Reader Success Story: How I ‘Re-Started’ My Healthy Lifestyle

reader-success-storyWe get so many inspiring emails from readers, and today we’re sharing another reader success story with you! Read on for Jenn Coppacks’ inspiring story on finding balance and enjoying a healthy lifestyle as a 28-year-old Aussie living in London. And feel free to share yours, too!

My name is Jenn and I “re-started” my healthy lifestyle back in March 2011.  I say “re-started,” as previous to 2007,  my life had been fairly healthy. I was an overly active teen at school, playing every sport there was, and then progressed to elite fitness and kickboxing in my 20s. However, a few major changes occurred in my life, and I slipped into the habit of not caring about myself—smoking, drinking and basically not providing my body with the right fuel or energy to have one day without feeling tired or lethargic.

I packed my bags and moved from Sydney to London in May 2010. I worked in a pub as well as my 9-to-5 job. This caused me to gain a lot of weight, as I was drinking cider after every shift while socializing and trying to make friends in a new country.

I soon realized that this was not the life I wanted to be living. I never had before, so why should I start doing this to myself now? I quit smoking in October 2010 and haven’t looked back. It took a few more months to get myself settled into a healthier routine, but once I was in a happier place, I knew it was time to work on changing my body to being better than what it was before.

March 5, 2011, is when I took my first progress picture. I was disgusted with what I had let myself become and, in all honesty, that was enough motivation for me to sort myself out. I bought a runner’s backpack and gave myself a challenge of being able to jog the route home from Camden to Shoreditch, which is about 3.5 miles. I also signed up for MyFitnessPal so that I could see what nutrients I was putting into my body and educate myself as to what was good and what wasn’t.

Okay, I won’t lie; the first day jogging I felt like someone had a harness attached to me, holding me back. I couldn’t hop gracefully from the road to the footpath when needed, and I had to stop frequently to walk and catch my breath. However, before this first attempt was even half over, I was determined to kick my goal’s a**!

After three attempts, I was able to jog the entire length of the hill up Pentonville Road from Kings Cross to Angel. Believe me, the smile on my face when I ran to the top was huge! Of course, because I had run the whole hill without stopping, I couldn’t let it beat me again. Each time I ran, the hill was mine. Before I knew it, I had shaved 6 minutes off my trip home.

Because I have a very active sweet tooth, I also had to make some pretty severe changes to my diet. I stopped buying anything sugary. I saw it as a bad habit—like smoking—that needed to be kicked cold turkey. I limited drinking alcohol for a while, knowing that my weakness for bourbon and Coke was doing nothing for my sugar intake. I do enjoy a vodka, fresh lime and soda though!

Each week I continued to take progress pictures. I felt the difference in my body, but I couldn’t see it for some time. But you know what, over time, my clothes started to get baggy on me. I tried on some old skinny jeans that I had only ever fit into once in Australia, and they fit me perfectly.

I hopped on the scale on June 9 and saw that I had lost close to 20 pounds. I had done it!

I have maintained my current weight of 127.8 pounds for the last three months. I exercise five to six times per week. I eat five times per day. I have kept up with running and ran my first Race for Life 10K in 47 minutes and 20 seconds. I am stronger than I have ever been before, and I feel fantastic. My life has started again, and I feel I have been given a second chance.

I would like to give some advice to those of you who are just starting out on your healthy lifestyle journeys…



Comments

  1. Liz says

    I’m glad this poster feels healthier and has gotten back into exercising, etc., but I find this post extremely discouraging in other ways. She looks totally FINE in the before picture. I feel like holding the “before” picture up of someone who is overweight sends the wrong message.

  2. Alison says

    Funny, before I read the comments I was thinking it was refreshing to read an article about someone who made the transition from a typical modern lifestyle to a fit lifestyle, rather than someone overweight transitioning to average. I guess commenter Liz disagrees :). I was ~110 lbs through my twenties. I was disciplined and I ran regularly for 10 years, even with two small kids. While my lifestyle never got that unhealthy, my weight was up to 125 pounds over the past three years as I put running and working out on hold. EVEN AT ONLY 125 lbs, MY CHOLESTEROL INCREASED TO BORDERLINE. I have annual physicals for work and had never been in that group before. People would say I looked fine & thin enough. I understand the philosophy of this website if focusing on health not being “skinny” but skinny-fat is real. Most “average” people at my work have to go through the health coaching program because their BP, cholesterol, etc. are not acceptable. You can look “FINE” and be unhealthy. I felt the article focused more on the “before” being unhealthy than being overweight. Excess body fat really does do negative things to your health, and we should not keep pretending it’s okay.

  3. Keetha says

    I enjoyed this post – it’s always encouraging to read about people living the “typical” lifestyle who change into a healthy way of living, and who are happier and more energetic as a result.

  4. Jenn @ Lotus and Pie says

    Thank you for your comments everyone! I know I wasn’t overweight before, but man I felt way older than my years. I was sluggish, tired all the time, my clothes were getting tighter (as I mentioned, before 2007 I was very fit and healthy) and I was unhappy with how I was looking, therefore unhappy with how I felt.

    I decided to do something about it – and there I am! Alison, thank you for mentioning that “skinny” people can still be unhealthy. You are right. I didn’t want to be that person. I wanted to be super fit and healthy. I am still learning about my body and finding the right balance for my lifestyle…and that’s all part of the fun.

    Thanks for reading :) Jenn

  5. Ivori says

    I am by no means an athlete like Lotus and Pie, but am very proud to now have maintained my weight at 142.
    Many of my family members are actually obese, and the thought of losing weight daunts them. I try to explain that they do NOT have to become a super model or an athlete; just lose some weight so that you feel better about yourself.
    No fad diets, diet pills or dangerous scams !
    My goal is to NOT carry around 30 extra pounds when I’m 40 :)

    I thought this Success Story was inspiring because you can see what a different 20 pounds makes !

  6. liz says

    I am 39 and have been an avid weightlifter ever since I was involved in high school athletics. Just recently, I’ve taken it to another level and will be competing in my first bodybuilding show in the spring of 2012! As I wrote in my own blog today (http://neverbuffenough.blogspot.com/), I feel like I’m actually in the best shape of my life– I’m really proud of how I look. For once in my life!!! Who knew it would take all of this time to finally LIKE myself?!? :) Thanks for sharing!

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