Healthy Food

This Mom Lost 95 Pounds In A Year By Building Small Healthy Eating And Exercise Habits That Kept Her On Track

My name is Jessica Peck (@jessicaleighpeck), and I am 32 years old. I live in Waconia, Minnesota, and I am a Product Manager. When I became a mother, I decided to overhaul my lifestyle, one small habit at a time. After following Weight Watchers for a while, I switched to counting calories and starting meal planning. I also went from walking every day to doing Life Time fitness classes five days a week. Together, these changes helped me lose 95 pounds and reverse my prediabetes.

I struggled with being overweight most of my life. I remember being the kid in elementary school who dreaded the mile run and came in last place. In high school and college, I had friends and some toxic relationships that would remind me I was overweight. Once I got engaged, I thought I would lose weight before my wedding. I lost 20 pounds, and then gained them back plus a few months later. I remember crying as they had to let out my wedding dress, which I wasn’t sure was going to fit a month before my wedding. At that point, I “gave up,” deciding that being overweight was just part of who I was.

In my 20s, I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic. (My primary care physician recently ran my A1C levels and with my weight loss, my A1C level went down and I am no longer pre-diabetic!)

Once I became a mom, this fire inside of me was lit and I knew I needed to do something to change my life so that I could be the best version of myself. I didn’t want to raise my kids from the sidelines. I felt like at 29 and 270 pounds, I was going to hold my children back. I wanted to be able to go on rides at theme parks, go for long bike rides, and enjoy life with my kids. Now, I had a powerful why and was determined to make this work.

When I first started my weight loss journey, I joined and followed the WW (formerly Weight Watchers) plan.

I found the points system really easy to follow. More recently, I have moved towards calorie counting, which I feel gives me a little bit more flexibility.

I bought a food scale and started weighing foods, which really helped me figure out portion sizes. I focused on a high-protein and lean-meat diet by substituting pork and beef with ground turkey. I also prioritize eating more fruits and vegetables and less processed foods.

I snacked often and tried to stay full to avoid binge eating. I cut a lot of alcohol and sugary drinks out. I did a lot of meal planning and pre-tracked a lot of my foods. I try really hard not to eliminate the foods that I love, but instead find balance and moderation.

Here’s what I eat in a day.

  • Breakfast: Eggs, cottage cheese, fruit

  • Lunch: Tuna sandwiches

  • Snacks: Yogurt with fruit and bell pepper

  • Dinner: A lean meat protein, air fried french fries, and a salad

  • Desserts: A Healthy Choice fudge bar or Tazo Dessert Delights Tea

When I first started losing weight, I mainly just walked.

I would walk three miles almost every single day, pushing my two kids in the double stroller. About six months into my weight-loss journey, I joined Life Time with my husband and we started doing some indoor cycle classes. Then I transitioned to the Life Time small-group training classes (GTX and Alpha). These classes were a game changer for me and changed my focus from strictly cardio to a balanced strength and conditioning routine.

I never miss my weekday 7 am Alpha classes (five days a week) and try to get an extra variety of workouts in one day on the weekends. Alpha is a mix of CrossFit-style workouts with heavy, Olympic-style lifts along with alternating conditioning days. I ran my first mile ever without stopping as a 32-year-old adult, fulfilling that childhood dream. I feel in love with weight lifting and the Alpha community, which inspires me to lift more weight than I ever thought was possible and push for new PRs with every workout!

These three changes have made my weight loss journey a success.

  1. I replaced my food habits. I had a lot of food habits that were negatively impacting my weight. For example, eating ice cream before bed or watching my favorite shows while mindlessly snacking. I made a list of these food habits and came up with new habits to replace them. Instead of eating ice cream before bed, I would go for a walk or have hot tea.

  2. I planned ahead and ate out less. I used to eat out pretty frequently. I would head into work and buy a latte and a muffin from the coffee shop, then eat a few slices of pizza from the café at work. I would go home and have the occasional date night out. I cut back on eating out pretty significantly, planning and prepping my food for work, which helped with both weight loss and my checking account.

  3. I got rid of the all-or-nothing mindset. I think the reason weight loss was never successful for me before was that I was always expecting perfection. This time, I planned for imperfection. I pre-tracked foods and planned around days for parties, celebrations, and even the days that I craved a good pizza.

I’ve lost close to 95 pounds and it took me just over a year.

People ask me all the time how I find motivation and the answer is simple: I don’t always have motivation. I created many small habits that have become my routine, so no motivation is required. The small habits, consistently repeated, really add up!

I finally found success with weight loss when I stopped trying to do it for a specific event or to gain other people’s approval. I started this journey for my kids, but really, I lost the weight for me and it changed my life way more than just the number on the scale. I found a brand new me along the way and proved to myself that I really am stronger than I think!

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