Meet Jenni….my longest standing friend since our Freshman year of high school. I believe I am the only person who refuses to call her, “Jen” (LOL). We’ve been on and off a few times between then and now, but we are stronger than ever and I’m sure we’ll be friends ’til the end. This was us before our date night in Nov. 2011 (I surprised her with dinner and the, ‘Wicked’ play as a birthday present). This was just two short months before Jenni took the plunge…the plunge that would change the rest of her life…
This was Jenni and her family – Christmas of 2010
Jenni decided in January 2012 that she wanted to lose weight and start feeling good about herself, be healthy, and be able to have more options in clothing. Although she started in January, this was NOT a resolution. She knew that if she made it a resolution, there would be added pressure that she didn’t want to deal with….and possibly fail. Jenni started this journey weighing 204 lbs.. I am so proud of the hard work she has accomplished and I knew I just had to document her journey just to give people hope. Anyone can lose weight if they just, “try”….start with baby steps….and never give up! I wanted Jenni to see how far she has come, that she is beautiful inside and out (and finally realize it), and if I can give one person their life back by this story….MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! I approached Jenni with this idea, honestly thinking she’d say, “no”. I expressed that I wanted it to be raw/bare all…old pics, super hot mess working out pics, honest interview, ending with a super special photo shoot. SHOCKED when she text me back that she was all in. So….here goes…
How much weight did you want to lose and how long did it take to get to where you are now?
”My first goal was to lose 20 lbs., and then after losing 50 lbs., my ultimate goal was to weigh 140 lbs. After I lost the 50 lbs. I got super serious because I knew at that point that I could do it. I became obsessed and wanted to see if I could reach my ultimate goal at that point.”
What foods did you eat?
”Salads, yogurt, fruits, and nuts.”
Did you use any supplements of any sorts to help you?
”I used Advocare’s, “Catalyst” three months into the weight loss and now I drink protein shakes, take calcium pills, vitamins, and green tea pills for metabolism/fat burner.”
What dieting and exercising were you doing or do now?
“I started walking 2.5 mph for 20 minutes at no incline. I was so embarrassed…I had to hold on to the bars because I was so out of shape. After about a week of that, I got bored so I started alternating between that and the eliptical machine. I then started incorporating, “The Biggest Loser” workout after 20 min of cardio. I didn’t diet the first month, just exercised. I realized during that month that I never really ate meals, just snacked a lot throughout the day.”
“I watched my portion sizes and stopped snacking. After losing 20 lbs., I just ate healthy and worked out 60-90 min. a day/7 days a week. During my crazy phase, I would workout 1.5 hours in the morning AND another 1.5 hours at night. I started interval programs. I would walk 3 min./run 1 min. at zero incline. I then started running a #6 incline at 6.5 mph., where I would run 2 min./walk 3 min.. I signed up for a 5k. My goal was to just be able to run at least one mile straight. I ended up getting SECOND PLACE in my age group; ran it in 26 minutes. (Yep, she’s a beast!!) I then ran 3 more 5k runs, finishing 2nd in my age group, 1st overall, and the last one didn’t have places to finish…just received pies if you placed in the first however many people. Yep, I got a pie! Finished with my best time ever…23 minutes!! Now I typically run 3-4 miles a day, do the eliptical at night, 10 Minute Trainer DVD, sometimes a video, or whatever I feel like…usually 6-7 days a week.”
This is us-May 2012-before going out for our Mother’s Day dinner…Melting Pot, baby! Look how much she has lost just since Jan…only FOUR MONTHS!!!
When did you start buying new clothes?
”I bought new clothes after I lost 30 lbs. because everything was getting so baggy. I bought a winter wardrobe and then ended up having to buy two summer wardrobes because I lost even more.”
When did it finally hit you that you lost weight and were starting to look amazing?
”The epiphany was when Steve (her hubs) asked me if I could fit into my wedding dress…and I did!! I was excited when I was able to fit into size 3/4 pants. It was just shocking/crazy because I don’t see myself the way that others see me. When I look in the mirror all I see are problems that I need to fix and not how far I’ve come.”
Psh…look at her! This was June 30th…first time she had worn a dress in forever!! Steve was more than pleased!
(Look at the difference just from the Mother’s Day pic to this one…only one month!)
Has Steve been supportive through this journey?
“Steve has been supportive by complimenting me, but he wasn’t so supportive of my food choices during my most serious time of eating healthy. He didn’t understand why I couldn’t eat certain things anymore. Now my choices have been a motivator for him; he started working out with me and he started eating healthy about halfway through my journey.”
Do you notice that people treat you differently now?
”Absolutely. People who would never look twice at me before, carry conversations with me now. The ones that used to snub me, actually want to be my friend now.”
Does that make you bitter?
“No because it doesn’t really mean they will be my, “friend” friend. I still hold that wall up. I’m not really bitter because it’s reality…we all judge people by their outward appearance.”
Summer 2012-Jenni FINALLY got to go zip lining! She has always wanted to do it but was always too big to do so.
How do you think your attitude has changed?
“It’s sort of a double edged sword. I am happier, healthier, and proud of myself, but it is so darn hard to maintain the weight. There is an obsession now..obsessed to keep it up. There will never be an old normal for me, this IS the new normal…and it isn’t as fun/easy. The mental part of it all is so stressful and that is the hardest part. I am scared because family genes play a big role in this. If I go back to the way I was eating before, I will gain everything back so quickly and all of this will be gone in the blink of an eye. Honestly…if I knew how hard this was going to be to maintain, I would have never had the motivation to start!”
Let’s talk family pictures…when was the last time you actually had a family picture taken?
“Alissa was 3 months old. (She’ll be 12 this Fall) I never wanted pictures until I was 140 lbs. I never wanted to have, “fat” family photos.”
HAAA HAAA….look who finally got family pictures taken!!!
“The moment I saw our family photos, it was the first time I actually felt proud. Right there…proof that all of those days of blood, sweat, and tears…this is where I am!”
Company Christmas party night-Dec 2012-I actually saw Jenni that night…this pic does not do her justice…she looked so beautiful in person!
Did you ever get defeated along the way?
“Absolutely! The most frustrating/defeating part is that no one really noticed or commented on my weight loss, but everyone made a big deal out of Steve losing 12 lbs.. I thought that maybe I was seeing something wrong or in a different image. I didn’t get my first compliment until I lost 50 lbs….so it took four months for someone to finally say something. When I got down to 125 lbs., people finally started commenting.”
Do you think people were just jealous?
”Maybe some people. I actually wondered if maybe people would offend me by saying something…like if they complimented me, then they were saying, “wow…you sure were fat”. I hope that’s all it was.”
What are your goals from here?
“To stay healthy, stay in shape/get toned, and maintain all of this without obsessing. I want to run more 5Ks, and I am participating in the Warrior Dash in August.”
How do you feel when you eat the things you once loved?
What are three things you loved to eat and what have you replaced them with?
“1. Pop-replaced by sparkling ice water because it has that carbonation feel/fizz and it has flavor. 2. Ice cream-I still enjoy it every once in a while, but I generally get the fat free kind. 3. Chips-replaced by caramel rice cakes.”
What do you miss the most?
“The only thing I am good at…baking! I miss being able to bake freely. I love to bake, but since I can’t eat it like I used to, I can’t bake anymore.”
This is my fave smile of hers…when she laughs outloud and the head goes back. LOVE IT!
204 lbs. Jan 2012, 125 lbs. Sept 2012, and now maintains a healthy 130-135 lbs. Jenni claims that 135 lbs. is the ideal weight for her height and it’s a little easier to maintain that weight than 125 lbs.
Jenni, I am so very proud of you! You did something that most people only dream of doing…you made it happen. I think you look absolutely gorgeous and your face just glows now. Your attitude has changed drastically (you have confidence) and you can tell that now you are truly happy. You are an inspiration! I know that the journey has not been an easy one…if it was easy, we’d all be skinny. I pray that through this story, someone can change their life as well…can gain the courage and the hope to get started with the first step to the rest of their lives. Thank you so much for allowing me to document this transformation and share with others. Besties to the end…love you, dearie!
If you stuck around and read this blog to the end, please leave a comment and show Jenni some love. If you have lost weight and would like to tell us your progress, please leave a comment as well. I thank you so much for reading about Jenni’s journey and if you are currently changing your life, I wish you the best of luck…YOU CAN DO IT!