I have a great job! It is an honor to hang around such motivating people. When I see someone with a story, I have a habit of “politely” pressing in to hear more. Jen is one of us, with an inspiring transformation tale! She is so happy, warm, and an incredibly hard worker. When she recently showed me a beautiful picture of herself all dressed up, I couldn’t believe my eyes! What a journey! With a little encouragement, Jen is going to share some pieces of her story and her success with us. I am unsure if she realized the wonderful light she brings, and the impact her story can and will make!
I first have to compliment you on your positive energy and infectious smile. Tell me a little about where that stems from.
Wow, what a compliment. Thank you! I have a lot to be happy about & thankful for. I’ve always surrounded myself with positive people; makes life so much better.
And I challenge anyone to leave spin class with that grudge they were holding onto; not possible.
Last December after too much holiday indulging and half-heartedly working out I started reading books on clean eating. I also wanted to attempt a spin class because I heard it was a great workout. I am thankful for my good friend Carol who agreed to jump in with me.
Recently you have been on a health and weight loss journey. Your results have been truly remarkable. What was your reason to seek change in your life?
After reading “Wheat Belly”; in January 2013, I eliminated all wheat and sugar from my diet and started spin (I was hooked immediately) then added strength and it kicked my butt so I came back for more. I worked out 6 days a week. 3 spin, 3 strength and lost 1 lb. a week for 6 months which translated to 30 lbs.
How do you manage to be a social person, loving mother, doting wife, and friend while continuing to sustain your healthy living guidelines?
We are a busy family with Chase’s golf tournaments and basketball games & practices so we do eat dinner out quite often. It is possible to eat smart while dining out but also tempting to order the bad stuff. I try to maintain balance and eat healthy most of the time but I gotta tell you it is so nice being able to eat those nachos every now and then and they don’t “stick”.
It’s easy for me to stay away from wheat now; I no longer crave the bad stuff. I’ve adjusted our family meals with ground oats as flour in any recipe calling for binders. We eat “pasta” made of quinoa and other whole grains and they barely notice. Most restaurants have healthy GF options and when we go to parties I try to eat before and bring something healthy like guac and GF non-GMO corn chips.
What have been your greatest obstacles in reaching and maintaining your goals?
My biggest downfall in the past was trying to lose too much too fast by starving myself This time instead I tried to take it one day at a time and weigh in weekly so as not to get frustrated with fluctuations and fall off the wagon. Before I knew it a month had gone by a 5 lbs. down. I just kept chugging along and chipping away at my pound a week.
What sources do you draw from for support and encouragement?
My guys are my everything. They are so supportive in all of my endeavors. My hubby works so hard so I can be the best mom & wife I can be. They humor me, they listen to my latest theory on healthy foods, they even take part in my “test kitchens” with a pretty good attitude.
What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in this journey so far?
Every November we vacation in Florida and every year I say next year I’m going have a bikini body, well this November it finally happened. But I’m actually more proud of how strong I am and how fantastic I feel.
Do you have any further goals that you are currently working on?
It’s time to mix up my workout and take some classes out of my comfort zone. I plan on adding yoga and perhaps you’ll see me at a basic training class.
My advice…group classes are the best! They keep me challenged, motivated and accountable. There is so much great energy from this fabulous group of people which makes me push myself. Also, the elimination of wheat has allowed me to be so successful in losing and keeping off the weight. I wish I knew this secret combo years ago.
What are some of your favorite go-to snacks as a busy person on the go?
My healthy snacks are my protein muffins that have become a staple. I eat one every morning before a workout and sometimes I’ll have another around 3:00 for a snack instead of reaching for the chips.
What are some of your favorite ways to be active?
The people I’ve met at the gym are great. I feel like I’m part of this regular crew and I love when someone asks me why I wasn’t in strength class or spin. It really has become a way of life and quite honestly a luxury and a privilege
What advice do you have for someone who is just beginning their health and weight loss journey?
Advice…group classes are the best! They keep me challenged, motivated and accountable. There is so much great energy from this fabulous group of people which makes me push
Now that you have reached some amazing goals, how are you living it, maintaining it, and keeping your life in balance?
I don’t think of working out as a chore at all anymore. I’m so very lucky to be able to choose the time and classes I love and to be healthy enough to attend.
Cassie, you are so motivating, encouraging and just plain fun to be around. Your kind spirit and passion for fitness inspire me to be the best I can be.
So, I reluctantly share this “before” pic…but this was me last December 2012.
Here’s my “after” pic…December 2013. The scale says it’s only 30 lbs. ago if you can believe that. It certainly feels like a lot more to me.
Thank you, Jen, for your willingness to be vulnerable, and truly paying it forward! I am so excited for you! Will we see you in Basic Training on Saturday?! Also, Jen’s Protein Muffins are the best! Several of us keep them in the freezer for a great pre/post workout treat!
Your Trainer and Friend,
Cassie & Jen