"When I want to hit that snooze button, I remind myself about my parents and how they would want me to be fit for life."
My story begins much the same way many other weight-loss stories begin: I was a thin and active child who participated in team sports and exercised on my own through my college years. Then life started to kick in. Between the stresses of changing jobs and being a wife and mother, I started to find comfort in the cupboard. Eating was a stress reliever, and I had found a friend in food — or so I thought.
After four years of marriage, I divorced and had to learn to live as a single parent. I purchased my own home and started working constantly while raising my young son. My routine was hectic and filled with so many commitments that there was very little time left for exercising or for myself. Then my mother died. Her death was a huge, life-changing event for me. It wasn’t until then that I realized how much I wanted to be around to watch my grandchildren grow up — something she wouldn’t be able to do. Over the next couple of years, I went on a mission to regain my health. I tried diet after diet, starving myself and losing weight only to gain it all back again. Nothing seemed to work. Then one day after going out to eat with some friends, I attempted to get out of the restaurant booth and realized that I was stuck. To my embarrassment, I had to be pulled out! It was then that I knew I needed to get serious about my weight loss.
My journey with Jillian began the first time I watched The Biggest Loser. She was a tough cookie, and I loved how passionate she was about getting others motivated, giving them the tools they needed to fight for what they wanted. Everything she said to the contestants made sense and really resonated with me: Get off the couch and do something! I immediately went online and signed up for her newsletters, all the while wondering what other information I could get my hands on. When I joined Jillian's Web site, I was amazed! It brought everything together for me in one place — and it was so clearly laid out! From the exercises and the technique tips to the food tracking and the Message Boards, it provided support that I couldn’t get elsewhere — and that was so important!
Once I was in, I was hooked. I bought Jillian's books, read up on proper exercise form and portion sizes, and ultimately, learned the importance of making smarter choices. Never one for working out at home, I stalled before buying Jillian's DVDs. Then the harsh New Hampshire winter showed up and put a severe damper on my gym visits, and I decided it was time to try them. When I finally received 30-Day Shred, however, I spent the first week watching the routines from the comfort of my couch! Then I actually tried them — I couldn’t even get through the 20-minute workout! It seemed that setting smaller goals — like making it through the first level without stopping — were going to be key.
One of biggest lessons I’ve learned from Jillian is that mixing up different types of exercises — cardio, strength training, core workouts, and recreational activities — is one of the best ways to melt away pounds and avoid plateaus. Now I love variety in my workouts! When I can’t make it to the gym, I’m at home doing Jillian’s DVDs. It took me time to build up to it, but I now do at least 30 minutes of some form of exercise every day — whether it’s walking outside at lunchtime, playing tennis, bicycling, jumping rope, or even running!
When I started my journey, I was carrying 206 pounds on my 5-feet-3 frame. Now 157 pounds, I have lost almost 50 pounds* (and counting)! One of the best things to have come from my new, healthy, Jillian-inspired lifestyle is the amazing boost I’ve had to my energy level. I’m not always trying to rest, catch my breath, or recover after attempting small tasks. And I have a more positive outlook on life. I’ve learned to recognize when I need to slow my pace or take a break so that things don’t get out of control. I’ve learned to manage my time better, which has allowed me not only to have more time but to have more quality time with my family.
Activities Now: I’m not the only one benefiting from my increased energy level and stamina. These days, I make it a point to volunteer more within my community — something I wasn’t physically able to do when I was obese. I’ve also completed a 5K and a half marathon, and I'm looking forward to running a full marathon in the future!
Best Compliment: I’ve received such positive comments from those around me, telling me how wonderful and different I look, but I don’t like to talk about my journey in terms of pounds. I don’t want the number to be the focus; rather, my journey is about being fit and healthy. My son, Dan, is now 23, and he compliments me and has been an amazing source of support and encouragement. Sometimes that’s all I need to get motivated. I know that he’s watching me, and I love that I can be a role model for him.
Advice for Others: All of us have reasons for our journey. When I want to hit that snooze button in the morning, I remind myself about my parents and how they would want me to be fit for life. I also find it helpful to recognize that there will be good days and not-so-good days, and that if you have a not-so-good day, it’s okay! You can always start fresh again tomorrow. You can’t change yesterday (that’s gone and done) — but what can you do to make today a better day? It’s about making choices: I can have one of those fattening doughnuts at the office, or I can enjoy the delicious flavor of my apple — and feel really good about my decision. Also, get some sleep! I find that my body works and responds better when I am well-rested. And last but not least, take a lot of pictures along the way. It’s so motivating to see your own transformation!
*Participants can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.