Friday, July 25, 2014

Be Your Own Biggest Loser: A Story featuring Jillian Newlin

Have you heard of the popular NBC show The Biggest Loser? Some of us have watched an episode here and there, while others tuned in weekly to watch real life people share their personal stories battling weight and health challenges. Today, I have the honor of sharing a story about Twin Cities local who completed a version of her own "Biggest Loser" journey.

DID YOU KNOW?  More than one-third of U.S. adults (34.9%) are obese. Genetics and medical issues are a few elements of our health that sometimes cannot be altered. While Americans continue to improve their lifestyle choices overeating and lack of exercise still remain underperformed in the U.S.

The journey to lose weight, or even to maintain a healthy lifestyle, is no easy task. For some people it is a very difficult physical & mental obstacle to overcome. To "walk a mile" in someone's shoes who battles obesity is unimaginable unless you're the one that's short of breath, struggling to find a pair of jeans that fit comfortably, or even feeling self conscious in public settings. 

An equally important note: underweight individuals can also have a hard time maintaining a healthy weight just as the rest of the American population strives to stabilize their weight.

I recently had a chance to catch up with a "Big Loser," and good friend of mine, Jillian Newlin. I hadn't seen Jillian in nearly 2 years, and I was SHOCKED by her drastic weight loss and success story. 

Coming Soon! Part 2: Jillian's Tips and Tricks
Jillian is Twin Cities native, who leads a busy life as most of us do. She is a mother of 2 young boys, a loving wife, works a full-time job, and very active with her family and close friends. Her recent journey to finding a healthier and happier lifestyle has lead her to a remarkable weight loss of over 60+ pounds! 

The "moment" Jillian realized she needed to make a change was when she saw a picture of herself that left an imprint on her mind.

What lead you to begin your journey?
What really ended up being the final straw for me was seeing a picture of myself that was so completely unflattering; my jaw dropped open and I was shocked by how I looked. I had been overweight since high school, but after getting married and having two babies in a two year span I had just kept gaining and gaining.

When I would look in the mirror I would try not to look too long or too closely, so I didn’t really have to face it. Once I saw that picture (above), I realized just how big I had gotten, and that was enough. At the time, I had a newborn and a two year old at home and I was under a lot of stress. After my maternity leave I had started working out, which became my “me time” and time to de-stress.

What held you back or derailed your weight loss?
Staying motivated! I had started workout plans before and tried to eat better, but this time I was more determined. The other main difference between this time and my failed attempts in the past was the fact that I started slow.

What did your work out schedule look like?
In the past I tried to do too much way too fast, and I was overwhelmed. This time I started by walking on the treadmill 3-5 days a week, but did not change my eating habits. I did that for 6 months and only lost 8 lbs. Then I realized that I needed to change something else. I started doing Jillian Michaels DVD’s that incorporated High Intensity Interval Training, and once I started doing those about 5 days a week (30-40 min/day) I lost 8 lbs in two months (instead of 6 mon).Then I began running (when I started it was run/walking at intervals).

What were some of the biggest challenges?
One of the biggest challenges was learning how to eat better. When I started using "My Fitness Plan" I found it very hard to stay under 1200 calories. I did get to eat more calories if I burned them off with exercise.

Another challenge with the eating was trying to get my husband and kids (but especially husband…lol) to try new foods. For instance, for dinner I like to make chicken quinoa, but neither the hubby nor kids are very fond of quinoa- instead they will have chicken and potatoes and a vegetable.

What were some of your motivating factors?
What kept me going was the progress that I saw. Every week the scale went down and stayed down. I knew that what I was doing was working and it was such an amazing feeling, so I just kept doing it! What is harder is staying motivated once you have hit your goal.

What programs or tools did you use or suggest?
I am now a Beachbody coach! Beachbody is a company that produces and distributes at home workout DVD’s (Ex-Insanity, P90X, Turbofire). I have now completed Insanity, T25 and P90X3. As a Beachbody coach, my goal is to help people that are looking to lose weight and improve their health by showing them my success with the Beachbody programs, and by doing workout challenge groups.

In addition, I also am a certified Insanity instructor at Studio K Group Fitness in Andover. I instruct a 45 -minute Insanity class every Wednesday and Fridays.

What advice do you have for others during their weight loss journey or maintaining their progress?
For those battling weight loss challenges, the only one that is going to motivate you to do it is yourself. You have to want it bad enough. The biggest difference isn’t my pant size, but how much better I feel inside and out. I would encourage people to just imagine how much better they could feel physically AND also how much better they could feel about themselves if they make a healthy change.

For those that are struggling to maintain, I now struggle with this sometimes, too. My advice would be to think about how you felt BEFORE you lost the weight, and how you never ever want to go back to that place. Then I think about my next short term goal, and I just keep going!

"Healthy living is just making healthy choices. I'm not perfect, but I try my best. I make working out a part of my daily routine, and I make sure it's a workout I enjoy so I keep coming back and look forward to doing it! The healthier choices I make the better I feel"

Follow Jillian
Jillian's Beachbody Site 
Jillian's Get Fit for Life Beachbody Facebook Page
Studio K Group Fitness: 3450 Bunker Lake Blvd, Andover MN 55304 (2nd floor)