This Boss B*tch Lost 150 Lbs. by Going Vegan & Boxing Every Day
Taryn Aronson got super successful at work but gained 125 pounds. Now, she’s back to her regular weight and feeling better than ever.
The founder of Jewels by Dunn, she started her company with only $100 and soon became a cult celeb fave, with fans like Jessica Alba, Sofia Vergara, Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber (she says she made their only matching bracelets in history) Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Tisdale.
But Taryn says her stressful job and the lack of activity that comes from sitting and handmaking jewelry all day led her to gain 125 pounds in three years.
“I was completely miserable,” she told Galore. “Again, I’m in the fashion business and cannot fit into clothing from any regular store. I also began noticing smaller jewelry designers with not nearly as much experience or acknowledgments being featured in magazines but the stories were written about them.”
She felt her business depended on her ability to live healthy and “look the part,” so she took up a vegan diet and started boxing six days a week.
“Now I’m 150 pounds down and we have just launched our new collection,” she said. “I’m happy to say that it was the best change I’ve decided to make for all aspects of my life.”
We talked to Taryn about why she made these changes and how she feels today.
Some people might think weight loss is all about vanity, but that’s clearly not the case with you. What did gaining and then losing weight mean to you?
For a better part of my life I was 15-30 pounds overweight but worked out and ate healthy and was so comfortable in my skin that it never took over my life, just something I would always have to watch and I was okay with that.
I think there were so many factors as to why I started gaining the weight initially. I was 24 living in South Beach and couldn’t hold down a job and began eating really poorly and not working out at all. When I started Jewels by Dunn I became so fixated on the line I stayed stagnant making jewelry all day, ordering in and acting like I didn’t have to watch myself. It became so much work that after a year and a half in i had gained over 150 pounds. I always thought I was confident but when I saw a photo of myself at my heaviest I knew that I must not love myself the way I thought I did because I was actually ashamed. I created a great career for myself and could barely climb a flight of stairs. For about 4 years I yo-yo’d up and down until I turned 29 and made a decision to change my life by 30. It was me being honest with myself and actually having the confidence to think I deserved to be truly happy and feel what it’s like to really love myself. I made a decision to change my life two and a half years ago and I haven’t looked back.
A lot of people think they could never gain 125 pounds because they’d realize they were gaining weight after the first 10 pounds or so. Was this your experience, or did you not realize you’d gained so much weight until three years had gone by? How did you realize you needed to make a change?
Given that I had always been a bit “chubby” I think in the beginning it was this whole I’ll start on Monday mentality. I knew I was gaining the weight intensely when the desire to stop going out began and none of my clothes fit. I started going on ridiculous diets and in turn gaining back more weight than I’d lost. After seeing the pic from my best friends wedding I think I admitted to myself there was a serious problem that I had to change but when I could barely buckle the seatbelt on a plane ride home and my sisters backseat in her SUV I knew it was go time.
Can you tell me more about what it was like for you day-to-day after gaining this weight?
Those who know me will say I am and always have been extremely outgoing and funny with a genuinely positive and energetic outlook on life, no matter how much I weighed. I never had a problem making friends or dating but when the desire to go out and socialize like I’ve always done completely stopped I think for the first time I realized subconsciously I was depressed.
I was fatigued, feeling sick all the time from all the junk I put in my body, wouldn’t take pictures and literally couldn’t walk 5 blocks without my heart jumping out of my chest. I would socialize through work and my friends would get me out rarely but I became lonely which I’d never been and hated the feeling. Somehow I still rode on my personality and never fell into a dark depression thank goodness, but looking back, I was empty. I didn’t feel like I deserved the whole package and I know now that I do.
How did all of this affect your job and your mental outlook?
Being in the fashion business it’s equally as important for people to know the name of your company as well as who the designer is. I noticed I was getting tons of press and there was so much media attention but there was never the desire to get to know the girl behind the brand. I never cared about my name being known but when the weight started coming off I noticed a total shift of attention and focus from just the jewelry to ME?
Mentally I always knew the job I chose and believed to be truly successful I had to not only act the part but look it as well. The confidence I possess naturally now pushes me to do things like share my story which I never would have done and go into stores and approach people I may have been too embarrassed to talk too. Mentally my entire outlook on life changed and I believe I have a bit of a one up with people. I’ve been the funny fat girl and now I am trimmed down and “look the part” the way you’re treated from one to the next is night and day. I know the genuine ones off the bat. Thankful!
What made you want to lose the weight instead of saying to yourself “this is just me now and I’ll get used to it”?
Not only had my social life changed but I was really starting to feel sick about 3-4 months before I made my first big change. I knew that with the amount of weight I had to lose the closer I was to having to rely on surgery to lose the weight instead of my mind. It really scared me. I also missed being the social butterfly I was and dressing up and actually feeling good about myself. When I realized I could do it but it was all or nothing I dove in head first and never looked back.
How did you lose the weight?
I first began with a total diet change. I didn’t go on a “diet” per se but cut out all animal products (aside from the occasional sushi fix I couldn’t give up on) and instantly began feeling better. I read a crazy article about dairy and decided that would be my next step towards feeling better and that month I lost 30 pounds. It was like my body was allergic to these foods and by totally cutting them the weight began to fall off.
I slowly began exercising in the pool and dancing at home and before I knew it a year had gone by and I was down 80-90 pounds. At 5’1″, losing that type of weight can be damaging to your skin but I found a boxing trainer who swore up and down that if I dedicated myself to a rigorous workout and overall life change my body would go back as if I’d never stretched it out.
We worked out 5-6 days a week most of the time 2 hours a day and after 6 months my body was actually beginning to be sexy and strong again. The mental and physical commitment my trainer Joey Hernandez held me too was too intense and so much work for me to even think of stopping.
I cut all alcohol intake for the first 6 months and that was a life changer in itself. I still workout militantly and live a mostly vegan lifestyle with little alcohol intake and am shocked at how I’ve maintained my weight loss. It’s the hardest part but I think I have the recipe down.
How did you make sure you were doing it for the right reasons, like mental health and self esteem, instead of just wanting to be skinny to fit in?
I think facing a scale and starting one pound at a time, slowly, made me really appreciate all the gifts losing the weight brought. Sure I can wear the clothes I want now and go on lots of dates but it took so much time. Your mind has to catch up to your body and for me it took some time. I am more thankful I can run around with my nieces and get up the stairs if my elevator is broken without breaking a sweat.
I know that it’s a lot easier not being so heavy but the time commitment in and of itself was so long that it wasn’t this one day to the next transformation. It took me a long time to really believe I looked the way I did in pictures and fit into the clothes I do. I am grateful everyday and would still never judge anyone on how they choose to love their lives but especially on the way they look. 🙂