Published April 3, 2022

Chocolate and Weight Loss - Interview

by Helen M. Ryan
Helen Ryan at M&M store

I was interviewed by Eulica Kimber of Plan2Prosper Academy about life and small business. We had such a blast!

Here are some highlights of our conversation. Click on the YouTube video below or listen to the audio version for the full interview.

Excerpt: Chocolate, weight loss, entrepreneurship, and being a digital nomad.

EULICA: So tell me about some of your other ventures. I heard two things. One, you like chocolate. I love chocolate, but you also lost a lot of weight. Did you lose the weight eating chocolate? Please tell me yes.

HELEN: Yes! That's actually what I did. My tagline for the first book I wrote is “have your cake and lose weight, too.” And I'm always talking about losing weight without giving up everything you love, because that's how I did it.

I was a vegetarian. I like to tell people I was a vegetarian who did not eat fruits or vegetable. So, yeah, lots of junk food. That was my thing.

I started walking the kids at school and then I started to make small changes in my diet. But every morning I would make oatmeal. I would have plain oatmeal with milk, but I will put chocolate chips in it because my thought was “any day that starts with chocolate has to be a good day.”

EULICA: I knew we would be friends. I knew it was in the cards for you and me.

HELEN: See? Soul sisters.

EULICA: And so how long did it take? Are you comfortable saying where you started?

HELEN: Yes! I was about 200 pounds. I'm five feet tall. So if you're 5’10”, 200 pounds is not that heavy. When you're five feet tall, 200 pounds is a lot. I wore a size 20 and, and I just started small. It was after my dad passed away in August 2003. And for the first couple of months, I still just ate everything in sight. I was really heartbroken because I loved my dad so much and he was such a positive influence in my life.

And then finally, one day…you know, I used to teach aerobics back in the late eighties, early nineties - before we were certified, and anybody could just teach. And so I thought, “Well, I used to love teaching. I used to love helping people. I'm never going to lose weight because I've tried so many times, but maybe I could get in better shape.”

Then I started walking the kids to school and I did that every morning. And then after about a month, I got this DVD with Tammy Lee Webb. It was called, I Want That Body. 20 minute legs, 20 minute abs and 20 minute upper body. So one day I would do 20 minute legs at 5:30am before the kids got up. The next day I did like the 20 minute abs. And the next day I did 20 minutes upper body. And I just did that over course of months.

And then I really wanted to try Spinning class but I was afraid. After three months I had actually lost 29 pounds while still eating chocolate and not killing myself.

And that I went to my first spin class and it was so hard, but I fell in love, eventually ended up teaching spin. And I also forgot to tell you, I became a certified personal trainer as another side hustle.

EULICA: I think entrepreneurship is a journey. So I think it's important that you found a profession, money for something that you were doing anyway, and you love to do. It was a part of the journey for that. It's amazing.

HELEN: Well, my day job is sitting in front of a computer, so that let me be active and interact with people, because I also had training clients come to my home.

I would teach spin. I would teach barre. So I got to get out. It was a perfect. A symbiotic relationship, where I could do desk work, but I could also do something that I love that helped people.

EULICA: So you said that was part of your emotional healing as well?

HELEN: Yeah, very much so. It gave me so much confidence. That's what I tell people. It wasn't about the weight. It was about getting stronger. And you get stronger when you do anything, not just exercise, when you do something… like when you started this show, it was probably scary. And every episode, you got stronger, more confident.

That's the same thing with exercise. You can do five pushups and then suddenly you can do 10 and you’re not only are getting physically stronger, you're getting emotionally and mentally stronger. That's why I keep telling people, just do it. Exercise has so many benefits. You can tell, I get all excited.

Just go for a walk right now, 20 minutes.

I started my walking podcast when the pandemic was in its heyday because people couldn't go to the gym. It's a motivational walking podcast. We go out, I coach you on a walk. In many of the episodes you have a choice of background walking music or not.

And I just inspire people, motivate them and teach them things because movement is magical. It really helps your focus. Again, not about losing weight. It's about giving you more energy, getting focused and just building that confidence.

Listen to the whole interview on Plan2Prosper.

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