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  • Writer's pictureKristi Campanella

Interview With Betsy

Updated: Feb 5, 2019

Hi everyone! I was going to post this after the 4th, but since it is done I thought I would go ahead and post today.

This post will be an interview with someone I have not even met in person. As you know I am a Skirt Sports Ambassador (although not a very good one lately). We have a private Facebook group where we can post things for the group. Anyway, I read Betsy's story on there one day and asked her if I could put an interview on my blog because it was very inspiring. She agreed and her answers are below. These are the same questions I gave my friend Lizette, who if you will recall has lost a lot of weight and completely changed what she can do in her life.

I have always been inspired by those who make up their mind that they are going to change their lives and then do it. It takes a lot to continue on the journey after that first step but Betsy has stuck with it. Betsy also has her own blog where she tells her own story so if you would like to read more you can check out her blog here and the "About Me" section. I also like some of her most recent posts, like this one about lap swimming and this one about cycling and someone yelling things at her.

I love the reference to Nemo and Dory in the swimming post. Any of you who know me know that I love Disney movies! I absolutely love Ellen playing Dory in that movie. I have actually caught myself repeating, "just keep running, just keep running" in the voice of Dory when I want to stop running sometimes because I feel spent.

Anyway, back to the interview questions.

1. Me: Can you recall the moment you decided you had to do something about your weight no matter the cost? If so, do you mind sharing what went through your head?

Betsy: July 2011. I woke up one morning and decided things had to change. It wasn’t a single event, a single moment. It was years of little things that finally just tipped everything in the right direction. At my biggest I was 398 pounds, Type 2 Diabetic, injecting 3 times a day, on a handful of prescription meds. I remember thinking ‘I don’t know if this can be done. I’ve failed on countless other diets, but I’m NOT going to die this way….’

2. Me: Were you overweight as a child or only after getting a little older?

Betsy: I was a fat baby. I have struggled with my weight my entire life. Like most chronic dieters, I’ve had a few ‘thin’ moments where I was starving or ‘successful’ on some crazy-ass diet for a brief moment in time. I was solidly overweight/morbidly obese into my 40’s.

3. Me: What was the worst thing for you about being overweight?

Betsy: Hopeless. I felt hopeless. I could NOT see how I was going to lose weight and keep it off without starving, sweating, hurting and then how in the hell do you even begin to keep it off. I could talk about not fitting in airplane seats, breaking furniture, fat-shaming, having to buy specialty clothing from obscure websites, not being able to tie my own shoes. Yeah — that stuff sucks and is very real. But the pervasive hopelessness that I had gotten so fat, so out of shape that there was no way to turn things around… That was the WORST.

4. Me: What kinds of things had you tried before, and what finally worked for you?

Betsy: When I was in high school my mom intercepted an envelope I was mailing. It was a check for a ‘product’ that I’d found in the back of a magazine. I was trying to buy a pill that contained a tapeworm for ‘instant’ weight loss. Needless to say that was not a successful attempt. I was in Weight Watcher’s before I was a teenager. I have tried — short of surgery — every diet you can conceive or imagine. If they’ve had a pill/book/storefront/TV commercial — I’ve tried it. (If you read her blog you will see that hard work and perseverance worked for her.)

5. Me: Why don’t you think the previous things were successful? (besides the fad diets)

Betsy: I wasn’t tackling the core issues. Behavior. It was all about WHY, not entirely about what… I was a candidate for gastric by-pass. I remembered thinking ‘They’re going to cut out part of my gut. If I don’t change the behaviors I STILL won’t be able to keep the weight off…’ I watch people start ‘diets’ and completely ignore the core behavior changes that have to occur. Gastric surgical interventions have an alarming HIGH failure rate because it largely fails to tackle the behavior issues. And I have Binge Eating Disorder (BED), (You can read her post about BED here.) so I HAD to begin to tackle the reasons why I used food instead of handling my emotions and life in other ways. CORE issues…

6. Me: Has losing the weight changed your life in any drastic way? Besides being healthier. 😊

Betsy: I have run a 100 miler and other ultra-distances on trail. :) I’ve become a runner/biker/hiker/athlete and have this amazing tribe of humans who are new-found, outdoor-loving family in helping me push boundaries and learn just how much LIFE there is to live now that I’m fit and healthy. I have more energy, I can buy clothes at just about any store, I no longer spend time monthly with my doctor. :) It would sound cheesy to say my life is entirely different, but it would be oh-so-true… My life is entirely different than was 7 years ago.

7. Me: What kinds of things do you do now that you were unable to do before you lost the weight? (I realized too late that this question was a bit redundant.)

Betsy: Oops. See above. :)

7. Me: What is your favorite thing about losing the weight? For instance, wearing cute clothes, looking great working out, feeling better, etc.

Betsy: Losing 200+ pounds has taught me that I’m capable of ANYTHING. That is my favorite thing. I thought it would be wearing cute clothes, simply NOT standing out, not having to figure out if I could fit through a doorway, or if someone was making fun of me. I think the first time I bought something that wasn’t ‘large sized’ — that was a cry-in-the-dressing-room-and-text-my-friends out of pure joy kind of moment. :) But the most favorite thing? I now know I can do anything…

8. Me: What tips do you have for others trying to either lose or maintain their weight? What things have helped you?

Betsy: Life, and the big changes we might have to make to get healthy, are all a process. A non-linear, personal, chaotic, messy, yet-oddly-perfect process. You will have to find what works for you. Make LITTLE changes and see where they take you. I used to want to smack someone when they said ‘the weight didn’t come on overnight, you aren’t going to lose it overnight.’ But… It’s true. I remember thinking ‘I’ve been eating ‘good’ and drinking water for a FULL DAY, why isn’t all of this weight GONE.’ :) The truth is that I lost 220 pounds over 6 years and learned to run over 2 years and I’m still working to find the sustainable path for my life and my body.

9. Me: What are your thoughts on using smaller plates and bowls or even a favorite plate or bowl for eating as it relates to weight maintenance? (I only ask this because I read it so often, even in my nutrition book and I often wonder to people use this and does it work? I have tried it for myself to help keep portions under control.)

Betsy: I’m more concerned about what’s on the plate. These are OK tools/cues to help us adjust to serving sizes, but I would be more concerned about the food choices going on the plate.

10. Me: What are some things you really want to do in your life now that you didn’t think possible when you were overweight?

Betsy: I’m already doing it. I didn’t wait until I was at my ‘perfect’ weight either — I started bravely/stupidly tackling things as I was on my way to healthy. I walked a 10K at 280+ pounds. :) I run, swim, hike, blog about my journey, coach other people looking at triple-digit weight loss. I am committed to staying healthy and deeply committed to helping others find their path to healthy.

11. Me: What would you say to your teenage self if you could?

Betsy: You’ve got one body. One life. Be brave, live fearlessly no matter your fitness or size. Move more. Eat just to keep your body fueled for what you want to do. Don’t mistake food for comfort or reward. Love on yourself no matter what, because hating your body isn’t going to be the force to make your life/body what you want it to be… Love is. :)

Betsy Hartley

I’m 49 years old, 5’7” and right about 180 pounds now. L/XL/12-14(ish). I was 398 pounds at my highest recorded weight and wore a 5X.

Here is a picture of Betsy when she started her journey.

Here is one of her now.

WOW! If that doesn't inspire you that you can do what you put your mind to then something is wrong with you!! I feel like such a pathetic wimp after reading what Betsy has done and how she has stuck with it!! It definitely goes to show that the things that matter to you take hard work to achieve.

I want to thank Betsy for agreeing to answer my questions and I hope that one day I get to meet her in person!

Happy Running and Happy Life,



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