Jackie learned to start with just one thing. It doesn’t have to be “all or nothing”, in fact most of us women need to ditch the all or nothing mentality about getting into the shape we want.
Here’s what Jackie wrote in her contest essay:
My Experience with the Venus Factor System: My Venus Transformation journey began in March 2015 at 190 pounds and what started as a desire to lose weight and get fitter has become much more. My confidence and self-esteem have improved. I have significantly more energy, I am physically stronger, and I am more resilient.
Initially, I was overwhelmed with all of the material and where to start. I thought, “What’s one action I could take?” I would figure that out, and I would do that and then ask myself, “OK, what’s next?” I had many stops and starts along the way. In the beginning, the exercises seemed really difficult to me. I was so embarrassed about how I looked; there was no way I was going to a “beautiful people” gym in Los Angeles to work out.
One of my steps was to figure out what I needed to work out. I ordered some small dumbbells (3, 5, 8 pounds) and I had a mat and an exercise ball. Doing something had to be better than doing nothing, so I go up in the morning and went out to my garage and attempted the workouts without weights at first. I tried working out at different times and found that in the morning before work was the time I would most consistently hit.
The exercise ball was my nemesis. The video doesn’t show how to get on the ball. I kept rolling off and looking quite ridiculous. In the beginning, I could barely do a modified plank on my knees. At first, my goals were to get 3 workouts in during a week. I noticed that I was proud of myself on those days when I got up and worked out. I felt proud of myself on the day after the workout when I was going slowly up the steps because I was sore from lunges instead of because I was short of breath and joints hurting.
Eventually my goal became to get through an entire 12-week program without missing any workouts. I would look ahead at my schedule for the week and decide what days were best. I figured out how to do the workouts in the hotel gyms while on travel. I was so excited when I outgrew my dumbbells and upgraded to the Bowflex dumbbells and have a bench, and barbell too.
During VT18, I was on the Venus Final Phase. I started training for a ballroom dance performance and competition and was challenged to a 22-pushup challenge for 22 days by a friend. I was thinking to myself, I was in a fitness contest, of course, I need to accept the challenge. There’s no way I would have even considered that that in the beginning. While training for the dance performance, I injured my foot (October 2016). My foot was in a boot for a week. I couldn’t dance, but the timing worked out that I could still do the workouts. I was explaining to the doctor that I was preparing for a competition and asking what I needed to do to get back. As she was telling me what I needed to do, she said that she finds it difficult to work with athletes when they don’t heed medical advice. I’m not sure what else she said – I had never been called an athlete before! That made my week!
One day I was talking to my daughter, and she stops and says, “Mom, look at your calves!” and started commenting on the definition of the various muscles. While I’ve enjoyed the workouts and feel stronger and happier, tracking food was a challenge for me. In the beginning, I started realizing how much of what I did was centered around food. Right outside my office was the snack area and I called it the “cookie gauntlet”. I would avoid eye contact. I discovered I had more success when I packed my lunches in advance. I could have what was in my lunchbox, and I was OK. I discovered I had trigger foods. The one cookie turns into more, then I be tired and plop on the couch in front of the TV and continue to eat.
Looking ahead at my schedule helped too – I would put my eat up days on days with business lunch or special dinner. MyFitnessPal app made it much easier to track, but I needed to work on consistency. I would make progress in weight loss when I did track. I noticed that on days when I knew I was going over, tended to be the days that I wouldn’t track. Maybe it was because I didn’t want to write it down. I realized that I would not be able to save the day if I didn’t actually track.
At first the 1000 calories seemed so low. I also felt that I couldn’t focus at work at 1000 calories, but at 1100 – 1200 my brain checked back in. As long as I stayed below maintenance, I was OK and knew that the loss would not be as fast.
Breakfast was difficult for me to skip, but I also found that running around after work that I didn’t have to have dinner, or I could have a much smaller portion. For me, cutting down on TV time resulted in cutting down on mindless eating in front of TV.
In the beginning, I started by just taking one action at a time and making it a habit. I was feeling better and losing some weight but I didn’t think the target measurements were achievable.
I felt better for each improvement. For VT18, I felt like the various pieces all came together – consistency in exercise and nutrition. It was only during this contest that I feel like the target measurements might be real. What if I could achieve that? What would that feel like? I am looking forward to finding out.
Listen to Jackie talk about her experience and how her life is empowered with health, happiness, and agility. You can listen now or download for later: