Beauty & Body Health & Fitness

Can You Really Can Lose Weight While Eating the Foods You Love?

Have you ever wanted to “have your cake and lose weight, too?” Well, now you can, according to weight loss and fitness expert Helen M. Ryan’s inspirational new book, 21 Days to Change Your Body (and Your Life). (Bonus! LA’s the Place readers can download a free chapter.)

Diet books are dime a dozen, but Ryan’s book is different in that it focuses on becoming healthier and losing weight while still enjoying your life. “The reason why diets don’t work,” says Ryan, a certified fitness professional, “is that people have trouble following them. They are too restrictive or too complicated, and you end up falling ‘off the diet wagon’ completely because you ate a few French fries.

Helen M. Ryan 21 Days to Change Your Body

Author Helen M. Ryan. Before (l) and after (r) weight loss


According to Ryan, a big obstacle to weight loss is the “all or nothing, black or white” approach so many books and programs subscribe to. She herself fell victim to that same way of thinking, moving up eleven dress sizes in the process.

Knowing all too well the challenges and tears that being overweight brings, in the book Ryan shares her personal story of being stuck in an unhappy 20-year marriage and running an unfulfilling business. She had let go of her goals and dreams, and ate her life away in misery, carrying almost 200 pounds on her 5 foot tall frame. “I tried to diet a million times, and a million times I failed,” she writes. “Day after day, Monday after Monday, New Years after New Years I would vow to ‘start fresh,’ and this time, darn it, I would succeed. But that success didn’t come”.


What eventually turned the tide around for this mother of two was a monumental life-changing experience: sitting at her father’s bedside and holding his hand while he died. “At that very moment”, she says quietly, “when he drew his last breath, I realized that I too would die, and I would die without accomplishing anything I had wanted to, or helping anyone. My life would not have mattered”. At that point she faced a hard decision: stay on the same course and do nothing, or change her life and save herself. She chose to save herself.

Helen M. Ryan  21 Days to Change Your Body

Part of that decision involved a complete lifestyle change, and also pursuing her dreams again. “After I lost the weight I started teaching Spinning® classes and training clients so I could make a difference in other people’s lives”, says Ryan. “Seeing a student or client reach goals and milestones they never thought they could reach makes me very happy and I am glad to be here to share it with them.”


Big swim trunks before weight loss - Helen M. Ryan

Two people fit in my old swim trunks

Before making her life change Ryan wore a size 20; today she wears a size 4. She lost 82 pounds total, reaching her goal weight in just 10 months through healthier eating and exercise. “That last summer I was 198 pounds”, says Ryan with wonder, “You should have seen my swim trunks! I can fit two of me in there now. The next summer I was down to 116 pounds, and when I jumped into the pool I almost drowned. I guess fat truly does float”.


The former journalism major also returned to her writing roots. “I started by writing an article for a friend’s blog. Then I began my own blog (which became I then wrote a few articles for local newspapers and magazines”. When she was approached by LA’s the Place to write for the online magazine she jumped at the opportunity. “LA’s the Place publisher Jane Emery gave me a chance to write so many different things”, says Ryan. “The more I wrote, the better I got, and the more I wanted to write. It was like finally doing what I was meant to do”. And the rest is, as they say, (publishing) history.

Building on that experience, 21 Days to Change Your Body is written in an easy-to-read style with humor and storytelling added. This book aims to be different and entertaining. “Most weight loss books are boring, intimidating and written in ‘trainer speak,” notes Ryan. “I wrote this for real people, or as I like to say, ‘the rest of us.” Aidalyn Myers of Menifee, California, agrees. “This book is incredibly inspirational and well-written by someone who also struggled with weight loss. It was hard to put down once I started reading it.


Ryan suggests that getting yourself mentally prepared to lose weight is the largest part of the battle. After that, weight loss is fairly easy. 21 Days to Change Your Body helps you get there with a lot of inspiration, a little bit of sweat, and permission to eat a piece of chocolate. Paul Cortez of Murrieta says that way thinking has worked for him. “I’ve gained more insight on how to control my eating habits, and practical ways in which to improve my thinking towards losing the excess pounds I’ve gained over the years.


21 Days to Change Your Body (and Your Life) is available on (U.S. and Europe) and Barnes& Audible, ITunes and Kindle versions will be released in August. “I truly want to help the largest number of people I can,” says Ryan. “Helping people is what life is all about. If I can do that, I have made a difference.”

Visit the book’s web site at for more information (also see virtual book tour stops below).

21 Days to Change Your Body Helen M. Ryan


Want to connect with some great weight loss bloggers for more inspiration and motivation? Follow 21 Days to Change Your Body as it makes its rounds across the internet.

Tour stops are as follows:
Life in Pink (


About the author

Staff Writer