My cousin becomes a beacon of inspiration for our family.
Before: 277 pounds
After: 174 Pounds
Most of her life, Jessica Skeels has carried extra weight. She knew this, but ignored her desires to change. But, when Jessica was selected as the maid of honour for her sister’s wedding, she couldn’t ignore her desires for change any longer. Jessica shares her story of triumph with The Weekly Wanderer.
TWW: When did you decide to lose weight?
SKEELS: I tried to lose weight before Samantha’s, my sister’s, big day, but only managed to lose 15 pounds, which for many, is a huge accomplishment. But for me, it was a small step, as I’d eaten myself into obesity. After my sister’s wedding, I continued to lose weight. But once I saw her wedding pictures, I was ashamed and embarrassed of how far I’d let myself go. This moment kickstarted my desire to drop the pounds. I changed my lifestyle and began to care about myself again. I didn’t want to be overweight and unhealthy anymore.
TWW: How did you start working out?
SKEELS: At the beginning of my journey, I started exercising at my work’s gym every morning before my shift. I did cardio for 20 minutes and strength training for 30 minutes. Eventually, I was doing cardio for 45 to 80 minutes and strength training for 45 minutes.
TWW: Did you track your weight loss?
SKEELS: I kept a journal of my workouts and tracked my progress by measuring, weighing and taking photos. I filled my journal with positive and motivational quotes to keep myself focused.
TWW: How did you change your eating habits?
SKEELS: I ate low-cal meals every three hours, 1,400 calories per day. I tried going gluten-free for the first year of my journey. I don’t have any gluten sensitivity, but my stomach felt better than ever: less bloating and heaviness. It was working. I was losing roughly 10 pounds per month. I cut out pop, ice cream, fast food, as well as saturated fatty and processed foods. I substituted different foods in dishes I loved and found joy in cooking delicious and nutritious meals.
TWW: It’s hard to eat healthy throughout a busy work week. Prepping nutritious foods takes time. And when you come home from work, the last thing you want to do is prepare an elaborate meal. Prepping meals on the weekend makes eating healthy easier and more convenient. This way, you’re less tempted to grab a cheeseburger from your local MacDonald’s.
SKEELS: You’re right. I meal prep each Sunday to prepare for my busy week ahead and avoid those days of running to fast food because I’m too tired to cook. I love making salads and dressings I enjoy eating, without feeling guilty.
TWW: What challenges have you encountered along the way?
SKEELS: My struggles happen in social settings, such as a wedding or a family holiday. There are a lot of sweet and salty temptations, alcohol and other unhealthy choices available. I try not to get out of control if I indulge during special occasions. But if I do, I bring myself back to reality and back to my routine in no time.
TWW: The before and after story never ends after you lose weight. Did you falter at any point? If so, did you get help?
SKEELS: A few months ago, I slipped out of my groove, so I got help. I signed up for a government-funded weight loss grant program I found on Google. They offer reimbursement on selected programs offered once completing a set target weight goal. The program I registered with has taught me a lot about portion control and making me aware of what I put on my plate. With their help, I’ll continue my journey using all what I’ve learned in the last two years.
TWW: How do you feel now that you lost over 100 pounds?
SKEELS: Losing 101 pounds is one of my hardest, most rewarding things I’ve ever done. I wish I hadn’t let myself get so heavy, but I’m stronger and more confident because of it. I still have work to do. I want to lose another 16 to 20 pounds, hopefully by early 2018.
TWW: Jessica, you’re an inspiration to others.
SKEELS: I wear a bracelet my sister gave me for being her maid of honour to remind me of where I’ve been and how far I’ve come and where I want to be. I hope to inspire others to make future healthy choices. iT!