Jacqui felt like she missed out on life because she was the ‘fat mom’ and the ‘fat wife.’
A medical wake-up call set her on a new path to losing 80 pounds and discovering a whole new self.
“Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.”
Weight Gain Background and Contributing Factors
Jacqui started dieting in high school, admittedly before she actually had a weight problem. She shares that movies and magazines portraying “perfect” bodies had something to do with it:
“…felt like I didn’t measure up, so I started sort of a lifetime of dieting back then.”
Jacqui recalls that she gained significant weight during her pregnancy, and then continued to gain afterwards.
Jacqui’s peak weight was 204 pounds. (92.7 kg)
How Being Overweight Impacted Jacqui’s Life
Jacqui shares that her weight itself didn’t impact her life as much as her attitude, and reaction, toward her weight.
“I didn’t want to go to the swimming pool and put on a bathing suit, and I didn’t want to be the fat mom. I did want to go to my husband’s office parties because I was the fat wife… I missed out on a lot of life because I was embarrassed by my weight.”
She opens up about the way she viewed herself at the time: as her kids’ mother and her husband’s wife.
“I felt like I had no identity. I’d always been very shy and very self-conscious… The weight just made that worse. I was afraid to be my own person, really.”
Jacqui felt lost, alone, and “scared of life.” Over years, she tried low fat diets, Weight Watchers, the Atkins diet, the South Beach diet, the Fit For Life diet, and more.
The Turning Point
In the spring of 2008, a doctor’s visit determined that Jacqui had developed high triglycerides and had become pre-diabetic. She was prescribed medication.
She began researching diabetes and its related comorbidities, and was terrified at what she learned.
“It really motivated me to make change, but at the same time, what I read was that, many times, pre-diabetes can be reversed. I knew that I had to take action, and I had to take action now. Not on Monday, not next month.”
Starting The Weight Loss Journey
Jacqui immediately cut sugar and flour out of her diet. She tried to stick to whole, unprocessed foods, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats.
She didn’t tell anyone – including family and friends – because she had experienced failure before. She was also unsure of how things would go.
“In the back of my mind, I’m not sure I thought I would succeed. So, I didn’t want it thrown in my face that I was a failure yet again.”
She did, however, share her decision with a group of internet friends who had become a support system for her.
She began losing about a pound a week, but says the most interesting change was that her food cravings quickly disappeared.
It wasn’t long before old habits crept up to challenge Jacqui’s resolve. She opens up about a tendency to binge eat or occasionally blow off work outs. She found, and recommends, a great tool that helped her:
“It was through journaling that I was able to ask myself questions, and find those answers… no one else could answer, ‘ Why did I overeat today, or why did I blow off those workouts?’ “
Jacqui also knew that she was a person motivated by goals, so she began introducing small goals and ongoing research into her routine. She looked forward to learning new things, training for races, and trying new recipes.
Jacqui shares that her relationship with food has been the biggest challenge for her.
“I can make myself work out… It’s the food that constantly gets me… Food is the way that I deal with stresses, and it’s a constant battle… I have to be vigilant and prepare…”
What Jacqui Learned About Food, Exercise, and Herself
Jacqui counted calories, and was able to continue enjoying a daily piece of chocolate.
Jacqui went being a person “who never thought of herself as athletic,” to becoming a runner who has now completed many half-marathons, a full marathon, and many 5K’s.
She shares that an important part of the transformation was the realization that she needed to fuel her body properly to have the energy for the physical activities she had grown to love – running, weights, kettlebell exercises, etc.
When asked if, years ago, she would have thought that she would one day be an athlete who lives and trains the way she does:
“Heck no! I had done aerobics classes… dvd workouts at home, but I had never thrown myself into a lifestyle.”
Jacqui shares an important lesson she learned about relying on only one tactic, such as running, to lose weight. When she ran regularly, she knew she could eat more sometimes to fuel her runs, but when she had knee surgery, she had to find another way to stay active.
“I encourage people to find what they love and explore that, but also a variety of things.”
Jacqui’s Advice For Your Journey
With her acknowledged tendency to stress-eat, meal planning has been a critical tool for Jacqui. She keeps a calendar so she can anticipate social events, workout days, travel, and other things. Those plans help Jacqui generate an appropriate shopping list.
A great tip she recommends is creating a list of the most-often purchased items for her family, and keeping that posted on the refrigerator for the family to circle list items when they’re needed.
Be open to taking responsibility for the state of your health and body. Look at the decisions you have made that helped get you to where you currently are. You are not a victim; you can make changes and take control of your future health.
You can do this. Jacqui shares that she failed numerous times before finding what worked for her. Keep trying, and don’t give up on yourself.
Resources Discussed In This Podcast
- MyFitnessPal – online food tracking and community
- Mark’s Daily Apple – paleo oriented nutrition blog and community
- Precision Nutrition – easy to understand science and nutrition research
On Jacqui’s Workout Playlist
Jacqui writes about her experience and works to help motivate others. Check out her blog and social profiles, and say Hello!