"I love myself, I'm more confident, and I put myself out there. No more hiding in the corner!"
Losing Weight the Wrong Way
I went on my first diet at age 10 — so needless to say, my weight was always an issue for me. It started when I was 8-years old and used food to comfort myself during my father’s illness. I avoided physical education classes because I couldn’t keep up with the others, and was always picked last for games. When I wanted to join the ballet program, I realized I was heavier than the other girls and eliminated carbs from my diet — which started my cycle of yo-yo dieting and other unhealthy weight-loss methods.
By the time I graduated high school, I weighed 230 pounds. I was disgusted with myself and, once again, resorted to a not-so-great diet plan: No carbs. It worked at first and I managed to lose 50 pounds without exercising, but of course the weight came back with a vengeance and I gained even more than I had lost. I was experiencing shortness of breath, backaches, and exhaustion around the clock. When I went in for my annual physical, my doctor told me that I was obese and my cholesterol levels and blood pressure were high. I wish I could say this was a wake-up call, but I tore up my test results and kept turning to food to avoid my anger. Before I knew it, I was 25, miserable, and severely overweight. I wanted to lose weight the right way, and found Jillian Michaels’ online weight-loss program.
Breaking a Sweat
I was extremely nervous to start working out because I had very little knowledge of exercise. I felt overwhelmed and scared when I joined a gym. I didn’t know how to use the equipment or cardio machines, plus everyone there looked fit and slender – I couldn’t figure out why they were there in the first place! I started using Jillian’s circuits at the gym, which was a huge help because I didn’t necessarily have to use the equipment. They helped me become more familiar with the idea of exercising in general – what it meant to actually break a sweat!
Changing my diet was a more gradual process – I had to take it one step at a time. First, I stopped eating out. I was a fan of the drive-through restaurant and was nervous to give it up, but after learning about clean eating from Jillian, I knew it was the only way. I started counting calories, reading foods labels, and even weighing my food to learn about appropriate food servings. The weight started coming off. Don’t get me wrong — it wasn’t easy! I had to stick with it and practice serious self-control. I would decline certain social events because they revolved around food. I changed driving routes to avoid my favorite drive-throughs, I brought lunch to work, and kept healthy snacks on me at all times. I also started cooking more meals at home using healthy recipes from JillianMichaels.com. I eliminated "diet" from my vocabulary and looked at this as a lifestyle change. I felt like crap when I ate "crap" and felt good whenever I ate "clean."
100 Pounds Later…
My life is completely different now — I love myself, I’m more confident, and I put myself out there. No more hiding in the corner! I became a certified group fitness instructor and am planning to get my personal training certification. I participate in so many more activities now that I never would have dreamed of before — I’m thinking about training for a half marathon!
Best Compliment: “When people tell me that I’m an inspiration. It feels great when people thank me for showing them that this is possible.”
Best advice: “Do not deprive yourself! You can still have your favorite foods – there is a healthier alternative for everything. Learn the basics of nutrition. The hour spent in the gym is just as important as the 23 other ones — you cannot out train a bad diet.”
Weight-Loss Milestones: “My first major milestone was reaching Onederland (below 200 pounds). After that, I reached my lowest weight at the time — 180 — which felt amazing — and almost as good as finally fitting into single digits jeans!”
*Participants can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.