What is a Weight Loss Artist and how in the world did you come up with this concept? Did you invent it? What inspired you?
A Weight Loss ArtistTM is someone who makes art about food instead of eating it and loses weight. It’s part performance piece, as I disappear before your eyes! Although, I did exchange 50 pounds of excess weight for 50 pieces of art.
Yes, I invented the profession.
I’d gone to one of those meetings where people obsess about food and weight. I’d weighed in – highest number ever – and joined the group for the lecture. I was in a state of despair. My eyes brimming with tears, I thought, “I’m never going to make it.” That’s when I heard the voice, “If you think you’re never going to make it, you never will. You’re an artist. Make weight loss an art project.” And so I did.
You were a manager of investor relations for a company before becoming a Weight Loss Artist ™ full time. What motivated you to give up your job and pursue this innovative and creative idea full time? How did your friends, colleagues, and family react to your making a change?
I’d lost over 50 pounds, so I was flying high and feeling pretty cocky. And the response to my website, www.OurLadyofWeightLoss.com, and my Weight Loss Art was tremendous.
The wheels in my head starting turning and the voice in my head got louder and louder, until one day, as I was getting off the F Train at 53rd and Madison Avenue, the Voice wasn’t being so polite or soft spoken.
SHE was SCREAMING: “TAKE A RISK. TRUST. YOU MUST LEAVE THIS JOB. TODAY! DO IT. DO IT. DO IT. GET OUTTA THERE AND ON WITH YOUR OWN PATH. WHERE’S YOUR FAITH, GIRL?”
It was the Trifecta of dares.
1. I dare you to let go of all safety nets.
2. I dare you to be a Weight Loss Artist.
3. I dare you to TRUST and keep on trusting.
So, I went in the office and pulled my boss aside and said, “I can’t do this any longer. I’m leaving."
He said, “What are you going to do?”
I replied, “Be a Weight Loss Artist.” Of course, he’d never heard of the profession. On a certain level, I don’t think he believed I was leaving. We’d worked together for 17 years!
My husband is the most supportive person on the planet. He said, “Do it. Follow your dream, your path.” My mother still says, “Oh, I’m so proud, but I liked it when you had money.”
However, I’d guess that there were some who thought that I’d give it a go – needed a break from work – and after a couple of months would return to the office. But I knew, I knew that I was loving, loving, loving – did I say loving? - what I was doing and that I was going to make enough Weight Loss Art to fill three volumes, write my story and publish a book. I was awake and alive!
I love that you say that you want to inspire people to redirect their frenzied eating into something creative (I've been heard saying that people should redirect their negative emotions and boredom into something creative.) Can you talk more about this idea?
Lots of people think and say, “Oh, you’re an artist. I’m not creative.”
Well, bologna! You are creating your life all the time, and if you’re not actively creating it, you’re creating it in the negative. Being creative is a state-of-mind, an awareness, a focus that takes you away from food and into a happy place.
Here are a number of ways to redirect your eating frenzy:
1. Gardening/Houseplants...new to me. Hugely rewarding. Plants grow and some flower!
2. Floral Design – and I use the word design loosely. WALK to the market and pick up a bouquet and put them in a special place.
3. Walking – Walking not only is a great form of exercise, but I am convinced clears out the cobwebs in my mind. Creative thoughts surface.
4. Dance – You don’t have to be good. You just want to have fun.
5. Crocheting, needlepoint, knitting and quilting - all keep your hands busy. They are easy to travel with. I’m convinced there is a correlation between keeping ones hands busy and not eating.
What's it like to introduce yourself and when people ask what you do, to say you are a Weight Loss ArtistTM? Do you have to deal with people not taking you seriously? Do you care?
I LOVE introducing myself as a Weight Loss ArtistTM. It’s so much fun.
I want to know what people think. I care what they think. But if someone were to tell me that I was crackers, it wouldn’t derail me. I’m following my path – the one I’m sandblasting and creating for myself. It’s not just the road less traveled, it’s a brand new road. A brand new life.
What's been most rewarding about you're doing? Most difficult?
Oh my . . . the most rewarding part I have to say is the emails I get from Our Lady of Weight Loss’s readers They are so heartfelt, and even though I haven’t met these people and they come from a variety of places and walks of life, we are deeply connected. I am so touched and grateful. And if I can help someone lose weight or feel better, how amazing is that?
The most difficult? I think that anyone who is working from home has to be creative about structuring their time and making sure that they get out and walk, talk and see other people. It’s part of the planning/creative process of “how do I want to create this
day?” I ask myself every morning and write a short paragraph. Some of it is a to-do list (not all of it ever gets done.) It sets a tone for the day and gives intention to what I want.
To learn more about Janice and her new book, Our Lady of Weight Loss: Miraculous and Motivational Musings from the Patron Saint of Permanent Fat Removal, check out her website, www.ourladyofweightloss.com.