Fat happens. It seemed to come without warning, and despite my attempts at everything from Atkins to Weight Watchers, I couldn’t seem to get rid of the weight that had gradually crept on a bit at a time since my college days. It was after having my first child that the scale, to my astonishment and disbelief, hit 208 pounds. Shortly after that, I had treated myself to a day of beauty at a day spa, and was mortified when I had to return to the desk and ask an unsympathetic receptionist if they had a larger robe, as the one size fits all robe was lying. That was my “aha moment” and a story that as a fitness blogger and published weight loss success story, that I’ve told countless times.
When I first lost ninety-six pounds a few high school girl friends messaged me on Facebook asking me how I lost weight, and I began giving them advice on what worked for me. I began commenting if they would post pictures of decadent desserts or cocktails on social media, and they would even text me from restaurants asking me what to order. I was always trying to encourage them to bust any excuses why they couldn’t work out or make healthier food choices. This earned me the nickname “Facebook Jillian” or “FBJ” for short as I was a fan of Jillian Michaels. As they began losing weight, several of their friends started messaging me as well so I created a facebook page, and eventually my blog at www.fbjfit.com, dedicated to giving diet/fitness tips, sharing healthy recipes and overall fitness inspiration. The page has grown to over 4000 followers, and I have heard from people around the world who tell me that my story and tips have given them hope and inspired them. I have found my page and blog to be my labors of love, and try to share advice and encourage those who follow it, as I learned so much along the way of my own journey that I wish I had known when I started out. I find that doing the page keeps me on the straight and narrow as I try to set a good example. There have been several occasions where I’ve been at a party, and someone would come up to me and tell me that they follow my page and ask me questions. One time I was at a team soccer party for my son when this happened, and I laughed and said, “Good thing I was having the salad and not the pizza!”
Because my weight loss was so dramatic, I get asked all the time how I did it. People always seem a bit disappointed when I launch into my clean eating and fitness routine answers and my reply is always, “I know, it’s sad, you wanted me to say I ate cabbage soup on a Tuesday and the weight fell off!” People love to tell me how busy they are, and that being so busy makes it impossible to fit in working out. I explain that I have home law office, three sons and a fitness blog….we’re all busy, and a frequent FBJ-ism is “You’re no busier than a fit person!” “I hate exercise” is rapidly approaching “I’m busy” as a response from those seeking my advice. I recently saw a video a friend created showing old photos of the town I grew up in set to Michael Buble’s song “Home” and it made me very teary and nostalgic for a time gone by. I remember as a kid walking over to my best friend’s house and dancing in her bedroom to our favorite music, or doing cartwheels on the front lawn or riding our bikes to the center of town. During the summer months, my childhood friends and I would play baseball in the street with a tennis ball and a telephone pole was third base. I remember being very anxious to grow up and I try to tell my own children not to wish away time as the carefree years of youth are fleeting. When did just having fun and movement become exercise and something we think we don’t like? When did play become work? Words can stick with you, which is why I created my blog in the hopes it makes a difference to someone else who may be struggling. I remember reading the book The Five People You Meet in Heaven, and the main character was elderly and had a lot of pains and physical limitations, and when he goes to heaven, he goes through different periods of his life and the part how he described running as a youth, really hit me: Rubbery legs, no pain, just a free feeling of running. They were powerful words. Don’t limit your body by thinking you don’t like to move. It’s not true.
Recently, as I dropped my youngest son off at school one morning, I saw a father brushing his little girl's hair before she went into school. I thought it was so sweet. Now, it could be that I don't have a daughter (God had a sense of humor and gave me three boys), it could be that I joke that most kids apparently don't own a hair brush, or it could be that I miss my dad, but thought it was the cutest thing I've seen. The mystery dad in my story was dressed for work, and I was running a bit late for drop off, so they were too, but there she was standing inside the drivers door, while her dad stood behind her, brushing her hair. We’re all busy. You make the time for the things that are important to you. A healthier you will have more energy to help care for those you love, so if you feel guilty making time for yourself, than just think that you’re really doing it for them. There’s a reason the airlines tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others!
I think everyone has a vision of where they want to be physically and mentally, but getting there can be a complicated road. Having been on both sides of the spectrum gives me an appreciation for the struggles of one trying to lose weight, and the work and effort put into being a fit person. It means a lot to me that now I’m in a position to help other people, as it’s like I achieved my goal twice.