Welcome to the fourth installment of Works in Progress, a series of stories of real people who are just getting started on their weight loss journey. Meet Jennifer, a single mom of 2 daughters who works as a nurse. Taking care of others is her life and her work, but recently she decided to turn her caretaking inward. She revamped her diet and started walking, blogging, and yoga. Stress is sure to be her biggest challenge given the load she’s carrying. To fight that fight, she’s embraced mediation. Now it comes down to one-day-at-a-time and keeping her eye on the prize. It’s hers for the taking! Let’s cheer her on!!
Where do you live? Kansas City, MO
What do you do for a living? I’m an RN
How much do you weigh now? 246 lbs
How tall are you? 5’4″
How much weight do you want to lose? 100 pounds (or 101 to be exact)
WHY do you want to lose this much weight? I would be in a healthy weight range for my height. Not only do I want to look and feel better, I want to be healthy even more.
How would you feel if you lost half this amount but kept it off forever? I would be happier than I am now. Losing 50 pounds sounds wonderful right now and it would put me a lot closer to a healthy weight range. I would really like to reduce my risk of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and all of that fun stuff! So, I guess to answer, I would be better off but not fully satisfied.
Read this for more on setting weight loss goals.
WHY do you want to lose weight at all? Again, I want to be healthy and of course I want to look and feel great! I can’t stand trying to find something in my closet to “hide” my fat. It’s still there. I’m always uncomfortable. My body hurts when I try and exercise. I’m at a high risk for diabetes and that scares me to death. Luckily I have not had any health problems. I’m sure I’ve damaged my joints, etc, but my blood sugars and blood pressures are good. I do have high cholesterol though and my father had a heart attack at 34 years old. I’m only 5 months away from that age and I weigh way more than he did when he was 34. It’s scary!!
On a scale from 0 (no confidence at all) to 10 (extremely confident), how confident are you that you can lose the weight? I would say I’m at about an 8. I am nervous because I have failed so many times but this is the first time I am really taking my time to do it the “right way”. I will never diet again. That may sound crazy but I really and truly mean it. I end up hating myself every time I fail and all diets do are set you up for failure. I’m tired of hating myself. If for any reason I don’t succeed (and I know I’m going to!!!) I will learn to be happy with myself just the way I am. I used to drive myself crazy every day (and still sometimes do) thinking about how I fail at every diet I try. There is something bigger going on with me than just choosing the right foods and to move around more. I’m an RN. I have not only studied about the effects of obesity but I see them on a daily basis. My goal is to find peace and to live a happy life. Conquering these bad habits and choices (which means delving into and looking at the bigger picture) that I make regarding food and life in general, is what I am set out to do. I will work at it the rest of my life.
On a scale from 0 (not at all difficult) to 10 (extremely difficult), how difficult will it be to lose this weight? Probably a 9 at first and then I am hoping that it will get easier as I get further into the journey.
What motivates you the most? My health and my desire to be a good mother. In order to be a good mother I need to be present for my children. I’m tired of being tired, to be honest. I want to fully involve myself in my children’s lives (and my own life) and I can’t do that when I don’t have enough energy to make it past dinner time.
How long do you think it will take you to lose this much weight? Probably a year and a half or two years to get all the way there. I am hoping to be under 200 pounds by the end of the summer if not sooner. It comes off more quickly in the beginning. I am really committed to doing this the right way for me though. I don’t want to beat myself up when I have a bad day or a bad week. I want to really figure myself out and change my entire life.
If you have already started your journey, tell us a little about how things have been going so far. I’ve begun looking at books and recipes, etc. I would say that 75% of the time I am making healthier decisions. I am very analytical and I think about everything before I do it. I am walking more and making at least 2 healthy meals a day. Night time is something that is a problem for me still. I do good all day and then I end up having snacks that are unhealthy. I don’t want to try and “jump start” myself into something because I know that it doesn’t work for me. I’ve started meditating and I absolutely love it. It gives me such a peaceful feeling and I can really reflect on things and get a better perspective. I have made that a daily habit and it has already helped reduce my stress level at least 75%. I have a very, very stressful life and no support system. It’s pretty much just me and my two daughters. As much as I love them, for the last few years it has felt like they were more of a source of stress than enjoyment for me and that is definitely not the way I want things to be.
How much weight, if any, have you lost so far? About 5 pounds. I actually gained 36 pounds since last June. I’m the biggest I’ve ever been except right after I had my second daughter. I weighed in at 263 then but went down to 210 pretty quickly after that. I stayed there for about 6 years and then this year…I have hit rock bottom I think.
If you have tried to lose weight before and you either didn’t lose much or you gained it back, what went wrong? I game up on myself and I set myself up for failure. I tried very restrictive diets that would give me “fast” results. I never tried to find out why I overeat in the first place.
What is the hardest part about losing weight for you? Stress. When I get stressed I jump to old habits. Fast food. No exercise. Poor sleeping habits. Meditation has really helped with that.
Tell us about your diet. What is the toughest part about dieting? Planning meals and sticking to what I plan out. I am busy and sometimes I’m tired at the end of the day and a frozen meal or fast food seems a lot easier than making a meal. I’ve started planning and cooking ahead though. I think that is going to be the challenge-staying with the good habits that I am developing.
Tell us about your exercise. Right now I am basically walking and doing yoga. I have joined the #plankaday challenge. I’m at about 25 seconds right now. I have no core strength at all. I am working to improve that 🙂
Tell me about your relationship with exercise? Love it, hate it, on again/off again? Love it when it doesn’t feel like something I “HAVE” to do. I love to walk, especially in the woods or on nature trails. I love being outdoors in general. I am going to need to incorporate it more frequently than I am now.
If you hate exercise, which exercise do you hate the LEAST? Walking and swimming.
Who has been helpful to you on your weight loss journey? My friend Natasha. She and I are going to give each other updates and encourage each other.
What part of the whole process do you need the most help with most? Encouragement and support. Suggestions on how to make things work with a very busy schedule. I don’t have any family. I don’t have much help with my daughters. Everything falls on my shoulders and I put others first most of the time. I am now suffering because I’ve always done this. I can’t be helpful to anyone else when I don’t even feel like myself anymore. My friends are encouraging but I’ve failed at so many diets, I’m not even ready to tell people that I am trying to make a change. I don’t want to hear anything negative. My closest friends I will tell, of course.
What questions would you like to ask to people who have lost the weight and kept it off? For those who have hated or been scared of exercise, how have you incorporated it into your life? I always feel better after I do it but I almost make it seem like a chore. It’s strange how many excuses I can find to do something that makes me feel better…
I can say at 43 years old that I now exercise more that ever. It is not necessarily because I love to do it but it is more because I LOVE FOOD. One of the big things I have learned while changing my lifestyle is the relationship between food and exercise. Since I began to focus on NET calories (total consumed minus total burned) I learned that I could eat more of what I want if I found ways to “earn” it through exercise. In the beginning, I used exercise to help me hit my net calorie goal. This eventually created a cycle that encouraged me to exercise even more, and now I enjoy exercise more than I ever have in my life. My mantra changed from “I exercise so I can eat” to “I exercise because I want to.” Track how many calories you burn from exercise and then subtract it from your total calorie intake each day—more exercise means you can lighten up a bit on the diet, which is a great motivator to do it!
Read this for more on how to fall in love with exercise.
What questions would you like to ask me? What is the best advice you can give me to keep going. I know I may seem different to many people…not wanting to jump into anything but I know that I don’t work that way.
You have a big weight loss goal so the key to your success will be patience. Are you willing to wait for it? It may take a while. It sounds like you have a history with fast diets but also a realization that they don’t work. The next step is being able to have the patience and persistence to put in the daily effort and watch the progress happen slowly. Since it is a long haul it will be important to make healthy changes that you can live with forever. Because you don’t have a strong support system among friends and family, then building a community via social media may be really important. Check out and connect with the other Works in Progress and the Real Life Biggest Losers, they are on the same path, are a supportive bunch, and have many insights to offer. And of course, keep up with FUdiet! Lots of weight loss wisdom right here.
If we want to follow your journey, how do we find you? I have actually just started a blog. I think it will really help me to give motivation to others and to hopefully get feedback and support from others. Find it at http://losing-it-one-step-at-a-time.blogspot.com/ or you can email me at email@example.com. Thank you!!
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