Having Trouble Losing Weight? Here’s How Jen and Brian Made It Happen
Today you’re going to hear an inspiring story about Jen and Brian, a young couple with two kids who wanted to change the way they were doing life.
I’m going to share with you how Jen dropped 6-8 clothing sizes and how Brian was able to shed 25lbs.
Best of all, they achieved their results quickly (in just a few months) and they did it using methods that are completely natural, sustainable, and are possible for anyone else to follow.
If you’re having trouble losing weight, then their story is one worth reading. Let’s get started.
A History of Weight Issues
Jen and Brian both admit that their weight is something they’ve struggled with for quite some time. Jen noticed her weight gain begin during university:
I did pretty well until I bought a car in my third year and then the weight started to creep on. Walking and cycling had been my primary modes of transportation prior to that.
I had begun to work out some at the gym, but my busy schedule, poor eating habits and call centre job had me upwards of 25-30lbs from where I had been previously.
Brian noticed his weight start fluctuating way back in high school:
I have been on a yo-yo for many years. In high school, I would play football, and drop by the end of the season, and basically work back up from there. In university I have ranged from a low of 190 to upwards of 240.
As you can imagine, now that they both have busy teaching careers and are parents of two young children, losing the extra weight wasn’t getting any easier.
In fact, the stress of life made it even easier to search out convenient food and skip out on exercise. They were having trouble losing weight and something had to change, otherwise things were likely going to get worse before they got better.
The Turning Point
Both Jen and Brian had distinct turning points when they committed to making some changes. Brian was first inspired while watching The Simpsons of all shows!
I remember once, when watching an episode of the Simpsons, I realized I was heavier than Homer, and I needed a change. That’s when I started running the first time.
Both Brian and Jen had another realization come at a more serious time. Last year Brian lost his father and Jen lost her uncle, both of whom were still quite young.
As parents, they quickly saw the importance of prioritizing healthy living, for their own wellbeing and for the example they would be setting. Jen explains in this way:
I have struggled with maintaining healthy habits and a healthy lifestyle and I don’t want my kids to struggle the same way if possible. I want them to see that being healthy is part of life and that they don’t know anything different.
Death of a family member is always difficult to cope with, but sometimes an event like that is necessary to serve as a wake-up call. How am I living my life? What are my priorities? What would I like to change?
These are the sorts of questions Jen and Brian began asking. Let’s take a look at the decisions they made.
What Changes Did They Make?
Jen and Brian joined my 10/4 Weight-Loss Coaching Program and jumped in with full force. Some of their biggest changes came in the kitchen, which happens to be Jen’s domain.
Adopting New Eating Habits
Jen was very eager to learn new recipes that would provide healthier meals for her and her family. She explored many of the healthy cooking blogs that I highly recommend and found that “healthy eating” didn’t require a complete overhaul of their diets:
We were able to add or swap a few ingredients from what we were previously using. For us, we had been moving towards a cleaner eating lifestyle over the past few years, especially so since having children.
We began to add more locally grown, organic produce. We cooked more from scratch at home.
Jen also began doing her grocery shopping differently. Instead of doing just one big shop each week, she decided to do her best to shop locally at the Farmer’s Market.
This enabled her to find fresh, quality ingredients for her new meals, while also keeping the family food costs down, especially during the summer when so many veggies are in season.
She then picks up other necessities at Costco or their local grocery store and emphasizes that she always shops with a list in hand to make sure she gets what she needs and avoids what she doesn’t.
Having a shopping list is actually pretty simple since Jen practices meal planning each week.
I have been meal planning for a couple of years. I sit down one day on the weekend and look at what is coming in the week ahead. I base recipes around what will allow us to eat properly as well as feed the kids in a timely and healthy manner.
So the first step is to create a plan. The second step is to buy the food that’s on the shopping list. And the third step is prepping as much ahead of time as possible.
Food prep would happen on Sunday afternoons while the kids were napping or after they went to bed at night. We tried to make a big batch of soup on the weekend. We also try and have as many things washed as possible, and a large container of raw veggies ready to go in the fridge.
I can’t emphasize enough how important this 3-step process is for anyone who wants to clean up their diet.
1. Plan for the week
2. Shop with a list
3. Prep in bulk
As a smaller-statured person, I never felt that generic portion sizes made sense. If adults are to eat 7-10 servings of fruit and veggies, why should that be the same for me at barely 5’2″ and my friend that is 6’3″?
When cutting back in the past, Brian had success but usually felt hungry. Basing portions on our own size makes PERFECT sense to me and I love it!
What About Exercise?
Both Jen and Brian also started prioritizing exercise – They took up running regularly (and have both gotten really fast!), plus they play Ultimate Frisbee, go to boot camp, and do some of my online workouts.
This is where I really want to commend their commitment to setting a good example for their children. Instead of finding a babysitter, or taking turns fitting in their exercise, Jen and Brian involve their whole family.
They go running with their children in a running stroller, and even bring the kids to outdoor boot camp. I can attest to the fact that this is rubbing off on the kids: April, who’s not even 3 yet, joins right in with the boot camp class, even when we’re running hills or doing endless planks! It’s amazing to see!
And how did this new exercise routine feel? Brian says his body adapted really quickly:
At first it was difficult, but good. I felt the aches and pains for the first 2 weeks. Then, after those first two week it got a lot easier and I was really looking forward to running.
Other Lifestyle Changes
Oh my goodness YES! I used to drink water during and after workouts, but if I didn’t work out there was a very good chance that I might not have any, or very little during the day. Now I find myself actually wanting it!
On the days where it is a bigger struggle to drink enough, I throw a slice of lemon or lime in my pitcher to help.
Brian agreed that he is drinking more water and is also focusing on getting more sleep, although this is tricky with the two youngsters at home.
Fortunately, both Jen and Brian notice that they do have much more energy now that their diet, exercise, and water intake are all on track. This makes energetic life with their kids much more manageable.
What Tangible Results Have They Noticed?
What changes have they seen from all their work? It took Jen just one week:
The scale changed first, which was great motivation to keep going! Digestion issues were also a fast thing that changed. We no longer felt terrible after eating.
Jen is now down 24lbs and still going! She also moved from a clothing size 10-14 down to a 2-6. In her words, she feels “AMAZING!”
Brian had a similar experience. He saw the scale really start to move after the second week. He also started feeling “lighter” and noticed that his clothes all fit better (bring on the slim-fit dress shirts!). Now he’s lost a total of 25lbs and is feeling great.
A really cool part of their story is how much love they have both found for running. Jen just completed the Nike Women’s 15k race in Toronto and has her eyes set on completing a half marathon in the Fall.
Brian meanwhile, just keeps getting faster! He is continually setting personal bests in 5km and 8km races and plans on continuing to compete in the future.
Brian has also set a goal of getting his weight below 180lbs and keeping it there!
Are You Having Trouble Losing Weight? Here’s What You Can Learn From Jen and Brian
Hearing Jen and Brian’s story offers lots of great takeaways that anyone can apply to their own weight-loss journey. But, I think there are 3 really important lessons to take note of:
1. Weight-loss is about more than just looking slimmer.
Of course it’s nice to look slim and fit into clothes that once were too small. There is a confidence boost that comes with losing weight and this is hugely valuable.
But there is another reason for dropping weight: It’s important for your health! As both Jen and Brian noted, this is especially true when their own health acts as a model for their children.
They want to raise their kids seeing the importance of healthy eating and regular exercise. The only way to do that effectively is to live it out.
2. It takes planning and being organized.
Weight-loss isn’t as mysterious as it might seem. There are simple habits that have to be formed in order to be successful, and this just takes some work.
3. Anyone can do it if they are ready to prioritize the necessary steps.
The work involved in weight-loss often inhibits people from even trying. People feel too busy to put in the effort. But Jen and Brian are a perfect example of people who are crazy busy (2 careers + 2 kids!) and they still make it work.
Talk to either of them and you’ll hear that it hasn’t been easy and there have been sacrifices, but the rewards have been more than worth it.
What’s Your Take?
Those are just 3 things that I took away from hearing their story. What about you? Tell us in the comments what stood out most to you.