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Personal Stories

Jackie, Age 50

“I look at the size tags on the clothes that fit me now and think, ‘What could be better than this?'” – Jackie Hess
Highest weight: 133 lbs.

Current weight: 103 lbs.

Total weight lost: 30 lbs.

Height: 5’1″

Time it took to lose the weight: 1 year

Has kept it off for: 2 years

Jackie 3 Years Ago
Jackie 3 years ago

Her Story

Throughout my entire adult life, I was always fighting an extra 15-20 pounds. I would lose it, or most of it, and eventually gain it back. I had horrible eating habits. Gradually, over time, I gained more and more weight. I am short and small-boned, and for me this added weight wasn’t healthy.

I developed a nerve problem in my face, and the medication I had to take for it made me gain even more weight. It got to the point where none of my clothes fit me anymore. I had nothing to wear. I felt horrible emotionally and physically. It was all I could think about. I would spend all day trying to figure out how to fix this problem.

How I Did It

I experienced a period of nausea that kept me from wanting to eat very much. As a result, I lost some weight. Seeing that weight come off was hugely motivating. It was the spark I needed to help me figure out how to keep my weight going in the right direction for once — and for good.

I like to walk, and someone told me they heard about the importance of walking 10,000 steps per day. I got a pedometer, and if it looked like I was going to come up short, I would do what I needed to increase my number of steps.

When I eventually got back to being only 20 pounds overweight, I decided to change my self-image from ‘I have no willpower’ to ‘I do have willpower.’ When faced with high-calorie or fattening foods I would ask myself, “Is eating this piece of cake worth how good it’s feeling to be losing weight?” Usually the answer was, “No.”

Over time, the weight kept coming off and it was thrilling.

Biggest Challenge

Resisting the temptation to revert to bad habits. People know me as a serious chocoholic, so I tend to get lots of gifts of really good chocolate.

Maintaining the Weight Loss

It’s a constant effort, and I feel like it’s still a fight. I can’t end a meal without having something sweet, so I live on no-sugar popsicles. I also don’t believe in making something forbidden. I take a bite and tell myself that if I really need that second bite, “You can have it.”

The Biggest Thrill

Seeing what clothes sizes fit me now. For the longest time I didn’t trust my weight loss, so I never bought any smaller clothes. Finally, I am beginning to buy some new things. I try something on, and it’s too big. I get a smaller size, and I almost can’t believe the size on the tag. It’s outrageous!

Jackie Today
Jackie Hess

Strategies That Work For Me

  • Cutting down on the amount of sweets I eat. I'll take a small bite and remind myself that the lasting taste will be the same after 30 seconds, whether I've had one bite or the whole candy bar.
  • I never let myself get too hungry; otherwise, I lose all control. I keep pretzels or prunes in my desk for a quick snack.
  • Having a walking buddy. Knowing that someone else is motivated to walk every day helps me do it.
  • Scheduling non-food events with friends. Instead of meeting for lunch, I'll suggest we meet and go for a walk!
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