The Hunger Fix
The Biggest Loser celebrity
Many of you may know me from the hit reality television show
Biggest Loser. I was on the show in Season 7, competing with my friend
Laura. We were former models.
My brief time on the ranch at the
Loser was just one stop on my weight-loss journey. You see, before
applying to the
Biggest Loser, I had what Dr. Peeke calls an
“EpiphaME”—a moment that rang my bell and made me realize I needed to change my
It was May 24, 2008, my best friend’s
Lauren’s birthday. Time to celebrate! That night, I stood in front of a
nightclub with all of my friends. By all accounts, it should have been a fun
and carefree night. We had two cabs full of beautiful girls, and Lauren knew a
promoter, so everything was taken care of—no waiting on line, no paying for
drinks. I remember thinking, “Wow, we are set! This night is going to rock!”
As we walked straight up to the door, I
had a moment of nostalgia—I used to do this kind of stuff all the time in my
past modeling life. This was
fun, getting dressed up and going dancing!
The bouncer unlocked the red velvet rope
and the first group of girls walked right in the club. Now it was time for the
second group of girls, including me, to go in. Suddenly, I felt intimidated and
shied away in the back. I hadn’t been clubbing for so long (and I looked a lot
As we walked up to the rope, my friends
were let in one after the other—boom, boom, boom. Then, suddenly, my worst
nightmare came true. The bouncer let in
all of my friends, then stopped
me and locked the velvet rope! I’ll never forget his words, “We’re at
My first thought was, “Bullshit—that’s
what they say when
they don’t want to let you in.” My second thought
was, “Get me the hell out of here.” I was mortified and ashamed.
I weighed 316 pounds.
I got into the first cab that I could find
and told the driver to drop me off on the corner of my block, even though I
lived halfway down the street. You see, my local bodega was on that corner, and
it had all my little food friends that medicated me through life’s hard times.
I wasn’t really hungry, yet I hungered for them. It was a deep hunger screaming
out for some kind of anesthetic from the pain, shame, guilt, embarrassment, and
self-loathing I felt at that moment.
The second I walked into that bodega, a
strange calm came over me. It was as if my problem was solved. Before I knew
it, I stood in front of my two best friends—Ben & Jerry. Now the important
questions raced through my mind: New York Super Fudge Chunk? Chunky Monkey? Or
Karamel Sutra! I no longer cared about the humiliating rejection I just faced,
because now I had what I thought was my reward—but what Dr. Peeke calls my
“False Fix.” The truth is, I am a food addict.
I didn’t become 316 pounds overnight.
Packing on the pounds was a process, one that, at times, I don’t want to
re-member. But finally facing what got me there is what has helped me realize
that I never want to be like that again—lost, dissociated from myself, and
hungering for the lies and the quick fix of my food addiction.
I’m an emotional eater. Whether I was sad
or extremely happy, it didn’t matter—every emotion was registered as “hunger”
and filled with food. And my genes and environment conspired against me as
well. The fact that most of my family has weight issues, and the majority of
them are still obese, certainly didn’t help. Sunday dinners at Grandma’s house
had four courses! There was no getting up in the morning to take a walk. We
were clued out.
I had horrendous habits—I
lived from one False Fix to the next. I would order breakfast from McDonalds
every morning. In New York City they deliver! (Shocking, right?) I would order
dinner while I was in the car heading home from work and would eat in bed every
night. I was out of control, living in a food trance. Like any food addict, I
had my favorite False Fixes: chicken Parmesan, Ben & Jerry’s, Entenmann’s
Pop’ems, fried chicken, waffle fries with cheese, Famous Amos cookies. I didn’t
discriminate between sweet and salty—I hungered for all of them. Dr. Peeke has
helped me realize these were the gateway “druglike” foods that just set me up
for a long bingeing fall.
After 9 months of appearing on
Biggest Loser, and subsequently doing a tremendous amount of work on three
important areas—what Dr. Peeke terms Mind, Mouth, and Muscle—I realized I
needed to learn different outlets to help me handle my emotions and stresses
and express all the feelings I’d been numbing with my False Fixes. At times, I
still find myself looking at the dessert table, wishing I could have it all. I
realize now that’s my “inner addict” speaking. It’ll always be with me as I
live in food addiction recovery, but I’ve learned how to turn what used to be a
screaming command to stuff my face into a controlled, barely audible whisper.
My life today is no longer spent obsessing
about how I am going to get my 3 o’clock latte and cookies. I am fully into
what Dr. Peeke describes as a Stage 3 Master Recovery: I have maintained 80
percent of my numeric goal for over 1 year, and I am no longer hungry for the
False Fixes. I reject that False Hunger. Instead, I have keyed into my
hunger, the thing that drives me:
How I can help others embrace a healthy
lifestyle? Now that I have discovered my real hunger for a better life, I’m
following through and completing a master’s in physical education, working as a
body appreciation coach, and serving as the founder/president of my Inspire
I look at the reminders that my current
body and life is what I want forever—photos of myself finishing the New York
marathon, and flying through the finish line at the Kona Ironman triathlon. I
humbly accept the fact that I will never be cured of my food addiction, but I
do believe that I can lead a life of recovery. Every day I have the power to
make the right choice, for my mind, body, and spirit. My own personal slogan
reflects Dr. Peeke’s 24-hour rule perfectly: “Just For Today—I can.”
I have come to understand with crystal
clarity the thing that held me back for years, before my EpiphaME. Most of us
do not understand that once we identify our true hunger, we can set the scope
of our dreams—that no matter how powerful the influences are, we do not have to
be trapped by our environments. This is something Dr. Peeke has been preaching
I will never forget the day that I met Dr.
Peeke. I was running in the
More Women’s Half-Marathon in New York City.
I saw Dr. Peeke from afar—she was surrounded by a huge group of women, all
standing in a circle, just laughing out loud! From that moment, I knew I had to
meet her—I love being around people who make others laugh.
When the festivities of the night began,
Dr. P. got up on stage to deliver her trademark “Go get ’em” prerace dinner
keynote. Instantly, I could see she was a woman with a commanding presence, a
truthful force who was also extremely compassionate. And she was leading her
own team of Peeke Performers in the half-marathon the next day. There were no
ifs, ands, or buts about it—she’s the doc who truly walks her talk. She never
hesitated in accepting the offer to be on my foundation board alongside Lance
Armstrong’s Livestrong team. It couldn’t have been a better fit. I am
privileged to have Dr P. on my board and, more importantly, to have her as a
friend and mentor.
The Hunger Fix doesn’t just present groundbreaking
science on food addiction. It gives you a blueprint to detox and finally move
on to a rich, fulfilling, lifelong recovery—I promise! This book will help you
trigger your own EpiphaME to find your
real hunger for what you want in
life. Then, it’ll take you by the hand through the three-stage process of
reclaim-ing control of your eating, shedding the weight, and training your
brain to fall in love with more fulfilling Healthy Fix rewards—personal
achievements, gratifying relationships, and inner peace. This book helps you to
understand how to win the day-to-day battles so you can end the lifelong war
with yourself, once and for all.
Take it from me—a fellow food addict. Now
is your time. This book will help you take that deep look at who you are and
help you rid yourself of the shame and blame that you might feel because of
your addiction. This book can change your life, if you allow it. You
can get better. You
can learn to find and then feed
your true hunger. You
can do this. Let’s get started on your road to