Each Tuesday we feature a different success story from the Trading Cardio for Cosmos community in a segment called “Twenty Questions With…” Young, young at heart, marathon runners and those who can’t exercise at all, vegetarians, pescatarians, working mommas, work-from-home professionals and retirees. We’re going to showcase them all, because when you read about someone like you succeeding, I think it gives you the confidence that you too can succeed! This week I want to introduce you to Janna!
Janna is so amazingly inspiring, having lost -113 lbs over the past year and a half!
I love, love, love her realism! She addresses her past unhappiness and her weight problems and uses them to fuel her weight loss journey! I also like her meal and snack ideas, and her own mini #wwsisterhood. Check her out:
1. Give us the basics about you – your first name, age, region you live in, etc.
Hello everyone! My name is Janna and I am 32 years old. I grew up in Michigan, lived in Missouri for a while, but I now reside in Massachusetts. I have been here for 2 years and this is where my weight loss journey has been most successful.
2. When did you start your weight-loss journey? What was the “tipping point” that made you start?
I began my weight loss journey with Weight Watchers in January of 2015. Shortly before then, I started making small changes and lost a few pounds without really doing much. I stopped eating fast food, and I stopped drinking pop (or soda for those of you from down south). When I started to see the changes on the scale and in how much better I was feeling, I decided to take it up a notch and join Weight Watchers.
I would say the tipping point was the level of misery I felt when I looked at myself. I couldn’t believe what I had let myself become. I didn’t want to hate looking at myself, and I wanted to be healthy. I was starting to have some health related issues that weren’t necessarily caused by being overweight but being overweight definitely did not help the issues I was having. I had wasted enough time being miserable; it was time for me to focus on myself and truly find out what I was made of.
3. What is one piece of advice you wish you had known when you started out?
One piece of advice that I wish I would have known when I started out would be that drinking enough water really makes a big difference. At the beginning of 2016 I rededicated myself to the Weight Watchers plan. I had kind of been slacking throughout the holidays and not really putting in a lot of effort. I started following the plan to a ‘T’. I was tracking, exercising, and doing all the things the plan tells you to do and my weight loss was very sporadic. I couldn’t get a handle on it, big losses, big gains, up and down even though I was doing the same things every week. I was confused and getting very frustrated. We had a substitute leader at one of my Weight Watchers meetings who suggested drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water every day. She said it should make a big difference. That was back at the beginning of March. I took this advice to heart, and gave it my best effort. Since then, I have only had one week where I gained 0.6 ounces! Every other week since then I have stayed the same or lost. And I have a lot of water to drink per day, but I do it, and wish I would have started it sooner.
4. How much weight have you lost? If you are done losing, and are on to maintaining? How long have you been maintaining your loss?
So far, I have lost 113 pounds!!! I am far from being done losing. I will get there one day though.
5. How do you keep your motivation up?
The positive changes I see in myself on a daily basis are a huge motivation for me. I like what I see when I look in the mirror now, and I want that to continue. I like feeling healthy and setting new goals for myself and I like when I reach those new goals. Another big motivation for me is my family. My mom and one of my sisters have been following the Weight Watchers plan as well, and we have lost 310 pounds total! Seeing how much our lives have changed because of our successful weight loss keeps me going every day!
6. How do you handle cravings?
Cravings are hard. If there is something that I can’t stop thinking and obsessing about, I have found that it is just better to have a little bit of it. Just count the points for it and move on! Macaroni and cheese is one I often crave so I make it, portion it out to start and put the rest in the refrigerator or freezer. If I have healthy options to go along with the mac and cheese, it helps to fill me up and make me not want more. I am often fulfilled with one portion and then can move on. If I don’t let myself have it, sometimes it will get to the point where I don’t care anymore and I will eat the whole box! I don’t want that to happen, so having a little bit here and there is a better solution for me.
7. What are your top three tips for success?
Do Not Give Up! I have stopped and started this weight loss charade so many times in my life. There are several times in the last two years that I thought it would be easier to just not throw in the towel and call it quits. But then I would remember how I felt at my heaviest and I realized quickly that going back was not an option. I have bad days. I have bad weeks. But sticking with it has been very rewarding for me. It works if you work it, and give it time because it is not a quick fix!
Set mini-goals. When I think about the amount of weight I have lost and the amount of weight I still have left to lose, it becomes quite daunting. Setting smaller goals along the way helps overcome the burden of the long haul. Celebrate every 5 or 10 pounds with a new shirt or a piece of jewelry. Whatever keeps you going because those mini goals will all add up and eventually you will reach your ultimate goal.
Have a support system in place. I mentioned my mom and my sister earlier. We have a group text with another friend who is doing Weight Watchers as well. We are all over the country but if we are having trouble making a good decision or if we need advice on a recipe we can get help and encouragement with a simple text message. I also attend meetings every Wednesday. I found the right group that works for me with an amazing leader and staff members that have been instrumental in my weight loss journey. Having people to share this journey with is one reason I believe I have been so successful this time around.
8. Do you exercise? If so, how often, for how long and what type of exercises do you do?
I do exercise! When I started Weight Watchers I exercised maybe once a week, if that. As I started losing weight I realized how important exercise was for me. I typically work out 5 days a week now. I do at least 30 minutes of cardio each time on the arc trainer or treadmill or even walking outside. At least 2 days a week I meet with a personal trainer and do 30 minutes of strength training. I just added this into my workouts about 3 months ago and working with weights has made a huge impact on my weight loss.
9. What is your favorite breakfast?
My favorite breakfast is on Saturday or Sunday when I sleep in late and can spend a few more Smart Points on a nice brunch. I will have half a cup of egg beaters mixed with diced onions, mushrooms and green peppers, topped with shredded mozzarella cheese. I have 3 slices of turkey bacon and 1 blueberry waffle with fresh strawberries and blackberries with a dollop of fat free cool whip. So yummy and very filling!! I can have all of this for about 11 SmartPoints.
10. What is your go-to lunch?
My go-to lunch at work is Yoplait Fat Free Greek yogurt. I like the key lime or lemon flavor the best. I mix that with fresh blackberries. Then I have raw veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and cucumbers with 4 tablespoons of roasted garlic hummus. I also have a flat bread wrap with 1 light swiss laughing cow cheese and 2 ounces of deli lunch meat. This uses about 9 SmartPoints.
11. What does a typical week night dinner look like? What about a weekend dinner?
My weeknight dinners are similar week to week. I will have turkey burgers with no bun topped with a tomato, cucumber, feta salad. I have grilled chicken with mashed potatoes and a side of veggies. I also like pierogies with hardwood smoked turkey sausage and sautéed green peppers and onions.
The weekend dinner might consist of a meal out with friends, or sometimes I will try a new recipe since I have the time to make it and concentrate on getting it right.
12. What kind of snacks do you like?
I love snacking on the Quaker mini popped cheddar rice cakes (18 for 4 smart points). If I need a low point snack I have been having celery with Starkist Tuna Creations – Hot Buffalo style. This snack is 1 SmartPoint and it gets me to eat celery which I typically would not eat otherwise!
13. What kind of desserts do you eat?
I try to stay away from desserts. They are very hard for me to enjoy in a healthy portion. I will have at least one Dove Sea Salt Caramel chocolate square every day, just for a taste of something sweet. It is 2 SmartPoints and totally worth it for me. The other plan-friendly snack I enjoy is one I included a picture of. I will chop up a bowl of fresh strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and top it with 1/2 a cup of FROZEN fat free cool whip. I sprinkle it with 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon sugar. It is light, refreshing, sweet, and only 2 SmartPoints. By freezing the cool whip it gives me a slight reminder of ice cream, which I love more than anything!
14. What kind of adult beverages do you enjoy?
Yay Drinks! I don’t have adult beverages as often as I would like. I have found they typically aren’t worth it for me, depending on the occasion. I do love a good Moscato though. It’s a sweet and delicious white wine. I also like ciders, like Angry Orchard or Redd’s Apple Ale.
15. What is your favorite meal to eat in a restaurant?
TGIFridays has a good meal that I stick with when I eat at their restaurant. It is the Bourbon Barrel Chicken for 7 points. I will have the Tomato Mozzarella salad and the broccoli for a side which brings the total of the meal to 12 SmartPoints. This chicken is very tasty!!
16. Do you have a favorite fast food/casual dining meal?
I try to stick with fast food options where it is easy for me to make a healthy meal decision. I like to go to Subway or Panera Bread most of the time. I have found eliminating the temptation for the food that got me to my heaviest is best for me in the long run.
17. Do you have a favorite weight loss blog/website/FB group that you visit for inspiration?
There are a few different places I go for motivation. My weight watchers group has our own Facebook group and it’s good for when we need a little extra support or a safe place to ask for help. I also enjoy scrolling through the new Connect feature on the Weight Watchers app. Seeing the multitude of people who have been successful makes me realize this is possible and it makes me want to keep going!
18. Do you have a favorite website for healthy recipes?
If I need a healthy recipe I always find myself scrolling through Skinnytaste.com. I like how they give us the SmartPoints totals and they have so many options! I also enjoy hungry-girl.com. My mom has been emailing me recipes from that website for years!
19. Do you have a favorite quote, meme or thought that keeps you motivated?
I have written aspects of this quote on my bathroom mirror. I see it every day and it motivates me, keeps me going, and reminds me that I am worth the struggle of losing weight!
20. What’s one final thought you can share with someone who’s interested in losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight?
Just go for it. You never know what you are capable of accomplishing until you actually try.
When I started Weight Watchers this time around, I didn’t really know what I expected to happen. I probably figured I would lose 10-20 pounds like I had in the past, I would feel good about myself for a minute, and then I would give up because it is hard.
Something was different about this time. I was ready for change, and I was willing to put in the work that it would take to begin my transformation. There are many times along my journey where I have wanted to give up. But I have realized this time that if I stop now, I will go right back to where I was two years ago, and I don’t want to be miserable again because of my weight.
It is hard. There will be days that you want to quit. But trust me when I tell you that it is worth fighting through every struggle to come out on top. You will be proud of yourself and you will want to inspire others around you to make a change. Just take the first step on your journey and don’t give up – it will be an amazing one and you will have an awesome story to share with others!
Thank you so much for listening to my journey. I am excited to continue losing weight and I hope you have found some form of inspiration with what I had to say! Best Wishes and Good Luck!
Thank you so much for sharing your journey, Janna! Have questions for Janna? Please share them in the comments below!!