About Me

Nell Kauls

Nell Kauls

My name is Nell, and I am a wife and mother in my early forties living in St. Paul. Born in 1971, I was a member of the first generation of kids to be raised primarily on the time-saving, cheap processed food that is now the norm. I loved the canned ravioli, packaged snack cakes, and cheese doodles. Over the years, I gained a lot of weight and was put on Weight Watchers for the first (and not last) time in 8th grade. I joined and dropped out of Weight Watchers about 13 times in as many years.

When I started to work with Kara Carper at Nutritional Weight and Wellness in June of 2008, I despaired that I would never lose the weight. I got my food plan from Kara, some supplements to take, and recipes, which began my journey down a road to better health and weight loss.

My motivation for blogging about my experience is that I don’t think many people tell the truth about what it means to lose weight and keep it off long term. With an over-reliance on celebrity spokes people and quick fix diets that makes up the diet industry, there is a lot of room for the truth and information about what really works. I will talk to you about the realities of losing a large amount of weight (I lost 90 pounds!). I also want to share practical tips with you about what I am doing to lose weight and keep it off.

Nell before 87 pound weight loss

Stats: I am 5’10, 267 pounds in this picture. My BMI is 38.6, edging very close to the dreaded morbidly obese range. I suffered from insulin resistance, allergies, skin problems, shortness of breath, etc. I know this is a hideous sweater and, yes, I am wearing a bra. This is the ONLY picture of me at my heaviest weight. Enough said.

Nell After 87 Pound Weight Loss

Stats: I am 5’11 (that’s right, yoga has given me an inch in height over the past year!) and 180 pounds, with a BMI of 25.5. I may have a bit of lingering insulin resistance, but it is mostly gone. My allergies and sinus problems are almost gone. Skin issues are a thing of the past. And shortness of breath, I don’t even get this in the insane 100 degree yoga room!


39 Comments on “About Me”

  1. It’s genuinely very complex in this full of activity life to listen
    news on TV, thus I only use web for that reason, and take the most up-to-date information.

  2. Silvia says:

    Omg, you r absolutely gorgeous! jujst found your blog. To lose all the weight you did, have you done any kind of surgery or was just diet and exercises?

  3. My Homepage says:

    Does your website have a contact page? I’m having a tough time locating it but, I’d like to shoot you an email.
    I’ve got some suggestions for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it develop over time.

  4. Hi! I love your blog! It is exactly what I need on my “down” days where I need some inspiration. I have recently switched to a “paleo” diet aka living the Weight and Wellness way. However, the scale has not budged at all. I also have not lost any inches. I workout 6/7 days a week with a mix of cardio and weight training.

    Do you have any suggestions for me?

    • Great. One of the things that I learned was that too much vigorous exercise kept me from losing fat. Because you are working out so much, sometimes it would kick off cravings for carbs and backfire. If also put my body in conserve mode.

      One of the things I’m going to try is limiting the starch and stick with mainly leafy green for my carbs. Also limit or cut out dairy.

      Those are my fall backs when the scale won’t move. Oh and hot yoga.

      Sent from my iPhone

      • S S says:

        Nell, i remember you once mentioning on Dar’s show the supplement you take b/c of doing hot yoga. Was it zinc! Magnesium glyconate? I am getting to hot flow classes several times a week now and want to follow up on this. Thank you!

      • Zinc! You lose zinc when you sweat. Hope this helps.

        Sent from my iPad

  5. Cheryl S. says:

    Hi Nell,

    Thank you so much for taking time to inspire our group at NWW in Lakeville last night. It was a pleasure to meet you. I have to tell you that you are even more beautiful in person than in your photos.

    • Wow! Thank you for coming. Thank you too for your compliment. I get inspiration from you all. This is such a complex and difficult journey sometimes. We need each other. I felt so alone when I was on my journey. i am so glad you enjoyed the session!

  6. Dana says:

    HI Nell!

    I like your blog a lot, and it was in large part your guest spot on Dishing up Nutrition that encouraged me to make the move from downloading past radio shows (per suggestion of my therapist to combat anxiety) to getting my own nutrition consultation.

    I have a question for you as a fellow ex-WW disciple: When you made the transition to NWW, did you ever feel emotionally uncomfortable with NOT being hungry? Like guilty or alarmed or even out right angry? My first stint with WW at 16 was the most seemingly successful. I lost 20 lbs and 6% body fat, and my mom was pushing me to lose another 15 lbs, but I had to quit because I was weepy, obsessed by hunger, and spending 3 hrs a day swimming or in Bikram yoga in the effort to get enough Activity Pts. Every successive attempt had been similar, usually with a pizza binge at the end. Oh how I loved the original version of Domino’s Cheesybread.

    I KNOW I should be happy about how energetic I feel, and that I’ve already lost 3 lbs in less than a week, but I’m finding myself trying to go back to skipping meals or snacks. I think subconsciously I still feel like I need to be in serious pain from hunger and exhausted to lose weight. Did you ever feel anything like that, and what did you do to overcome it?

    • I am so glad you like the blog. That makes me feel so good! I am glad you have found this way of eating.

      OF COURSE I felt this way. It is eerie how similar our WW experience is. That plan trains you to value things like “hunger” and to do crazy things like try to earn activity points so that you have enough points to eat the food you clearly need. The longest I was ever able to stay on Weight Watchers was 4 months, followed by crazy binges that included soaking hot dog buns in maple syrup.

      The hunger thing is so strange, isn’t it? Every once in awhile I find myself “rebelling” against the Weight and Wellness plan by skipping my snacks and delaying meals. It is very natural. We have had it drilled into our heads (via Biggest Loser, WW, conventional wisdom) that hunger for overweight people is the norm and it is also our punishment for being fat. It’s really crazy. So why wouldn’t we be alarmed by the good feelings of satiation, energy, and that these feelings can lead to weight loss?

      I think we try to accept these times, and do our best to get in all the meals and snacks. I think we also be realistic that these “skipping” times are just as normal and natural as the “cheating” times. The trick is to just minimize their occurrences over time. In the long run, they won’t make that big of a difference and you will achieve long term weight loss!

      Keep reading and commenting when you have questions.

  7. Ann Patterson says:

    Also, you are so pretty. You should have someone take a picture of you with better lighting…hard to see your smile!! 🙂

  8. Ann Patterson says:

    Hi Nell. I just found you yesterday and you feel like a kindred spirit/old friend already. I too had my first-of many-experience with WW in 8th grade. I went to their camp in Boone, NC. I have starved, binged, gained, lost, chronic cardiod, struggled with my weight forever. My mom said I used to cry for more when I was a toddler. Through a long series of health issues (I believe caused in large part by this distructive lifestyle), I finally discovered the idea of Paleo and LCHF about 3 years ago and have peice by peice adopted it into my life-not without falling on and off the wagon! It has been a total Godsend! Like you, my old daemons are never too far away, but this Plan for Eating has ended my lifelong hunger and given me some ability to trust and honor the body I was born with. I am 53 years old, married for 25 years and the mother of 4 children. Like you, I am crazed by the destructive message being fed the public, and most of all to the parents trying to help their children. It is a crime that our government funds corn, soy and sugar production. It’s overwhelming at times, but then I discover people like you who are so generously spreading and sharing a message that can lead to hope and wellness. I am still working to find a way to plug in to getting the message out. Your message, so personal and honest and heartfelt is priceless. Thank you for sharing! Truly inspired.

    • We are kindred spirits. I am so happy to hear your story. I too get so frustrated, but people like you keep me going. I just heard a story about the recommendations to “cut the fat” in school lunches. Yes, the trans fats. But low fat is why kids are so hungry. I happily cook all of my kid’s food in butter and coconut oil.

      I didn’t know WW had a camp!? I think of all the year’s I suffered on those low fat plans and I cringe!

      Keep spreading the word. I love hearing from you!

  9. j says:

    Nell,
    I am in week 9 of the NWW for weight loss series. I came to hear you speak at the beginning of my journey. I stepped on the scale today and I am heavier. Did you ever gain weight and then start losing? I am a little frustrated.

    • Of course you are! I went a whole year of NOTHING happening. I started this in June 2008 and didn’t start losing until June 2009. My body needed so much time to heal (which I initially thought was BS), but it was true. The other thing and reason you might be a bit heavier is that healing your digestive tract often leads to better nutrient absorption, thus a few extra pounds for a while. I say work with your nutritionist to really troubleshoot this. The other thing that I did was I started walking a lot and doing yoga. I think adding this along with eating well 95% of the time initially was the tipping point. Once I started losing, I lost consistently. It has slowed down now as I try to lose the last 10 pounds. I am losing about 2 pounds a month. Really slow, but I am so confident that the 90 pounds won’t come pack.

      I truly believe this approach is what works for the long term. I think about where I would be if I did go to Weight Watchers for the 15th time back in June 2008. I probably would be over 300 pounds, rather than 4 years later 90 pounds down.

      Believe me. I know how frustrating the slow pace can be. Please read my posts about the emotional side of weight loss (from 2 weeks ago). I applied these principles along with the diet to find success.

      Take care and hang in there. I know it will work for you.

  10. jillianmckee says:

    Hi,

    I have a quick question about your blog, do you think you could email me?

    Jillian

  11. Hi, I just realized I could ask you my questions here on your blog…I’m a little slow… (this is Linda from twitter).

    I have a hard time choosing acceptable carbs to balance out a snack or meal. What besides sweet potatoes – ?? Fruit?? I lost 120 pounds after having bariatric surgery and cutting down on carbs and sugar. But I gained 15 back – which they said I would do (grrr). I want to lose some more and get healthier in the process. It took me over a month to finally get control and stop snacking on cookies and crackers! Christmas did me in this year. I asked for help and then found the podcasts – an answer to prayer! I’m making big changes in my food choices and thinking of purging everything in the closets!

    Also, went to make Egg Bake – what kind of sausage would you use? Supermarket package is just crap!! Same thing for the home fries (I will make my own!) Are there acceptable products from TJ’s or Whole Foods? As I am shopping, I’m increasingly aware of how processed MOST foods are!! I am concerned with the artificial sugars – trying to totally eliminate them. Using stevia, but don’t like it in tea – so used to honey (not good!) I had been using so many artificial products – I even found a manitol honey to use!

    I guess, like others here, I really would like to see more examples of balanced meals and snacks.

    Thank you for being an inspiration.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hi Nell –

    I heard NW&W ad on My Talk 107.1 FM with you talking about your experience and was inspired to take the Nutrition for Weightloss Class. I had my first class last Saturday. I have been “overweight” all of my life. My dad to used to tease me when I was a kid that when I was a baby, I was too fat to sit up (I know, right?). I have tried every single diet, fad and program out there, including an eating disorder clinic. I have lost significant amounts of weight on three separate occasions. By that, I mean over 50 lbs. Over the past three years, I have managed to gain over 100 lbs. Your voice on the radio ad made me realize that it’s not about a diet, it’s about changing my choices and lifestyle. I just wanted to say THANK YOU for being the voice that helped me decide to do something for me.

    • This means so much to me! Thank you for leaving a comment! I am so glad I inspired you to start what I know will be the last time that you lose the weight. I know. I have been so up and down, I lost track. I remember almost every cruel thing people said to me about my weight as well. I have to say, you have inspired me to keep going with this lifelong journey!

  13. Barbara says:

    Hi Nell,
    I have finally saved enough for a phone consult with NW&W staff and was wondering if I should ask for anyone in paticular for me. I am in pretty good health, but high blood pressure (mostly managed due to better eating but still “borderline”) and am dealing with about 30 extra pounds that are painfully slow in coming off. Also, I am in early menopause. I also am going in to the doctors to ask for bloodwork-I was thinking I should have it done before my phone appointment. Will NW&W let me know what I should ask to have done specifically? If you could just point me in the right direction, I’d appreciate it! I just want to use my precious funds wisely. Also, did you hear Dar on Jimmy Moore’s podcast? My respect and admiration for her grew leaps and bounds. I thought she was fabulous and insightful–as always! Thank you for all your posts recently. I’m on my 3rd viewing of Gary Taube’s lecture and get something new out of it every time! Keep up the great work!

    • This is such good news! Getting the bloodwork done beforehand is a great idea. That way the nutritionist can interpret the results from a nutrition perspective. I would just send an email with your issues in advance of the appointment so you get specific tests to ask for. Also, they will send you a complete health survey for you to complete before the appointment,

      I love Kara, but she is going on maternity leave. I know that Wendy Cates-Dancer is a hormone expert. She teaches a class about it. I also have seen Anna and Cassie, and they are both super awesome!

      Hope this helps!
      Nell

      • Barb says:

        Thanks for the definitely helpful input–I will let you know how it goes. Maybe others will be interested in how the long distance counseling goes. I sure wish my health insurance would help pay for such a valuable service.

        Thanks again Nell for all you do,
        Barb

  14. More posts! we miss you and need inspiration!

  15. Sarah says:

    I was just reading your post on what you eat. You are balancing protein, carbs, and fat. Now, I hate counting things or numbers, but are you just making sure you eat a serving of each every time you eat? I just need a jumping off point. I can eliminate grains easily as they upset my system so much.

  16. Sarah says:

    I stumbled across your blog while googling about cravings and losing weight. I cried when I read your latest posts as I so needed to read and hear from someone who’s made it. Who overcame the damn advice from family doctors of “eat less and move more”, from personal trainers “to do 3 hours of cardio each day”, from dieticians who keep pushing “8-10 servings of whole grains per day”.

    I am 5’7 and 300 lbs. I am 33 years old and I have two gorgeous little girls. I was a normal weight until I started the birth control pill at age 20 and it burned the snot out of my thyroid gland. It took until my second daughter was born before the doctors finally believed (and 100 lbs of extra weight!) that my thyroid gland wasn’t functioning well. 50 more lbs later they decided to try and do something about it. In the meantime I have developed skin problems, allergies, gluten intolerance, insulin resistance, chronic hives. I have always had a dairy and soy allergy. I love a primal style eating and am happy to read of your success with this type of model. You are truly an inspiration and I thank you so much for writing your success and struggles.

    My goal is to let the gorgeous women stuck inside this hideous fat suit shine through. I want to be able to jump in excitement when my girls ask me to take them swimming. I’ve been so depressed about it lately I was beginning to wonder how I was going to go to work each day.

    Thank you so much. I think you may have saved my sanity 😀

    • I am so touched by your comment. Yes, it does feel hopeless until it doesn’t. I am struggling with cravings, but I know how to handle them. Yes, the doctors advice is usually very disappointing on this front. I am so happy you are pursuing a paleo plan. It is the closest thing to what I am following with Nutritional Weight and Wellness.

      I have to say, it does feel good to lose the weight. And you will start feeling it too!

  17. Jane says:

    It is great to see the new you! I am just under 6′ tall and about 240 pounds. (Nice to hear about someone else who is tall!) The last 30-40 pounds added in less than 12 months from sheer laziness and now it seems insurmountable!! I have only just found your blog and will now follow to see what I can learn from you. Thanks for sharing!

    • Great to hear from you! Remember you are 27 pounds less than when I started. It does feel hopeless at the beginning. I just read the new Gary Taubes book. I recommend it for anyone starting out on this journey. I will keep writing to help motivate you!

  18. Jennie says:

    Please keep writing! I took Cara’s class and believe that eating the Wellness Way is the only way to go, but your blog has been more motivational and helpful that any other blog I’ve seen. Thanks for your very detailed advice, references, menu ideas, and suggestions. You are inspiring me!

  19. Wow, your story is very inspirational! You look fantastic. I can feel your healthy vibe right through the internet.
    Diane

  20. Jessica says:

    Nell, you are off-the-charts adorable and inspriational. Thanks for your wonderful blog. Bracing honesty and a terrific story.

    Your journey has been remarkable, and I know that others will benefit from your personal story. Thanks for sharing it with the world.

    Hoping to connect with you soon!

    Jessica (Jenn Mears sister)

    • It is so great to hear from you Jessica! Jen told me she would send you my blog. Thank you for the kind words. I am so glad you are enjoying the blog. I am recovering from strep throat, so my latest post is a little late. I think you will like it though. All about how to plan to eat healthy. Can’t wait to connect with you!


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