This Super Slimmer is the first, I hope, of many to be featured here at Skinny Dreaming's Super Slimmers! I am featuring Jennifer Frank here as our first Super Slimmer because she was the first person who really inspired me to lose all of the weight I, myself, have now lost. She and I first met on a due date forum during one of our pregnancies. At the time, both of us were classified as morbidly obese. In the next couple of years of our friendship, despite having another baby after the pregnancy we met during, she lost over 140 pounds. It was watching her do this that spoke to my heart and let me realize that I, too, could lose the weight. Even though I had over 100 pounds to lose, seeing Jenn do it told me that it was not an impossible task.
Read on to find out more about this incredible woman who has now lost over 160 pounds and is beautiful in heart and soul as well as physically.
Name: Jennifer Frank
Amount of weight lost: 162bs so far. I started at 340 lbs and I am currently about 178 lbs.
Time it took to reach: I’ve been on this journey for almost 5 years. I started in Sept 2005 after I had my second child. I also had another pregnancy after that so that caused a bit of a delay. From summer of 2007-2008, I lost 100 lbs.
Time maintaining it: After I lost 141 lbs, I maintained it for one year, and then I started to focus on losing more.
Goal weight: My ultimate goal is to weigh less than 150 lbs.
About yourself: I’m a 30 year old mom to 3. I am an artist at heart and hope to someday take my creativity somewhere.
How did you go about losing the weight? Was there any specific plan? I started out following Weight Watchers point program and going to meetings. I did that for 5 months and then followed it from home. Nowadays, I watch my calorie intake by logging it on Sparkpeople.com and exercising.
What motivated you to lose the weight? What were your reasons for wanting to lose it? Did you have a particular moment that gave you the final push to start or was it more gradual? I had been overweight since the first grade. I didn’t know what skinny felt like, and I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin. I wanted to lose weight because I wanted to be attractive and healthy. I had wanted to lose weight ever since I was a teenager and tried a lot of different diets, all without success. Somewhere between having my oldest child and my second child I just got this “I’m going to do this and no one is going to stop me” mentality and I went for it. This time I was successful.
What struggles and problems did you endure while at your heaviest weight? What, if any, health problems were present? I was very lucky and did not have any health problems that were a concern when I was at my heaviest weight. I got out of breath taking the stairs and such but that was about it.
How has your life changed since losing the weight? How have you changed? Do you feel like your overall health has improved? I feel more confident in myself. I feel like I’ve changed more than physically. I know now that if I put my mind to something I can do it. I don’t feel embarrassed going places anymore. I like shopping for clothes now; I use to dread it. I enjoy exercising and doing physical activities now whereas I use to loathe them.
Have the people in your life been supportive of you on your weight loss journey? Have there been any challenges created by others in your life? The people in my life have all been supportive and have rooted me on since I’ve started this journey. I’ve been very blessed.
I have faced a couple of challenges along the way, mostly when I had strangers insult me while I was in the process of losing, and I let it set me back. Losing weight isn’t just a physical challenge; it’s very emotional.
What are typical day’s meals for you? An example of a day for me might be:
Breakfast: Bowl of cereal with low fat milk, cup of coffee
Snack: String cheese, piece of fruit
Lunch: Turkey sandwich on whole wheat, small serving of baked chips, pickle
Snack: Serving of almonds
Dinner: Baked chicken, veggies
Snack: Frozen yogurt
What exercise, if any, do you do? I get into exercise spurts where I’ll favor one thing over the other for a while. Some exercise DVD’s I like are: Walk Away the Pounds, Biggest Loser workouts, Jillian Michaels and 30 Day Shred. Sometimes I use the Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus. I like to go hiking. Sometimes I’ll ride a bike around the neighbourhood or simply go for a walk. I love to walk! Often, I will just put on some music and dance around the house while cleaning and playing with the kids.
What was the most difficult for you while losing the weight? The most difficult thing for me while losing the weight, and now actually, is ignoring the number on the scale. Weight fluctuates during the day and I use to let the ups and downs really get to me. I still do sometimes! It’s very hard. We often times use the number we see as a reflection of our efforts overall. It’s not that easy though! The number is simply just a guide. The focus needs to be not just on the number but also on how you feel, how your clothes feel and on the refection in the mirror!
What helped you the most? One of the biggest things that helped me the most while losing was taking the stories of others’ success and using them to fuel my fire. I’d read people’s weight loss stories online and I’d watch the Biggest Loser. Hearing and seeing their stories made me feel so inspired and so much more confident.
Any tips for others trying to lose weight? When you start off trying to lose weight, remember that it’s not a diet. It’s a complete lifestyle. You need to do something that you’ll be able to do for life. When it comes down to it, losing weight is like a math problem. If you take in less calories then it takes to maintain your body weight and create a deficit, you will lose weight. That means that you don’t have to eat salads all day long to lose. It’s all about moderation and NOT depriving yourself of the things you love. You can lose weight and eat what you do now simply by eating smaller proportions. Start off taking baby steps. Maybe the first week you cut out sodas and increase your water intake. Then week two you try to eat more fruits and veggies. You don’t have to do it all at once. Maybe today you get up and walk around the block. Tomorrow, you walk two blocks. When you look at the big picture it can be overwhelming. I use to do that and it scared me! Then I set mini goals for myself. I’d focus on 5 lbs at a time or I’d focus on getting to a certain number. Sometimes, I’d reward myself when I reached a goal. Sometimes the reward itself was that goal.
Eventually when you start to change your habits you’ll find yourself making healthier choices when it comes to food. Healthy food is lower calories and you can have more of it and that in itself was a good enough reason for me to make better choices!
Drink lots of water. It has many benefits and helps you feel full so it’s easier to eat smaller portions at meal time.
Take your measurements. Sometimes the number on the scale may not be what you hoped but if you compare measurements you may see that you took off inches instead!
Take before, during and after pictures. It’s a great feeling to watch your progress.
Find support whether it’s a buddy from the gym, your spouse, your whole family or an online community. Having people to vent to, get advice from and share your progress with is so important!
One of my favorite quotes about losing weight was something I heard at a Weight Watchers meeting. It was “A year from now you’ll wish you started today.” It’s so true. Just think of all the changes you can start to make right now and how they’ll add up over the next year!
Jennifer can be found on Facebook and on Twitter. Please take a moment to let her know in the comments below how fantastic she is!