Jessica Cothren

So let me start at the beginning. Without being redundant to the post I started the blog with yesterday I would like to explain to you the mental state I was in when I decided to lose the weight. I have been heavy my whole life. I cannot remember a time that I was ever small or not the big girl out of my friends. In junior high is where I started to feel the repercussions of societies judgement and as I moved into my high school years they became even more apparent. Never had a boyfriend or guys that where interested in me. I was the extremely socially awkward fat girl. I weighed anywhere from 170 to 180 all throughout high school. I remember one time in PE class we had to calculate our BMI and weight ourselves in front of the class and I was the largest girl. This was mortifying. Time frame was around sophomore year and was the major influence in my decision to become bulimic. As a child not knowing what long term affects it would have on my body, I started a downward spiral into a horrible addiction. By junior year I wouldn’t eat in public. I started losing weight and at this time was out of public school and into a private school. My junior year wasn’t bad. I had a core group of friends and our focus was being awesome and having as much fun as humanly possible. However, I still made the decision to make these poor choices. As a high school girl there is so much pressure to be pretty and fit into the typical mold that I thought, key word being THOUGHT, I should be this perfect little hottie. I would skip my lunches a lot and when I did eat I wouldn’t eat a meal. I would choose chips, candy, soda, and those huge cookies for 2 for a dollar. This is when I started running. When I would go running I would duck tape my stomach. Not sure in my head why I did this. I just knew that it made me sweat. Sometimes I would black out mid run because of the lack of nutrition and not being able to breathe but I didn’t care. I was getting smaller as the days went by. Looking back at this now makes me extremely sad. Thinking about the fact that there are other young women feeling this emptiness and having no regard for their personal health to only appease others every day. It makes me wish I could tell them or show them it’s not the way. My senior year I weighed about 135 for a very short time. Senior year I was superficial type of happy. I looked good but felt horrible inside. I was an ugly person, a jealous person, and turned into that “mean girl” that no one should ever be proud of being.

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Fast forward a year and I am out of the house doing my own thing. That’s when I began drinking and eating whatever I felt like. I got married and pregnant with my first child and that’s when I started packing on the pounds. I stopped throwing up for the most part but can honestly say I never fully did stop which makes me disappointed in myself. I never exercised and didn’t care what I looked like anymore because I was married. Who cared if I got fat? If he loved me he would love me how ever I was right? Anyways, I was about 190 after my first dropped down to around 170 and maintained that weight for a few years. I got pregnant with my second and shot up to an alarming 240 pounds. I stopped any physical activity and any want to eat right and stopped throwing up my food completely because I didn’t want to hurt the baby. I was absolutely disgusted. Being honest with myself this was a huge factor in my divorce and why I was so unhappy in life. When you are no t happy with yourself you won’t be happy with anyone else. I was so lazy, barely wanting to do anything. I started back to wanting to throw up everything I ate after I had the baby. Went to work but really just did nothing else. Didn’t want to clean my house all the time, didn’t want to go anywhere, and didn’t want people to see me. I was just absolutely disgusted.

Then my life changed. After my divorce I move to VA to be with family and a positive support system. I knew I had to do something about my weight but wasn’t committed to my overall health. I just wanted to be skinny. I started all these crash diets. Carb dieting, taking hydroxy cut, whatever get skinny quick tip I could get my hands on. Sure it worked but I felt horrible. I dropped down to about 200 or so. At this point I feel like I got my wake up call. In March of 2011 I started the journey of a different Jessica, a new and better me. I would cry and complain and not really do anything about it. Not the right way at least and not the healthy way. Why was I complaining? I was only in this position because of ME. I was the one who chose what to eat. I was the one who chose to be lazy. So, lets turn the page into a new chapter of my life.

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One of the most influential people at this point of my life was my sister. She is very athletic and a beautiful person inside and out. We started running together. When we started I couldn’t even make it around the block. She never got frustrated or told me she just wanted to run herself but continued to push me. She at this point was my voice of you can when all I wanted to do was say I can’t. I started being able to run farther and longer. I felt like I may die sometimes but every night we got out there and ran. At the end of our runs she would be waiting on the top of the hill of our street with a smile and high five. It went from just trying to finish a mile walking and running to finally being able to run the full mile without stopping. I remember the feeling I got when I ran my first mile all the way through, one of the best feelings I had felt in a long long time. I started seeing some results slowly. Dropped down to about 190 then to 180. At this point I was really in the groove of working out. I was making better decision eating wise but was still more so focused on carb dieting than eating right. My sister showed me some exercises she did in practice and I would start doing them at the end of my runs. I started to tone up a little at a time. At this point I had not even realized that I had already dropped from 240ish to 180. That’s 60 pound’s gone but in my head I was still a beached whale.

This is where I was introduced to a whole new world. I had lost some more weight at this point and was really starting to find what motivated me. It was time to evaluate who I was and why I was making the decisions I was making. My motivation up to that point was to be hot and skinny. Are you kidding me? How vain of a person could I be? Lists work for me when trying to evaluate situations so that’s what I did. Made a list of every reason why I wanted to be healthier and wanted to be fit. Even though being hot and skinny was still a part of that it wasn’t my main focus. My main focus now was being healthier for my sons and being the best mom and influence I can be for them. The influence I have on them now in health and fitness will shape the start of their future and up to this point I had failed them. Not only do I want to be healthy for them now but I want to be around for them as long as humanly possible. Not having my main focus be guys having interested in me or just walking around like a shallow Barbie doll. It was so much more than that for me.
I was bought my first supplement stack by a friend that is really into lifting and fitness. Although he probably won’t read this I am so thankful for his influence and the world he opened me up to and the influence he had on me. He introduced to Jamie Easons live fit program. I started hitting the gym, hard. I was at this point about 160ish. I was running anywhere from 3 to 4 miles some days, sticking to the live fit series, and really researching what It meant to live a healthy life style. I couldn’t get enough. My muscles started to show and I had little cuts in places I had never had before. It was amazing! My body felt great and I was happier. Not only was I more active with my kids but being more proactive at work which has since turned into a raise. I was able to move into my own place and buy my own car. Everything was getting on track in my life from where it had been a year ago. Another important factor in my success in losing weight was being around my f amily and having that positive support system be there for me in all aspects in life which over flowed into my fitness goals. I continued at the gym for a short time but found as a single mom it’s an extra expense that I can’t afford. Sadly, I had to drop it but I surely wasn’t quitting. I did whatever I had to to be able to work out. I would go for runs in the rain, sun, or snow. Would still stick to a modified home version of the life fit that I had put together and ate really clean. Invested in a treadmill and pull up bar, some free weight and kettle bells, a weight bench, the insanity DVD’s, a ton of things that I could do in home when the kids went to bed. No one could stop me or could tell me no. I had no excuses. I dropped down to 147 and had never felt better in my life.
It was like night and day. I literally woke up one morning and realized I was 100 pounds lighter than where I started. WOW! What an eye opening realization. To put on your goal jeans that were packed away and literally have them falling to the ground. This point was around June of 2012. My goal now was to prep for the tough mudder. I was running 5 miles easy at least. I was way beyond what I could have ever hoped for in my upper body and lower body strength and I got comfortable. I had worked so hard up to this point that I was happy with where I was at, had surpassed my goals, and got lazy again. Although, this time I never gained back weight because I was overall making better eating decisions and still working out just not as rigorous as I had been. I started dating someone so I got a little busier than the normal and I often would use that as an excuse to not work out that day or convenience eat. I ran the tough mudder in September and was extremely excited to complete EV ERY obstacle. Not only complete it but kick its butt and some. Such a huge accomplishment for me from where I was but once I completed it became just a little more lazy. Working out only week nights and never on the weekends and I am still continuing to sit in this slump and make these poor decisions but I’M DONE! I’m so ready to get back to my kick ass and take names mindset.
Many times I will get letters from people talking about how inspired they are from my drive and motivation. Truth is though, if I am being completely honest with myself, I have lost the motivation I had found a few months back and have totally slipped away from the game but I’m not giving up and neither should you if you are reading this and are one of those people. Truth is we all at some point lose it for one reason or another but the important thing is getting back on track. I’d like to share a quote with you from a book I am reading.

“START WITH THE END IN MIND” – Stephen Covey

So here is me admitting to myself and to all of you out there that follow me here or facebook and look to me for motivation, I have fallen short. I have fallen short because I have lost focus on my over all goals, “the end” in this case. Sure I passed a few mild stones but this is about changing my life forever not giving up once I have accomplished what I sent forth to do or limiting myself and my potential. I have not gained any weight just simply maintained where I am at and have probably even lost some tone. My hope is to look back on today, just as I have these other points in my life, and say this was the day that I decided to take my fitness to the next level. I woke up yesterday with a completely new mindset and my body already feels so much better getting back to taking the proper supplements and eating cleaner. Today is a new day. Who cares if it’s Tuesday or not the beginning of the day make the decision NOW to do something for you. YOU make the decisions for yourself. YOU choose what nutritional plan you stick to and what fitness you partake in. So if YOU are not happy with yourself only YOU are to blame. Will you let yourself down yet again? Or will you finally do what it takes for you to realize what you need to do to change. Are your kids your motivation? Living longer and healthier? Shoot, even being hot and skinny for that matter. It’s not about why you are doing it but that fact that you are and doing it the RIGHT way. Not the get skinny quick way. It’s about developing good habits that will change the outcome of your life and identifying the problem areas and making other options for them. When I say that I mean; if you are an emotional eater identify that and find something else. Are you a bored eater? Substitute eating for an exercise or even something else. Identifying and solving the reasons for your poor eating choices is going to be key in this process. I am guilty of bored eating late at n ight when I’m alone. My solution making a point to not eat after 7 and if I get bored I will read my book to keep my mind occupied. I’m starting today. I WILL be a better and more fit me. Who’s with me?

Here is a current picture of me last night after my work out. Only improvements from here on out.