In the 3 years since I have been working out and going through my transformation, I have never posted pictures of myself without a top on. Why? Because despite how far I had come, I still wasn’t happy with my progress. I’ve since come to the realization that if I am going to coach my friends, family, and others to be happy with small improvements, that I need to start drinking my own koolaid and practice what I preach.
I am far from perfect. I still have big hips and thighs, a big butt, a bit of love-handles, and some belly fat that keeps me from seeing my abs. The biggest, and arguably most important, difference between the girl from the top photos and the girl from the bottom photos is that now I am confident and happy enough with myself to post pictures featuring my face.
Unfortunately I do not have photos from when I was over 200 pounds to show the full transformation. Hindsight is 20/20, and I wish I had been brave enough to take before pictures. When I started this journey, I had already tried just about every diet tip, trick, pill, supplement, wrap, and more on the market. Nothing seemed to work, so I pulled out the old P90X and thought I would give it another go, but I had tried that and failed to stay the course many times as well. My failure to take before photos is both a testament to my lack of belief in myself that I would make it, and also a complete and utter hatred for my body and myself for letting myself go.
You’re probably thinking that in 3 years of health and fitness, I should be a lot more ripped than that. Well, you’re probably right. The problem is that I am an emotional eater, so when life throws curveballs at me, I tend to return to old habits. The past 3 years have been a total roller coaster of ups and downs when it comes to my weight loss. I had lost 60-65 pounds, then I fell off track and gained 30 back. I got myself back on track and lost those 30 pounds, bringing me back to where I was before. Then my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer, and four months later, he was gone. During the year between the diagnosis and following his passing, I totally derailed and wound up gaining 40 pounds back. Since January 2016, I have been working to lose those 40 pounds, and I am just about 5 pounds away from where I was before despite a couple of minor setbacks due to illness and life experiences.
My point in all of this essentially is this: It doesn’t matter how many times you try and you fail. What matters is how many times you try again. Nobody becomes successful at anything without failing along the way, and you can ask any expert in any field, and they will tell you the exact same thing. Failure means you are trying. You just have to know how to get back up and try again. Don’t let failure destroy everything you’ve worked towards. It is okay to take some time, but always brush yourself off and get back at it.
You are NEVER alone. Guaranteed, there are others out there struggling through the same journey that you are currently taking. I am right there with you on this journey myself, and someday I will achieve my goals. If you want help achieving yours and you are lacking the support and guidance that you need to get you there, you are more than welcome to reach out to me. I would be happy to help you out, and share information that I’ve learned along the way. Simply use the contact tab and fill out the form to send me an email directly, and I will respond as soon as I can!
Thanks for reading
So I am 100% speechless right now… I could actually cry.
I have been working SO hard for what seems like such a long time, and falling off the wagon then getting back on repeatedly. A year ago yesterday I lost my grandfather, and until January of this year, I had totally derailed and had gone back to emotional eating.
In January I recommitted, and I am now almost back down to my lowest weight since high school. I am so freaking proud of myself and how far I have come. I still have some work to do, but these pictures are proof to me that everything I am doing is beyond worth it!
If I can do it, so can you.
NEVER GIVE UP
It’s not over until you say it is.
Does your place of employment make it difficult for you to stay on your healthy eating path with regular treats and ways to cheat? Mine does!
So for now I say, “Yay for small victories!” Here’s why.
With my current place of employment, there are breakfast treats from a bakery provided every Friday. I am usually fine with that as long as I don’t go in the lunch room. Yesterday was a little different though because our manager brought timbits (Canadian bite sized donuts lol… tasty little devils) and coffee. I was OK all morning until I went to refill my water bottle and saw the box. I figured the chocolate ones were gone anyway so I could just take a peek. Chocolate ones were in there. I stopped and stared like a doofus for a good 30 seconds with the devil on my shoulder telling me to take one.
I didn’t cave! I’m only two and a half weeks fully back on track with my fitness and nutrition, so I didn’t want to risk messing with my progress. Now to survive next week at work with a treat trolley, lunches being provided, suppers occasionally if you stay late etc. I think I’m in deep trouble lol.
I realized that if I am finding this to be a struggle, there must be others like me working in similar environments that are struggling with the exact same issue. I wanted to share a bit about how you can help make this process of avoidance a little easier.
Here we go!
Don’t say “I can’t have that”
Seriously! Instead of saying to yourself or to others than you can’t have something because you’re on a diet, start telling yourself and others that you “don’t want that”. If you allow yourself to think that you are restricting yourself from something that you want, it becomes a lot harder to resist. Think about how bad the treat can be for you, and how it can ruin your progress and set you off course, and think “I can have this if I want to, but do I really want to eat it?” If you think positively about the situation and say that you don’t want that because you owe it to yourself to eat clean and create a healthier life for yourself, you WILL feel better about the decision to avoid whatever tasty treat was put in front of you.
Bring your own snacks and meals
This is a big one. Prepare your healthy meals and snacks before you go to work. If you get hungry, go eat one of the snacks or meals that you brought for yourself. If you don’t have a fridge handy and your meal needs to be kept cool (as most healthy meals would), then you can invest a small amount of money in one of the many cooler bags out there designed for health and fitness individuals. I have one, and I used it every single shift when I was working in an environment that had no fridge. Having snacks and meals readily available makes you far less likely to indulge on whatever treat your office is providing this time. If you don’t have these healthy choices available and you happen to be hungry at the time of the junk food option, you are way more likely to give in.
Avoid the area that holds the treats
For me I know to avoid the lunch room on Fridays because of the breakfast treats. If there are coffee and timbits provided, I know to avoid the table on which they are kept. If cupcakes are brought in to our daily morning meeting (which happens whenever someone in the office has a birthday), I know to leave right after the meeting to avoid seeing all of the other people munching down on the cupcakes. Don’t torture yourself by putting yourself around the foods that you crave, and instead try to avoid those areas if you can.
Celebrate the times you avoid the treats
Be really happy and proud of yourself for avoiding these office temptations! Pat yourself of the back. Join health and fitness groups and networks, and share your small little victory with others. See what I did here, I did exactly what I am telling you to do in this very blog post! When you learn to celebrate these small victories, it becomes easier and easier for you to stay strong each time an opportunity presents itself to cheat.
Get your office involved in your journey
Share what you are doing! Tell other people about your goals and what you are trying to accomplish, and ask them to please be respectful of your goals by not shoving things under your nose that can hamper your progress. Sharing your goals with others will help to keep you accountable, and it could also help you find a person to go through the journey with you. Having a partner go on the journey with you is definitely a huge advantage, because you will both help to keep one another accountable. If you’re REALLY motivated to keep on track, you could even try to get the whole office involved by doing a friendly competition. Have a little “biggest loser” competition, or have a “step counting competition”. Get the office doing something that will keep them active and guide them to a healthier lifestyle, because if you get them on board your life in the workplace will get a whole lot easier!
Lastly, I just want to say that if you do find yourself in a position where you have “cheated” on your nutrition and your meal plan if you have one, DO NOT get mad at yourself and allow that to get in the way of your progress. So many people give in once, and then they use that as an excuse to binge for the rest of the day. “Well I already messed up once so I may as well make this a cheat day”. Don’t do it. Just don’t, please! That is a verrrrryyy slippery slope to be on you guys, and trust me, this is coming from experience because I’ve done it myself a thousand times before. A cheat meal can turn into a cheat day, and a cheat day very easily turns into a cheat weekend, which then can turn into a cheat week, and then all of a sudden before you know it… a month has gone by and you’ve barely worked out or eaten healthy, and you find yourself right back where you started having gained back some weight. If you make a slip up once, be like “that’s okay, one mistake is not going to hurt me and I can be really good for the rest of the week.” Stop yourself from being down and discouraged one one tiny mistake, and definitely don’t let that cause you to give up on your goals.
It has been a great summer with lots of nice weather, and I am sure that we have all enjoyed our fair share of BBQ’s, cold drinks, ice cream, junk food, etc. Now that summer is over, it is time to get yourself back on track with your nutrition and your exercise routine. After all, summer bodies are built in the winter months!
Let’s get ahead of the holiday weight-gain and get some awesome results to show off to your friends and family during Christmas and New Year’s visits. Most people wait until New Year’s to start, and statistically speaking, very few actually are still on track a few months – let alone a year later. Establish those habits prior to the holidays, and not only will you be less likely to gain a bunch of weight during the holiday season, but you’ll also be more likely to stick it out beyond January 1st.
I actually have a few girls starting CIZE in a couple of weeks, so I am currently looking for a few extra people looking to lose 10-15+ pounds. You will be drinking shakeology daily, working out, and interacting daily in a private challenge group with others doing the program as well! Not only will you receive the full fitness program, but you will also receive the nutrition plan and a month supply of Shakeology (which replaces one meal a day – I prefer breakfast). PLUS you also receive a month free of Beachbody On Demand where you can access over $2000 worth of fitness programs by amazing trainers, meal plans, and healthy meal recipes to try out. This is in addition to having a personal coach (me) to help and support you along this journey, and a small team of people doing this with you for support and accountability.
This is a fun way to learn about health and fitness in a secure environment with like-minded people to support and encourage you along the way. Let me know if this sounds like something that you could benefit from! In the meantime, feel free to join my Health and Fitness group.
Comment below with “I’m In!” if you are ready to take this next step toward a healthier life!
Those who follow my blog will know that I recently pledge to get back on track with my nutrition and my exercise. This week was my first week back on the wagon, and though I had a bit of a rocky start, things are definitely getting better. I am sore all over my body (in the good way), which always happens to me when I start a new program, so it is pretty normal. I am happy to report that the headache and dizziness symptoms seem to be subsiding, which means that my body is getting accustomed to my new diet sans junk food.
I started this week with the goal of losing AT LEAST 10 pounds this month. I stepped on the scale this morning out of curiosity and was pleasantly surprised to find that I’ve already shed 5 pounds! That is pretty exciting stuff, however, you have to remember that a lot of that was likely just bloat from all of the junk that I had been putting into my body last month. For those of you wondering what I am doing, I thought I would fill you in!
So you may have noticed that I wasn’t really posting a whole lot over the past month… and yes, there is a reason. I totally went off the deep end with my nutrition and my exercise. I am HUMAN. It happens. It began with my Younique convention because I didn’t have much of a choice but to eat pretty horrible 90% of the time because I didn’t have time to go get healthy food elsewhere, so I lived off of whatever I could get at the cafe or the fast food places in the hotel. Lack of time and total exhaustion also led to a lack of exercise, mind you we did get a lot of walking in while we were there! That was a HUGE convention center lol. I got lost more than once!
Now you’re probably thinking… “Well, Jessica.. your convention trip only lasted 5 days. What happened to the rest of your month?” And I would love to be able to give you some legitimate reason as to why I couldn’t eat properly or exercise. However, the fact of the matter is, I got lazy, and I felt the brain fog and yuckiness from eating so much junk and lack of exercise. I wanted to sleep all the time. I had zero motivation to do anything. I pretty much just went to work, came home and got in my pajamas, and binge-watched Netflix day in and day out. I felt awful ALL OF THE TIME, but I had no energy or motivation to do anything about it. I kept ignoring all of the warning signs like my shorts not fitting as nicely, my pants being a little tighter, my muscle slowly disappearing under a layer of fat. Before I knew it, I had gained a little over 10 pounds.
Let’s fast forward to this morning, which was my first day back on the horse for fitness and nutrition. I had already planned my meals yesterday so that I would be fully committed and I wouldn’t be able to use some lame excuse that I had to eat something quick and easy because I wasn’t prepared. The only problem was.. I was too tired to get up at 4:45 am to do my workout before work. Instead, I slept in until 10 after 7 and then ran around like a chicken with its head cut off until 8am when I had to leave for work.
What would you do in that situation? Would you do your workout after work, or would you just say “Oh well, I’ll start tomorrow?” Well I developped a major headache and brain fog during the last 2 hours of my shift, and I arrived home at 530pm having had my pre-workout drink feeling awful and dreading my workout. I sucked it up, got my outfit on, and went down to do my workout. I made it through the warmup, barely made it through the first exercise, and I had to stop. I was a total mess. My body was shaking, I had no strength, and I felt like I was going to faint. Why? Because I had been eating so much junk and so many carbs as of late that my body was shocked by the sudden change in my diet, and it was telling me that it needed carbs. I ran upstairs and had a Quest bar, and went back down to finish my workout. It would have been FAR too easy for me to skip my workout because I wasn’t feeling well, but I went back down, and I crushed my workout. I felt much better after my snack, and I had the strength to power through the rest of the workout.
Now that I’ve completed my workout, I feel so much better. I can sense the brain fog having been lifted a bit, and I know from previous experience that that will only lift further as I progress with my journey. Honestly I don’t ever want to go back. I hate the feeling of being exhausted all the time, mentally drained, no energy, no motivation, less confidence, and tighter clothes. I am ready to get focused, and I am ready to get EXTREME with ChaLEAN Extreme. I can’t wait to watch my body change back into the size I was last summer before I slid backward.
Moral of this story: Even the best fall down sometimes. I am by no means saying that I am the best, because I have a long way to go myself. However, I know a lot of people look up to me for having lost 60 pounds, and I know for certain that a lot of people out there look up to models, and even fitness enthusiasts or trainers. We are ALL human though, and we are all susceptible to falling off course. It is SUPER easy to fall off track, but is is 10x harder to get back on track.
Don’t get down on yourself for making a mistake, or sliding backwards a bit. Instead, focus on the now, and focus on the future. Do what you can each and every day to ensure that you are moving closer to your goal tomorrow. And most importantly…
NEVER GIVE UP
If you are ready to join me on a health and fitness journey of your own, please feel free to contact me at any time with questions. You are also more than welcome to join my free Health and Fitness group on Facebook!
Move 1: Lunge with a frontal press
This move is very similar to the lunge with overhead press that you did yesterday. You wrap the band around your back foot, lunge forward with the other foot, drop down low, come back up, and then do a press straight up. The difference is that your arms aren’t out to the side this time bent at a 90 degree angle. Instead, your elbows are pointed down in the start position, and your lift straight up. Do your lunge, and then the press when you get back up out of your lunge. Repeat this sequence on one leg for 30 seconds, and then switch to the other leg for the final 30 seconds. As an extra little challenge if you’re up for it, try doing an extra 10 seconds of just the frontal press from an upright position.
Move 2: Squat with a calf raise
This move is similar to the lunge with a calf raise, only instead of a lunge before the raise, you do a squat. You will stand on top of your band with your feet shoulder width apart, and you will hold your band by the handles or below at your hips. You will squat down, rest your hands on your knees for balance if necessary, and come up into a calf raise. You might wobble a bit on this one because you’re doing a squat and a calf raise at the same time, but you’ll get better over time. You will repeat this sequence for 1 full minute. As an extra little challenge if you’re up for it, try doing an extra 10 seconds of just the calf raises from an upright position.
Move 3: Sumo squat with jab punches
By now you should be familiar with the sumo squat, but essentially you will be squatting with your feet wider apart than your typical squat and your toes pointed outward. Instead of standing on your band for this exercise, you will actually have to wrap it around your torso. Take the band and hold the center of it to your belly, wrap one end around your back and to your front, and then repeat on the other side. Once you have a grip on both of the handles, drop down into your sumo squat, and then you will alternate arms and punch an invisible target in front of you. Try to aim at chest height, and try to hit the same spot each time. If this gets too hard, you can drop the band and continue the punches without it, but only if it is absolutely necessary! Otherwise, continue with the sumo squat and punches for 1 full minute. You don’t need to squat up and down on this one, you just stay in that sumo squat position throughout the full minute. It will burn, but that is a good thing! If you need a little break, you can just come up slightly to rest for a few seconds, and then drop right back down.
Move 4: Lawn mowers
With this move you will get into a lunge position and step on your band with your forward foot. You will need to step closer to the end of the band for this move, and you will only use one end of the band. All you have to do is imagine yourself trying to start a basic lawnmower with the pull cord. You stay in the lunge position for 30 seconds with your other hand resting on your knee for balance. Meanwhile, the hand opposite to your forward foot will be pulling on the band and trying to bring it up to the shoulder. You should feel this in the back of your shoulder, and it will feel almost like you’re trying to bring your shoulder blades together. Once the initial 30 seconds are up, switch to a lunge stance on the other side and pull with the other arm for the final 30 seconds.
Move 1: Bowler’s lunge with a row
This move is a little bit complicated, but you just have to imagine yourself about to bowl. Get in a lunge position, but instead of your back leg being straight out behind you, your back leg will cross behind you. Most of your weight should be on that forward leg, and you should be able to lift that back foot off the ground. If you can do that, you’re in the right position. You will need to have the band wrapped around your forward foot, and you lunge down, come back up, and then do a row by raising your arms up toward your chest. Repeat this on the same leg for 30 seconds, and then switch to the other leg for the other 30 seconds. As a little bonus if you’re up for it, try doing an extra 10 seconds with just the rows.
Move 2: Bicep curl with a leg raise
This move is going to require some balance, and everyone is going to start at a different place depending on your fitness level. You are going to stand on your band in the center and hold the handles in front of you for the curl. Start by curling your arms up toward your chest, and slowly lift one leg out to the side while crunching your body toward the leg raise a little bit. You don’t have to lift your leg high in the beginning, and if you have to tap your toe on the ground periodically to get your balance that is totally okay! Try not to let your foot come back down to the ground until you’ve lowered your arms back down from the bicep curl, and then repeat the move on the other leg. Alternate legs with the bicep curl for 1 full minute. As a little bonus if you’re up for it, try doing an extra 10 seconds of just the bicep curls from a standing position.
Move 3: Sumo squat with an overhead press
Get into your sumo squat position with your feet planted firmly on top of your band and your toes facing outward. Grab the handles of your band, and hold them up with your arms bent at 90 degrees. You will do a sumo squat, come back up, and then raise your arms up toward the ceiling for your overhead press. Repeat this for 1 full minute. As an extra little bonus if you’re up for it, try doing an extra 10 seconds with just the overhead press from an upright position.
Move 4: Lunge with a calf raise
For this move you will need to wrap your band around your back foot. You lunge forward with your forward leg, drop down low, come back up, and then do a calf raise with your forward leg. You stay in that split stance and repeat that sequence for 30 seconds, and then you switch to the other leg for the final 30 seconds. You can rest your fists and the handles of the band on your forward knee as you do the calf raise for balance if necessary. As an extra little bonus if you’re up for it, try ditching your band and just doing an extra 10 seconds of fast calf raises from a standing position.
Move 1: Squat with a side bend
Start with your feet shoulder width apart on your band and your hands holding the band at your hips. You will squat down slowly, come back up to a standing position, and then crunch your body as far as you can to the right. Try not to lean sideways when you do this, but instead feel the crunch of your obliques so that only your upper body is bent. You will alternate back and forth with the side bend after every squat for 1 full minute. As a little bonus if you’re up for it, try holding the band in both hands in front of your chest and just doing the side bend crunches side to side for an extra 10 seconds.
Move 2: Lunge with a tricep extension
This move will require you to wrap the band around your back foot once, and then you will lunge forward with your other leg. Hold the handles of the band up high by your chest, and then extend your arms back as far as you can. Your elbows shouldn’t move around, they should stay right by your side. Only your forearm should be moving forward and backward as you extend the arm out. You will stay in the lunge position on one leg for 30 seconds, and then switch to the other leg for 30 seconds. You start by lunging down low, coming back up, and then doing your extension. As a little bonus if you’re up for it, try doing an extra 10 seconds with just the tricep extension. For this move you just stand on the band in the center, hold the band by the handles behind your head, and extend your arms up straight toward the ceiling.
Move 3: Sumo squat with a bicep curl
You should be familiar with the sumo squat by now, but basically you’re in a squat with your feet planted on top of the band a little further apart than your typical squat and your toes facing outward. You are going to squat down, come back up, and then do a bicep curl with one arm. Alternate arms for the first 30 seconds, and then for the final 30 seconds you can do both arms at the same time. Repeat the squat in between every curl. As a little bonus if you’re up for it, try doing half range bicep curls in a standing position for an extra 10 seconds.
Move 4: Deadlift with a row
With this move you will be standing on top of your band with your feet shoulder width apart. You will hold the band at your hips, and then bend your body forward with your back straight as low as you can go. Come back up slowly, and you should feel this in your hamstrings and the backs of your legs. When you get to the top and are back in your standing position, you are going to raise your band up toward your chest in a row. Repeat this for 1 full minute. As a little bonus if you’re up for it, try creating extra resistance with the band by making that small circle and do an extra 10 seconds with just the rows.