Jennifer has maintained a 100 pound (45 kg) weight loss through marriage, the birth of two children, and career transition.
Hear what started her journey, and why you need to be tracking your food!
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”
Weight Gain Background and Contributing Factors
Jennifer was overweight from a young age, and had never believed that she could turn her health around. Although she and her family were very active, she ate a lot, and recalls that much of it wasn’t healthy.
Jennifer shares how she grew to hate vegetables as a child and carried the aversion into adulthood. Once she was out on her own and able to make her own food choices, she resolved to never eat vegetables again.
How Being Overweight Impacted Jennifer’s Life
One of the biggest issues for young Jennifer was how difficult it was to find clothing that fit properly. She recalls lots of stretchy materials and sweat pants.
“I came to hate the term Pretty-Plus. I didn’t feel pretty when I wore that clothing, but it was pretty much the only option available to me.”
The family pediatrician, who Jennifer recalls was obese herself, told her to cut out the potato chips and ice cream, but the reasons why didn’t really sink in at the time. Jennifer shares that she developed high triglycerides as a teenager, which meant fat was building up in her blood stream and would eventually cause complications. High triglycerides can mean higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
By age seventeen, Jennifer had developed gallstones – a buildup of calcium in the bladder – and an emergency surgery was necessary.
Unfortunately, even after this, young Jennifer didn’t change her eating habits – and it was only a short year later that she made the decision to quit vegetables.
She continued eating as she always had, and, even though she was still physically active and biking across campus every day, she continued gaining weight, reaching an eventual peak of 265 pounds. (120 kg)
The Turning Point
Three years later, in her last year of college and only a month before graduating, Jennifer’s grandmother died of complications related to heart disease. “Grandma Espinosa” had been a strong woman and a central, inspirational figure in Jennifer’s life. Grandma Espinosa had also lost her own husband 40 years earlier to a heart attack.
The loss triggered a sobering reality for Jennifer – she would not live to her grandmother’s age if she continued with her current lifestyle.
Jennifer graduated college shortly after and, after reflecting on what needed to change, set course down a new path.
Starting The Weight Loss Journey
Jennifer started tracking her calories immediately, and relied on plain paper and pencil. She wrote down every meal, every snack.
She focused on:
- lower calories
- lower fat
- more fiber (mostly from whole grains and beans)
She lost 20 pounds in the first month.
While Jennifer admits it wasn’t easy, it was simple. Tracking and focusing on those 3 simple things had made a real difference.
The results of the first month were extremely motivating for Jennifer. She shares that knowing she would have to write down poor food choices helped her deal with temptations when they arose.
“There were times when I struggled not to eat that dessert.”
As she continued her efforts, and the weight loss slowed, Jennifer mixed up her approach. She tried more, and different types of, activity. She tried removing several foods and trying new ones.
What Jennifer Learned Along The Way
Most people grossly under-estimate how much food they eat in a day, so tracking food intake was an extremely important step for Jennifer to learn what changes were needed.
“No one believed I could lose 100 pounds. That includes me.”
Did I mention that Jennifer also had two children?
That’s right. Jennifer lost approximately 80 pounds (36 kg), got pregnant and had her first child, lost another 40, and then got pregnant with her second. While she recalls that she wasn’t as strict with her diet during her pregnancy’s, she remained very active.
After each pregnancy, Jennifer shares that she wasn’t in a rush to lose the weight quickly, and gave herself time to do things right. She also had different approaches each time based on new discoveries.
With her first child, Jennifer was mainly focused on cardio activity. With her second, she lifted weights and increased her protein and vegetable intake. That’s right – vegetables. Jennifer shares that she ate vegetables with every meal during this period.
As a busy mom, Jennifer didn’t have hours to devote to going to the gym. Sometimes she split her workout into one early session before the kids woke up, and another after they’d gone to bed.
Jennifer’s Advice For Your Journey
- If you believe it, you can achieve it. Whether it’s weight loss or other things in life, you have the power to get there.
- Write down what you eat! Track your calories; you have to start with awareness!
“You have to be aware of what you’re doing before you can effect positive change.”
- Get active. It doesn’t matter what the activity is, find 5 minutes a day to get up and get moving! Jennifer and her youngest daughter enjoy dancing at home, for example.
Resources Discussed In This Podcast
- Shapefit.com – helped introduce Jennifer to the world. See her feature here.
- Jennifer’s Pinterest boards
On Jennifer’s Workout Playlist
Jennifer travels and speaks to help educate and motivate others with her story and knowledge. You can find out more about her and Weightless LLC at these sites: