Bonnie Transforms From a Junk Food Speed Eater to a Mindful Vegetable Lover and Loses 40 Lbs

by | May 16, 2016


“I always wanted to be that person who went to the gym regularly and ate whatever they wanted, I just didn’t know this was how you got there. That person was in me all along.”

Bonnie grew up loving all kinds of foods, especially junk food. She never liked dieting and had come to accept that she would probably always be a size 12.

Fear of developing diabetes like her father eventually prompted her to create a New Year’s resolution to try to be healthier. She slowly added exercise and changed her eating habits, and the weight began to come off until she hit a summertime plateau.

Stuck at the same weight for five months, Bonnie eventually found Summer Tomato and decided to give mindful eating a try. To her surprise she learned she was eating more than double the amount of food her body actually wanted, and that she had a true love for vegetables.

Bonnie is now comfortably a size 8, though she’s not sure what her final size will be. Although she still occasionally treats herself to fast food or sweets, her preferences have changed substantially. She’s happy where she is, but feels like her journey is just starting.

When I asked her if making all these changes was difficult she said, “It was the opposite of hard. It was the opposite of restrictive.”


Links from the show:

‘The Myth of Willpower’ (chapter from Foodist) and free starter kit

The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan

Roger Goes From Hating the Gym to Loving Workouts and Loses 26 lbs Without Noticing

The End of Over Eating, by Dr. David Kessler

How to Eat Half a Donut

How to Make Cauliflower Taste as Good as French Fries



Listen on iTunes

Listen on Stitcher

Listen on Soundcloud


If you’d like to be a guest on the show, please fill out the form here and tell us your story.

Tags: , , , , , ,
You deserve to feel great, look great and LOVE your body
Let me show you how with my FREE starter kit for getting healthy
and losing weight without dieting.

Where should I send your free information?
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

23 Responses to “Bonnie Transforms From a Junk Food Speed Eater to a Mindful Vegetable Lover and Loses 40 Lbs”

  1. Ashley says:

    I’m still listening to this episode as I type, but was so excited about this quote I had to share: Darya what you said about how before mass amounts of processed foods, having more food celebration traditions wasn’t necessarily unhealthy (paraphrasing here…). I love this point! In our food abundant atmosphere, our habits have to be different than the generations before us. Thank you for pointing this out!

  2. Terri says:

    Bonnie said when she listened to her body it wanted vegetables. I’m wondering how exactly she knew that. How do you separate what your brain wants from what your body wants?

    • Kelsey says:

      I “second” this question!

      Darya – I want to thank you for these podcasts. You do *so* much good work, and these make all that work accessible and relatable on so many levels. I find myself relating to *all* your guests in one way or another, and I thank them all for being so transparent and generous with their struggles. Turns out… we’re all dealing with the same junk!

      Which leads me to this week’s podcast… I was nodding and smiling while I was listening, until we came to the point where you two were talking about “listening to your body and not your brain.” This idea is confusing to me and hope you might elaborate or post a link, etc.

      A major part of this journey for me is noticing that my mind and body are so intertwined and not separate entities – like when I’m stressed I actually *feel* hungrier. Thus dealing with the stress is the best way to avoid the compensatory hunger. Right?

      And / or I can deal with emotional stress by going for a crazy sweaty workout because it’s all connected.

      But you and Bonnie weren’t saying “mind” or “emotions,” you were specifically saying “brain,” so I wonder if there’s a nuance here that I’m missing.

      Is it simply the “brain is an energy-hungry organ” thing going on? Or something else?


      • Bonnie A says:

        Hi Kelsey,

        Thanks for your question! The way I determine whether my brain wants something (like sugar) or my body wants something is how I feel after eating it. If I feel satisfied then it was a body hunger. If I feel unsatisfied then it was a brain hunger because the brain is never really satisfied (thanks, Dopamine). Mindful eating, for me, begins when choosing what to eat, eating it, and assessing how I feel after I eat. I hope that helps!

      • Kelsey says:

        Thanks Bonnie, that’s super helpful!

        I’ve read the book, read the entire site, and listened to every podcast. Still I missed that bit until right now (the Dopamine/brain hungry thing).

        I love that all these little nuances can be incorporated over time. THANK YOU!

    • Bonnie A says:

      Hi! Thanks for your question: it is a good one! After I started mindfully eating I would still go to the kitchen looking for something to eat when hungry, like we all do. But instead of just grabbing the easiest thing I’d ask myself, “What am I hungry for?” And more often than not the answer would be some kind of vegetable. I try to have vegetables already prepared so that when I am hungry, and want vegetables, they are just an easy heat up. This combines what I actually want with what is available and makes it an easy decision.

  3. Keli says:

    GREAT episode! Thank you for this work Darya and thank you to Bonnie for sharing her story. So many wonderful takeaways here that feel accessible and manageable as I work to tweak my own healthstyle. I am going to mindfully eat tonight and am looking forward to what I learn!

  4. Ruth Griffin says:

    Hi Darya ,
    Wow ! The podcast with Bonnie was so useful to me . Wonderful. I love the way she hit on the mindful eating and how excited she was about the impact that had on her body . Good for her ! I’m so aware that when I do eat mindfully it pays dividends and also helps me feel so good mentally as well as physically . Darya , have you or anyone out there for any tips / ideas on how to focus and eat mindfully when the person you are eating with is the world champion speed eater?! I do find it difficult to stick to my pace when my partner is eating with me . It’s so much easier when I’m eating on my own !
    I’m sure many aspiring Foodists share this challenge ….
    I’m loving the podcasts ! So many gold nuggets of wisdom from such a wide range of people . Thankyou for being there !

  5. Alice says:

    I bought and tore through David Kessler’s book after listening to this. Conditioned hypereating is EXACTLY what I struggle with…. and it absolutely reinforces everything you say about it not being a willpower issue! He offers some good steps to break those habits that seem very much in line with everything you write about habit breaking/forming… reading The Power of Habit next!

  6. Monica says:

    *BOOM* . . . that was My mind Exploding. Just bought Foodist, The End of Overeating, the Omnivore’s Dilemma and got The Myth of Willpower/starter package as well. Bonnie Resonated with me. Darya, you Resonated with me-I think my Mindful Eating will take a while to establish.
    *I* eat like my plate is going to disappear and It Is Embarrassing. Some of My Kids eat like Their plates are going to disappear and That’s embarrassing because I Know where they got it from.
    Still trying to discern exactly ‘who’ I’m supposed to make inquiries of-my brain, my body, or the Holy Spirit. I Love the idea of just being able to eat whatever is put before me and Getting My Life Back.

    Darya, what drives this Thor like mentality when it comes to consuming food?

    • Darya Rose says:

      I’m excited for you, Monica. I’d start by trying to figure out where you learned that habit to begin with. Did you grow up eating fast? Did you learn it in college? There’s a trigger, and it’s your job to figure it out.

      • Monica says:

        Today is/was my first day of ‘mindful eating’/tuning in and what a Difference it made. I’m Astounded. I actually enjoyed my meal. No bloating (from excessive swallowed air while inhaling food?), no over eating. I skipped to your chapter on Zen/Mindful eating and tried to mindfully eat lunch while reading it. 😉 I realized my trigger. I learned to inhale food between having/nursing/homeschooling nine Wonderful children in 18 years and all that comes with it. Today I got the ‘memo’ that I’m not in that season anymore and I can practice mindful eating. With more thanks than I can express Darya. <3

      • Monica Mansfield says:

        Is it possible that, at the outset of mindful eating, having a need to lose weight, that one’s appetite might be significantly less than ‘normal’ as one’s body burns through the excess substance? So, once the body has reached it’s ideal weight one’s appetite will increase?

        Finding that focusing on chewing the food until it is almost in a ‘pre digested’ form is more ‘comfortable’ than chewing ‘x number of times.’

        On page 42 of your book and highlighting Large portions.
        Many thanks
        Monica 🙂

      • Monica Mansfield says:

        I feel like the epiphanies keep coming :O I realize now that when I would Finally Have to eat, I perceived it as a Shameful activity and that’s why I’d rush through it as fast as possible (standing at the counter, wolfing it down). I think I’d developed some form of orthorexia in that I truly believed that there were ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ foods based on what ‘someone’ said, Not What My body wanted. Walking into the kitchen felt like entering a minefield and I was doomed to defeat. I was Constantly plagued with thoughts of “should I be eating now or should I be fasting?”, “is this the right food/the right quantity?” It Was Exhausting and HORRIBLE.

        I Never felt like I was eating “right.”

        The feelings of inadequacy would eventually totally incapacitate me bringing on that “what the heck” mentality which would further Feed feelings of condemnation. Good Gravy. :/ Now to tackle that Same Thinking regarding exercise!

        I know I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again and again, Darya, I cannot thank you Enough. <3

      • Darya Rose says:

        Oh my! Nice work. I can’t wait to have you on the show as a success story 😀

  7. carol says:

    Is there some way to read the transcripts of the podcasts? I prefer reading over listening. Thank you.

  8. Amy says:

    Bonnie, how did you learn to adjust portion sizes as you were learning how much your body really needed/wanted? I’m afraid to serve myself to little because I might want more and then serve myself too much on the second serving, but I still serve myself too much on the first serving! I’m having a hard time leaving food on the plate even though I know I’m satisfied.

    • Darya Rose says:

      I’d start by asking yourself what the consequence is if you guess wrong? Whether you overeat or undereat at one meal isn’t a very big deal.

    • Bonnie A says:

      Hi Amy! I don’t really adjust portion sizes on my plate. I adjust my portion by eating until I feel about 80% full. A good barometer to figure that out is asking yourself, “If someone came along and took my plate away right now would I be upset?” I usually put more food on my plate than I can eat so I cover it in plastic wrap, put it back in the fridge and save it for my next meal. Before mindful eating I never would have done that!

  9. Elaine Ryan says:

    My mind also exploded! This was my favorite out of many wonderful podcasts. Bonnie’s mindful eating journey is an inspiration to me. I learned to eat fast as a child raised to clean my plate. I’ve since learned that parents should get to pick what and when a child eats but the child should get to decide how much. This was not an option for me as a child and I learned to shovel my food in so as to get the meal “over with.” The realization that I can eat slowly, enjoy my food, and quit when I’m full is life changing!

  10. Hayley says:

    Hi Darya and Bonnie,
    Thanks for the podcast today, it was fascinating from a healthy eater perspective as I know my problem Is more quantity than quality, but I was unsure how to go about reducing amounts without deprivation setting in. I am excited to look into mindful eating and am thrilled to have so many resources to begin my research. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experiences.

What do you think?

Want a picture next to your comment? Click here to register your email address for a Gravatar you can use on most websites.

Please be respectful. Thoughtful critiques are welcome, but rudeness is not. Please help keep this community awesome.