Weight Loss Stories – Jill Vento Lost 203 Pounds in 18 Months

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Name: Jill
Age: 59
Family Status: Widow
Occupation: Accounting
Hometown: Des Moines, Iowa
Height: 5’6″
Starting Weight: 375 pounds
Current Weight: 172 pounds
Current Waist Size: 24″

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Jill’s Weight Loss Interview!

How much did you lose?
I have lost 203 pounds and I went from a size 5X down to large tops and 12/14 bottoms!

When did you become unhappy with your weight?
I have always been overweight, but the eye opener came when I was diagnosed with diabetes in late March, 2013.

What made you decide to lose weight?
I lost my mom and husband within 24 hours of each other in April, 2012 and just became depressed. Then in March, 2013 I was diagnosed with diabetes and that made me get off the couch and start walking.

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What were the most important changes you made to lose weight?
Walking in the airport terminal where I work. I think this was the biggest thing that helped me but I also joined Weight Watchers and made changes to my diet also.

What was the most challenging thing you had to deal with during your weight loss journey?
I was so out of shape and my knees hurt so it was very difficult to exercise, but I started walking in the airport terminal just a few minutes a day and gradually increased it to an hour. One of my fellow employees saw me walking and measured my route so I knew how many steps I was taking.

How long did it take you to start to see results?
Within the first month. Within three months my blood sugar went down. After three months the diabetes was gone!

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How long did it take for you to reach your current weight?
It took me a year and half.

How long have you maintained your weight loss and what are the most important factors for keeping it off?
I have maintained for almost a year now. I keep walking and I love to dance and go out. I also take Zumba classes. I have so much energy now and I feel like I have been given a second chance at life!

What keeps you motivated to continue your weight loss success?
I actually enjoy my life now. I love getting out and being around people. I feel so healthy. All of my prior health issues are now gone. I take little to no medicine. I do not need to use a CPap machine and my asthma is not a problem anymore. My grandson can now put his arms around me. People also keep me motivated. I have had so much support from strangers. I want to help others!

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How has your life changed now that you have lost weight?
I am not a couch potato anymore! I go out dancing and I enjoy walking and being around people. I have been given a second chance and I want to help others know that if I can do it, they can too. I am the caterpillar who thought her life was over and then became a butterfly. I can go to a store and buy regular clothes now and not have to depend on using a catalog any longer. Seeing family and friends who haven’t seen me for a while is always fun. The look on their faces once they realize it’s me is exciting!

Do you have any advice for others who are trying to lose weight?
You can’t look at the big picture, you have to take it one step at a time and go day by day. You have to forgive yourself for the little things and keep moving.

How did ShapeFit help you reach your weight loss goals?
Education is key and to be able to see other weight loss success stories of real people on ShapeFit.com is priceless. It helps to know there are other people with the same struggle. All of the fitness articles on ShapeFit give me inspiration and guidance.

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Jill’s Weight Loss Tips!

Weight Loss Tip #1:
Watch carbs and write down what you eat.

Weight Loss Tip #2:
Keep moving! Start out slow and challenge yourself to increase your steps.

Weight Loss Tip #3:
Drink lots of water.

Weight Loss Tip #4:
Don’t deprive yourself! Either eat smaller amounts or make a lower calorie version.

Weight Loss Tip #5:
Don’t give up!

Jill was featured in First for Women magazine!

Jill was featured in First for Women magazine!

Jill’s Weight Loss Eating Plan!

What do you normally eat for breakfast?
I eat vanilla Greek yogurt with blackberries and fiber one cereal mixed in.

What do you normally eat for lunch?
At first, I ate a Weight Watchers frozen dinner, but now I eat a turkey sandwich on light bread with carrots or celery.

What do you normally eat for dinner?
Dinner is usually a salad with some sort of protein. I don’t deprive myself. If I am hungry for pizza, I buy the lowest carb frozen pizza and enjoy it.

jill-v-weight-loss-story-5What do you normally eat for snacks?
Fruit, fat-free popcorn.

What type of nutritional supplements do you take?
I take a multivitamin and biotin.

Jill’s Weight Loss Workouts!

What do you do for weight training?
I like using hand weights and I also have a Total Gym.

What do you do for cardio training?
Walking! I challenge myself to increase my speed. I like Zumba and have been thinking about a belly dance class. I also like using Richard Simmons “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” workout DVDs and I use an app on my phone called “MapMyWalk” to track my walking.

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15 Comments

  1. Congratulations on your changed life! What a terrific accomplishment and inspiration to others. I’ve lost about 90 pounds so far, pretty much doing exactly the same things you do. I eat a much healthier diet and never eat fast food anymore. I’d rather eat more “real” and filling food than high fat fast food. I keep track of my food and also track my steps and other exercises on different phone apps. For exercise, I swim laps and do water exercises and I try my best to get at least a 2 mile brisk walk every day. Walking is what really jump started my weight loss. I have bad arthritis in one knee, but with the 90 pounds gone, it’s now hardly an issue. I was taking medication for high blood pressure, but not any longer. Like you stated – the energy level you can attain from getting fit is simply amazing. I LOVE my lifestyle now! Being healthy and strong is a fantastic feeling. Even more so after living with pain and fatigue for so many years. Keep it up Jill and please continue to try to help those who think they’re beyond hope.

  2. Jill, I am at the beginning of this journey and my weight loss needs to be as large as yours has been. As I begin, I am struggling with cravings for sugar and carbs. Did you have this problem and how did you handle it?

    • Effie – Yes, I had those same cravings. One way I dealt with it was to buy Weight Watchers and Lean Cuisine dinners. The quantity is controlled and you still get some of the desire out of your mind. The longer you go without the extra carbs, the easier it gets. It seemed to me that I didn’t crave it as much as the days went on. Good luck to you and just take each day as it comes!

  3. Wonderful work! I too have been working it off for 2 years. Keeping steady is the plan. Stay with what you are doing, you look great and I know you feel amazing. I hope that by people learning about these accomplishments it will help them to lose weight, avoid diabetes and get healthy.

  4. Congratulations! Your story is so joyful! In your before pictures, you look so uncomfortable. In your after pictures, you look gorgeous, confident, mysterious, and sexy! I love how your co-workers encouraged and supported you! You have a bright light shining from you that is now your gift to yourself and the world. You go girl!

  5. Congratulations Jill! I have just started my journey and I have a long way to go. Your story has inspired me a lot. Thank you!

    • Tatari – Thank you! I broke my weight loss down into ten pound goals so it was easier to achieve. It helped keep me motivated! You can do this one day and one step at a time.

  6. Jill, your story is really inspiring. I’ve struggled with weight over half a lifetime, mostly because I’d been an emotional eater. After I got divorced, I was left with a lot of extra weight and was successful at one point with losing 45 pounds. I gained it all back and then some because of depression and no motivation. At 20 years old I weighed 116 pounds, currently I weigh 247 pounds. Recently, I started walking for a Jiff steps challenge and I’m almost done with the challenge. I’ve reached the goals of 100,000 and 200,000 steps and my ultimate goal is 280,000 in a few more days. I have not lost much weight on the scale but I can tell by my clothes since they are looser. I’ve been looking for other challenges to keep challenging myself and have been eating healthier. I avoid fast food. I still have issues with drinking enough water though. Another struggle is having bad knees, but with walking they don’t hurt much anymore but they are still loose. The biggest challenge thus far is the asthma so I can’t walk briskly very far, but do well at a steady pace. I want to make a life change and be healthier and walk in 5k and 10k walks. My ultimate goal is to be able to get on a horse and go horseback riding.

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