Prior Fat Girl’s Story
Jennifer Monteiro calls herself a “prior fat girl”. Her journey to earn that title began in earnest in 2007. “I was always heavy growing up,” she says. “I spent my teenage years and early twenties yoyo dieting. You name it; I tried it. I would stay on them for a couple of days, sometimes weeks, even months. But they were never something I could make into a life habit. In August of 2007, my father (who is also overweight) asked if I wanted to attend a weight loss seminar with him. We went, and as I sat there, I looked around the room and got the biggest wakeup call I ever had and the one I needed. There I was: twentysix, fat, and unhappy. I was in a room surrounded; they were me and I was them. I left the seminar and decided that if I were going to be healthy, I wanted it to be a result of my hard work.”
Jennifer went to a local gym and signed up. She also got a calorie journal and began to really watch her eating habits. Still unsure that it would work, Jennifer was adamant that if she were going to lose weight, it had to be “because I busted my butt in the gym.” It was hard at first, very hard. “On the treadmill, I couldn’t walk very fast. Running was out of the question,” she says. She began walking on the treadmill for twenty minutes. Within a week, she could do thirty minutes. At the same time, she was really evaluating her food choices. “I didn’t really follow a specific plan. I just ate healthy,” she recalls. “I ate what I was taught in elementary school: a lot of fruits and vegetables with lean meats (food pyramid anyone?). When I craved ‘junk food’ I relied on 100 calorie snack packs. I wrote everything down in a calorie journal. I never deprived myself of anything but eventually found myself choosing not to eat certain foods because of how long it would take me to work them off in the gym.” And she did another thing: she began to blog about her weight loss experience.
“I attribute a lot of my success to blogging,” she says. “Blogging for me was therapeutic. I could go online and whine and cry about how hard it was to lose weight and eat healthy which helped to release all the frustrations. By doing so, I felt a sense of relief and could move on with my next healthy decision. I also found an amazing online community who supported and encouraged me when I was down but was right there to cheer me on with every “milestone” I hit. I needed to connect with people who knew what I was going through and could empathize with my journey. Also, my blog is important in my journey because it lets others know they aren’t alone.”
A year and a half later, Jen had lost ninety pounds and was well within reach of her one- hundred pound goal. She had managed to stay ontrack while balancing a job and graduate school, and she began to plan a celebration for August 1, 2009. Then, she says, “On July 31st, just twelve hours prior to my two year anniversary/100 pounds lost party, I got a call from my dad who told me my mom my best friend, my cheerleader had been hit by a car while she was on a walk with my nephew. A car had backed out of a driveway and didn’t see her. She died on the way to the hospital. My world came crashing to a halt. No one would have blamed me had I just stopped blogging and spent my time with family instead of going to the gym. No one would have blamed me if I had gained weight.”
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