bSMART Guide

New York Times best selling author, national speaker, and Good Morning America contributor, Tory Johnson has been empowering women for over 15 years after founding two multi-million dollar career-focused businesses - Women For Hire and Spark & Hustle.  Tory also shares her favorite 'Deals & Steals' weekly on Good Morning America promoting the brands she loves (established and emerging) to her loyal viewers.  

Professionally successful and happily married with two children, Tory's life was picture perfect - except for one thing.  After struggling for years with being overweight Tory had a wake-up call when her producer suggested she could look better as a television personality.  Tory shares how she was finally able to make the permanent shift towards a healthy life and lose over 80 pounds in her best selling book The Shift.  Tory candidly recounts the challenges, key components, and benefits to making the shift and how bSmart members can make The Shift too!


When the pain of the present outweighs the pain and sacrifice that change demands, you’re ready to make the Shift. 


Shift Success

What is the diet mentality and how is The Shift different?

I spent my whole life failing at diets.  I tried every fad diet out there  along with a few I made up along the way.  You name it, I gave it a shot.  What I finally realized when I made The Shift is that all diets are temporary pauses in bad behavior.  Sure, if you follow them to the letter, odds are excellent that you’ll lose weight  in the short term.  But try following them for life – an entirely different story.  I decided that I had to completely change the way I viewed food – and my relationship to it.  In a nutshell: that what I put in my head is far more important than what I put in my mouth.  That is what The Shift is all about.  Changing your mind for a better life.

In what ways did your mind shift towards food, exercise, and sacrifice?

After I lost 62 pounds in one year, I realized that it translated into just over a pound a week.  The specter of losing weight slowly had derailed me throughout my life because I wanted instant gratification, to lose weight fast, like by this weekend!  Fad diets prey on this mentality: lose 15 pounds in two weeks!  What I learned was that two of the best-known clichés about weight loss are true: 1) It is a marathon, not a sprint and 2) Slow and steady wins this race.  

As for exercise, I’m the girl who forged letters from my mom to get out of gym class starting in elementary school.  I’ll never be a jock and so learning to make movement part of my routine was difficult.  It’s still hard, but instead of raising the bar high – I’m going to run five miles a day – which I know will never happen, I lower it by taking brisk walks or walking on the treadmill in my room while I watch TV.  Neither has killed me yet and in fact I enjoy both.  I also added a treadmill desk in my office.  My goal remains simple: to move more – not run a 10K.  Once I started to shed those pounds, have clothes fit in dressing rooms and a few compliments here and there, I learned that sacrificing all the goodies I’d done without pays dividends.  Pre-Shift, if someone had said they’d give me a way to lose a lot of weight  but it would amount to about a pound a week, I would have rejected it out of hand.  Post-Shift, I realized that losing weight – and changing a lifetime of bad habits  takes time, sacrifice and continued focus.


What I put in my head is far more important than what I put in my mouth.


How can someone make a shift today?

For starters, read my book!  To get going today, ask yourself these five questions:

1) How fed up are you, really?  When the pain of the present outweighs all the pain and sacrifice that change demands, you’re ready to make the Shift.  

2) What are you willing to give up?  Big change takes big sacrifice. For the Shift to work for you, nothing can be more important.  If you can’t put everything on the table, you’re not ready.

3) What’s your plan?  For me, low carb works best and it’s simple because I know what I can and cannot eat.  Choose whatever plan you want, but stick to it.

4) What’s your daily accountability?  It’s easy to slip when no one is looking.  Daily weigh-ins are a great reality check for me, and I suggest them, but do what works for you, as long as it’s every day.

5) How will you embrace patience and celebrate victories?  To stay focused, remind yourself that this is a journey that is going to take time and that your patience will be rewarded – in time. Celebrate little things – like avoiding bad choices and staying the course – with non-edible treats like treating yourself to a manicure. Don’t give yourself cheat days. They will derail you. Ask yourself: would it be a good idea for an alcoholic to celebrate a month of sobriety with a beer?

How has your life changed in other areas since your shift?

Other than being down on occasion, like all of us are from time to time, I never viewed myself as an unhappy woman.  I love my work, my husband and family and I have a great life.  By accomplishing something that I had never thought possible – going from obese to normal – I absolutely became much happier.  That’s why the subtitle of The Shift is: How I finally lost weight and discovered a happier life.  Now, for the first time ever I can fit into dresses.  After avoiding a medical check-up for more than a decade, not wanting to get a lecture about my weight, I got a clean bill of health.  I now – legitimately  get to show my teenage daughter, Emma, that she should never fear the doctor’s office.  And after shedding all the weight – more than 80 pounds now – I can honestly say I walk down the street with a new bounce in my step and a confidence in my looks and body that I never had before.  

What is the biggest challenge to making The Shift?

There are a few biggies.  Fear of failure tops the list.  In the past, when I’d try to lose weight, any setback or stressor would be reason enough for me to quit.  If I gained a few pounds  and an important meeting or event or anything was on the horizon – that was excuse enough for me to stop whatever fad diet I was on: I’ll do it another time.  What I learned to do is to forgive myself for lapses – then get back on that horse.  Learning to pause before I acted was another trick I had never done before: simply avoiding impulsive moves works in life as well as it does eating.  Finally, thinking priority over preference is my new mantra.  Do I prefer to eat the dozen cookies?  Of course!  But my priority is to live a healthier, happier life.  That has saved me countless calories and applies to plenty of other areas in life, too.


Nobody is coming to rescue you. Change is hard, but it’s doable.


In what ways does our past play a role in preventing The Shift?

Addictions of all kinds die hard, but unlike drugs or booze (which you can live without) we all need food to survive.  And food is comfort.  So breaking that habit or at least learning to control the beast is tricky.  My mother has convinced herself that when she stops eating carbs she gets headaches so she continues to load herself up with bread and cookies and cakes   and never loses weight.  The only way I ever learned to do without those goodies is by staying laser-focused on my ultimate goal and by realizing that any temporary joy I got from eating bad stuff made me miserable later.  I had to learn to shift my mind for a better life.

How do you continue to be successful when people respond negatively to your shift?

Saboteurs, bless them, are everywhere and they will try with a straight face to derail you as they feign to really care.  They can’t help it.  If you’re surrounded by people like this, you may have to take the hard step and stay away from them – much as it’s probably a good idea for anyone who wants to stop drinking to avoid bars.  If you can’t avoid them – like they live with you – explain that you’re determined to change and stay clear.  If making The Shift is your top priority – which it has to be – this is easier than you might think.

What is your dream for all women who read The Shift?

The greatest joy is receiving emails from readers, which happens every day.  I’m so grateful that thousands of people have read the book and take the time to write to me.  It’s a huge compliment to hear them say that we must be sisters from another mother, that they felt I was writing their story, that they saw and felt themselves in my experiences.  All of that has helped them to recognize that if I could finally change, then they can too.  Not being a doctor, trainer or nutritionist has served my readers and me well.  They know I’m an ordinary woman who made it happen and they will make a shift too.

What do you want all bSmart members to know about making The Shift that would help them be smart like you?

The past doesn’t have to define the future.  You can create and live any life you want for yourself, no matter how high or hard the hurdles seem to be.  You’re destined to live as YOU wish as long as you truly believe that and are willing to take action to make it happen for yourself.  Nobody is coming to rescue you.  There’s no major pill or potion for anything in life.  Change is hard, but it’s doable.  I’m rooting for you!


The past doesn’t have to define the future.


Spotlight on Tory Johnson

Neighborhood: Manhattan’s Upper West Side

Occupation: I help women make great things happen

Women I Admire: My 17-year-old daughter Emma and Barbara Fedida, SVP of Talent at ABC News, to whom my book, THE SHIFT, is dedicated

Dream Mentor: Taylor Swift (I believe strongly in the power of reverse mentoring and learning from people in totally different fields. Her out-of-this-world talent aside, I’m in awe of how Taylor connects with her fans unlike any other star.)

Look of the Season: Brown hair—a big change from blonde

Ultimate Accessory: A wrist piled with bling—each piece has special meaning to me

Favorite Store: Saks Fifth Avenue

Go-to Outfit: Lafayette 148 or Hugo Boss dress for TV;  JCrew black cashmere sweater or black tee shirt and jeans for everything else

Must-have Shoes: Gucci loafers

Favorite Nail Polish: Essie Muchi Puchi

Can't Live Without Product:  Alterna Bamboo Volume line—all of it

Signature Scent: Narciso Rodriguez for Her

Beauty Essential: Manicure twice a week—I hate chipped nails

Cocktail of Choice:  Seltzer with lime

Best Date: A long drive anywhere

Travel Destination: London and small towns with big personality in the US—such as Savannah

Current Craving: Quinn Popcorn

Best Advice: Being told by my boss that I didn’t look my best.  It forced me to make big life changes that have brought great happiness and good health.

De-Stress Technique: Long walk in Central Park, followed by a long hot shower

Latest Gadget: iPhone6

On My Playlist: Whatever my daughter is blasting in her room

Favorite App: Starbucks, Word Swag and the Health app on the iPhone6 that tracks steps




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