Having shared my own story of weight loss has brought so many people into my life that have had similar struggles and successes with overcoming obesity and reaching their health goals. I love the diversity of HOW and WHY and I am so happy to share these stories with YOU.
Let me introduce my friend, Jennifer.
From Jennifer-Today, I got to live my version of a Cinderella story. I got to tell the girl on the left that her goals of finally being healthy and running a marathon were achieved. I am now at peace with my past so I can live in the now. All of your dreams can come true if you have the courage to peruse them. ~Walt Disney.
Jaw dropping, right!!?? Jennifer has lost a staggering 160lbs. This beautiful Mom and Wife is just as pretty on the inside as well. I have been blessed to get to know Jennifer though mutual friends and the power of social media. I am HONORED to share her story!
In her own words:
My challenges with my weight started at a very early age. I can remember being on a diet as early as second grade. I was active as a child however so that slowed down the inevitable weight gain to a degree. By the time I graduated high school however my weight was in the 200's. When high school was done so were the sports and dance. The weight came on even faster. I tried every diet there was, TWICE. That was before I realized that diets don't work. I rode that roller coaster for years. Taking off ten or fifteen pounds and putting back on twenty or more. I did not have any health issues at this point but I dreamed of more. I desperately wanted to run and feel good. I also longed to wear the beautiful clothes that my counter parts were wearing in management for a professional hair care company. At the age of 28 I had enough. I was just over three hundred pounds and fed up. Was this really living I asked myself?! I had found my breaking point...
This is when it all clicked. If I wanted what I had never had, then I had to do what I had never done. I broke up with fast food as well as Ben and Jerry's. I started eating vegetables and fruit. (The joke at the salon that I had worked at was that I hated salad.Turns out it's delicious. Who knew?!) I started making some swaps (lean chicken or egg beaters vs pizza or cereal) and I also started walking. The walking turned to a run/walk and then a very slow jog. In about six months I had taken off fifty pounds. By the end of a year I had taken off one hundred pounds. In eleven years I have taken off and kept off, a little over one hundred and sixty pounds. I enjoy eating clean and running. It was not always easy. I have had many times that I had to remind myself why this was important to me. Now that I am here at a healthier me and I look back, I can truly see that every tear shed and every moment of frustration was not for nothing. Those times of my life built me. They made me strong enough to dare to run that marathon and to not back down when the going gets tough. It is so true that anything is possible when you just believe.
1. What would be your biggest piece of advice to give someone who wants to get started on their own journey?
Surround yourself with like minded people and lots of motivation. You will need a good support system which other healthy people in your life will provide. Someone to get you active on the day that it's a challenge or to share a new healthy recipe they just tried.
The other piece of advice is motivation. SURROUND yourself with it! A Pinterst page, Facebook pages, follow blogs and make a vision board. A vision board is photos and words of what "healthy" means to you. Mine is inside a kitchen cupboard door with motivation and goals. Thinking of snacking, just look in that cupboard. All of this will keep you inspired when the going gets tough and that will be huge in your success.
2. What is your favorite moment in your journey?
Actually that would be the moment captured in the photo. When I was overweight as a child two of my teachers were running marathons. I always ached inside to someday be healthy enough to run one. I am so thankful for the photographer that captured the moment that I made that dream come true. I am crying happy tears there.It is still surreal to me.
3. If you could go back in time to the "old Jenn" and say just ONE sentence to her, what would it be?
"Your tears of despair will be
replaced by tears of triumph."
4. What is your favorite workout?
This is tough for me to pick! I love Boot Camp and it has brought my life and fitness to a level I never thought possible but I have to go with running. That dream is what kept me going along the journey. Starting as a run/walk, running that first mile then my first 5k, 10k, half marathon and then the Dopey Challenge in January. Running puts me in the right head space. To remember how far I've come and to dream about what's next. Running saved me.
5. What is your favorite meal?
Almond flax chicken (marinated in olive oil, almond butter, lemon and spices) and roasted brussel sprouts. Yummy!!!!