It’s been a while since I posted an inspirational Journey to Fit story!
Journey to Fit features an F&F reader with an inspirational weight loss or weight gain story to share. The men and women featured in Journey to Fit each paved their own path to a healthy lifestyle, and I am thrilled they are willing to share their journeys on my blog. Everyone has a unique story and approach to healthy living, and each person had to start somewhere. I hope you find this series inspiring. Enjoy!
This month I am featuring Jen and her twin sister Kelly. Jen works on the wellness team with me at my full-time job, and she blogs with Kelly at Twins Take On Life. Their story is incredible, and they were featured in the August issue of Women’s Health this summer for their weight loss journey!
Jen, tell my F&F readers a little about you and your sister.
Kelly and I are 28 year old identical twins. In 2009 we were one year out of college and had no direction as to what we wanted to do with our lives. We turned to food and to an unhealthy lifestyle for comfort. Eating heavy meals at restaurants and late at night, as well as living a sedentary lifestyle, was normal for us. One day we saw a picture of us posted on Facebook, and it all just clicked. We were beyond shocked seeing ourselves and asked each other, “Who are those girls? They can’t be us!?” We finally saw ourselves as the world did: severely overweight and unhealthy. We decided right then and there, looking at that picture, that we NEEDED to do something and do it together!
What lifestyle changes have you made since the beginning of your journey?
One thing we pride ourselves about is that we didn’t do any crazy diets, drink crazy shakes, take any pills, or have any surgeries to lose the weight. The changes we made we really simple. We started working out 3-4 days a week together with a trainer, doing 30 minutes of weight training and 30 minutes of cardio each session. Since then, we have picked up running and other forms of exercise (bootcamps, boxing, etc.) to stay fit. We also tracked our food in a diary to see what we were eating and how much, eliminated alcohol for the most part (at least when we first started), and limited dining out at restaurants. Instead, we pumped up our intake of fresh vegetables and fruit, lean protein, and whole grains. We cut back on mindless snacking and desserts as well, and just tried to follow a balanced diet. We each started our journey at 254 pounds, and we now weigh 164.
Did you encounter any challenges along the way, and how did you overcome them?
The challenges we faced during our journey were mostly social challenges. How do you spend time with friends without going to unhealthy restaurants or going out drinking? We had to completely rethink how we spent time with people and what we made a priority. If friends wanted to get together on a night we had a workout, we would reschedule. If we did have to got to restaurant, we would order what we thought would be the healthiest option and split it. We also leaned on each other a LOT. We helped each other find motivation when the other needed it, and we were each others support system because we had many people around us who didn’t support us. Having each other through the journey is how we overcame any obstacle we faced!
Aside from the weight loss, what has rewarded you? What differences do you notice in how you felt then versus how you feel now?
Throughout our journey, we ran several road races together, including 2 half marathons and a triathlon. It has been rewarding to cross the finish lines together and accomplish something athletic that we never thought we would be able to do! We never care about our time, only about finishing something that our old selves wouldn’t have even attempted!
What are the next steps in your journey?
Right now we are working on the maintenance stage of our journey and still getting fitter along the way. We like to try new ways of exercising and challenging ourselves! Also, we are trying to motivate others to get healthy too by helping people learn from our journey to start their own!
What tips would you offer others you are trying to get on the path to a healthy lifestyle?
One of the biggest tips we offer people is to just start small! Losing weight can seem like a daunting task, especially if your goal is too high. Just start by making small changes. Start walking more every day, take an exercise class, and find a routine that works for you. Just because you have weight to lose doesn’t mean you have to start doing CrossFit classes every day of the week. Find what works for you and keep working on it. Same with your nutrition. Start by adding in more water, veggies, fruit, whole grains, and lean protein, and slowly take away junk food, fast food, and restaurants. If you try taking away too much at once, you will feel overwhelmed. You don’t have to go straight to eating quinoa and kale! Basically, small steps will lead to healthy changes.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Yes! We were recognized this year by the American Heart Association for our journey, and we won the 2014 Lifestyle Change Award. This is a charity that’s near and dear to our hearts, so it means a lot to us!
Thank you for sharing, Jen and Kelly! I think I speak for all of us when I say that you two are truly an inspiration.
If you or someone you know has a weight loss or weight gain story to share, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to feature you. This series will run as long as I receive enough content to keep it going.
For past Journey to Fit posts: