I grew up 10 miles east of San Diego, California in a small town named La Mesa. As a teenager and through my mid-20s I was very fit and was ranking nationally in collegiate Racquetball. That all changed when I ruptured my Achilles. Shortly thereafter my thyroid went out, so I gained 45 pounds in one year.
Unfortunately, my thyroid wasn’t diagnosed until I was up almost 60 pounds. In addition, my late husband was severely disabled. That caused a huge amount of stress and a very inactive lifestyle. All these didn’t help my state of mind, weight or self-image one bit. At the age of 40, I was a widow and my weight ballooned up to a whopping 260 pounds.
Being a software engineer allows me to work from home. Unfortunately, working from home has its pros and cons. On the good side, I can set my own hours… On the bad side, it can be very stressful and demanding.
I found myself not getting enough exercise, and grabbing whatever was handy to eat.
Life was further complicated by a ruptured Achilles tendon 3 years ago and the three major surgeries that followed. It took nearly 2 years of physiotherapy to learn how to walk again. I was taking prescription strength anti-inflammatories and pain meds daily, just to survive the pain, and the weight just started piling on again. Exercising wasn’t even an option with all the pain I was going through.
I had told myself years before I would never cross the line and be in a size 18 again.
What drove you to make a change? A particular event?
My journey to health began a little over a year ago on February 4, 2018. A few weeks before, I had hit my breaking point and swore to myself that I would never go back to — the dreaded plus sizes. In particular I couldn’t squeeze into my favorite size 16 jeans. I blamed it on everything else: the dryer, retaining water, inactivity due to a ruptured Achilles, 3 surgeries and the 2 years of rehab and learning how to walk again, etc).
Unfortunately, the dressing room didn’t care about the underlying reasons or my excuses. I was wearing a size 18 jeans and I wasn’t happy about it!
How did you start? What were the first changes that you made? Are you following a particular diet?
I saw a girlfriend losing weight through FB and I asked her what she was doing.
That’s when I heard about Optavia and its four pillars: a personal health coach, a community of like-minded people, a lot of resources and education to help support the change process and six small meals per day.
I was skeptical at first, but, since nothing else was working, I figured I might as well try it for a month.
And another 4.5 pounds the second week. That’s when I knew I could reach my weight loss goal, which had never happened before.
Truth is I’ve tried multiple “diets” with limited or no long-term success, and this was mostly because of my thyroid problems which were affecting my body’s response to diets. Another thing that I realised was that I needed a support system, otherwise staying true to my plan and continuing to lose weight was close to impossible when the plateau phase took over.
What’s different now than all the other times you’ve have tried to lose weight with limited success?
Instead of going on a “diet”, I found the right tools with a proven track record (the Progress App, the Progress Accountability facebook community and the Optavia health program) and together they worked for me!
I know in most cases exercise goes hand in hand with diet, but the truth is, for me, this wasn’t an option at that time. When I started I was barely able to walk, let alone go up and down the stairs, due to the ruptured Achilles tendon which required three surgeries and two years of rehab.
Using the Progress App has helped me keep track of my progress on multiple levels and allowed me to keep focused on my goals. It helps keep me motivated because I can see tangible improvement every week whether it’s pounds, inches, BMI, or body fat and even just being able to compare before and after photos side by side in the app.
To really reach my goal, I knew I had to get to the root of what was holding me back from losing weight in the past and also find a bigger motivation that will keep me going to get to my final goal. I call it my ‘Bigger Why.’ The truth is, for me, the Bigger Why goes way back. My late husband had been stuck in bed for years after a terrible accident, I was having severe health problems, and we both gained a lot of weight. And I mean a lot.
At 40 I lost my husband and somehow, through all these problems, I had lost myself. I think my bigger why was actually getting back to my old self, a person who can truly enjoy life.
I decided to rid myself of obstacles and excuses and to try to find the old Jacque again. As my wonderful husband Roger would say, his “happy Jacque.”
How has your life changed since you transformed?
The Jacque that is present in the moment and not always worried about how she looks or being an embarrassment to her daughter or husband, or being ashamed because she can’t get off her Harley correctly, because her damaged Achilles tendon won’t support her any more, or almost crying because the only leather motorcycle coat or leather chaps that fit in the whole store is a huge 2x.
Not to mention worrying about where to stand in group photos so her fat butt won’t show. Okay, I have to admit typing that made me literally laugh out loud, but it WAS the truth.
Not anymore, I’ve gone from a size 18 to a size 4 in jeans and from a size XXL to a Small in jackets, which to me is amazing since at 5’8 1/2” I’m not tiny in stature.
I feel wonderful, truly free, because that’s not my reality anymore. It’s so much more than a number on the scale or dropping 7 pant sizes or being able to shop anywhere, which admittedly is great.
Freedom from embarrassment, from worrying about what I look like, the freedom to finally do what I want, physically. Freedom from all of the “what if”s or “should have”s or “could have”s. I feel that I have been given a gift, a second chance at life. I am free to live life again and it’s amazing to feel this way.
What are you most proud of?
Fast forward to a year later. A former co-worker and friend for 15 years told me she had been following my progress on Facebook and was so inspired that she started working on improving her own health and life. I was so taken aback that I had tears come to my eyes and didn’t know what to say.
That very same day, I got the invite from the Progress App team to feature me in an article. On top of that, to truly make it a wonderful day, I hit my major goal of reaching a healthy weight with a BMI under 25.
Yes, I lost 80 lbs this last year and have reclaimed my life. I’m at a healthy weight and have a healthy attitude towards food, work, life and keeping things in perspective. I guess some might even say I’ve transformed my life. I’m definitely not hiding behind excuses or sitting on the sidelines anymore! I’m living life out loud and being accountable to my family, friends and the clients I now coach.
My lifestyle change didn’t stop there. I wanted this to be a lifetime change. I wanted to be accountable, stay on track and, why not, support other people to switch to a healthier lifestyle and be accountable too. And for me becoming a health coach was the best way to achieve both of my goals.
How could I not want to share this amazing gift? I come from a diabetic family that spans 3 generations. I truly hate this insidious disease that claimed both my father and eldest brother. Six weeks into my journey, I realized that this program could have saved my brother’s life, had I found it earlier.
I have always loved helping others and now I get to help numerous people with their own transformations.
The transformation to being healthier and happier doesn’t happen overnight. It requires small steps that lead to big changes in your health and life. Just imagine yourself living a bigger life and take a leap of faith.
Achieve your weight-loss goals with an intuitive app that transforms your data into a visual overview of your progress, helping you to stay motivated and on track.