Hey, hey.  The Healthy Tipping Point book drops tomorrow!  And to celebrate, I’ll be running reader/blogger success stories all week long – I don’t know about you, but I love a good success story! 

NEW! Healthy Tipping Point: A Powerful Program for a Stronger, Happier You

I especially adore stories that prove that healthy looks different on different people and encompasses much more than just diet and fitness – there’s a huge mental component, too.  So I hope you enjoying reading these four stories!  If you want to share yours, shoot an email with pictures to caitlinjboyle@gmail.com.


Marlene Rocks the Boston Marathon


Marlene says:  In 2006, I was an overweight and out-of-shape couch potato when I decided to turn my life around. I took up running and gradually worked towards running my very first race, a half marathon which I completed with my husband in 2007. Since then, I have gone on to run 20 half marathons, 10 full marathons, countless shorter races, and even a few triathlons (a brand new passion, as of last year). From 2008 to 2011, I improved my marathon time from 4:42 to 3:34 and qualified for the Boston Marathon! My husband qualified with a 3:09 on the same day, which made it even more exciting. Boston turned out to be the most grueling of my 10 marathons but also the most rewarding. It was never about the time on the clock, but a celebration of how far I had come and an opportunity to share it with my husband. The blistering heat and relentless sun (the temperature hit nearly 90F that day!) made it a game of discipline and survival to finish. I relied on the thousands of spectators with their hoses and ice cubes and freezies, and the support of my husband by my side every step of the way. It took every last ounce of strength and will, but we made it to that finish line upright and smiling, crossing hand in hand in 4:03:49.


In 2009, I was a spectator at the Boston Marathon finish line on Boylston Street, wondering if I could ever have a shot at running it myself. It felt pretty amazing being on the opposite side of those barricades. It was not just about the finish line up ahead or the 26.2 sweltering miles we had just run. It was the entire journey to this day; every good run and bad run, the milestones along the way, the dozens of medals hanging on the wall at home, the people who believed in me all along and the memories to last a lifetime. I wouldn’t change anything for the world and soaking (literally) in that moment made it all worth it.  (You can read the complete race recap here!)


Katie’s Weight Watchers Success

before After

Katie says: My personal health story did not begin with any sort of ah-hah moment. Like many of you may have experienced, my weight slowly crept on to the point where I wasn’t really sure how much I weighed or how much I had gained. When I started to acknowledge the fact, I was a junior in college in the midst of personal life changes and with little direction as to where I wanted to be post-graduation.


I joined Weight Watchers on a whim with my best friend and found a supportive community that held me accountable. I started to invest myself in my healthy journey by planning, learning, and restructuring my life to support my goals. I started at 195 pounds. Over the course of a year and a half, I lost 50 pounds through Weight Watchers. In the midst of losing weight, I picked up running and eventually triathlons. For the first time in my life, I felt incredibly proud of myself. The changes on the outside were little in comparison to the changes I made inside. I knew I had permanently changed when my fiancé called me an athlete, and I thought it was the most amazing compliment in the world. Compared to the old me who never had the courage to try something physical for fear of embarrassment, the new me felt strong and brave.


In the moment, I remember feeling as if the weight was coming off so slowly. I wanted quick results, people to notice, and the scale to drop. Looking back, I am appreciative of the process. It took me 18 months, but having been committed and patient, I truly was able to change my lifestyle. When I get asked the secret to weight loss I always respond with one answer: commit to your goals and be patient with yourself. Keep your eye on the prize, but respect and enjoy the process. (You can read more from Katie here!)


Alicia’s Adult Sabbatical


Alicia wrote: In October 2011, I took a chance, quit my day job for an "adult sabbatical" to figure out what I really wanted out of my life. Over the course of the month in-between now and then, I’ve done a bunch of odd jobs, but have landed working for a local yoga studio. I serve as their Director of Operations and have started yoga teacher training there.  I think this part of my teacher training application essay sums up the full scope of my "success story" journey so far:


As I practiced more and more during the Fall of 2011 and the Winter of 2012, I noticed huge shifts in myself – emotionally, physically and mentally… The emotional shift has been the hardest but most rewarding to go through in the past six months. When I am on my mat, I feel like I can do anything. I am courageous. I am strong. I am alive. I struggle with those things when I am off my mat. I used to second guess myself and my abilities on a regular basis, allowing self-doubt to always win out. But the more and more I practice, the more and more I find myself putting myself out there in other situations. Not being afraid to try something new. Not being ashamed of my history with anxiety and depression. Not being chained to the habits that once ruled my life. Yoga has brought me back to the person I once was: happy, healthy and excited to be alive.


I’m still in the process of evolving and learning, which I’m documenting on my blog. Here are two recent posts on the process: A Month of Awareness and Eka Pada Raja-what??


A.K. – Proactive and Proud!

XTinaBDay 100_1614

A.K. wrote, “I’m from Virginia, I’m 23, and I’m really excited to be able to share my success story (in progress) with all of you!  A year ago, I weighed 225 pounds. I exercised, but most of my workouts consisted of bare-minimum elliptical jaunts in front of the boob tube or BTN (better than nothing) half-assed walks on the treadmill. I pretended like I was making a difference via the weight machines, but you can only fool yourself for so long. I was a senior in college, so Papa John’s, Ben & Jerry’s, and Miller Lite were regular friends of mine.  In August of 2011, I moved into my own apartment to begin grad school for my M.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I’ve always known and believed that having a healthy mind and a healthy body go hand-in-hand; I just let my weight slip out of control, and I ate junk incessantly. Until recently, I had been a pescetarian for 9 years, but I didn’t always (read: didn’t usually) make healthy eating decisions.


I decided to truly start utilizing the gym at my apartment complex. I learned how to use the weight machines and with a bit of research, I began teaching myself strength training. I initiated a doable 5k training plan, and I lost 20 pounds over 12 weeks. I’ll be running my first-ever 5k in 2 weeks (the Susan G. Komen event in Richmond), and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve made so many healthy decisions over the past 9 months: I learned how to prepare healthy, delicious meals; I ceased "social smoking"; I recruited 2 "accountability buddies"; I taught myself how to grocery shop healthily and on a budget; and I’m more proud of my healthy independence and my body than I have ever been. Today, I weigh 195 pounds, but I feel extraordinarily different. My endurance and my strength are at an all-time high, and I’m incredibly proud of myself for my proactive stance on health. I recently ran a personal distance record of 4 miles (without walk breaks), and every new accomplishment means the world to me. I have enjoyed sharing my successes, my trials and errors, and my laughable learning moments with the world via my blog.


Looking for more inspiration?


  • Simon: The Blind Ultramarathoner
  • Susan: Running is For Crazy People!
  • Elaine: Words of Wisdom from the 73 Year Old Marathoner
  • Maura: Single Badass, Looking for Love
  • Michele:  Love Shouldn’t Hurt
  • Cynthia:  Healthy is More than Size / Dealing with IBS
  • Erica:  Positive Thinking in Real Life
  • Ben: A 120 Pound Journey to an Ironman
  • Erin: Young, Strong, and Beating Distorted Thinking
  • Tina:  Two Pink Lines Motivated Her to Get Healthy
  • Bo: A Man’s Healthy Tipping Point Journey
  • Emily:  A Slow Switch Helped Her Lose Nearly 100 Pounds
  • Kayla:  The Fear of Going Blind Motivated Her to Get Healthy
  • Maria:  A Gallbladder Stone Scare Showed Her The Importance of Real Food
  • Dani:  Learning to Run Through the Couch to 5K Program
  • Maissa:  Finding a New Outlet for Negative Emotions
  • Freya:  A Journey Out of Anorexia
  • Carrie:  Ditched Distorted Thinking and Ran a Marathon
  • Amy:  A Mom Who Lost Baby Weight and Became a Triathlete
  • Jenny:  Saw Lance Armstrong on Oprah and Decided to Ride a Century
  • Lauren:  Stays Active Despite Being a Busy Associate at a Financial Firm
  • Beth:  A Friend’s Serious Illness Inspired Her to Focus on Her Own Health


  • abbi April 30, 2012, 2:52 pm

    Loved reading these stories. I don’t think I ever get tired of reading success stories and other people that decided to make a change…for good!

  • Hayley @ Oat Couture April 30, 2012, 2:54 pm

    Ooh well firstly that is super exciting that your book is about to hit the shelves!! 🙂 Secondly I love all of the stories featured on this post and I am really looking forward to the rest of the series! It’s so nice to be inspired by real people who have worked hard to make positive changes! Great post!

  • Caitlin @ This Bride's Joyride April 30, 2012, 3:15 pm

    Thank you all for sharing! I love reading each different healthy success story, makes for a very motivating and thankful Monday! 🙂

  • Sara April 30, 2012, 3:25 pm

    Thank you all for sharing! A.K. — I live in Richmond too. Yay for Richmond!

    • Anne Kendall April 30, 2012, 9:14 pm

      Thanks for the shout-out, Sara! And thanks again to Caitlin for featuring me on your blog and serving as daily inspiration!!

  • Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed April 30, 2012, 3:25 pm

    LOVE these stories! Definitely makes me want to better myself starting right now! It’s so hard for me to commit to healthy eating, but I know it will be so worth it!

    And I cannot wait for your book to arrive at my doorstep!!! Seriously pumped!

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape April 30, 2012, 3:26 pm

    So excited for the book!!! I love all of these success stories. Especially the Weight Watcher’s one. I always sort of looked at that program with a heavy dose of suspicion, but my mom went on it last year and it really is effective. She lost forty pounds and has kept it off. Although it has the points system with it, the program really does teach that healthy eating is a lifestyle change, not just something you think about at meals. It is an overhaul of the way you live your life — and a positive one at that!

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats April 30, 2012, 4:32 pm

    These are all great stories – Marlene’s touches me most! I’m running my first marathon this fall and the fact that she has done so many (including Boston!) is very inspirational!

  • Ashleysh22 April 30, 2012, 4:36 pm

    Wow! I love reading these stories. And seeing the pictures, faces to the words makes it even more inspiring. It really just makes me so happy to see people make positive changes in their lives!

    We so often get caught up in what we are doing and forget what we can become.

    Thanks for sharing these! And congrats on your book 🙂

  • Moni Meals April 30, 2012, 6:02 pm

    Wow! You all are so amazing. Keep on shining! 🙂

  • jen April 30, 2012, 7:26 pm

    caitlin, love the stories, thank you so much. i’m curious, does anyone ever submit stories to you who gain weight to get to health?

    • CaitlinHTP May 1, 2012, 9:23 am

      Yup! I’ve got a few coming up!

  • Army Amy* April 30, 2012, 8:45 pm

    I love success stories. Congrats all around. And now I have 4 new blogs to check out!*

  • marie-pier April 30, 2012, 9:06 pm

    Will your new book be available at the Sony Reader store?

    • CaitlinHTP May 1, 2012, 9:24 am

      Not sure – I think this is a Kindle version though.

  • Dental Consultant May 1, 2012, 2:40 am

    Very inspiring stories. I think they really have determination to do that things, right? Congratulations for all that success stories. I really enjoy reading it.

Healthy Tipping Point