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Meet Jessi

Hello! I’m Jessi, and at the age of 22 I’ve been a professional dieter for most of my adult life.  Throughout high school I was just slightly overweight, or average. I was active in sports but my appetite was always more active.  After high school, I went on to college; there my weight increased drastically. I was working full time, going to school full time and fast food was just convenient to me.  I could of made better decisions but was too, well, lazy. I continued eating whatever I wanted even though my activity level had come to a halt.  I just didn’t make time to workout. After college I went on to marry my then boyfriend; he had seen me at my lightest and at my heaviest. I was at my heaviest, approximately 250 pounds, when I walked down the aisle in July of 2012. 

I was miserable with myself for letting my body get out of control, and I decided it was time to make a change. Throughout the rest of 2012 I yo-yo dieted and got down to 228 pounds, but it was a constant battle. On January 1, 2013 I made a commitment to better myself and become healthy. This was not going to be a diet, but a lifestyle change. My starting weight was 228 pounds, when I stepped on the scale on November 9, 2013 I weighed in at 158. This made for 70lbs lost in that time! Now I’m still sitting right around that weight. I do flux about 3-4 pounds with water weight.  However, now I’m doing my best to focus on toning up my body and building muscles now.

Losing the weight was not easy, but it was not impossible. Anyone can lose the weight that they want to, and they can do it the right way. I lost all my weight without a gym, and by making healthier meal choices.  To kick off my weight loss, I followed the 9 week running program, Couch 2 5K, completing this program twice. It takes people like me who couldn’t run a block to being able to run 3.1 miles. I followed this and ran my first of many 5K’s last year. I was running 3 days a week and the other 4 I did little ab workouts I found on Pinterest or just on the internet in general, they usually lasted at least 30 minutes.  After my first 5K in June, I started Jillian Michael’s 30 Day shred- a great at home workout that takes 30 minutes. This was great for me!! It took only 30 minutes each evening. After doing that program for two months I did Beachbody’s T25. This was 6 days a week and only 25 minutes each night. It was 50 Days and it was also great! After completing it I was down 70lbs. This was the point I decided to join a gym. I wanted more strength training options besides the few small hand weights I owned. I use the gym at least 6 times a week where I do 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of strength training. This is allowing me to maintain my weight loss, shed inches and gain muscles, but I’m living proof that gym is not a necessity to lose weight.

When it came to food, oh man was that hard. Food was my comfort, my vice. Giving up soda was extremely hard I drank over 100 ounces a day. Over a two month period, I weaned myself off of it, cutting down first the amount per serving, then to daily limits, then weekly, bi-weekly, one a week and eventually to none. As for food I just began substituting the bad with good choices. Sweets became fruits and yogurts; regular chips were replaced with Special K Cracker Chips; beef went out the window and lean turkey and chicken filled its shoes. 

It wasn’t just about substituting; it was also about watching and following the portion sizes. I had single portions, made balanced meals and ate more slowly. Instead of grazing all day or eating three large meals, I had three regular meals and two snacks during the day. I counted my calories and used My Fitness Pal to track my calorie intake and see how many calories I should be eating. I learned that eating healthy didn’t cost more money; it just required a little extra time to make meals. Meals just weren’t simply microwaveable burritos and Lunchables I could grab. Although I could microwave Lean Cuisine or Smart meals when time was limited but I just began making the time to cook food and enjoy the taste of real food vs. microwavable Styrofoam.

This has become my lifestyle now, no more diets, or bandwagon trends; just me living healthier for the benefit of my future, and my future family. I want to be healthy so that I can play with my future children and give them the best I can and teach them to lead a healthy lifestyle too.  You can change your life and make yourself healthy but you just have to be willing to make the change. After the first week it gets easier! Don’t let not having gym access stop you. Anything is possible, I mean, I went from a coach potato to a fitness junkie and I’ve never been happier or healthier. Being healthy is something you will never regret!

You can follow Jessi on her blog, The Girl Who Thought Too Much or on Instagram at ms_st4tus.

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Marjorie Billock is a Registered Nurse at the Hiram College Health Center.

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