"I was determined to become the 'biggest loser' in my own home, and nothing was going to stop me."
Weight was never an issue for me in my childhood or teenage years. It was never something I had to think about, never something that was a part of my life. As many people do, I started struggling with weight gain in college, but I didn’t do much about it at the time. In the following years, my weight fluctuated.
At age 34, I became pregnant with my son. I was overweight and had very low self-esteem. Spending my days eating pizza and ice cream, I found myself nine months later pushing 270 pounds, on a 5-feet-4 frame. Although giving birth to my beautiful son, James, was one of the best things that had ever happened to me, I still felt miserable afterward. I had always known that my weight gain stemmed from my not being happy in certain aspects of my life. When my weight settled at around 215 pounds, I realized that I needed to be happy and believe in myself for me and for my son.
I discovered Jillian Michaels when I started watching The Biggest Loser, and I was hooked. Jillian’s words hit me — hard. I was determined to become the “biggest loser” in my own home, and nothing was going to stop me. It might have taken a reality show to wake me up, but Jillian inspired me to believe in myself and believe that I could change my life and gain control of my future.
I knew that holidays were a hard time for me, both emotionally and physically. I knew how easy it had always been for me to fall off any “diet wagons” in the past, and I didn’t want it to be the same this time around. I signed up for Jillian’s online program after completing the self-assessment and immediately went out and purchased two of her books, Winning by Losing and Making the Cut.
Right away, I was impressed. The meal plans and recipes offered on the site and in her books were so easy to follow. I followed the program as strictly as possible, sticking to my calorie limit fo 1200-1400 per day, and even joined a gym to work with a trainer. It was never an easy path, but with support from Jillian, all the members on the Message Boards, my trainer, and my increasingly positive self, I was able to turn myself around for the better. Jillian’s program is dead-on when it comes to “self.” Understanding emotional triggers has been so important to my success. Having a positive attitude and constantly reminding myself that I can do this was — and still is — so important. Losing the weight became so much easier once I figured out how I had gotten into the predicament. I still have emotional hurdles to get over, but for the first time in my life, I am ready to deal with them directly!
I just returned from a cruise, where I was able, thanks to tips from Jillian's Web site and books, to actually eat and drink what I wanted without gaining any weight. Portion control and exercise were the keys to my success on that trip! Jillian has helped me remain focused and has contributed to my being able to change my life: I am still 5 feet 4, but I now weigh 134 pounds* and wear a size 4!
There are so many things that I love about the new me. Right now, I think what I love most is the fact that I have this new level of confidence that I haven’t had in more than 15 years — confidence to move forward, to reset goals and priorities, and to gain control over my life. It’s an amazing feeling to know that I can achieve any goal as long as I do the work necessary to achieve it, and as long as I believe in myself. I love knowing that I can now be the best me (and the best mommy) I can be!
Activities now: Before losing weight and getting healthy, I didn’t participate in any activities. I was overweight and embarrassed to go anywhere other than family functions. I felt as if I had become a hermit! When my son started walking at age 1, I couldn’t keep up with him! I was unable to run around and play with him the way I wanted, because I was always too tired. Now we play soccer and chase each other around outside, and with my new energy level, I never get tired before he does!
Best compliment: I was at a family party when a friend whom I hadn't seen in more than six months said, “Wow! I can’t stop looking at you! You look amazing, like a different person!”
Advice for others: I’m so proud of myself and how far I’ve come. Jillian’s online program (as well as her radio show) gave me the push I needed to keep going whenever things got rocky, and I developed some healthy strategies that helped me along my way:
- Incentive clothes: I had an Armani suit that hadn't fit in more than five years, and I was determined to get into it. Not only does that suit now fit but I actually had to take it in because it was way too big!
- Staying focused and positive, waking up every day and saying, “I can do it!” — and believing it!
- Staying hydrated! I have been very successful by making my beverage of choice water, cutting out alcohol, and reducing the amount of coffee I drink to one cup in the morning and one at night.
- Keeping count! It’s important to count your calories and keep track of what you’re eating. Invest in a heart rate monitor for when you work out and you’ll be able to monitor how many calories you’re burning.
- Music: I assembled a selection of songs that I use to keep me going when I work out, as well as a selection I can listen to when I’m having a hard day.
*Participants can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.