Vera, California

Vera lost more than 40 pounds* and won a Summer Challenge after Jillian's program lit a fire under her and gave her the tools she needed to succeed!

Name:

Vera

Age:

40s

Weight Lost:

47 lbs.

New Weight:

159 lbs.

Major Motivation:

"I now have the tools for a healthy lifestyle that I can share with everyone I know."

When I look back on childhood, college, and when I first got married, I was very thin — even though I didn't think so at the time.

I started gaining weight during my pregnancies — first 37 pounds with my daughter, then another 35 pounds just 15 months later, with my son. I'd basically been overweight since then. My weight went up and down as I tried many diets, only to fail at all of them.

When I noticed that my blood pressure and cholesterol had started rising higher than normal, I was sad to see where my life was — I'd played sports as a kid, and I went to college on an athletic scholarship! I decided to finally lose the weight so I could be around for my husband and kids, but I needed someone to light a fire under me. I've watched every season of The Biggest Loser, and Jillian has been my favorite trainer all along. Her personality and "kick butt" attitude were awesome! I was looking for a great workout video, and when I saw 30-Day Shred advertised, I thought it would be just the thing to light the fire.

When I bought the video, I got a free membership to the Jillian Michaels' Web site, and I loved her approach. It was all no-nonsense and, in a way, ridiculously simple. Jillian is so down-to-earth, and she tells it like it is. She takes the cliché of "It's not a diet but a lifestyle" and makes it real and possible. I have never stuck to anything for longer than five weeks, and here I am, six months later — a changed woman forever.

Now I follow her plan pretty strictly (limit my calories to 1200-1400 per day), but it has definitely been a process: First I counted calories and did Jillian's videos. Then I began setting goals for macronutrients like carbohydrates, protein, and fats and followed them closely. Later I included the circuits from the online program and followed the weekly workout plan. Gradually I added things like the Web site's personal coaching, and I really began to incorporate everything into my life so it stopped being a diet and became second nature.

I've lost more than 40 pounds, and I feel as though I now have the tools for a healthy lifestyle that I can share with everyone I know. I always look forward to Jillian's blogs and her radio show, because in my opinion, Jillian equals knowledge, and this knowledge equals empowerment. Also, the Message Boards on the site are awesome because they are a result of what Jillian has taught all of us. I am a teacher by trade, and I love teaching others about Jillian's way. My husband, kids, extended family, and friends are all involved, and the more I share, the more this lifestyle is ingrained in me as well. Losing this weight makes me a walking billboard for the success of Jillian's program!

Now I'm a positive role model for my children, and I feel healthy, energetic, and full of knowledge that I want to share with anyone who will listen!

Activities now: I do Level 2 of Jillian's workout plan and mix in a lot of cardio for variety, which also allows my family to get involved. At one point, I couldn't play even church slow-pitch softball once a week without feeling as if I'd been hit by a train. Now not only can I play any sport again, but I can run miles at a time. I could barely run a quarter mile on a treadmill set to level 5 — now I can run a mile at level 7. I don't take the elevator anymore; I take the stairs now because my knees can handle it.

Best compliment: My husband tells me all the time how proud he is of me for sticking to this and for helping him, too. He has always said how beautiful I am — even when I was nine months pregnant — but recently he gave me a big hug and said, "Man, you look so different, I feel like I'm cheating on you!" We had a good laugh.

Advice for others: Every day, write down what you eat and what you do for exercise. Don't be hard on yourself if you mess up one meal or one day — just fix the next one. Most important, be patient and take it one pound at a time. Rather than focusing on the pounds lost, try to notice all the other positive changes. Keep in mind that one day your success story will inspire someone else to do the same. Also, keep up with Jillian's Web site. I am so proud to be part of this online community that lifts us up, inspires us, and challenges all of us to keep moving. When you're down, there are always other members to encourage you. When you're celebrating, there are always others to pat you on the back. When you're settling into a comfort zone, other members are there to challenge you to do more. Jillian has got a great thing here, and I am so grateful for it!

*Participants can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.

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