I am just going to apologize right now…this is a long one!

I posted a picture on Facebook the other day that led to several questions about my personal health and fitness journey. I’ve tried to answer many of them. But I thought it might just be easier to do a little Transformation FAQ for all of you sweet readers.

Let’s begin here (April 2015):


This photo was taken when I weighed nearly as much as I did 9 months pregnant with my fourth baby…190 lbs. Most of my adult life I have stayed around the 175-190 lb. range. I got down to 165 once but when right back up after I stopped that particular fad diet.

Have you ever laid in your bed at night and dreamed of yourself exercising, running, looking fit and healthy, skinny perhaps? Wondered what it might feel and look like? I have, ever since high school. I would envision a better me, formulate a plan, and wake up the next day with zero ambition. I never used to believe that I was capable, athletic(ish), strong enough, or worth it. Straight up honesty….I have hated myself for many years…maybe you can relate?

So after my fifteen thousandth dream like this and quite frankly just getting to a point of being sick and tired of being tired and out of breath. I decided to give it one more try. I will also admit I was a little motivated by a desire to prove a point. I know there are a lot of great health and wellness plans out there. I wanted to prove that I didn’t need to buy into something to achieve results. I also took a nutrition class as part of my college coursework that gave me some guidelines and I connected with a dietician friend who also pointed me in the right direction. So that’s what got me started.

Labor Day weekend 2015 I downloaded the Myfitnesspal app…which I now live by. I figured out my calorie intake goal. Committed to eliminating (most) sugar and unhealthy carbs from my nutrition and hit the ground running…literally. I have found logging my food every day to be the most helpful thing I have done. It’s tedious and sometimes annoying, but it works for me and I plan to keep doing it for the unforeseeable future.

For my birthday in October I got myself a Fitbit and a new pair of running shoes. I dusted off all the workout clothes I had, picked up a few new pieces and began walking, jogging, or exercising for 30 minutes every day. Fast forward to now…I joined an amazing kickboxing/boot camp class www.empoweringfitness.org and I run, run, and run some more. I have an insatiable love for running…I am literally living my dreams.

So how about those FAQ’s:

How much weight have I lost?: I began at 190 and now weigh 124 (as of this morning)…so I guess that is 66 pounds. I have lost 8.5 inches in my waist (size 16 to a size 4-6ish). 8.5 inches in my hips, 2.5 inches in my arms, and 5 inches in my thighs, total = 24.5 inches all around.

Am I still trying to lose weight?: No and yes. To stay within my recommended healthy guidelines and BMI I desire to stay under 130 pounds. I am only 5’4 so 120-130 is a heathy weight range for me…I’ve been at 126ish for quite a while now and I feel like it’s a good place where I can indulge a little but yet stay feeling good. I would love to see 120 but I am honestly not actively trying to get there. I keep my calorie intake at 12-1500 daily and I workout/run 6-7 days a week for at least 1 hour. This is comfortable for me, if I see 120 in this lifetime great, if not…I am happy right where I am. Side note: I weigh in once a week and measure once a month…no more or it stresses me out.

This is what 124 looks like for me (June 2016):


What is your favorite workout?: I have to say running. I’ve run a couple 5K’s, my first 10K in May and I am now training for my first half marathon in September. I run at least 2-3 miles every day (Monday-Saturday). I typically run 2-4 Monday-Thursday, 5 on Fridays and then a long run (6-13) on Saturday, I make myself rest at least 1 day a week usually Sunday. By rest I mean not purposeful exercise…I still might take a walk or stretch. I also go to kickboxing/boot camp Monday-Thursday mornings. Advice…find what works for you and own it.

Side Note: The old me hated mornings. Like I could barely roll out of bed by 7 am. One part of this transformation that I enjoy the most is that I am now a morning person. I am up by 4:30 or 5 nearly everyday. It’s hard sometimes, I get tired, I take naps, and I go to bed earlier. But mornings are glorious and so worth it.

What do you eat?: This is the hardest question…I eat food, lol! At first I ate very little sugar or carbs. I still do not eat white potatoes, milk, or bread (with some exceptions). I don’t miss those things, nor do I like how I feel after eating them, never have really. Probably the best way to answer this is just give an example of a typical day for me. I am on a 5-6 meal a day schedule and I find that I need to eat or I get a little “hangry.”

Breakfast (100-200 calories): Generally one of these – 1 Banana, 1 Hard boiled egg, 1 whole grapefruit, 1/2 rolled oats and 1 cup cashew milk, Fit & Active Wrap with PB2…those are my go to breakfasts.

Morning snack (100-200 calories): 1 Banana, 1 Hard boiled egg, 1 cup grapes, 100 calorie yogurt (preferably Greek), 1 apple, something like this. I like to try new fruits and veggies to mix it up a little.

Lunch (200-300 calories): My favorite lunch is a 2 cup lettuce salad with tomatoes, 1/2 cucumber, 1 hard-boiled egg OR diced chicken or pork (protein), Walden Farms zero calorie dressing (I really like balsamic vinaigrette), 2 tbsp. roasted red pepper humus, 3 celery stalks. I like salad so I try to make various salad combinations most days. There are tons of recipe ideas out there.

Afternoon snack (100-200 calories): Same as the morning, maybe some popcorn (well most days its popcorn..lol), carrots, a protein shake (I like Slimquick Pure…because I can add fruit to it and it’s still fairly low cal.)

Supper (300-400 calories): This is where it gets tricky…my family is picky..I am still trying to “transform” them into healthier eaters. So we generally have a meat and a veggie side. Not going to lie..I often eat what I eat and they eat something different…we will get there!

If I still need a snack it’s usually popcorn or a tbsp of peanut butter.

The cold hard truth: Eating healthy is HARD. I have to pass on a lot of things. But I read something once that said “Nothing tastes as good as being healthy feels” – unknown. I truly believe this. I ALWAYS regret that slice of pizza or that scoop of ice cream, piece of cake, whatever it is…but I NEVER regret a day when I stayed true to my regime and went to bed feeling good. I am still addicted to coffee (however I not longer use sugar…but I do like my sugar-free creamer and have no intentions of giving that up). I also struggle with a nasty sweet tooth, so I am often crunching on hard candy. BUT…I deduct it from my calorie intake so that makes it okay..right? See I am not perfect…in more than one way I assure you. I also drink 1 gallon of water every day (or try to get close). I sometimes mix in sugar free drink packets. I also drink more Diet Pepsi then I should (but not as much as I used to drink regular pop).

Also holidays are tough. I just do my best, give my self a break. Follow the 80/20 rule (eat healthy 80% of the time and indulge 20%)…then I just start fresh the next day. Same goes for eating out. I used to LOVE eating out…this is a change too…I now prefer to just eat at home…it’s cheaper and easier to stay consistent.

Working out is NOT as hard. What is hard is finding time. So I MAKE time. I get up early and get it done before the rest of my house is awake. It’s my time and then I can give the rest of my day to them. The key is just finding a rhythm that works for you and STICK TO IT. Go to that workout class even when you don’t feel like it. Walk or run even when you don’t feel like it. This verse has motivated me so much lately:

“Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.” Ezra 10:4.

And….brutal honesty here…my “thin” body does not look like it did in my dreams. Going from overweight to this has some interesting challenges. Let’s just say I will still never wear a two piece swimsuit….my tummy is still a problem area..and other parts….but we will just stop there. On the flip side there are parts that I didn’t know I would like and I am now enjoying some new muscles, so that’s fun.

Thank you friends for bearing with me on this ever so long post. Hopefully it has answered some questions, given you some helpful tips, and inspired you. I began this journey for myself really, but the people who keep telling me I am inspiring them is truly humbling. I am giving all that glory to God…this was a part of his plan for my life and I thank him everyday for his strength, courage, and presence on this journey with me.

P.S. Running/walking time is a great time to talk to God…I have prayed over so many things and people along the way…you really should try it.

Believe in yourself, challenge yourself, love yourself, you are WORTH IT! Rise up friends, be brave…DO IT!

Helpful Go-To’s:



Disclosure: You may or may not agree with all of the content in this post and that is okay. Just be positive and do what works for you. Everyone’s journey is their own…this is mine.

Be blessed friends!



About believingjoy

Who am I? That's a good question! I am Jen...a blemished woman who enjoys a tidbit of tidyness mixed with dash of craziness to create a life that is simply mine! I adore my 4 children and their daddy. I love little bits of wild like tattoos and things that make us unique. I like to mix vintage with new and strive for progress over perfection! I believe that not a single person on this planet is perfect and that's okay, it's what makes us who we are. My desire is to find joy is all circumstances with a smile and a choice to believe.
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One Response to FAQ’s

  1. You are an amazing young lady, Thank you for sharing. So proud of you!!! 1 thing I don’t like the 120 thing it scares me. But you are watching your health and you will know if its to much. Love you


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