Posted on February 13, 2013 by Jennifer Lilley
Six years ago in February, I lost 70 pounds and have been able to keep the weight off. Wow. Six years! I’m excited about my success, but am more thrilled at the increase in public awareness about obesity issues and equally intrigued by society’s reactions. The surge in everything from Facebook pages and blogs to books and policies have showcased varying opinions on the topic. What people have endured (both at the gym and from not-so-nice folks) has been nothing short of inspiring.
So, in celebrating my six years of keeping those 245,000 calories at bay, I want to highlight six inspirational people, companies and moments that warrant applaud for their steadfast determination. Some of my choices are obvious. They are health-minded folks who’ve showed the scale who’s boss. Some of my choices will be unexpected; they may not be succeeding in Hollywood’s or health professionals’ eyes, but they are succeeding in mine. In all instances it’s about determination and the spirit to take charge no matter where they are in the process (even for those who haven’t started at all).
To start, here is a video I made to celebrate my journey. Enjoy the before/after pics through the years.
WATCH VIDEO: Celebrating Six Years of Weight Loss Maintenance: 70 Pounds Gone Forever!
Six Weight-Related Inspirations
Ah, wonderful Medifast. This is how it all started with me: in Aug 2006, I fell in love with their easy-to-follow, tasty-to-eat meal plans (healthy options ranging from oatmeals and soups to eggs, puddings and crunchy bars . . . to name just a few). I lost 70 pounds on the Medifast meal plan from then until Feb. 2007. That’s correct: in just six months, all that weight fell right off. Every week, clothes (even bracelets and shoes) were loosening.
From there came another thrill: I was so excited to appear in Medifast ads in national magazines like Martha Stewart Weddings, People and COSMOPOLITAN. How neat is that?! Never in a million years would I have thought. Everything about the Medifast journey was amazing; not only did I lose weight, but I had my so-called 15 minutes of fame and had a blast! (By the way, since many of you have asked, I’m not told or paid to say this; I truly believe in the company and know firsthand that it works. It’s that simple). I still check in on the discussion boards all these years later, occasionally order products (Chocolate Mint Crunch bars are my favorite) and delight in reading others’ success stories.
Speaking of success, check out Medifast’s latest set of commercials, “Conversations with Yourself.” The new batch of spots are drawing mega attention for its fresh, creative approach. Trust me, they resonate to the core with their relatable, touching and inspiring messaging.
I can’t sing their praises enough. They’re a cool company filled with great people and even greater success stories.
2. Janette Colantonio
She lost 200 pounds thanks to a traffic ticket. Colantonio failed to wear her seatbelt, not because she felt like being a rebel, but because the belt simply didn’t fit. From that point on, she never looked back – ticket in one hand, a free weight in the other. The story captured the attention of media everywhere.
Her Facebook page, “Refusing to Fail: (Janette’s Weight Loss Journey)” is brimming with accountability pics (sweaty yet stunning post-workout images) that always make me smile.
She also fills people in on other personal tidbits of her life, including comments about family events and new hairdo announcements. Colantonio’s page is a fun mix of inspirational quotes, incredible pictures of her journey and is an overall testament to her determination. Her can-do approach to weight-loss and life is contagious.
3. Constructing a New Rick
Once over 400 pounds . . . and now? Wow. Just wow. From funny comments about gym mirrors to pictures of his excess stomach skin, Rick blends humor and “I am what I am” honesty on his Facebook page, “Constructing a New Rick.”
You won’t be able to stop staring at his incredible before/after pics (including his Justin Timberlake doppelganger pics) and you’ll most certainly be in awe of his conversational tone (he’s posted: “Whew, this weight loss endeavor is such a mind trip . . . ” Or this one: “i even have loose skin in my belly button :p”)
His honesty is refreshing and encouraging.
4. Christine Duran, Christina Huerta and Isabel Robles
You probably know them better as the three ladies who made headlines after they received a restaurant bill bearing the words, “Fat Ladies.” Rather than heading home sobbing or causing a major outburst, they stood up for themselves and confronted management, drawing attention to society’s unfair treatment of heavy folks.
I applaud them for taking a stance rather than just taking it. Good for them.
5. N.J. Gov. Chris Christie
Governor Chris Christie? On an inspirational list about weight, of all things? Yup.
Now, I don’t advocate his largeness. But (and this is my point) I understand it, and appreciate his response to folks who are obsessed with his size. I can relate, in many ways, to what he’s going through: the bombardment of questions from people, the random injection of weight-related jabs and curiosities at the most irrelevant moments (there could be a press conference on how world peace just occurred and I’m sure even then, someone would pester him about what food he’ll choose to celebrate the joyous occasion). Yes, he should work on his weight for the sake of his health and he knows this, but as I well understand, knowing and doing do not go hand in hand. It’s a vicious, complicated cycle.
There’s more to him (to anyone) that the skin he’s in. I applaud his ability to joke about his weight on Letterman and in other instances, but I also applaud how well he offsets the humor with no-nonsense responses. If ever a tone of voice could convey an eye roll, it’s when Christie reacts to weight-related questions. He answers with an underlying, “c’mon, people . . . get over it” and “let’s grow up” edge to his voice.
He’ll know when he’s ready. Leave him alone.
6. My Family & Friends
So many of you have shared your weight experiences with me – in addition to supporting me – as I went along my journey. In fact, many of you still do. You’ve heard my rants about media and body image, listened patiently to my endless “when I was fat” tirades and have watched me dig into third and forth helpings while holding your tongue (thank you). Even today, you get my quirks and insecurities over the matter yet you also understand my newfound confidence and happiness over it too. You’ve trusted me with your very private stories, telling me how weight loss and gain has affected you and/or your relationships, how it’s boosted your confidence or maybe even diminished it severely.
You know who you are and I thank you for your honesty and comfort in sharing, as well as allowing me to share. I support you fully and understand completely. I try to be honest to keep myself in check and hopefully inspire all of you. It means a lot when you come forward to discuss your journey and it is never, ever insignificant to me. From the time I brought the scale on vacation (ugh) to ten things to never say to someone who lost weight, I always try to keep my Flabby Road blog real.
To everyone out there: I hear you, I understand you and I applaud you no matter where you are in your journey.
And always, thank you for supporting me as I continue mine.
©Copyright 2011-2013, Jennifer Lilley, FlabbyRoad.com and Flabby Road: Moving on & Leaving the Elastic Waistbands Behind. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Lilley and Flabby Road with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Jennifer Lea Reynolds
Jennifer Lea Reynolds is a weight loss success story who enjoys living a healthy lifestyle. A fan of the elliptical, roasted asparagus and remembering to put the lid on the blender, she’s appeared in many national and local print publications. She lives in New England where she writes professionally about health and wellness in online publications including Reader's Digest, Woman's Day, The Huffington Post, and more.