How One Woman Lost Over Half Her Body Weight
More than 160 pounds lighter, this salon owner is training for her second Olympic-distance triathlon. Find out what she eats, how much she exercises, and what keeps her motivated.
On the verge of gastric-bypass surgery, Jennifer Dearing gave healthy eating one more try—and dropped 166 pounds.
In 2005, life dealt then-305-pound Jennifer what she calls “two monumental eye openers.” In August, on a family vacation in the Bahamas, she fell off a boat she was on—and it took four men several hours to hoist her back up to safety. “I was 31 years old, and I thought to myself, ‘I’m going to die because I’m fat,’” Jennifer says. Then in October of the same year, she miscarried due to health problems associated with obesity.
Pounds: 305 139
Size: 28-30 6
Total lost: 166
As a stressed-out beauty salon owner, Jennifer made it through her days by subsisting on fatty fast foods and a liter of soda. She would skip meals and binge at dinner, eating more fast food, pizza, and ice cream. On the verge of getting gastric-bypass surgery, Jennifer heeded a friend’s plea to try a nutrition class and a weeklong detox program with Transitions Lifestyle System, a diet plan that recommends low-glycemic-index meals as a weight-loss strategy. Jennifer (who isn’t diabetic) followed the plan, eating lots of fruits, veggies, and lean protein. She ditched refined carbs and sugary drinks—and amazingly never counted calories. She also started packing a healthy lunch daily so she could eat right on the job.
Almost immediately, the weight started falling off. “I was losing between 2 and 4 pounds a week,” Jennifer says. “Thoughts of weight-loss surgery were a thing of the past.” Once she lost 40 pounds, she started walking on a treadmill 20 to 30 minutes three times a week. As her weight continued to drop, Jennifer strength-trained and worked out on an elliptical machine, too.
When she lost 100 pounds, Jennifer ran her first 5K race. Today—166 pounds lighter—Jennifer has many races under her much smaller belt. She is training for her second Olympic-distance triathlon (she hopes to crush her 2008 time). And in the next two years she plans to complete an Ironman, the ultimate triathlon that involves a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run. “I’m a new person now,” Jennifer says. “There’s no easy fix. I had to change from the inside out.”
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