Leanne Nalani

Chapter 1:

Prologue to First Weight Loss

“It’s not that some people have willpower and some don’t. It’s that some people are ready to change and others are not.” – James Gordon


“Can I get as small as my sister?” This was the question I asked my mom when I was an obese 13-year-old. Obese and sick of it. She, being the realist, set me straight as she told me it was unlikely.

I’d been obese my whole life. Well, I was born an underweight preemie, actually. I just couldn’t remember ever being a normal weight.


My older sister Malia is 3 1/2 years older than me. She’d always been lean and athletic, loved her dance classes, and was a little bit of a tomboy.

Easter, I was 11

As the annoying little sister I was constantly following her around and trying to mimic her every move.

When my mom affirmed that I could lose weight but not to the extent of having Malia’s svelte silhouette, it’s like something clicked in my brain. I wasn’t angry at all; on the contrary I believed her. After all I was quite obese for my age.

13 Years Old

But it was time to figure things out. With no plan in mind, I started by stopping. Stopping the Orange Crush pop and Doritos covered in melted cheddar cheese. Stopping the entire large Pizza Hut stuffed crust pizzas and weekly trips to McDonald’s. Stopping between-meals junk food snacking. No person, TV program, or magazine needed to tell me that was part of the problem.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. No seconds. Yes, I was hungry. My stomach got used to it.

I started using my parents’ treadmill before school. There were a few times when I exercised in the morning and at night. It was always a priority and I did it when it fit best into my schedule.

Gradually the weight began to drop. By eighth grade I’d lost a good deal of weight.

Hawaii, Summer Before 8th Grade

Even so, my morbidly obese great Aunty Lulu told me I had a big okole (butt). I could have slapped her but I probably said something snarky instead.

By freshman year my goal weight had been achieved. I got a boyfriend, too. Of course we broke up and I went stag with my girlfriends to the end-of-year 9th grade dance, but whatever.

9th Grade Dance

Cheers to success! By the beginning of 10th grade I met my first serious boyfriend. We were together for four years, but that’s another story.

Hawaii, Summer Before 10th Grade

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