“I lost 100 pounds!”

Beth Shapouri
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Shelley Rafilson had always loved singing. She was good at it, too, winning an international competition and landing theater gigs. Yet by 2010, the fatigue from carrying nearly 230 pounds, as well as the pain from fibromyalgia, were threatening her singing dreams.

The last straw? The day Shelley was sitting on the floor helping her father, who was recovering from a stroke, put on his shoes. “I literally could not get up off the floor. My dad extended his good arm and tried to help me up—and he was 82 at the time! He broke down crying and told me I had to get myself together for both of our sakes. That was it. I had to get my life back.”

Shelley knew it wouldn’t be easy. Yet she committed to a goal of eating 1,200 calories a day, and two years later, she was 100 pounds lighter.

While Shelley is thrilled with the health benefits of her weight loss (“I don’t limp anymore!”), she says the psychological boosts—how her father, who has since died, was so proud to witness her success, as well as her newfound confidence to explore music opportunities again—have been priceless. “Now I feel anything is possible!” Here are Shelley’s slim-down tips.

  • Put eating in its place. “I made up my mind to finally separate food from whatever else was happening in my life,” says Shelley, who details her weight-loss journey in the book 100 Pounds to Happiness! “No more excuses to eat—sad events, birthdays, celebrations—it didn’t matter.”
  • Invest in a scale—for your food. “I weighed and measured everything so I knew the exact calorie count.”
  • Visualize success. “When I needed help with motivation, I visualized how I used to look before I gained the weight. I still practice this daily.” 
June 2015

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