Monday, July 3, 2017


Jennifer's Journey...
"I have to say I am very happy to be here, on the road to a healthier and fitter me, but as good as I feel, as much energy as I have, I cannot help but think about where I have been.
About 4 years ago, I lost a lot of weight. About 80 pounds. The scale teetered at a long time goal of mine. This was not all the weight I needed to lose, but a very significant amount. I was in my junior year of college and in the smallest size clothing, that I can ever remember. I was wearing a size 16 jeans, that I had altered to be even smaller. So a true size I cannot exactly pinpoint. In the last 3 years I have not been able to get this jeans over my knees (you know the “skinny” type). I still have these jeans. I periodically take them off the hanger and look at the waist, and it is hard to believe that I was actually that “small”.  I know my upper body was a size 12. I have a black party dress that I have also not let go, that for one summer I never took the dress off. It was my everything. I remember going to a friends party one night, wearing this cute black dress, my yellow chuck Taylor's and a yellow clip in my hair. I had rode my bike that night. This is the night it was deemed my “party dress”, I felt fantastic.
I still have it hanging in my closet, as well. With the hopes of one day being about the wear it again, and being able to use it as a pattern and make different colors of this favorite dress. The last time these pieces of clothing really fit, I was on a girls trip with my friend Alina. We had went to Los Angeles to visit our friend Amber and taken a road trip to Vegas. In that trip alone I believe I gained 10 pounds, getting off the plane and going straight to In and Out Burger and then a taco truck (who does that :)?),and then it happened.
Upon coming back to Chicago I met Matt. I met Matt, this great, caring, and compassionate man, whom believed in the success of me, whom was inspired by my sewing space in the middle of my then apartment. I was in love.
I look back at this now, and I think about many different things. One, I was losing weight for the purpose of finding a man. I was losing weight because it was the next natural goal in my life. I was conquering school, I was surrounded by good people, and was excited about my future. So naturally or not so naturally, I let myself go. Matt took me to wonderful dinners, we ordered out, all the time. He provided a “sexy co-ed” as he called me with more than rice, beans, and tofu. My weight gain is not his fault, but my own. I met a man that loves me for me, no matter what. So naturally I spent more time with him than I did going to the gym. We have been together for a 34 months, and in these months, I have steadily gained weight.
I tried to justify it. I blamed new birth control for my weight gain, but it took awhile to actually come to grips that it was the sausage pizza and take out meals that helped pack the pounds back on. I was comfortable. Matt and I moved in together a year ago. The road has been filled with twist and turns. In this last year, a lot has happened. Our relationship has been tested, and we have come out stronger and closer together.
Last winter, I have to say was a turning point for me. In January of 2011, I turned 30. I spent the rest of the winter being “doom and gloom”. I was lost. I was not happy with my career choice, I was trying to figure out how to make sewing and clothing my way of life. I spent more time over-thinking my current situation and laying on the couch at all times, than I did on actually doing something. Although, this year I vowed to myself that I cannot spend this winter as I did the last. I cannot continue to beat myself up, but I actually have to do something. I have to create the path I want to be on.
This way of thinking is what promoted getting back in the gym and eating right. Matt constantly tells me he loves me for me, which is wonderful, but one day I had to look at him and say,” I do not love me for me”.
I did not love what I have let myself become. I did not love that if I stayed on that path where my future may take me. I was finally ready to do something about it. To take hold of my life and be in control. Not let the weight control me.
I feel that this body armor I am carrying, is the last thing holding me back. It deters me for trying to get the jobs I so want, it deters me from grasping on to my talent and taking that wherever it may lead me. It also deters me from being me.
I can say, that where I am sitting right now, feels fantastic. Yesterday, was not only a weigh-in day, but it was the first day of the rest of my life.
I am proud of myself for getting to this point. I am proud of the way I feel. I am proud that at work last night, even though I worked into after midnight, I was flowing with energy, and my bar patrons where flowing with laughter. I am proud that I have been able to step away from the stigma of being overweight, because I am doing something about it. I am also proud of the doors taking this step can offer in the future.
Matt is one of my biggest supporters, and I am grateful for that, and all of my friends and family.
I am also grateful that I joined the West Loop Athletic Club, as well as being even more grateful for picking Deborah as my trainer. Deb added fuel to the flame that was barely producing heat, and has helped me realize that my dream of being a fitter and happier Jennifer  is truly possible.
To all of you reading this out there. Please “weigh-in” with me. I know the subject matter is sensitive, although, I am hoping I can inspire someone, as I have been inspired, and learn and discover new things.
As I was writing in this, these lyrics where playing in my head. Most of this is true for me, but most of all it just makes sense."
“fitter, happier, more productive
not drinking too much
regular exercise at the gym (3 days a week)
getting on better with your associate employee contemporaries
at ease
eating well (no more microwave dinners and saturated fats)
a patient better driver
a safer car 
sleeping well (no bad dreams)
no paranoia
careful to all animals (never washing spiders down the plughole)
keep in contact with old friends (enjoy a drink now and then)
will frequently check credit at (moral) bank (hole in wall)
favours for favours
charity standing orders
on Sundays ring road supermarket
(no killing moths or putting boiling water on the ants)
car wash (also on Sundays)
no longer afraid of the dark
or midday shadows
nothing so ridiculously teenage and desperate
nothing so childish
at a better pace
slower and more calculated
no chance of escape
now self-employed
concerned (but powerless)
an empowered and informed member of society (pragmatism not idealism)
will not cry in public
less chance of illness
tires that grip in the wet 
a good memory
still cries at a good film
still kisses with saliva
no longer empty and frantic
like a cat
tied to a stick
that’s driven into
frozen winter shit (the ability to laugh at weakness)
fitter, healthier and more productive”

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