My name is Jackie Jones (@its_jayeokay), and I am 32 years old. I live in Texas and work in business management. After experiencing a long list of health issues in my 20s, I decided to take control of my health—and I lost 83 pounds.
As a young woman, my weight was never an issue. I’m from the South, so a little fluff wasn’t bad. But once I became a mother of twin daughters and a son, I gained around 70 pounds in four years. I was no longer just carrying a little fluff—it was fat.
When I was about 20 pounds into losing the “baby weight,” I got divorced, and my weight increased again. I dealt with depression during that time, and that was definitely the primary factor in my weight gain. I found comfort in food.
I began to feel my body breaking down in my late 20s. I was pre-diabetic, suffering from hypertension and gout, and had all types of body aches and pain. I also had to get my gallbladder removed. I wasn’t even 30 yet. But I had three children who depended on me, and I couldn’t let them down. My children were my motivation to change my life.
My eating motto became: “Limit not eliminate.”
When I made the decision to lose weight, food had already become my best friend. So it was really hard giving up my sweet treats and salty snacks. I would go a day or two depriving myself but then binge like I’d never eaten before. So instead of not eating treats at all, I began to limit myself to small servings.
This eating ideology of “it’s not what you eat, it’s how much you eat” has worked for me. I also have adopted intermittent fasting (IF), and I fast from 9 p.m. at night until 12 p.m. the next day. During my eating window, I still limit my intake of sweet and salty stuff, but I have all of the fruits and veggies that I want. The combo of IF and focusing on produce has also helped me break through weight-loss plateaus.
Here’s what I typically eat in a day now.
- Breakfast: I fast until 12 p.m., but I usually have black coffee before then.
- Lunch: My lunch almost feels more like my large dinner meal. I love to have salmon, peas, and quinoa.
- Snacks: I usually snack on fruit, like apples, bananas, grapes, or strawberries.
- Dinner: In general, I try not to eat heavy at night, so I usually have something like oatmeal and a salad. My fast starts at 9 p.m.
- Dessert: More fruit!
When I started my journey, I felt insecure about about my weight, So I avoided the gym and instead started out walking on park trails.
I’ve always been a nature lover. Walking in the woods may sound isolating, but I felt so free. It helped me clear my mind and sweat without the fear of people gawking at me. With just walking two to three miles every other day, I lost about 60 pounds.
Now I work out a minimum of four times a week. Two days are weight training and two days are cardio. I enjoy my curves, so weight lifting had to be a part of my workout schedule. I have a heavy lift day, as well as a bodyweight day. Cardio is a must, too. I still enjoy my walks in the park, but my newest obsession is jump roping. It’s a great full-body workout and extremely fun.
In three and a half years, I’ve lost 83 pounds.
Slow and steady weight loss works for me. I didn’t want my weight loss to be fleeting; I wanted to learn positive habits I could keep up with for the rest of my life. Once I realized I could lose weight, I realized I could do anything. It sounds cliche, but if you can believe it, you can achieve it.
Losing weight didn’t just give me confidence in my physical self, but it made me believe in my emotional self as well. I’ve become a better parent, friend, and family member. I’ve taken a leap of faith with my career. I’m more patient. I’m more understanding. I am better inside and out. And I totally believe in myself.
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