This guest post is near and dear to my heart because it was submitted to me by my older sister, Jennifer. She has struggled with her weight for more than half of her life and I’ve been working with her for just over 2 months to lose weight for good. I know my readers are from all fitness levels and some may struggle with weight, also. This is the first of several posts I’ll have her write for my blog and the first of a few meal plans I’ll include that I came up for her. (I am NOT a dietitian, nor do I claim to be. I only included the meal plan week 1 at the end of the post so you can see what she did in the beginning and how she went about having a “plan.” XOXO – Jess
Growing up, I was extremely active and ultra picky about food. I was also different. I didn’t know quite how, but I knew I was. My sisters were all about the girly-girl stuff and makeup and Barbies and I was into G.I. Joes, Transformers and playing with boys. But I just assumed I was a tomboy. I mention this because it has to do with my coping skills later on in life.
Puberty hit my freshman year in high school and my activity level stayed the same, but so did my eating. That didn’t seem to affect me that much until mid-late high school when I quit the high school basketball team and tennis team and only played softball. My activity level reduced (from where it had been earlier in high school) and I wasn’t super skinny anymore. But even with a bigger body, I was stronger than ever. I realized at this time that I was interested in girls and found myself dealing with that “difference” with eating. I hid food and unbeknownst to me at the time, was hiding myself behind the pounds that were creeping on. I was afraid for people to find out, afraid for my family to find out, and afraid that people wouldn’t accept me and love me for who I really was.
In college, I finally came out to my family and they accepted it. I remember entering college strong, fit, muscular but with very large breasts, that others jokingly wished for but for me were a hindrance for athletics. That first year in college, I gained 15 lbs (the dreaded Freshman 15), but was still in decent shape. I had one serious relationship in college but when I left for a job in Seattle, it ended and I became very depressed and sought solace in food. After college I thought I found happiness again in another relationship, that was so serious that we even got married and she had a child, but once again, that ended in heartbreak and more weight creeped on when I became deeply depressed.
I don’t mean a few pounds either. I’m talking 80 lbs. I tried antidepressents, oils, therapy, many things to try to get me back to “happy,” or even status quo and nothing worked. Food numbed the pain and it’s what I did to get through that time. Until another relationship came along. And again, I thought this one was forever. By this time, we had moved out to California for my career and had gotten married (after 5 years of being together), and I even got pregnant. One week after our son’s birth she left. Again, I was distraught. But thankfully, Dallas’ birth was reason to keep going and a bit of a wake up call for me that I couldn’t continue to eat myself out of sadness. I attempted to lose weight shortly after his birth but tore my ACL so I felt sidelined in my pursuit and it wasn’t until I was talking to my sister at the end of August that she lit a fire under my booty(I’d been thinking about it but needed help with structure to make it happen) to get this process rolling.
On Sept 1,2015 when I decidedto take my life back, I weighed 272 lbs. I’m not embarrased to say it. Because I’ll never let myself go there again. At the 8 week point on October 27, 2015, I had lost 27 lbs and weighed 245 lbs. I did this with the help of Jessica putting in place a meticulous 1550-1650 calorie per day eating plan for me and a workout schedule that incorporated more running than I was used to (and abs, lol). She basically came up with 2 weeks of meal plans (she will post the week 2 plan next weekend) and I have taken all of these options and been able to mix them up so that I have a variety of options to choose from for food planning each week. And it does take planning. I have to grocery shop for the week once a week so I don’t mess up. But it’s soooooo worth it! And Jessica is really good at choosing “yummy” recipes and foods and making them taste great. It hasn’t been restrictive at all. The one thing I am doing entering my 3rd month is adding in some strength training to vary the workouts and boost my metabolism. I’m still running, too.
It’s time to take MY LIFE BACK. For too long I’ve been seeking happiness from being with someone else. I’m not any less of a person because of my orientation. I don’t deserve less. I know that, so I need to be the first to start treating MYSELF that way. Jessica helped me to realize that I need nobody but my little man and myself and that I have to find the old me. I am worth it and I don’t need to hide behind these pounds anymore. If you don’t like me for who I am, then don’t like me. I let my life spiral out of control and I’m regaining control. I used to be an amazing competitor and now I’m in the biggest contest I’ve ever competed in: getting my health back! The reward? Not just feeling and looking better, but being a better example for my son and hopefully being super active in his future athletic endeavors perhaps as a pee wee little league coach or something! I hope you will follow me in my journey as I post future updates. I still have a long way to go, but I there’s no stopping me!!! If you are considering making the first steps in your weight loss journey, my suggestion is to just start… it becomes a lifestyle and one that I wish I would have had the courage to start long ago.
@jennifersfitjourney on Instagram
MEAL PLAN WEEK 1
1550-1650 calories per day, even when exercising (unless you do more than 30 min of cardio, in which you can increase caloric intake by 300 calories). You should not be hungry on this plan. Most of these have a description with a how-to or a link to the recipe. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below. This plan was specific to Jennifer’s likes/dislikes. She followed it to a T! Follow her on IG and see her cooking and meal planning posts and follow her journey! – JESS
(click on this pdf below and it will pop up)