Thursday, June 28, 2012

This is What 52lbs Looks Like

I had to think about this one a little bit.  Yes, I’m an open book.  Yes, I’m candid, sometimes to a fault.  But, I’m still a woman.  I still desire to feel sexy.  And yes, even tho I’m a happily married woman, still want to feel like others think I’m sexy too. And there is nothing wrong with that.  Someone will surely give me slack for that, but I speak the truth.  It is important for women to feel sexy about themselves!  So, that’s why I was nervous.  As weird as it sounds, sometimes I want people to just think that I've always been fit.  Not know that, for a while, it was completely out of control. 

I posted this compilation of photos to Facebook the night before last and the amount of comments and likes I received was unbelievable.  It made me realize something: I’m not alone.  There are so many people out there who are doing the same thing I’m doing, just got to their goal, are just getting started, or are too scared to try.  I would have done just about anything to see photos like this when I first started.  

As humans, we are naturally visual creatures.  We like to see what is going to happen.  It’s almost like it’s our proof, so – this, my friends – is what 52 lbs of fat looks like on a 5’ 8” woman. 

From left to right:
220lbs - college graduation - May 2007; 190lbs – engagement photos – Aug 2010; 168lbs iPhone birthday photo – June 1, 2012; the end result ...

The golden question: how did you lose the weight?  
I worked at it.  No, seriously, I did.  I ran.  I did squats.  I did lunges.  I sweat, a lot.  I hurt, a lot.  And I kept doing it. I didn’t try magic pills, drinks, or crash diets.  They don’t work and they aren’t natural.  You want to lose weight?  You probably won't like the answer.
 This is the tough love part… 
Get off your ass and go f***ing work for it.  You don’t deserve it if you’re not going to work for it.

As you can see – it’s been five years…
I’d say the summer of 2008 (so a year after that first photo) it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I…was…fat!  My BMI was 33.4.  Now – I don’t pay attention to BMI – it’s total bulls*** but, it’s a sort of guidance.  Do you know what BMI says is obese?  30 and greater.  So, according to BMI, I was obese.  

At 23 years old. 


I sank.  

My heart was crushed.  

I felt ugly, unworthy, gross. 

I all of a sudden couldn’t figure out why my boyfriend (now husband) was with me.  That is a TERRIBLE feeling!

So, I decided to do something.  I wanted to do something fun.  Something that didn't feel like work.  Something I'd stick with. 

So, being the total badass mofo that I am, I decided to start boxing.

Honestly - probably the hardest workout I've ever done!  You try getting in a ring and duking it out for 3 solid minutes - over and over.  Doesn't sound like a lot, but holy hell, it is!

The University of Texas has what’s called UT Informal Classes.  They are basically classes through the University but not for any sort of credit.  Well, they had a boxing class.  Boxing: that sounded FUN!  So I started boxing and started feeling much better about myself.  Plus, I was learning how to knock fools out, which is always a major WIN!

Then, I thought: OMG it would be so much fun to run a half marathon! Whooo! 

I never ran a mile in my life.  And I thought, at 220lbs, that a half marathon would be fun.

I’m sick.  I'm ambitious.

So, I asked my dad, who is a certified tri coach, what to do.

He gave me the hook up and in October 2008 I started training for the 2009 Austin half marathon (held in February).  And guess what, I completed it and lost some lbs in the meantime.  I was down to about 190 and was feeling like I was invincible.  So, naturally, I did more half marathons.  That year, I completed a total of 4 half marathons (last one being the 2010 Austin half).  

During that time I got super lax about my eating.  I’m burning 900 calories on each run, I can eat whatever the hell I want.  Truth, you can, if you’re not trying to lose weight.  If you’re trying to lose weight, you still need to watch what you eat.  Needless to say, the lbs weren't dropping like panties at a Justin Timberlake concert coming off as easily. 

Then, I thought of another GENIUS idea! 

 I’ll do the Chicago Marathon in 2010.  OMG it will be so amazingly awesome! 

 So a dear friend, who is from Chicago, and I started training together (even though she was in AZ and I was in TX – we trained remotely).  Well, about 6 weeks before the race, on my 16 mile run, I broke down.  It was about mile 13 – I was still 3 miles from my car.  I called my husband - fiancé at the time - (who was studying for the Bar exam – that’s how bad this was) to pick me up.  I literally couldn’t walk to my car the 3 miles, let alone run.  

It was demoralizing.  I felt defeated.  I felt like a quitter, even though I had suffered an injury.  

I didn’t run again.  Until very recently.

I was scared.

And strangely, I was mad at running.  

How could it injury me after all the time I dedicated to it?

So, from September 2010 until March 2012 I lost and gained the same 15lbs over and over and over again.  I got down to the 170’s, and then gained it back up to the 190’s, then 170’s, then 190’s, and so on and so forth.  I wasn’t exercising on a regular basis.  I’d try boot camp for a few months.  Then quit.  Then try something else, then quit.

Finally, at the end of February, 2012 I decided that enough was enough.  

Not knowing what to do, I thought I’d try Weight Watchers.  My thought process was this: If Charles Barkley and Jennifer Hudson could do it, then I could.  Plus, if it doesn’t work, I can quit it.  That seemed easy enough.  So, after researching it, I gave it a whirl.  And OMG and I am glad I did.

I started on February 27, 2012 at 191.  It is now 4 months later and I weigh 168 (literally the thinnest/lightest I've been in my adult life - I'm acutally smaller than I was my Senior Year of HS).  That’s averaging almost 1.5 lbs lost each week.  Some weeks were more, some were less, and I’ve had 3 weeks where I’ve gained 1lb.  But, I’ve stuck with it.  

For the first 3 ½ months of Weight Watchers I worked out with a trainer once a week and did boot camp twice a week.  

I’m starting a new schedule where I work out with a trainer once a week, run & free weights 3 times a week, and do yoga 2 times a week.  I figure I’m already at high end of “average” weight for my height, so it’s going to be a little more challenging to lose this last 23 lbs.

The absolute best part about the way I’ve lost this weight is that:

 I have quite literally busted my ass off.  

I know how hard it is.  I know how to keep it off.  And I will continue to bust my ass to keep it off.  Because I’m not getting fat again.  THAT is why it’s better than a magic pill, special drink, or crash diet. I’ve found a perfect balance of diet and exercise and I plan on maintaining it for life.  Really, I don’t see how I have any other option.

So, the fun part: what is my reward?  Well, other than a superhot bod, and seeing how I'm a photographer and photos are important to me, I have 2 rewards…

  1. Since I’m fat in all of our engagement photos, hubby and I are getting more professional photos done by my photog friends who also did our engagement/wedding photos.  We will be in AZ in December, and they will be doing them then – yep, so I gotta be at goal by then!  No pressure… 
  2. I’m getting my own boudoir photos done.  Yes, the boudoir photographer is finally going to get some done herself.  And hey, you never know, maybe I’ll share one or two here… ;)  That might be TMI for some of you, but like I said - I'm an open book. 
There you have it.  The hold-nothing-back-Jen that you all love!  But seriously though, I’m an open book when it comes to just about every aspect of my life.  I’m proud of who I am and realize that it’s because of what I’ve done/overcome that I am who I am today.  If you have any questions or want more deets, please let me know, I’d be happy to share!

And I'll leave you with new obsession.  My 5" hot pink high heels. Ow!

Until next time,

peace & love


  1. Holy crap. This is amazing. I'm going through a similar quest myself. I love that you did it without expecting a magic pill or a fancy solution. Just working your ass off. Props to you, Jen!

    1. Thank you! I knew that if it was going to be long term, that I needed to make lifelong changes that were sustainable. Reality is, you can't take diet pills for the rest of your life. You gotta make the long term change to make the change long term! Keep up the strong work! Looking forward to hearing about your HM training!

  2. Love the shoes!! Awesome story Jen!


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