FFFC: Please introduce yourself to our readers (i.e. your name, occupation, hobbies, etc.).
JO: My name is Rachel, I am 34 years old and I work full time and am a single mom of an almost 3 year old girl – Emma. I work in the HealthCare IT field and have for about 10 years. My hobbies include playing competitive pool (billiards), video games, and most outdoor activities as long as they are not “too adventurous” such as ice hockey, roller skating, hiking, biking etc. I draw the line at rock climbing outside and rafting/Kayaking!
FFFC: What sparked your weight-loss transformation journey?
JO: I had a very difficult pregnancy and delivery that included a lot of complications afterwards. I was bed ridden for 4months and even after that it took me about 18 months to recover. I had gained a lot of weight due to complications during my pregnancy so got up to about 215 from 127 by the end. Afterwards, the weight just stuck with me and as I could not physically do anything, it just sat. I had to leave my job as I could not work and started consulting from home part time. I was the sole caretaker for my daughter so it consumed my days and nights. I had to follow up with a Neurologist for Migraines due to complications around my epidural and neck and back spasms. I was on heavy medications for about 9 months. I was able to wean myself off of the medications after my juice cleanse!
I started out losing slowly – I did a 30 day green juice cleanse after watching “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”. It helped me drop about 23 pounds in a month. I felt much better and started to just focus on eating better and slowly restarting daily routines and activities. I started walking around the neighborhood and going on hikes.
I also started doing very small sessions of yoga.
It took me about 18 months to slowly get off about half the weight. I was at about 165 pounds then. I continued to really watch my diet (I have had a slow metabolism most of my life). I am a calorie counter so I didn’t do any of the fad diets but focused on calorie consumption. I started out at 1500 and cut down to 1300 over time. Continuing to lose weight slowly. About 9 weeks ago, after I finally got back to a full time out of the house job (I am separated and needed to make sure I could support myself and my daughter) I met a personal training at work. He put together a very customized and focused workout routine using mostly body weight and barbells/kettlebells and have lost inches! I am now down to 140 and looking toned and fit. I still have baby belly to get rid of but I’m well on my way.
FFFC: What was your beginning and current weight or measurements?
JO: My beginning weight in 2012 was 215 lbs. and now I am down to 140. Back into a size 4/6 dress.
FFFC: How long did it take for your weight-loss transformation from beginning to end?
So far I am at 3.5 years. If I don’t include my pregnancy, it’s about 2.5 years.
FFFC: What physical activities did you participate in during your journey?
JO: I have tried many activities – however, Pilates/yoga hybrid, walking and my custom routine are the best. I have to be careful as I have neck issues so I am limited to certain types of exercise or I will get migraines.
FFFC: How did your eating habits change?
JO: They have not changed drastically. I increased my protein and watch my calories but for the most part I eat what I want.
FFFC: What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
JO: Typically the following:
Breakfast: Eggs, turkey bacon, protein pancakes, peanut butter bagel thins, oatmeal
Lunch: protein shake, tune, chicken, peanut butter sandwiches, salad (spinach)
Dinner: Eggs, chicken, light pasta, breakfast burritos, steak, Avocados, breakfast foods!
FFFC: What is your favorite fitness activity?
JO: I love my custom workout – 20 – 25 mins but you feel like you worked out for an hour!
FFFC: What do you do now to maintain your physique?
JO: Currently I am working out at lunchtime 3-4 times per week and doing park activities on the weekends and intense cleaning!
FFFC: How did you develop and sustain the willpower to avoid the bad stuff (i.e. junk food, bad drinks, lack of activity, etc.)?
JO: I don’t actually deprive myself. I treat myself here and there in moderation. If I want something I have it I just compensate with the calorie totals.
FFFC: What advice do you have for someone starting out on their weight-loss journey but unsure of how to begin?
JO: Start really slow and just try to get into a schedule or routine. Remember that it takes like 6-8 weeks to get to baseline. Stick with it and you will start to feel so much better and will really see results! It truly is a journey and takes the opportunity to not just lose weight but to learn about yourself in the process. Use it as a fresh start for everything and anything you can.
FFFC: What do you think is the biggest misconception about this journey?
JO: I think that biggest misconception about this journey is that it can be easy and it is about weight loss. It’s about a fresh start a new lease on life and it is HARD! The statement “no pain no gain” is true in so many aspects of our lives – work, family etc. and it is no different with our health.
FFFC: Do you have any fitness inspirations? Who are they?
JO: I wouldn’t say I have any specific ones but more so many. The FFFC has been a great resource and inspiration, honestly. It is nice to see the huge number of women who are going through similar challenges to me and who fight through it even when going through glitches and bumps in the road. I love reading about personal stories and seeing transformations from women who are so humble and honest. So many times the media portrays all of these surgery sculpted people and it can really get you down. It makes you feel like you can’t do it without money or resources like they have and most of their bodies are not real. But when you see REAL people who have stretch marks and baby bellies and illnesses and issues it really helps to know you are not alone.
FFFC: How can readers learn more about your transformation and journey online (i.e. Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, etc.)?
JO: They can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am working on a public speech about my baby journey and want to do motivational speaking to high school girls too.