Of my own free will, I decided to publish my weight loss story. Nobody twisted my arm, although dozens of people asked me to write it. And now, less than a week after its release, I’m feeling a little bit… well… naked. My life—guts, warts, feathers and all—is out there exposed and vulnerable.

Naturally, I have mixed feelings about this. Oh, I’m not the least bit sorry I wrote it. No way. Although writing it was emotionally painful, I wrote it to tell the honest story, hoping to inspire others. In my moments of shameless grandiosity, I want to help Dr. Oz make the world a healthier place!

Years ago, before my demoralizing 100-pound relapse, publishers told me they wouldn’t print my book because I’m not a celebrity and no one would want to read it. I argued that it was more important to tell an average woman’s story, because normal people couldn’t hire a physical trainer, a chef, or afford to go to inpatient treatment.

In the ensuing decade, I learned more about the publishing world, and decided a year ago to dust off the manuscript tucked away in the metaphorical bottom desk drawer. Writing, editing, reworking the format—it took a lot out of me and pushed some pretty ugly buttons, but I was (am) a woman on a mission!

And quite frankly, the chapter on recovery from relapse is probably the most important message to learn: Never, never, never give up!