"Jillian's made me realize I could be whatever size I wanted, even a 4! I haven't weighed 125 pounds since I was 12 years old!"
As a child I was what some would call "thick" — never overweight but always right on the edge. All throughout my childhood, I suffered with depression and low self-esteem, and my esteem issues followed me for a very long time, even into my career in the Navy.
When I joined the Navy in 2001, I weighed 147 pounds, which was less than ten pounds under the military's limit for my height. You've probably heard of the "Freshman 10," but in the Navy we have what I like to refer to as the "Airman 20." I arrived at my first command in New Orleans in January 2002 and by August, I had gained 20 pounds. I had to be active in the military and follow a weekly workout schedule, but I was also fed very well with an abundance of unhealthy food. Also, in October I found out I was pregnant with my first child. After my son was born, I slowly lost the baby weight and then some, getting down to 155 by the summer of 2005. This is when Hurricane Katrina hit. Between the stress of not knowing what was going on with my home and living in a hotel for over a month, I quickly put on 15 pounds and, in addition, I found out I was pregnant with my second child. After nine months of terrible eating, I once again delivered at 205 pounds. My weight steadied out at 185 as it had after my first pregnancy, but this time I didn't want to mess around with my weight loss.
After losing 40 pounds, I was making great progress, but then I started struggling to get any further. Plus I wanted to tone up. I went online, did a search for The Biggest Loser, and came across Jillian's Web site — and I joined immediately. I have been a huge fan of Jillian's since watching Season 2, and I knew that she was just what I needed to push me through the last 20 pounds. Maybe it's the military side of me that loves her style of training! I also received Making the Cut for my birthday and followed the circuit training from the book. Best birthday present ever!
These days, I stick to my calorie allotment (1200-1400 per day) and try to stick closely to the balanced oxidizer portions. I cut out a lot of processed foods and have started buying from the local markets and eating more organic foods. As for workouts, I do 60 minutes of cardio in the mornings five to six days a week, and then I do the Making the Cut circuits in the afternoon along with 20 to 30 minutes of additional cardio. I also incorporate swimming during lunch when possible.
Even though I have never spoken to Jillian, I can tell that she cares about each and every member of her online team. It may be weird to think that a perfect stranger could be proud of you, but I know she's proud of me and all the others who are making changes to better their lives.
Activities now: Running is my new passion. I love running in races. Before I could barely finish my 1.5-mile physical-fitness test, and now I am training for a marathon! My farthest run so far has been 14 miles! The strength training from the circuits has made me a much faster runner. I find myself constantly pushing to go farther and faster.
Best compliment: As for motivation and compliments, I would have to say the other members on the Message Boards have provided both. Being told that I am an inspiration to someone amazes me. Inspiring others is the greatest compliment of all. I feel very honored by the other members on the Message Boards. They have also been my motivation — knowing that my friends were going to hold me accountable kept me going. I didn't want to let them down, so I continued to push myself.
Advice for others: The best advice I can give is to try not to get discouraged or let others bring you down. Losing weight is not easy, and it doesn't happen overnight. It took me over a year to lose 60 pounds, but I didn't just diet this time — I made a lifestyle change. I'm healthier than I've ever been and I work out hard, but I eat what I need to fuel my body. My body told me when I had lost enough, and I listened to it.
I love that I have managed to achieve weight loss that I once thought was impossible. I always thought that because I had never been a size 4, it wasn't possible to achieve. Jillian's program made me realize I could be whatever size I wanted to be. I haven't weighed 125 pounds since I was 12 years old, and I feel great!
*Participants can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.