Transformation Tuesday: The Amazing & Inspiring Jennifer!

image5 opt

A few months ago at a book signing here in AZ, I was rushing to run to the restroom before hopping back on book duty when I was stopped by the sweetest, most energetic woman. She immediately whipped out her phone and began telling me her transformation story right then and there in the Barnes & Noble restroom. I was FLOORED to find out she had lost 100 lbs in 6 months. 6 months!!

After talking for a few more minutes, I hurried back to the signing only to find a few hours later that she continued to wait in line all afternoon to speak with Chris and me again. I couldn’t believe it! Her energy was infections, and her story was so remarkable I knew I had to get her information and share her transformation journey with all of you. Ladies and gents—I’m so excited to introduce you to Jennifer. Here’s her story…in her own words:

HP_TT_Jennifer_BandA

Hello! My name is Jennifer, I live in Phoenix, AZ, I’m 38 years old, and have had a weight issue for 30 years. I’ve been a fan of Heidi and Chris for years, and while I’ve been inspired by them and their EWL transformations, I still wouldn’t make the changes I needed to make in order to live a healthy life. I learned bad eating habits as a child and never learned to cook much, which made it easy to eat lots of takeout food as an adult. I also started emotionally eating at a very young age. My weight has yo-yoed since I was a teenager, and I have never been at a healthy weight as an adult.

When I was 34, I moved to London, England. While there, I developed severe plantar fasciitis and tarsal tunnel syndrome in both feet, and these issues made walking even half a block excruciatingly painful. Within two years, I saw 13 doctors and tried everything to fix the issues. Nothing worked, so I was forced to leave London, my favorite city in the world, and move back to the US so I could get the surgery I so desperately needed.

By this point, I had been emotionally eating to cope with my chronic pain and my weight kept increasing. I had foot surgery after I moved back to the US, but then found out I had a massive fibroid and endometriosis, which resulted in two more surgeries. I was in chronic pain, which gave me another excuse to continue to gain weight.

By early 2015, I had recovered from my surgeries, but my other foot was in extreme pain, and I knew I needed surgery but kept putting it off. I was at my heaviest weight and overwhelmed by how much weight I had to lose and how many changes I needed to make to become healthy. My blood pressure and cholesterol were getting high again, and I became depressed about my weight and didn’t want to go out much. I was embarrassed and ashamed that I had let myself get so big. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror, and I was constantly asking myself, “How did I let myself get like this?”

Everything changed for me in June of 2015 when I decided to commit to myself despite having a chronic foot issue, and I have lost 138 lbs in less than a year! I still have about 50-60 lbs left to achieve my goal by the end of September 2016, but I know I will do it. Here’s how I lost 138 lbs:

On June 1st, 2015, I vowed to start eating better and tracking my food. However, it wasn’t until the next day that everything changed for me when I read Heidi’s newest blog post about keeping promises to yourself. I had read about promises in Chris’ books, but at that time, I wasn’t ready to commit to myself and hadn’t fully received his message. When I read Heidi’s post, I got her message loud and clear and knew I was ready to begin my transformation. It was a profound “a-ha” moment! And I didn’t just want to lose weight—I wanted to change my entire relationship with food and exercise, and most importantly, my relationship with myself. Heidi’s post made me realize that by breaking promises to myself, I kept myself dis-empowered, and I didn’t love myself. I still didn’t fully believe in myself at this time, but I took a leap of faith and made some SMART goals. My first goals were easy because I wanted to make sure they were attainable, like Chris and Heidi suggest:

  1. Track my food every day using Spark People, even if I mess up or eat something unhealthy.
  2. Drink enough water every day (half my body weight in ounces).
  3. Take a multi-vitamin every day.
  4. Do water aerobics three times a week (20 minutes each session—just move!).

After the first week of committing to myself and honoring my promises, I felt so empowered! Little by little, I started to love myself and believe in myself again.

After I got each goal down, I would add more goals. I was consistent—EVERY DAY—about reading my goals and reasons for committing on my phone, checking my goal board in SparkPeople, measuring my food, reading nutrition labels, and much more, which helped me stay focused on my commitments. I believe that to lose the most weight, you HAVE to track your food—it will open your eyes and allow you to make small changes in your nutrition.

before pic 2 opt

After one month, I made my spare bedroom into a fitness room. Due to my foot issues, I could only do free weights if I was seated, but that was ok! I also started using the spin bike, which didn’t hurt my foot like other machines did. The first time I rode the spin bike, I could only do it for 4 minutes, and within a month, I was able to ride it for 35 minutes. I was also able to do water aerobics. As time went on, I continued to gradually increase the amount of exercise I did weekly. I was doing my workouts and nutrition planning alone, but I had support from friends and family, which helped me greatly.

After 3 months, I had lost over 50 lbs! I was gradually increasing my exercise each month, and I started doing DietBets. Winning my first DietBet was so empowering and motivating and very hard!! I have continued to play DietBets and have only lost 3 out of 14 games! On the games I lost, I came within one pound of winning, so even though I lost, I was proud that I came so close. My belief in myself continued to get stronger and stronger.

In September 2015, I started carb cycling with the Turbo Cycle and have done it ever since. It was difficult for me at first mainly because I am a vegetarian and had to figure out how to get protein without increasing my carbs too much—I love my carbs! But I was able to tweak the non-vegetarian recipes in Chris and Heidi’s book to make them vegetarian. After a few weeks of carb cycling, I realized I could do it, and it was worth it because I was losing a good amount of weight each week. Carb cycling prevented my body from hitting a plateau for a long time, and when I did hit a plateau, it didn’t last long thanks to carb cycling.

Six months after I began my transformation journey, I had surgery on my other foot. My goal was to reach a 100 lb weight loss by the end of December, but I knew it would be hard since I would be recovering from surgery and wouldn’t be able to exercise like I’d like to for several weeks. Two weeks after my surgery, I discovered that I could burn calories with seated cardio and that—along with seated weights—is what I did for about a month while my foot was recovering. I also focused on my nutrition since that was the main thing in my control. Despite my recovery, I made it to my goal—a total of 100.7 lb weight loss—by the end of December! I had a few tough moments during my recovery when I doubted if I could manage to lose and not gain, but I worked so hard to pick myself back up and get back on track. I read my goals, reasons why I wanted to commit to myself, and my SparkPeople goal board daily to stay focused. I reviewed the pictures I’d taken of myself taken throughout my journey. I reflected on how far I had come and realized that nothing can hold me back from taking care of myself—not physical issues, not emotional issues, nothing. I have my power back and nothing can take it away from me.

100 lb opt

Here are some things I’ve learned that have helped me during my transformation journey:

  • The scale won’t budge. When this happened, I was a little upset at first, but I soon realized that the scale is not the only way to measure success. I knew I had done great with my nutrition and exercise that week, and while I was frustrated, I told myself to trust in the process, which was one of the hardest things for me at first. I continued to be true to myself and stay consistent with my goals, and eventually the scale reflected my hard work! I also recorded my inches and took pictures of myself each month to track my progress, which helped when that scale wouldn’t move.
  • Reward or Cheat Days. I don’t give myself reward or cheat days because they can get too out of hand for me, and that’s not worth it! Instead, I give myself small treats—“Daily Hugs”—throughout the week that will not jeopardize staying within my daily nutrient ranges. On my weigh in days, I allow myself to eat out as long as I can stay within my nutrient limits. And I never keep trigger foods in my house!
  • There is no such thing as perfection with transformation. It is a process of several small changes that add up to big changes, and it starts with true commitment to myself—I am perfectly imperfect, as Heidi says. There will be ups and downs, but I stay committed to myself and am consistent with my nutrition and exercise. I have made mistakes and gone over my daily nutrient limits at times, but when that happened, I would still make myself track the food so I could see the damage. I would learn from my mistakes and make better choices at the next meal, and I wouldn’t beat myself up. I would show compassion and love to myself in those moments and recommit myself. The more I do this, the better I get at it, and my commitment becomes so great that NOTHING can get in the way of my transformation.
  • Cravings. At the beginning of my transformation, I had severe cravings, and I had to talk myself out of acting on those cravings. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t, so I made a list of small treats that would satisfy my cravings but wouldn’t jeopardize my daily nutrient limits. I believe it is very important not to deprive yourself or it may cause you to overeat or binge. Small rewards throughout the week really help satisfy cravings, and eventually you will find you need the rewards less and less, or your rewards will change to healthy rewards. You can also make healthier versions of your favorite unhealthy foods!
  • Dealing with Injuries. Weight loss is 90% nutrition and 10% exercise, so don’t let injuries hold you back. You may need to get creative with your exercise, but you can do it! Make sure to focus mainly on your nutrition—which IS in your control—no matter what.

AfterPic1

I have come so far in my transformation journey. Situations may arise that change how I do something, but I will still find a way—I love myself too much not to. I am worth it, I deserve to be healthy, and quitting is not an option! If you’re wanting to begin your transformation journey, do these three small things: Make small changes and attainable goals and keep your promises to yourself. Life is short. Start now!

Amen, Jennifer! I couldn’t have said it better myself! Are any of you struggling on your transformation journeys? What excuses are holding YOU back? As Jennifer’s learned, there are no excuses—you can do this! ?

Xoxo,

Heidi

Would you like to follow Jennifer’s transformation journey? Connect with her here:

facebookinstagramtwitter2

Want more inspiration? Check out these other amazing at-home transformations:

Jo Campbell
Jill Cumming
Arenda Franken
Sara Hawes
Kari Ianuale
Kristen Kinney
Jared and Rochelle Vaines


34 Comments

  1. Melissa Shipley - August 13, 2016

    Congrats Jennifer! What an inspiring story. I’ve had similiar struggles and am beginning to recognize that each time I break a promise to myself I not only put my physical health in jeapordy, but also my mental health. As I come back up for air after a month’s tailspin, your story is just what I need to keep me moving forward. Thank you!

    • Jennifer M - August 15, 2016

      So glad my story inspired you! You can follow the rest of my journey on social media. See the links above! Good luck to you. You can do it!!

  2. Ty - July 23, 2016

    Question??? When your show going to be on? I look forward to watching it, did you decide not to air it due to The Biggest Loser issues?

  3. Julie - June 17, 2016

    Wow Jennifer you are amazing and you where exactly where I am today totally deflated with surgery,overeating,lack of control or rather not loving myself enough!! I am three weeks post para thyroid,thyroid and large goitre removal, I wonder whilst crying how sick do I have to get to be able to pull myself out of this. I feel so sad and overwhelmed that I have nothing left , and yet reaching out here I know there’s a strong sense of its now,do it now! How would you suggest getting started I an 21 stone and 8 lbs I have a lot to lose but for one I want to just be free of this and just be healthy Help!!!! Xxxx

    • Jennifer - July 8, 2016

      Start by tracking your food. Don’t just look at the calories, but look at calories, fat, carbs, protein, cholesterol, sodium, fiber. Work on getting the nutrition down. Exercise can come later once you recover from your surgery. Also make 1 small promise to yourself that is attainable. Read Heidi’s blog post about promises. Read your promise every morning to keep you focused. Commit to yourself. By committing to your promise, your self-love will grow. Good luck!!

  4. Joyce Adam - June 10, 2016

    I am 58 years old and I need some ideas on how I can get the rest of my pounds off of me . I use to weigh 350 pounds I am now 252 pounds ,it took me 5 years just to get to this weight,and maintain it. I want to get all the way down to 140 pounds.

    • Team Powell - June 10, 2016

      Hi Joyce: Congratulations on maintaining your weight loss for 5 years – that’s awesome! Here’s a post that outlines Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program, and it will give you all the tools you need to finish your transformation journey: http://heidipowell.net/9060. And be sure and follow all the links within the post too. You can do this!

  5. Alice - June 10, 2016

    Greetings Mr. & Mrs. Powell
    This transformation is amazing and inspiring. After the birth of my 4th child 9 years ago I developed a eating disorder. I was 200 lbs eating unhealthy trying to keep up with dr visits and therapy sessions for two children and homeschool my older two. I have lost about 50 lbs by starving myself. I started not eating at all and fasting for up to 4 days at a time then eating very little for 3 days and back to fasting. I speed walk 3 to 4 miles a day. I am trying to break the cycle of fasting and then going crazy eating everything. I am currently 70 lbs over weight and suffer from asthma other medical problems. I am 5 foot 4 and have no clue as to how many calories I should be eating a day let alone what type of foods to eat and how to portion them. Any help I would greatly appreciate.

    I love what you two do and the lives you both have impacted on. I just watched extreme weight loss yesterday and the show had a major impact on me. If I recall his name was James, he suffered the lost of his son who had curable palsy, was in a toxic relationship and left her, quite his job and was homeless. It was like seeing my own life and he had the courage to never give up. His story is what drove me to look up both your websites and learn how to transform myself to live healthier for my kids. Bless you both and thank you for your passion in helping others to reach their goals

    • Team Powell - June 10, 2016

      Hi Alice: You can get all the tools you need to achieve your transformation goals in this post: http://heidipowell.net/9060. And be sure and follow all the links within the post too. Make that first promise to yourself, choose a cycle, and go! You can do this!

  6. Melissa - May 6, 2016

    Finally got around to reading this – I love these transformation stories. I have about 40 pounds I would like to lose and was working on it last summer when I was in a car accident. I wasn’t seriously injured, but I was in quite a lot of pain and discomfort for quite a while. I still deal with some stiffness and soreness but that probably has a lot to do with how sedentary my life has become. I’m afraid to work out. I’m afraid of hurting myself and messing up my body. At the same time I miss having strength and endurance. So I feel kind of frozen. What advice do you have for me?

    • Team Powell - May 7, 2016

      Hi Melissa: I’m so sorry to hear about our accident. If you have your doctor’s okay to work out, start slowly and work up gradually. Walking and/or swimming can be a great place to start. If you have an elliptical, that would work also, or any type of movement. And make sure you’re stretching regularly too. For strength training, Chris and Heidi have two awesome programs, and you don’t need any equipment at all! You can get links to these programs, as well as their other exercise programs, in this post: http://heidipowell.net/9059/all-about-exercise-2/. Remember, it’s all about baby steps. You can do this!

  7. Felicia - April 24, 2016

    I would like to try carb cycling I have about 20lbs to loose and have high body fat. I own an event company so I am pretty busy but think I can incorporate this with a bit of planning and it looks like there a few different options easy,classic, turbo.. I think extreme might not be the next place to start, which book would be the best to purchase that outlines all the different carb cycling options
    Thank you

  8. Mercedes trimmell - April 20, 2016

    I think it’s wonderful Jennifer. You have inspired me enough to bring myself to terms and admit food is an addiction. I think about food all the time. Chris and Heidi, I find to be very helpful and careful in handling obese persons. I so want to be healthy, but I find myself at the beginning wanting the weight to drop off immediately. Congratulations!

    • Jennifer - April 21, 2016

      Thank you!! It is a slow process but if you are committed then the weight will drop off quicker than you think. Good luck! You can do it!!!

  9. Kira - April 20, 2016

    Thank you for the inspiring story! It’s amazing when you have that “aha” moment and can look at things in a whole new light. Recently had one myself and can’t wait to see the results of my weight loss journey!

  10. Nancy - April 20, 2016

    Great story! It inspired me to order your book on carb cycling, because I keep trying to lose weight and it’s not happening. Self control when it comes to food is my biggest issue, because before I had my kiddos (ages 6 & 3), I never had to worry about it! Still very active, just don’t eat the best! Thanks for the inspiration!!

  11. Kim - April 20, 2016

    What an awesome story. Thank you for sharing. Jennifer, did you find the carb cycling to be a bit of an adjustment for your body at first? I’ve just started and find that on my high carb days I feel more tired than usual. Is this normal? I wish you luck as you continue your transformation journey. Mine has just begun. And seeing a story like yours gives me hope. Thank you!

    • Jennifer - April 21, 2016

      Thank you! When I first started carb cycling it was a huge adjustment and hard at first. I felt a little sluggish at first on low carb days but that changed after I did it for awhile. Now I love my low carb days. But of course high carb days are my favourite of the two. Haha. Stick with carb cycling and you will see results. I recommend tracking your food as well. Good luck!

  12. Kim B. - April 20, 2016

    And Jennifer I forgot to mention … Congratulations!! You are an inspiration to all. Take care!

  13. Kim B. - April 20, 2016

    Hello Heidi / Chris / Jennifer
    I’ve just finished my first week of carb cycling. I’m finding that on the high carb days I’m feeling more tired than usual. Is this normal? Am I doing something wrong?
    Thank you

    • Team Powell - April 20, 2016

      Hi Kim: It can be common as your body is adjusting to a new way of doing things. Keep following your chosen cycle and you should be good to go!

  14. Sherrie - April 20, 2016

    Hi Heidi !
    i was so touched when I watched Extreme Weight Loss on You Tube and saw the video about Mitizi.
    Not only did you take her on as a client ,you also dwelt with the problem that got her there in the first place, ” hoarding”. You did not judge her or the condition of her home, but accepted her as she was. You gave her the support she needed to lose her weight loss and
    deal with her emotional problems. I cried twice as I watched that video ( once at the beginning after seeing how she lived her life ,and once at the end, but with tears of joy this time)
    Great work, Heidi !

  15. Karen - April 20, 2016

    How inspiring and congrats on your success! I just purchased some of the Powell books and I am overwhelmed and trying to understand everything! Been overweight my whole life. At 42 trying to make life changes! Good luck to you in the future of success!

    • Team Powell - April 20, 2016

      Hi Karen: No need to feel overwhelmed, just take things one step at a time. Here’s a post that outlines the carb cycling basics, so hopefully that will help: http://heidipowell.net/9060. Step #1: Make and keep that first promise to yourself. You can do this!

  16. Priyesh - April 20, 2016

    This article is hundred percent genuine as I know Jennifer very well. Me and Jennifer we both work in the same organisation. I still remember when she was moved to US from London just because of her medical conditions and she was not liking it.

  17. Angela Saunders - April 20, 2016

    Jennifer is so inspiring! I had the pleasure of meeting her that day too. We were sitting next to eachother and had an hour to wait before the amazing Powell’s arrived. We exchanged information so that we could stay in touch. I’ve been in maintenance for 11 years and being able to connect with someone who has the same struggles as I do and has been through a lot of the same weight loss ups and downs as I have is so rewarding!
    Jennifer, I am SO proud of you!! You are going to be an amazing life coach! I am blessed to have met you! You are going to change lives!
    And btw…I was SO jealous when she said she had run into Heidi before the book signing! But meeting the Powell’s was the absolute best! They are so kind and real. One of the best days ever!

    • Jennifer - April 20, 2016

      Haha! Thank you so much Angela! It was so wonderful to meet you too. I love your video blog posts and look forward to watching more of them! 🙂 Glad we met and I’m very inspired by you. I will be needing some maintenance tips soon! lol 🙂

  18. Mare - April 19, 2016

    Such an awesome story !! Thanks for sharing. I’m a nursing mom trying to figure out macros. How do I know when to adjust my macros. I’m lifting and doing cardio all while worrying about weight loss and my sweet little baby. Thanks

Leave a reply