Wednesday, April 10, 2013

How Caitlyn Has Helped Me…Twice

It’s been thrown out there that Caitlyn, my heroine from Extreme Love, is based around my own weight loss issues. What I’d like to share with you now is MY story and how Caitlyn helped me. Twice. I’ll get to the second time later. 

This was me in 2004. 

I weighed 245 pounds and wore a size 22/24 depending on the cut of the pants and a 2XL shirt. Btw—that’s my daughter I’m holding. Wasn’t she the cutest baby ever!

Up to this point, I spent my entire life overweight. This was a rare picture I allowed to be taken of me. Even though I was unhappy with my weight, had tried every diet known to man, had joined gyms more times than I could count, I never succeeded. After my twins were born, I started to realize how badly the extra weight was pulling me down. So on New Year’s Day 2005, I made the archaic resolution to lose weight and get into shape. I went down to my local YMCA and joined. And my weight-loss journey began. 

This was me in 2008. 

I weighed 167 pounds and wore a size 12. It took me over two years to lose 80 pounds. I did not lose weight easily, I struggled for every. Single. Pound. 

I was in a really bad place in 2008. I’d finally lost a ton of weight, 80 pounds was nothing to snerk at, so why didn’t I feel better about myself? Why was I still scowling at my reflection in the mirror? Still picking apart every single flaw? Still had years of inadequate thoughts pounding me from the inside, making me see a person who was no longer there? 

On top of that, I felt lost, caught between two worlds and I didn’t feel like I belonged in either one of them. I’d always known who I was, but for the first time, I didn’t think I knew myself at all. The confusion, the constant back and forth with myself, started eating me alive. I needed to get it out.

So I started writing Extreme Love. I combined how I felt as I lost the weight with how I felt after I had it off.

Caitlyn became my catalyst. Every conflicting thought, every insecurity, every desire I had to change my thought process, I put into her. As I got all those emotions out, as I sobbed while writing scenes, telling Caitlyn the things I knew I needed to accept as well, as I wrote her growth…I grew. I started putting the inner demons that made me still see the size 22 woman in the mirror to rest. By the time I was done writing Extreme Love, I felt emotionally cleansed. And my life as a size 12 woman finally started and I embraced her.

That was the first time Caitlyn helped me.

The second time has been recent. Like in the last three months recent. 

I never did lose another pound, but I kept the 80 pounds off for five years. During this time, I had two back surgeries, separated from my husband, moved three times, became a single mom, and started working outside the house on a more full-time basis. My weight would creep up with each incident, but I was always able to get it back down.

Then last February, I signed a three book contract with Entangled. Four months after that, I signed another three book contract. I had deadlines coming out the wazoo. I had another job. I was a single mom. I had four books to write with limited time. (Soooo not complaining, writing is my dream). But during this time, I lost my way. I started thinking things like, once I finish this book I’ll get back on the wagon. Well, I finished that book, and then edits would come in. And I’d think, when I finish these edits, I’ll have more time.

You see the pattern.

Over this last year, I have gained back 40 pounds of the 80 I lost. I’d sworn to myself I would never let that happen, but I had. And all the bad started coming back, everything I’d worked so hard to put to rest resurfaced and hit me like a freight train. I didn’t want my picture taken. I didn’t want to look in the mirror. The scowling when I did look. I started hiding again. Making excuses for why I couldn’t go out.

Then my edits for Extreme Love came in three months ago.

And I started reading, editing…remembering

Each scene I worked on reminded me of everything I had fought so hard to change. I’d been in such a dark place, had struggled to free myself from its paralyzing grip. And I had broken free, it’d taken time and writing a book to do it, but I had, and I sure as hell didn’t want to go back.

Yes, I have deadlines. Yes, I’m a single mom. Yes, I have another job. Yes, my time is extremely limited. But I have to make time for me…and I did. I got back into the things I’d put off that made me feel good about myself, that made me smile. In the process, I’ve lost 20 of those 40 pounds. The funny thing is, I’m sitting at a size 14/16 right now, but I’m looking at my reflection the way I finally did after I wrote Extreme Love—with pride.

I’ve learned during my lifetime struggle that it’s not your size or weight that matters, it’s how you feel about yourself and getting rid of the negativity we bludgeon ourselves with. The key is finding what helps change the way you think. The obstacle is taking the time to find that key.

Caitlyn helped me find mine. Twice.

So thank you, Caitlyn, for helping me through my journey and always being a reminder of where I’ve come from. 


I want to celebrate my upcoming release of Extreme Love by giving away a $20 Gift-card to the bookstore of your choice. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address and I will choose a winner on April 30th. 

New body. New clothes. New men.

Used to the average Joe, Caitlyn Moore is overwhelmed when the supremely masculine Dante Jones walks into her life and expresses an interest in her. At first she pushes him away, refusing to encourage the attention of a cage fighter. Then she learns Dante has a love ‘em and leave ‘em reputation. What better way to fine-tune her non-existent flirting skills than with a male who won’t stick around? But Dante has no intention of being a practice dummy; he’s out for all or nothing. Now Caitlyn must accept Dante—violent career and all—or let him go.

Dante “Inferno” Jones has one goal: win the Welterweight Championship. At a time when focus is crucial, the last thing he needs is a distraction. Yet Caitlyn Moore becomes a challenge he can’t resist. When the light-hearted pursuit shifts to a battle to win her heart, his focus is shot. Faced with losing the biggest match of his career, Dante must decide if his extreme life also has room for Extreme Love.

Thank you for stopping by and letting me share my story. 


  1. So you don't know this, but the first time you talked about your weight loss experience I read your blog. And it stayed with me. For a very long time. And actually years later I thought about it and it was the catalyst for my own weight loss. I'm down 51 pounds now with a bit more to go. I've been feeling sort of stalled and frustrated the last few weeks. But you just helped me again. After reading this I'm once again revitalized. Can't wait to read your book!!

  2. You just made me tear up, Rebecca. Thank you! Major congrats on the your weight loss!

  3. What a great post!

    Caitly is going to speak to so many woman. Thank you, Abby, for having the guts to write the physically "imperfect" heroine.

  4. I loved this post and can't wait to check out your book

    1. Thank you for letting me share it with you, Bernadette!

  5. I can totally relate to this. I've let all my weight come back and then some. Gotta get back in gear and get rid of at least some of it. Can't wait to read the book.

    1. You got this, Melesia!! Thanks for stopping by!

  6. What a wonderful success story, for both the weight loss and the sale of your books. I just bought Defying Convention and preordered Extreme Love. Can't wait to get started.

    1. Thank you, Jan! And thank you for stopping by!

  7. Thanks or sharing....a wonderful personal story...I can definitely appreciate the struggle...I believe we have to do and find what truly makes us happy and then happiness will flow to the rest of our life....

    1. Perfectly said, Susie, and I completely agree! Thank you for stopping by!

  8. Hi Abby!

    It's very hard to bring pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard ;p) on personal issues like yours. I'm turning 18 next month, and believe it or not, I know exactly how difficult it is to show the world even a glimpse of your struggles. I may not have weighed 245 pounds, but I had a very low self-esteem when it came to my image. In Gr. 8, I had all the belly rolls and loved food. lol ;p And I guess somewhere along the way I got tired of hearing people talk crap about me. So, before starting high school, I got it in my head that I would do whatever it took to loose weight and become me. And I did....I went from 150 pounds to 130 pounds, but I wasn't happy. That's when I stopped eating. Everything I would eat, I would feel guilty about, so I found it easier to just "forget" my meals. During this time I survived on granola bars and water. If I hadn't gotten the threat of a tube being shoved down my throat by my doctor if I didn't eat, I think I would have wasted away. I slowly started to turn things around. I would eat and exercise to keep myself happy. I went from 130 pounds to 117 pounds, now, and I am happy even if once in a while I do have my image issue moments. But I have learned that people don't matter when they put you down. What matters is keeping yourself happy and only hearing things about yourself from people who love you.

    What I'm trying to say is, hearing stories like yours, it's reassuring to know that you're not the only person who has struggled with similar issues and I want to thank you for having the confidence to share your story. I truly appreciate it, and I hope other women can read this and get inspired as well.

    And I also want to congratulate you on your amazing writing career and overcoming! YAY! :D

    Now, I can't wait to meet Caitlyn. I have a very strong feeling she is going to be a fantastic inspiration! :D

    ~ Maida
    Literary Love Affair 

    1. Maida,

      I would hug you if I could, but I can't, so I will settle for a (((cyberhug))). Your story got me right in the heart! Thank you for sharing it! So glad you were able to find a balance with eating and exercise, and in the process found your happiness.

      I think the biggest growth a person can have is when the nasty comments made by others no longer holds any weight on your happiness. I know very well what its like to have people direct rotten comments toward me. And, boy, it used to bring me down so bad, but you hit the nail on the head. It's not what those people think, its what I think about myself. And I am so proud of you for realizing that at such a young age. It took me sooooo much longer to get to that place.

      You are an inspiration! Thank you for stopping by, and sharing this!

    2. Wow. Abby and Maida, you have both inspired me to continue on my recently started journey toward a healthier, slimmer me.

      I love my curves but have recognized I need to lose some weight in the belly area.

      I'm done with gaining only, it's time to be a healthy me :)

      Thankfully I've got support at work and from my BFF :)

      I loved your book Abby and can't wait to post my review!

      U2beegees (at) yahoo (dot) ca

    3. I'm so glad you enjoyed Extreme Love, Sasha! Thank you so much for taking the time to read it! Good luck with your journey!

  9. Hi Abby, I also loved Extreme Love.  Like everyone else, I'm also struggling with weight issues but I've finally made the decision to DO something about it, instead of wishing away the pounds (oh, if only that worked!).  I found EL to be very inspirational...and hot as hell! Lol!  I get on the elliptical and the weight machines everyday thinking about my end goal and hoping to have a good self image when I get close to my goal weight (about 60 pounds away now!).  I've lost about 30-40 pounds already and even though I have setbacks all the time, I just keep thinking that tomorrow is a new day and I can start fresh! I can't wait to meet the skinnier, healthier version of my current badass self and that's what keeps me going!  Thanks for writing an awesome book!  I promise to get my review finished this week!  Lol! ;)

    1. Wouldn't it be awesome if we could wish away the pounds?!?! If only...

      Major congrats on your weight loss!!! I know how hard of a struggle it is, and I had sooooo many setbacks too. But you have the correct mind-frame. Tomorrow is a new day. I told myself that so many times! And it kept me moving forward.

      Wishing you much luck on the rest of your journey!
      And I'm sooooo glad you enjoyed Extreme Love!

  10. Thank You for being 'real'!! You are most definitely an inspiration Ms. Niles & I am SO glad that I found You!! <3

  11. Thank you so much, Maari Krogfoss!!! <3 back at you!