HEALTHY LIVING
07/22/2013 08:21 am ET

I Lost Weight: With A Motivation Boost From Her Daughter, Jacqui Olsen Lost 72 Pounds

Jacqui Olsen

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Name: Jacqui Olsen
Age: 49
Height: 5'2 3/4"
Before Weight: 198 pounds

How I Gained It: Like many mothers and workers with hectic schedules, I lost myself over the years. I got caught up in working too much and trying to take care of everyone and everything except me. I was heavier than I had ever been and was very depressed about it. I lived in a box, not going out and being seen, and never getting in family photos. I didn't think I had the willpower or stamina to change my lifestyle.

I ate out of boredom and for comfort. I would snack on crackers, chips and cookies throughout the day. I made sure my kids ate very nutritiously, but not myself. Breakfast was cereal, a bagel or coffee cake. For lunch I would eat sandwich meat or peanut butter and jelly on wheat bread and plenty of some type of chips. I ate fast food several times a week, and when I worked from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 or 9:30 p.m, I would come home to a full dinner of pasta and homemade sauce. I had garlic or wheat bread with it, then a snack or two later. My portions were not in check at all, and calories didn't matter to me. As I continued to gain weight I mattered less and less.

Breaking Point: I needed a boost of motivation -- anything to get myself back on track. It had been on my mind ever since I almost lost one of my daughters. I knew I had to make sure I was around to see them grow up and maybe have grandchildren someday. What turned me around was coaching at a gymnastics competition. I started talking with a friend who had lost weight. It got me thinking about the many family members and friends around me that were losing weight, and I thought if they can do it then why can't I? I took a look in the mirror and told myself I was the only one that could get me out of this situation!

How I Lost It: My daughter was a member of Anytime Fitness, and she was always asking me to go. I kept making excuses, but on February 28, 2010, she asked again, and I surprised her with a yes! I joined on March 8, 2010. It got me started on a road to good health.

It felt good to get back into fitness. Initially, I was scared of failure, but I feel fortunate to have a large support system. I used the elliptical for the first two months, gradually increasing the duration and intensity. Then I started incorporating some core strengthening. I was intimidated by the equipment at first. The staff was always trying to get me to try classes, put my name on the weight loss board or do a weight loss challenge. The encouragement was endless from my family, friends and the gymnasts that I train many hours a week.

By the first week of May, I had lost 19 pounds and was ready to try the treadmill. I started planning my workouts and learned about a few pieces of equipment I was interested in. I did interval walking and jogging, then I added sprints. I did weightlifting and bodyweight exercises and eventually amped up the weight.

At the beginning of July, I broke my foot. I thought I was doomed, but I was careful about what I ate and could still lift and do core work. I was in total control and that felt so awesome! This motivated me even further to keep pushing forward to achieve my goal.

I have a different way of thinking about food now. I eat when I'm hungry and snack most of the time on healthy choices. Snacking usually consists of fruits or veggies with hummus and nuts. I drink much more water. I work out in the morning, then come home and eat breakfast, usually eggs and multigrain toast or fruit and a protein bar or drink. For lunch I have salads, fruit, freshly made chicken salad with celery and carrots. I'll have tuna, or leftover fish or chicken from dinner.

We usually have veggies and some type of meat or fish for dinner. My husband grills most of the time, even in the winter. We love fish, and we also eat pork tenderloin, roasted chicken and from time to time beef. If I have it, I want a yummy burger! I know what a serving is and keep to it most of the time. I don't need to binge, and I try not to eat when I'm not hungry. I have learned to eat some of my favorite treats and be done.

Unfortunately, most roads to a happier life have their setbacks. I discovered I had some health issues masked by my weight. I never would have known about them had I not started this journey. After surgery I was very thankful that everything turned out fine, and I was able to get back on track. There have been a few other setbacks along the way but I keep in my head the valuable lesson of perseverance when faced with adversity.

I was so happy when I weighed myself on August 28, 2010! The feeling of "I DID THIS ALL BY MYSELF" with the support and kindness of others was tremendous for my confidence and self-esteem.

I work out five times a week now, and I can do so much! I still construct my own workouts and make sure I ask questions of the trainers I've become friends with to make sure I'm doing things correctly. I love hiking and kayaking, and I'm preparing my bike so I can ride it to work sometimes. I love being outside doing just about any summer sport there is!

I now inspire my athletes, colleagues, AF members and others to achieve their goals. I am so happy! It is nice to have my marriage back, have fun shopping for clothes and doing things I have not been able to do in such a long time. I feel great and it is a wonderful feeling knowing I look good and am physically fit again!

I'm still working on the inside. It's a constant battle with confidence and trying new things. It took years to be at my worst, so I know it will take time to be at my best.

After Weight: 126 pounds
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