Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Healthy Again

Before you dive into this post, I strongly recommend you read this one. It'll provide a good baseline and explain a little about my mindset while on this journey.

I've reached my body goal :) And it's absolutely nothing like I thought it would be. I've had quite a few people ask me how it was done, so here's my best shot at explaining.

Let's see, where to begin.

It's January, 2013. I am 195lbs, very tired, extraordinarily uncomfortable in my clothes, and very self-conscious of how I look. I've been working out for 6 months now with minimal results. I work full time and miss my newest baby like crazy. Pumping isn't going so well. I'm frustrated and strung out.

I knew what my problem was, but didn't want to admit it. You see, I'm one of those awesome people who is destructively self-aware.....I know what I need, but I fight myself the entire way through.

Jen, you need to save that money. Bite me, that dress is hott and I deserve it.
Hey Jen, I think you've had enough wine. Said no one ever.
You are overreacting and need to calm down/talk it out. ..........Nahhhhhhh, it's go time! Rage on, independent woman!

Jen, you can work out all you want....if you don't change what and how you eat, you'll never lose that weight.

I kicked and screamed and dragged myself through every justification I could while downing another serving of couscous....another "every-once-in-a-while" breakfast bagel.....another random handful of cheddar cubes. In my mind, these foods weren't horrible, so they couldn't possibly be to blame. I knew better, but I fought the crap out of myself. That's just what I do I guess.

So on January 6th of this year, I got real. I decided I would try to count how many calories I was consuming and then track how many I burned.

It. Was. Insane.

I was consuming way more calories than I expected and burning way less than I estimated. I thought mayyyybe I was eating 2,000 calories and burning 600 every time I went to the gym. Turns out I was eating closer to 2,900 calories a day and only blasting 400 calories with my cardio workout. This was my fear, realized. All that hard work, all those months of busting my way through elliptical intervals, all that time spent on crunches and bicep curls...I was literally erasing my efforts, bite by bite.

I was so disgusted with myself. The shame was overwhelming and even worse, I knew I couldn't become one of those fabulous people who plan out every meal, freeze garden-grown kale for the off-season, and give up french fries forever. I could not be that person. (!!I love french fries!!)

So I made a Jen plan.

1. No at-home scale. I can't do scales. I become obsessed. I use the one at my gym once every two weeks. Period.

2. Track calories. This is a big one. It takes time and can be frustrating....but not nearly as frustrating as sweating your tush off for no reason. I use the MyFitnessPal app on my phone. It has a barcode scanner so you can seriously just *zap* your product and it's entered for you. I began in January with the MyFitnessPal recommended calories, I want to say it was 1800 or so a day. This first part is really, really tough. I essentially had to retrain my stomach to recognize what full felt like. Once I got over the sugar and starch cravings, however, I was golden. My body now automatically uses food for fuel and I'm gradually increasing my calories back to "maintenance mode" ~ I'm at 1600 calories a day now and I don't feel the least bit deprived. It's crazy, actually, because I am a huge food lover. I dream about food. I could bathe in food. Gross.

3. No food is off-limits. I can eat cheeseburgers. Oh yes. I can eat the heck out of that cheeseburger. The catch? I better be willing to either blast through some calories later or go hungry.
***Funny side note about this part of my plan.....I never denied myself fast food. As I've progressed into the year, however, I've found myself not even wanting joke! Nutrient-rich foods actually fill me up and taste awesome. I don't want to waste 600 calories on a drive-thru burger when I can have a huge, homemade, avocado-laced salad with full-fat dressing and a cheese-and-salami sammich on rye bread. Get that second option in my mouth!

4. Cheat meal is a must. I have one cheat meal a week. It allows me to take a break from tracking and just allow myself to be. Great for BBQ's and parties, too.

5. Exercise with a heart rate monitor for 40 minutes 5 times a week. This is do-able for me. I needed to be honest with myself and push. Taking the stairs at work is great, but it's not going to burn enough to justify anything worth eating. And muscles! Those magic muscles....they keep burning calories even when you're asleep. I wanted them so dang I started weight training. I used a Gold's Gym DVD two times a week and alternated with three days at the gym on the elliptical. Some days I didn't want to go. I went anyways. Real strength is built with hard work. Your body is an incredible have the ability to mold, shape, and manipulate it with your own movements.

That's it! That is my plan and the plan has worked.


It's July, 2013. I am 155lbs, very tired, constantly pulling up my pants, and only moderately self-conscious of how I look. I work out 5 days a week for 40 minutes at a time and eat ice cream almost every night. I work full time and miss my babies like crazy. I'm strong and strung out.

Improvement :)

Happy Before: (love yourself regardless)

Happy After: (fierce beast mode face)


  1. Damn!! That's one hot mama right there!!

  2. You are amazing!! Such an inspiration. I can't believe you are at your goal wait already. Such a hottie!! Amazing it is all about balance. WAY TO GO!!

  3. Hey Jen! Did you know I totally stalk your blog (I do). I love the way you write! This post and your post about how you changed your mindset about weight loss for Anya are super inspiring! I don't have kids yet, but I too have been struggling with my weight and couldn't understand why! I am using a similar app to MyFitnessPal (MyNetDiary) and am also tracking calories. I was at my highest weight ever when I started (181 pounds) and so far I've lost 5 pounds! My goal is to get down to 150 by my 30th bday on January 28th! I think if I am patient, track my calories, and continue exercising, I can do it! I typically do 30 minutes of cardio 5 times a week but you have inspired me to do 40! Hell, I don't even have babies so what's my excuse NOT to?! But more importantly, I want to change my mindset from wanting to be skinny, sexy, blah blah blah to just be more healthy and strong because that's the woman I want to be! You are wonder woman. Rock on, babe.