Delete the word “diet” from your vocabulary

 

Maybe we should delete it from the dictionary, too?  Show of hands??

The title is a quote from real life biggest loser, Jillian, who shaved 180 pounds off her body the old-fashioned (yet effective) way: eating less and moving more, a lot more.  I couldn’t agree with you more, Jillian.  In fact, I named my blog FUdiet because I wanted to send an emphatic message that we really need to let the concept (and the act!) of “diet” go, once and for all.  A healthy weight comes from a healthy life.  Jillian doesn’t diet, she lives it.

Jillian in 2011

Name:  Jillian Lemons

Age: 29

Occupation: CEO, First Lady (or a fulltime Mom!)

Number of children and ages:  Three children, ages 8yrs, 6yrs, 2yrs

All time high weight: 320lbs

Current weight: 140lbs

Total weight loss: 180lbs

When did you begin your weight loss journey? I started my journey in 2003 after the birth of my first child. (Weight loss was put on hold with the other two pregnancies, just for the record!)

Why did you want to lose weight? I wanted to lose the weight because I felt disgusting and ugly. I was sick of being “the fat sister.”  I was always uncomfortable. Also, it was horrible trying to shop for maternity clothes in size 3XL and realizing that the stores don’t sell a bigger size than that. Yes, I was pregnant, but it was still a rude awakening.

Jillian during her pregnancy

How was it that you decided to lose the weight?  Was there a defining moment, a turning point, an A-HA moment?  I tore a belt loop on a pair of khaki pants when I was trying to yank them on. I knew they were too tight to be wearing anymore, but I still tried to “sausage” myself into them. I realized that this is a lifestyle change and not a short term “diet”. I just kept living life, tracking my eating, exercising and not having any “off limits” foods. That’s how I’ve made it a permanent change.

How did you lose the weight?  Tell us about your diet and exercise regimen.  My first attempt I tried Weight Watchers, my second, third and fourth attempts were done by joining a place called LA Weight Loss. All of those things gave me different insights and tools to utilize. But in the end, it was up to me to do what I thought was best for me and my body and something I could keep up with for the long haul, and that was calorie counting and exercise. I’m a vegetarian and I eat quite a bit of soy, beans, egg beaters, nuts, etc. I’ve always loved vegetables and fruit so that wasn’t an issue for me!  I did quite a bit of research to determine the amount of calories and percentages for protein/fat/carbs I would need to lose weight. I made sure to track my food intake and exercise every single day (I use fitday.com) I’ve been consistent and dedicated to doing those two things and it’s helped me tremendously.  As for exercise, I really got into running! I run 3-4 times a week and cross train on the other days. I haven’t done any races yet, but I make 10 week run schedules (just for fun!) and stick with those.

Who was the most influential person to you during the process of losing weight?  There are a few people actually. While my husband was deployed last year my big supports were my close friend, Nicole, and my sister, Addie. My husband has always been my biggest supporter, but it’s hard when you’re so far away. So my wonderful friend Nicole and sister Addie took on the most supportive role. My kids will always be the biggest influence for me. Lead by example is the best thing you can do when you’re a parent. Kids know, see and catch on to more things that we realize as parents. So, having them see me grow and change as a person—into a healthier person, is not only benefiting me and my health, but theirs as well.

What is different (if anything) about your life now that you have lost the weight?  There’s not too much that’s different, really. The obvious ones: smaller clothes, feeling better, more energy, etc. But one of biggest things I’ve noticed now that I’ve lost the weight is the types of comments I receive. I’m sure you’re expecting me to say that I get all these wonderful compliments and comments on how great I look, etc. And while that’s true, I do get those type of compliments, I actually have noticed more negative comments as I got down to my goal weight. Even now that I’ve been maintaining this weight for awhile now, I still hear it. Most of the comments are “you’re too thin”, “you’re done losing weight, right?”, “don’t lose anymore weight or you’ll disappear”, “stop running so much and eat more,” “your body isn’t built for that weight, you’re meant to be bigger.”   No one ever commented on my weight when I was heavier. But now that I’m at a healthy weight, it seems ok for people to say other things that aren’t positive about me being the healthiest I can be.

Jillian before the weight loss

In your past, had you ever lost weight and then gained it back?  If so, how was this time different?  Yes, I have lost and gained..numerous times. This time was different since I knew I was done having babies. I knew that this was “it” for me. I had to do it.  I realized that I’m way too important to let myself go. I wanted to be healthy; mind, body and soul. I wanted to be the BEST version of myself that I could be.

It’s easy to let your diet drift or slowly stop exercising. What do you find to be the key to STICKING TO IT?  I was setting goals for myself and sticking with them. Some were mini goals (such as drinking 12 glasses of water each day, tracking my calories, etc.) and that helped, but I also set long term goals for myself too. Seeing the numbers add up and watching myself get closer and closer to the goals I set was a great motivator! But I also realized that once you stay on a good path for long enough..there’s really no getting off of it. You just want to keep going.

Just starting off, losing weight is hard.  Did it get easier or harder for you over time? What is the hardest thing for you now? I guess I would have to say it was both easy and hard. It was easy because while my husband was deployed I could make whatever I wanted to eat (kids too) and I kept it pretty simple with not much variety, which totally works for me. Now that he’s home, I’m cooking more of a variety and of course, gotten back into my baking (one of my passions!) so that’s hard. But I try to substitute healthier things when I bake now. I’m always putting my own healthy spin on everything I make. The hardest part for me was I had to FIGHT for every single ounce/pound I lost. It didn’t come easy, especially at the end.  The hardest thing for me now is staying in a mode of maintenance and not losing. It’s hard to eat more calories when you’re used to restricting them. It’s hard to see the scale stay the same all the time when you’re used to seeing it go down.

If you could tell your former self anything, knowing what you know now, what would you say? Quit disrespecting yourself by not taking care of your body.  And even though you don’t know it now YOU WILL RUN..and not because you’re being chased..but because you LOVE IT.

Do you worry about gaining weight back?  How do you prevent yourself from gaining it back?  I think there will always be a small part of me that worries I might gain the weight back, but I know that I won’t because I’ve changed my entire life. Treating my body well is a habit for me and I’d never give it up again. I also still keep track of my eating and exercise on a daily basis.

If you could give people just starting off on the weight loss journey 1 piece of advice, what would it be?  Delete the word “diet” from your vocabulary…along with the word skinny.

If we want to follow you, where do we find you? https://twitter.com/JRLemons or http://runofthemill2011.blogspot.com/

Jillian at her current weight in 2011

Another favorite Jillian quote of mine is to be the best version of yourself you can be.

True in all aspects of life.

Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Jillian…

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2 Comments

  1. WhoHasTheRuns says:

    Great job, Jillian!

    Reply
  2. Linia says:

    So from time to time you hear :
    “Even now that I’ve been maintaining this weight for awhile now, I still hear it. Most of the comments are “you’re too thin”, “you’re done losing weight, right?”, “don’t lose anymore weight or you’ll disappear”, “stop running so much and eat more,” “your body isn’t built for that weight, you’re meant to be bigger.”   No one ever commented on my weight when I was heavier. But now that I’m at a healthy weight, it seems ok for people to say other things that aren’t positive about me being the healthiest I can be.”
    Dear Jillian, continue to believe in yourself and stay focused on maintaining your current healthy lifestyle. Ignore anyone who is not supporting your goals and also, you may or may not know this but before 1970 almost everyone was at a healthy weight. Before 1970 one only occasionally saw people weighing 250-350 and above, we once understood that we didn’t need the constant snacking that goes on now. So u are on the right track and I am happy to have read your tips and hints. Thanks!!!

    Reply

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