Family Status: Married with 1 daughter
Occupation: Personal trainer and grocery department head
Hometown: Winder, Georgia
Pounds or Inches Lost: I have lost a total of 130 pounds!
Starting Weight: 260 pounds
Current Weight: 130 pounds
Jessica’s Weight Loss Story!
I want to share with everyone how better nutrition and fitness has not only improved the quality of my life, but has saved it on more than one occasion.
I grew up eating unhealthy foods as most of us did in the 60’s and 70’s. Everything was fried or drenched in butter. So I was unfit and obese as a child. I was not interested in sports or doing much of anything but eating(I was really good at that) so my fitness level was nonexistent. When my teen years came along and I became Bulimic and after years of that and abusing diet pills I slowly became Anorexic. I had become so good at hiding it that my family didn’t know. Finally one day, the pills, and the Anorexia had depleted me of so much I woke up in the emergency room with a Dr. standing over me telling me if I did not stop what I was doing I would die of heart failure. MY life was changed then. That was at 17.
When I married the love of my life, we I got pregnant and I immediately started gaining weight (10 plus pounds a month). It did not seem to concern my Dr., so it didn’t concern me, yet. I gained over 100 pounds during my pregnancy and 30+ after the baby. She was born with multiple health issues and spent the first month of her life in ICU so my comfort other than my husband was food. I was pushing the scale at nearly 250 pounds and a size 22 pant. I was too busy with our daughter to realize how miserable and unhealthy I was. There were several times where I could hear people whisper about my size or they would just say it to me.
I was devastated to think they were speaking the truth. Too big to tie my own shoes and get around better I decided to make a lifestyle change for me and my family. I started researching nutrition and exercise. I was very limited since I was a stay at home mom. And that was before computers. When our daughter was old enough and healthy enough I joined a gym. The closest one was 35 minutes one way, but I was determined I was going to change so it was worth it. I was definitely the most unfit one there, and received many stares. I think most of them were wondering what I was doing there. I worked extremely hard in the gym and made my own workout routines and eating balanced and healthy foods.
I have lost 130 pounds with no surgery and no personal trainer but myself. It inspired me to become a personal trainer and have been for 18 years. My goal has always been to help others in their fight against obesity or wellness challenge. I have kept the weight off for 19 years and still going strong. After seeing the transformation and level of fitness I had never known. I began to do amateur bodybuilding at the age of 35 and did very well to my surprise.
The quality of my life had changed so much I still did not realize really how much until recently. In March of 2009 I underwent surgery where I had to have all of my Colon removed. It was supposed to be a 4-5 day stay. After the third day of a normal recovery my stomach started to swell, my blood pressure was dropping rapidly and I was in unbelievable pain. I was starting to go into systic shock. I was taken down for a CT scan and a leak was found. I was immediately taken into surgery where I was shocked to hear would have to have a Colostomy. When I woke up and saw that I had a Colostomy bag attached to my abdomen I was terrified. My hospital stay went from 4-5 days to 16 days and I had lost 20 pounds.
I became so thin and frail and it looked as if I had lost every bit of muscle I had worked so hard all these years to put on. I was unrecognizable. But, I needed to focus on the positive. So now I had to start getting better. The day I was released was on a Saturday and I was back in the gym that Monday. I could not even walk by myself, literally. But I was there. I pushed myself to go as long as I could, which was only 11 min. at a speed of .08. But everyday I went. And I still went with my Colostomy bag by my side. I had many accidents, but I still went. I was very lucky though, because it was not a permanent Colostomy, and I had it reversed 3 months later.
I have been colostomy free now for 7 months now and I am fully recovered. I have had to make some more lifestyle changes as far as my diet and exercise go. I eat even more fresh vegetables and fruits that I did before and concentrate on getting back to better health again. If it were not for my nutrition and exercise change all those years ago and maintained it I would not have survived that last surgery. I believe in the saying ” If you don’t have your health you don’t have anything” I trust in those words because I have lived them and almost lost everything.
Jessica’s Weight Loss Interview!
When did you become unhappy with your weight?
I had always been unhappy with my weight. From child obesity to anorexia.
What made you decide to lose weight?
My daughter was born with many health problems. It was hard to get around to do the things I had to in order to take care of her. Not being able to see my feet or being able to do simple things like tie my own shoes. My feelings were hurt a lot. It was important that I be healthy for myself and my family.
What were the most important changes you made to lose weight?
Learning to eat healthier and exercise the right way and to see the transformation my body has made. And being able to help my family lead a healthy life.
What was most challenging about losing weight?
I don’t think losing the weight was as challenging as the weight training. Never doing anything athletic in my life I didn’t know where to start. Through a lot of research on exercise, I bought some small hand weights and was well on my way to a better and healthier life.
How long did it take you to start to see results?
It took a couple of months to see anything at first. And only being able to do it 2-3 days a week, 15 minutes at a time (I had to build up my endurance). It gradually began to melt off.
How long did it take for you to reach your current weight?
It took about 3 years. But it was extreme dieting. I was very careful with my balance of nutrition and exercise.
How long have you maintained your weight loss and how do you do it?
I have maintained my weight loss for over 19 years now. I watch what I eat, I exercise regularly and help encourage others. That is my motivation to keep my weight under control.
How has your life changed now that you’ve lost weight?
It has inspired me to become a personal trainer (18 years now). Coaching others in wellness and a better lifestyle. I have been a competitive bodybuilder and was asked to join a wonderful organization called the SNBF (Super Natural Bodybuilding and Fitness). I have been with them for 7 years as a judge and my husband as well.
How did ShapeFit help you reach your weight loss goals?
Reading stories of inspiration from others having the same challenges I did. It doesn’t make you seem so alone in your battle with obesity.
Jessica’s Weight Loss Tips!
Weight loss tip #1:
Make a list of all of the reasons why you need to workout (healthier lifestyle) and not excuses why you can’t.
Weight loss tip #2:
Eat in moderation. Use smaller plates when your eating. It’s all right to still feel hungry after you eat. Avoid going back for seconds.
Weight loss tip #3:
Drink plenty of water. Its your friend, really. Crystal Light is one of my favorite alternatives.
Weight loss tip #4:
Find a friend to help with the goals in mind and walk together or join a gym together. Be each others motivation.
Weight loss tip #5:
Get a personal trainer if you can. They can show you how to weight train the right way and weight training will make all the difference. Trust me.
Jessica’s Weight Loss Eating Plan!
6 egg white scrambled, 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1/4 cup of sugar-free syrup, 1/2 cup of fruit.
Grilled chicken salad or steamed vegetables, or tuna salad. I use salsa as my dressing just to give it a little kick.
Roasted chicken with vegetables, brown rice or whole wheat pasta.
Snacks or Mini Meals:
One can of tuna (in water) with rice cakes or Greek yogurt with fresh blueberries and rice cakes or a protein shake.
Jessica’s Weight Loss Workouts!
I do split training, which means I work a different muscle group each day. I take at least 2 days off a week from weights. I try to incorporate at least 1 or 2 HIIT workouts a week in with my weight training.
Monday: Back and biceps.
Tuesday: Triceps and chest.
Cardio is 6-7 days a week for me. I love cardio. I love the way it makes me feel. I like to do something different each day for cardio like the elliptical machine, Stairmaster, treadmill, row machine, or just a nice walk in the park with my husband. Each cardio session is 40 minutes per day.