Love, this story! 100 lbs–AMAZING!!! You will be inspired both by Jessica and her hubby!!! (Click here to see more Shed & Share stories!)
I am currently a homeschooling mum of three and help my husband with the administration end of our exterior renovation business. In the past though I have been a music and instrument specialist, a high school secretary, and an executive assistant.
How long have you been on this weight loss journey?
I guess I could say I have really been on my journey since about puberty. That is when I first became aware of being overweight (which I attribute to the Sweet Valley High series and the characters being “perfect size sixes”). If only I knew then what I know now. I went through what I would call a binging phase, then at 17 went through a phase of serious restriction where I lost weight but it quickly returned. Through my twenties I hovered around 230, had a few successful rounds with weight watchers but never really cracked the 200 lb mark. At my most I was 250lbs. When I was just about 29 and shortly after the birth of my third child was when my full on transformation really began. I got serious and really committed myself over the last two plus years. At 31 now I guess it took me 15 years to mentally and physically be where I am today.
To date I have lost 101 lbs. I am looking to still lose another 10 to be at my final goal. So far I have lost a total of 28″.
Jessica and Hubby on the first day of their weight loss journey and them now!
Other medical stats:
I am very proud of what I accomplished with my body mass index. I went from being classified as obese class 2 to now being classified as having a healthy BMI as well as a healthy body adiposity. I wish I had had some other baseline stats to compare to but I don’t. I do however know that my family history was not in my favour. I have many family members on my mothers side that struggle with their weights, I have a great aunt that is classified as morbidly obese and has been near bed ridden most of her adult life. My grandmother is type two diabetes and my sister has been type 1 since childhood. There are things that loomed in my future I did not want for myself.
What was your “low point”?
I am not sure if I can pinpoint to a specific low point. I have had my loving husband in my life since I was 18, I have three lovely children, and I am an overly optimistic and happy person. Low points just aren’t really in my nature. But my big push though to finally make a change came after my third child was born. I sometimes wonder if the fact that I now had a daughter was a subconscious push on me as well as I didn’t want my daughter to see me that way, I wanted to show her a healthier woman to look up to. Obviously I wanted that for my boys as well but with girls the pressure seems to be so much more.
How did you get started?
I was very lucky that I began my transformation with a group of other women as support, we were all trying to lose the baby weight. I knew from day one though that I was going to use the principles of clean eating, I was going to portion control through using the weight watchers points system on my own, and I was going to “try” to get moderate exercise. I had already previously eliminated a lot of processed food due to some sensitivities so going even cleaner was a natural progression. For the first year most of my exercise was just some walking and mild hiking with the family and some bike riding. Near the end of the first year though is when I really started to exercise. I was doing circuit training with cardio and weights every day. It really sparked something in me and everything just seemed to really connect. The diet, the exercise, the lifestyle it all clicked.
What is your workout routine and eating plan?
I do all of my workouts at home because that is what suits me and my family the best. We go for regular family walks, I love working with dumbbells and the kettle bell. I recently completed P90X3 and LOVED it, currently I am combining it with the 21 Day Fix and Les Mills Pump. It makes me feel strong and empowered, which is what exercise should do (in my opinion anyways). I also throw in some extra cardio and a bit of yoga to balance everything out. The biggest thing is doing it every day (except rest day of course).
I really try to follow a mind set of eating 80% clean and 20% what I call fun. I don’t do “cheat meals” I do “treat meals”. I also really like the concepts of paleo. I really have combined everything so I can embrace using butter and full fait dairy and bacon while also eating a lot of greens, vegetables, fruit, and lower fat protein like chicken breasts. For the most part I don’t eat a lot of grains except for oatmeal in the mornings and usually another serving of a grains throughout the day (like a wrap, or sprouted grain bread). I don’t deny myself special treats and I enjoy myself on dinners out because I know the rest of the time I am eating to fuel my body and stay energized. Portion control has always been an issue for me so I also continue to use an app on my iPhone for tracking things, that really helps me stay accountable. I make a point of buying wholesome foods and not even bringing snack foods into the home as I prefer to prepare our own snacks. I also recently began adding a protein powder to my day to have after a workout and I feel it is really making a difference. I know I had empty holes in my nutrition despite my best efforts so I know that what I am supplementing with now is covering those.
What are your top 3 favorite resources that helped you along the way?
One of my biggest influences was Tosca Reno and the Eat Clean Diet. I stumbled upon it when I was having some sensitivities and it all made so much sense to me. It was right before I became pregnant with our third child and it really helped change the way we ate. I think that made it easier as well after my daughter was born to grasp on to more of a clean diet.
Another favourite resource is of course Peak 313. As a Christian woman a lot of what I read on the web site appealed to me. It really helped me see that my body is a gift from God and that I should be treating it well.
The third resource was my support group. EVERYONE needs a support group, it just provides so much that you can’t get anywhere else.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is sitting on the sidelines and waiting?
I think a lot of people don’t take that step into the game because they don’t think they are worth it. There is some effort you have to put in at the beginning (that becomes effortless as healthy living becomes habitual) but so many don’t put that effort in. I encourage anyone to look at themselves in the mirror and say to themselves that they are beautiful, they are loved, they are special, and they are worth every piece of effort. Love yourself as you are now, not who you want to become. Love yourself enough to want to be the healthiest you can be.
Jessica and her 8 year old son doing the Couch to 5K program!
What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is in the process but is feeling discouraged?
Rome wasn’t built in a day, the little engine that could did, and the tortoise did beat the rabbit. Go steady and slow. Make mini goals along the way and eventually you will get there. If you hit a plateau that is an indication that you need to adjust something. But whatever you do DON’T STOP!
If you are a parent, how have you balanced everything?
I don’t think I have balance at all but what I have done is make specific things in my life a priority. As a parent I am setting an example. My children see me workout every day, many days they join in. We go for family walks and hikes together. They are learning the importance of physical activity. They see me prepare healthy meals, they ask me what is healthy, what is not. As a family we are all invested in this together. I have to make yourself a priority because if I go down the ship goes down with me.
Anything else you would like to share?
In the process of losing my weight I have dwelled on the fact that I should never have gotten to that place to being with. Through a lot of reflection I have really come to see a calling in it. I have been able to turn my pain (obesity) into a passion (health and fitness) and with what I have gained I feel I have been guided to my purpose, which is helping others who are where I once was. I have become a bit of a fitness nut and a nutrition geek and I am now looking into formal education so that I can truly reach out and help others. I feel as though the years I spent overweight were not spent in vain now as I can now be a beacon for others that are struggling and are obese and don’t know where to begin. And especially to show those who don’t even think it is possible that is so. When you are through walking in that fire that you are stronger than you could ever imagine.
Thank you so much for sharing your story, Jessica! You are so inspiring! If you have a Shed story that you would like to share, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org