On the Facebook page, Full Length Mirror, where she chronicles her weight loss journey, Jessica Crow recently posted this: Stop being the victim of your story and start being the hero. After all, you are the author. Jessica knows a little something about self-blame. At one time she weighed just shy of 300 pounds and was very hard on herself because of it. That is until she realized she was worthy, of happiness, true love and good health.
More from Jessica in her own words –
Tell me when your weight struggles began: Later in life, triggered by depression and extremely low self-esteem with little to no self-awareness. This had a lot of causes including rejection issues from childhood, not being good enough and finally, a very abusive marriage. I felt worthless, alone and never good enough. In the end, it didn’t matter what the “cause” was that I was blaming it on; I was the one that truly controlled what I did and how I reacted. I gained 100 pounds within a year’s time.
What habits specifically led you to gain weight? Eating junk food like candy bars, ice cream and soda. Not eating very often, but when I did, it was horrible food. I was lazy and depressed and wanted nothing to do with activities that might make me face the reality that I was obese, or worse, show myself in public. It was a vicious cycle that quickly took hold of my life.
What caused you to realize you needed to change? The depression was created around a very poor marriage. Ending that relationship was the beginning of knowing that I had to better my life because I only had one shot at it. Wanting to be in public without feeling ashamed to be there was the first goal. Also knowing that if I didn’t make a change, my life would be shorter than I wanted. Heart problems run in my family and I was the only one that could control how strong that muscle was, so I started to ensure it would last me a lifetime.
How did you lose the weight? In 2004 I began by walking outside around my neighborhood for about 45 minutes. Once my joints were able to handle the weight, I started to jog – more like a shuffle – for the same amount of time. Once I could move faster, I started to run and made it a point to run solid for 45 minutes. As I lost the weight, I learned more about calories in vs. calories out. That year, I managed to drop 100 pounds.
In early 2009, my grandfather, my hero and mentor, passed away from congestive heart failure. He was the 7th sibling in a row to lose their life to heart problems. I started to research the glycemic index and how it worked. I started to eat 6 times a day, in small amounts, and by the spring of 2010, I had lost 80 pounds. The exercises I did were either running on a treadmill, workout DVD’s or just running outside. I was determined, hard-headed and never gave up on me.
Did you have any “ah ha” moments along the way? When I realized just how much weight I had lost and that I truly could do anything I put my mind to, it was a breakthrough for me. To know that my mind was so powerful and that I never quit, because I didn’t allow myself to, was a very enlightening reflection. To know that my health was in my hands and that no matter what anyone said, I was the one in control of my actions.
Biggest struggle in your journey? My biggest struggles were the times I made weight gains instead of losses. Those moments were the hardest for me mentally. To think about the amount of work I had been putting in and the results that I wasn’t getting, was hard to take. But I continued. Other struggles would be the way that complete strangers would treat me. Not only the looks I would receive but the comments and gestures. This was a mental struggle and really made me think that I wasn’t good enough for anything or anyone.
Current/future goals? Current goals continue to change because I always want more for myself. Right now I’m working on gains in lean mass in order to compete again (figure competition) and place higher. I placed 4th in the novice category in my first contest. Future goals are really to help motivate and inspire others to do the same. I’m currently working on my certifications for fitness training, nutrition and exercise therapy. I am thrilled to see milestones met by people I’ve inspired.
Advice you’d give to other people struggling to lose weight? Believe in yourself, follow through and change your attitude. You are the hero of your own story. It’s your journey, own it!