers, chips, pizza and cake – but only if they’re made with the freshest, highest-quality ingredients and cooked with healthy fats like coconut oil and grass-fed butter.
“I count chemicals versus calories. If I don’t understand what’s on a food label, I don’t eat it, ”added Williams, who now cuts a slim figure in size 8 jeans.
Despite Williams’ success, Rachel Goldman, a clinical psychologist in Manhattan, told The Post that although adopting a positive mindset can reap beneficial outcomes, thinking thin thoughts is not a one-size-fits-all panacea for obesity.
“Obesity is multifactorial, and it’s a disease. For some people, positive thinking won’t be enough, ”said Goldman, who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy. “However, because our thoughts are so powerful, a realistic and positive shift of one’s mindset can automatically change how a person feels about themselves. And that shift can promote positive behavioral changes that can contribute to weight loss. ”
Williams doesn’t credit all of her weight loss to positive thinking, but does attribute about 80 percent of it to her new mindset. And she’s thrilled with her new frame.
“I feel so confident now,” she said. “My husband feels like he has a new, happier version of his wife. I’m no longer shying away from taking pictures and creating memories with my kids. I’ve learned to fall in love with me. “