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Janine Driver: I gained 100 pounds during quarantine – Here's how I am getting back on track

The body language expert and best-selling author shares four unexpected strategies for getting the weight off for good.
Body language expert Janine Driver in late 2020 (left) and previously in 2018 (right). The best-selling author chronicles her 2021 health journey recovering from the challenges she faced during the pandemic.
Body language expert Janine Driver in late 2020 (left) and previously in 2018 (right). The best-selling author chronicles her 2021 health journey recovering from the challenges she faced during the pandemic.Courtesy Janine Driver

Have you ever worked so hard to earn something and somehow months or years later you sabotaged your success and lost it all? Perhaps you have been so disappointed that without realizing it, your brain (i.e. parasympathetic nervous system) has triggered a chemical response, which has you feeling tired, melancholy and full of hopelessness. No wonder you have no ‘umph’ to push yourself back on track, right?!

Or maybe you are angry because you allowed your inner critic to call the shots again?

Both of these feelings happened to me over the past 18 months.

See, I lost over 120 pounds (got down to a size 10) and then gained almost all of it back when a male friend of mine, who I knew for more than a decade, said sexually inappropriate things to me during a few keynote events where I was speaking on body language sales secrets.

He was my event manager and made sure every speaking engagement went off without a hitch.

At first his help was great. I trusted him. However, the more weight I lost and the stronger I became, the more he would sexually harass me before going on stage.

One might think I would have fired him on the spot. But what I did, like so many other women, was make excuses for his behavior, push down my tears and remind my myself to move and breathe.

After my last event, I literally became a human piñata. I couldn’t shove enough candy and junk food in my body – and I didn’t taste any of it. I wanted to put my fat suit back on faster than a speeding bullet so I could feel safe again.

Then the coronavirus hit, and I faced a new set of challenges: a divorce, homeschooling, my father fighting for his life with COVID, my business nearly collapsing. As I watched the scale go up, strangely I started to feel safer and safer.

RELATED: The 5-letter word that will put you back in the driver's seat during the pandemic

Maybe you are following my Know Your Value series on pushing the reset button.

Well, this series will chronicle my weight loss journey. Inspired by Alicia Keys’ 2012 hit of the same name, her song is about a woman who takes back her power and no longer allows a man’s words to burn her. For me, I’m NOT imagining a man, but instead I’m not allowing my inner critic “burn me” anymore.

Self-help author and motivational speaker, Dr. Wayne Dyer, said: “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”

So this year, I’m changing the way I look at getting and staying healthy. I'm cutting down the sugar and focusing on a diet rich in proteins, cooked and raw veggies. Physically, I walk or ride my indoor bike for at least an hour, six days a week. Then I work in 20 minutes of daily calisthenics through the Metabolic Renewal app.

And yes, while that regime has jump-started my health journey, I’ll be adding four unique tools to keep the weight off.

February: Writing My Grief Story workshop with comedian, eulogist Terry Moore

During this 3-week workshop on Zoom, I plan to use Terry’s self-exploration and self-discovery prompts as a tool to explore all the times a little piece of the feminine, sexy side of me died. The goal: to create a brand-new kind of me and brand-new kind of free.

According to Harvard Medical School, writing while grieving increases emotional and mental health, and it boosts the immune system. And are you surprised to discover the strong connection between writing, mindfulness and happiness? And are you aware that writing sends a signal to your brain to flag relevant opportunities and tools to achieve your goals?

Count me in! Interested in joining me? Sign up here: Write Your Grief Story.

March: Video Self-Modeling

A couple of years ago, I gave my second of four TEDx talks and the presenter before me, Dr. Melissa Root, gave a talk called “Eliminate Self-Doubt: Tap Your Root Response.” She left me rethinking how to fast track excellence.

Dr. Root describes it this way: “You can succeed at almost anything by eliminating your self-doubt, but how? The answer lies in your pocket and brain using a psychological technique called Video Self-Modeling. Proven to impact nearly every type of person on almost any behavior.”

RELATED: What you can steal from an unexpected TV show that will help reset your life

Dr. Root shows how you can quickly bypass your self-doubt by watching carefully created positive videos of yourself using only your smartphone. Intriguing, right?!

I’ve already started to pull pictures and short video clips of me when I was healthy and strong. I’ll be creating my 3-minute success video over the next two months and I’m going to watch it daily. I’ll be inviting you to do the same with your video!

Get a head start today and watch Dr. Root’s 13-minute life-altering TEDx talk here:

April: Read “From Clutter to Clarity” by Kerri Richardson

In the 1990’s, Kerri Richardson and I went college together, where we first met as orientation leaders. We lost touch over the years and then somehow reconnected on Facebook. But it wasn’t until a year ago that I found out what she did for a living.

Kerri is a Wall Street Journal best-selling author, decluttering expert, lifestyle designer, and coach who helps people declutter their lives. I listened to some of her free podcasts and signed up for her newsletter, which she also reads aloud so I don’t have to actually read it.

Kerri, who teaches how to “find the calm in the clutter” and decode the “message in the mess,” has successfully coached me on managing my money and controlling my impulsive decisions.

Now we’re looking at my weight gain as physical clutter. I am finally ready to create a new me and I will only allow the thoughts, things and important people in my life to join me on my life’s journey.

Want to find out what your weight is telling you? Here are Kerri’s two books, which I will discuss in April:

  1. From Clutter to Clarity: Clean Up Your Mindset to Clear Out Your Clutter
  2. What Your Clutter Is Trying to Tell You: Uncover the Message in the Mess and Reclaim Your Life

May: More to come, including lessons from the new book by psychotherapist and life coach Joanna Kleiman, “Dethroning Your Inner Critic”

I have so much to say about Joanna Kleiman’s new book, “Dethroning Your Inner Critic: The Four-Step Journey from Self-Doubt to Self-Empowerment.” You’ll just have to wait until spring to hear about it! A lot is going to happen between now and then.

Here’s the deal, because you matter to Mika and me, I’d like you to join me on this journey. We will be so happy to watch you find the one thing that you may need at this moment: a brand-new YOU.

As Alicia Keys so eloquently put it, “It took a long, long time to get here. It took a brave, brave girl to try. It took one too many excuses, one too many lies. Don’t be surprised, don’t be surprised … if I talk a little louder. If I speak up when you’re wrong. If I walk a little taller. I’ve been under you too long.”

Don’t you deserve a brand-new kind of free? Let’s do this together!