Prior to starting this challenge, I was a 330 pound professional dieter.  Despite repeatedly hearing people tell me that I needed to make lifestyle changes, I was convinced that there is a magic diet that I hadn’t discovered yet!  If there was not a magic diet then at least a magic pill.  Either way, I was convinced magic was somehow involved.  It had to be.  I was banking on it.  In fact, I was breaking the bank on it!

I hated hearing about “lifestyle changes”.  Oh. My. Gosh.  Did I hate that?!?!  What lifestyle changes do I need to make??  I agree, I need to make changes.  But what are they???  The only phrase that irritated me more was “you’ll lose the weight when you are ready!”  I was 330 pounds!  How could I be more “ready”!!

Fast forward to the introduction of me and the Subway Get Fit Challenge. The challenge and I have had our ups and downs; growing pains is what I call it.  We also had some outside influence that was wreaking havoc on our new relationship, namely “the scale”.   Yet, here we are in week five beginning to find the rhythm of our relationship.  I’ve learned some valuable lessons that I would like to share. 

Lesson #1: In a “lifestyle change” I can still eat whatever I want.  I can have a fast food hamburger.  I don’t need to have it with cheese and mayo and I can’t have it every day.  If I want to eat it, I do.  And it is okay.  As long as it is in moderation, I have nothing to worry about.  The lifestyle I had before encouraged me to eat whatever I want, whenever I want.  Now, I have changed that to be that I eat what is good for my body but also what I enjoy. 

Lesson #2: I don’t need a scale, ever.  One might think the scale is there to help me know what my weight is.  Wrong.  The scale became a de-motivator.  I don’t need to put myself in the path of negativity.  So, adios stupid scale!!  My clothes will tell me where I am in my progress and they are a lot cuter to look at!!

Lesson #3: Foods that I swore off as a child are actually not so bad as an adult.   Cauliflower and I have been enemies for as long as can remember.  What was I thinking?? It’s delicious!!!  Even without being soaked in ranch dressing.  I missed out on years of enjoying delicious cauliflower.  Luckily, with this specific food, it is okay for me to make up for lost time. 

Lesson #4:  I don’t have to be the best at everything.  I did Zumba.  I am NOT good at Zumba.  I love it, but I am not good.  Perhaps it’s because I don’t have a dancer’s body yet.  Regardless though, it is totally okay.  I am still going Zumba.  I will draw the line at investing in the Zumba gear though.

Lesson#5: Lisa may be little, but it has been decided that she could take me down.  I may be able to hold my own for a little while, but in the end, she will have more energy and endurance.  I need to work on those two things because I never know when my trainer is going to sneak up on me like a ninja.  Safety first, that’s what I always say. 

Lesson #6:  I’m on MY clock for weight loss.  Yes, I want to do well for the challenge, and yes I have personal goals I would like to reach but I don’t have to do it in the next month.  I have time.  I am taking the right steps and constantly moving forward.  That’s all I have to require of myself.

Lesson #7: I have to write down what I eat.  Whew..I am SSSOOO dishonest when I don’t!!  I can eat three days worth of calories if I am not holding myself accountable for what I am eating.  Writing down anything that goes in my mouth truly keeps me honest.

Lesson #8: Having to wear a mask for sleep apnea is not the worst thing that could have happened to me.  I fought seeing the doctor about my snoring because I thought I could lose weight and then I wouldn’t snore anymore.  Getting good sleep is essential to losing weight!  Since seeing the doctor and getting my C-PAP machine, I feel a million times better!!  I don’t care what anyone says either, I rock that mask!!

Lesson #9:  Prepare, prepare, prepare.  Floating around in my purse are Fiber One bars and sugar-free gum.   I don’t keep food that is bad for me in my house or my desk.  I am always looking for new recipes and I never go to the grocery store without a specific list.  A couple of weeks ago, I wanted ice cream in a willing-to-crawl-on-dried-rice kind of way.  Instead of going to the store and buying a gallon, I stopped at McDonald’s and got a cone.  I LOVE ice cream.  And seriously, who knew that ice cream could be so good without hot fudge and peanut butter cups?? Seriously.

Lesson #10:  I only surround myself with people that support me 100%.  My husband has been amazing! Amazing!  As in, he joined me for Zumba and Yoga, amazing!!  He was the only guy in the Zumba class, but he still rocked it!!  My dogs who bring me their leash when they need exercise.  They seem to just know that I do as well.  My mom and dad, who are both out of state, call to encourage me and check my progress.   Mom isn’t one to listen to my whining about it being hard.  She knows my true strength and pushes me to find it when I am not meeting my own potential.   Dad though, he will totally listen to me whine for a few minutes!! My friends from different parts of the country are cheering me on by following my progress on WSMV.com or emailing recipes or cooking dinner.   I’m so grateful.  I love all of them!! My co-workers at the City of Franklin have been incredible as well!  From the group that gets together to watch my segments on the news to the people who stop me in the halls to encourage me.  I am blessed.  And thankful beyond words.   

It’s not easy, and I am okay with that.  I won’t get stronger by taking the easy road and I want to be stronger.   In the meantime, I am learning all that I can.



  1. Annie Said:

    BEAUTIFUL post. I really love all of these lessons. Thanks for sharing all this, Jennifer.

    And just FYI, I think you RULED at Zumba. 🙂


  2. Kelley Said:

    You should be very proud that you crossed the finish line at the 5K today! It is a huge accomplishment. Keep up the good work!

    -Michelle’s friend-

  3. Lisa Said:

    You might eventually take this ninja because you’re the BEST AT NOT QUITTING! (But watch your back anyway 😉 You rock – Lisa

  4. You have the best writing ability!! I am so right there in your story… been there done that! and truly great lessons! Awesome at the 5K too! Looking forward to your next blog! You go girl!

    • Thanks so much Michelle!! I love to write and am always encouraged when others like what I have to say!

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