'After Losing 100 Pounds, I View the Entire World Differently'

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Seeing her 275-pound self on TV at a football game motivated Jan-Marie to get serious about her health. Read on to learn about her journey to an amazing 100-pound loss!
Name: Jan-Marie Ruminski
Username: BOBCATGIRL76              
Amount of weight lost: 100 lbs
Hometown: Beavercreek, Ohio
Occupation: Academic Advisor
Age: 24
What was life like before your weight loss?
Looking back, I was never really an unhappy person. I loved life and had a ton of friends. But I was always aware that I was bigger than the majority of people in my life. I was involved in a ton of things in high school and college, like sports and theater, but I now realize how much my weight held me back in those areas.

What was your ‘light bulb moment’ that made you get serious about losing the weight?
My boyfriend J.D. started in the MAC Championship Football Game on December 2, 2011. I made sure to record the game on my DVR so that I could watch it over and see if I got on television. Boy, did I ever. I had been in the front row of the stadium, standing directly above an ESPN banner that the camera guy was all too willing to zoom in on. And as I watched and saw all 275 pounds of me, filling out a 3XL football jersey, I became incredibly sad. I felt sad for portraying myself that way, as though I didn’t care about myself or my health. I don’t know why that sparked something in me, but I immediately searched the web for free weight-loss plans, and thankfully found SparkPeople.

Tell us a bit about your weight-loss journey:
When I started on SparkPeople, I honestly thought it would be just another diet that I would ultimately end up failing. I had done Weight Watchers a few times before, but never seemed to stick with it. But the first time I wrote a blog and came back the next day to responses to it, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe strangers cared enough about what I was going through to read my story and respond. It was the first time in my life that I didn’t feel alone in my weight-loss efforts. I felt as though there were hundreds, and now I realize millions, of other people going through the same thing as me. I began blogging more and more often, reading more articles, tracking my food, and introducing exercise into my life. I was hooked and lost 90 pounds within my first year.

Did you encounter any obstacles during your journey and, if so, how did you deal with them?
My grandmother died in January of 2013, and for a brief time, I put tracking and exercise on the back burner. There are always going to be times in life where your priorities change and you focus on different things. I gained a bit of weight back and then lost some. Then in April 2013, J.D. proposed the weekend of my first half-marathon. I’d always told him that I didn't want him to propose until I was under 200 pounds, and he kept that promise. However, happiness also has a way of taking the focus off of my health, and I gained a few pounds again, reaching 198.8 before realizing I needed to refocus my efforts. Each time I realized that old habits were creeping back up, I looked at old pictures of myself and vowed to never let that happen again. I’d go back and re-read old blogs and find motivation there. After almost a year and a half bouncing around in the 180s, last month I joined Weight Watchers with my friend and accountability partner and started attending meetings and have already lost over 10 pounds to get down to 175!

What tools, routines, habits, and motivators did you find most helpful to help you stay motivated?
I love the Nutrition Tracker because I can find basically anything I eat already tracked with nutritional information. My new job has great walking paths and I like taking short breaks to get in a few thousand steps throughout the day. This Christmas, I received a heart rate monitor, and it has made me up the intensity of my workouts so that I can burn those last few calories. And my upcoming wedding in November is also a huge source of motivation.

Did you ever slip up or hit a plateau? If so, how did you overcome it?
The way I look at it, I was in a plateau from December of 2012-March 2014. I lost my first 90 pounds very quickly and was so excited with my weight loss. But I think I’ve become so much happier and healthier that now being in the 180s wasn’t a huge deal to me. However, with my wedding only 8 months away, having an accountability partner that I check in with daily has really kept me honest and more focused and helped me lose over 10 pounds in the last month. I’m not at my ultimate goal of 155 yet, but I know that if I continue to focus and keep my eye on the prize (my wedding dress) I will reach it. I’m also going to start strength training with J.D. at my work’s gym.

What is your typical exercise routine like?
Currently, I do cardio 4x a week and try to burn at least 500 calories per workout. I rotate between elliptical, crossramp, and treadmill mostly. But as I said, I’ve been reading how strength training is also very essential for weight loss, so I’m hoping to start lifting weights 3-4x per week as well.

How would you describe your typical diet now as compared to before your weight loss?
I would say I’ve increased my quality and greatly decreased my quantity. One of the things I was most embarrassed by when I first started on SparkPeople was how terrible my previous eating habits were. I used to eat an Applebee’s Sampler as my dinner, after already having two large meals. After researching nutritional info, I discovered that the Sampler ran between 2200-2300 calories. So in one day, I was consuming enough greasy fried foods and dining hall meals to actually last me about three days (when considering my breakfast and lunch). Now, I have three meals a day and usually pack some extra snacks. I eat so many more fruits and vegetables and lean proteins. And I drink at least 10 glasses of water a day. I’m fuller faster and for a longer period of time, and I don’t crave a lot of the unhealthy food that I used to.

What advice would you give to someone just beginning a weight-loss program? 
Don’t let your past attempts or failures discourage you. If you want it to be, this time WILL be the time you achieve your goals. Set small reachable goals in the beginning, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or upping your water intake. Every small goal you reach will build your confidence and help you realize just how capable you are of reaching your goals.

Did you experience any other benefits (improved relationships, reach other goals, improved self-image/confidence, improved lab work/medical condition etc.) in addition to losing weight?
I definitely think I’m a happier person. I didn’t realize how negatively my weight had affected my self-esteem and self-image. I’m a much more confident person now, and I feel more comfortable when being given more responsibilities at work. I know that if I can accomplish this goal of weight loss, I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. 

How has your life changed since losing weight and improving your health?
To be honest, I view the entire world differently, as cheesy as that sounds. When I’m at the gym and I see a girl working out who looks close to my starting weight, I feel so proud of her and inspired by her effort. I also think I’ve become more aware and understanding that everyone is facing personal battles, whether they are health issues, family problems, or difficulties at work. Losing weight helped me realize how important it is to be supportive of other people, because that support can truly go a long way.

Have you lost weight and kept it off using SparkPeople.com? We'd love to share your story. Click here to tell us about yourself, and you could be featured on the SparkPeople blog!

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints


MOM2TURTLES 6/3/2020
Great article and a wonderful motivator. I wish you all the happiness in your life. Report
CECELW 3/15/2020
WOW!! Love her story. It is powerful! Report
CHERYLHURT 2/22/2020
Great story! Report
EVILCECIL 11/26/2019
Great job! Report
TOKIEMOON 9/24/2019
Thank you for giving me motivation today. Report
KERRYG155 7/25/2019
It's definitely hard to admit we've done that to ourselves. I got up to 238 and got a couple passes to a gym . My daughter and I started at the gym and a young man asked if he could help me. Daughter has gone on to gain weight to about 300+ now but I got back to 250 and want to lose more. I wish that trainer was still here but he's moved on to bring a police officer, canine unit. Report
Thanks for the great article! :) Report
Wow, what an accomplishment! An inspiring journey for sure. You can achieve anything you put your mind too. Way to go. Report
Interesting Report
I agree with ETHELMERZ! Report
Please, can you ask Jan Marie to post a pic of her and J.D.’s wedding! I don’t think I’m the only SparkPersin who’d love to see it! Report
way to go Report
Great job you look good Report
Jan Marie's story is inspiring. Report
Great job. You look terrific! Report
WooHoo! Great success. Would love to know if and when you reached your ultimate goal weight of 155. Report
I wish these success stories from several years back, would show how these people are doing NOW, that would be a real inspiration indeed. Many of these stories, the people are not posting anymore, and, let’s be real, we folks on SparkPeople know how this can go.....the losing of lots of weight, and then regain, over and over. That is the real challenge that Experts can’t find a cure for. Report
Congratulations. How is maintaining going? For me that's been the hardest part. Report
... very inspiring... Report
Thank you for this inspiring piece Report
way to go Report
I had lost 120 pounds, but then gained back 80. I hope you are able to maintain your weight loss. Congratulations! Report
Awesome story...I just had a knee replacement. I can't wait to be able to ride my bike again. Report
What an awesome and on time message! I beat myself up because I don't do the things that I know I need to do where diet and exercise are concerned. Need to key on small sustainable changes instead! Thanks! Report
Thanks for writing. Report
Great article!! Just the motivation I needed today. Report
Amazing story!! Report
Awesome story, so positive and motivational! Report
You look so pretty ---so good! Report
You are an inspiration. I especially appreciate your statement - "If you want it to be, this WILL be the time you achieve your goals." Thanks for the encouragement! Report
Congratulations and thanks for telling your story! Very inspiring! Report
outstanding! Thanks for the motivation! Report
Great advice. It doesn't all come off in a year or a little over a year. We all hit the gain, plateau thing,, but we learn from it (It may take several lessons) , readjust our thinking. Learn to remove old habits to replace with healthier habits.

Indeed we live in a time where if your not what others "think you should be" we know it. CONGRATS on gaining self esteem.

To date I've lost 81 with more to come. Report
great read this is so amazing Report
Airplane seat belts give me trouble! Congrats on beating that roller coaster! Of course, you have to be crazy to ride it in the first place, lol! Report
I have followed your Spark page from time to time. You Rock! Your hard work has paid off & you are an inspiration to others. Report
Congratulations on your weight loss. That is AWESOME! Thank you for sharing your story; it's inspirational to hear. Report
I am so happy for you Jan-Marie and wish you and J.D. a long and wonderful life together! You are looking great! God Bless. Report
Thanks for sharing your journal and congratulations on your weight loss! Report
They say Angels come in all forms. Tonight you were mine. Was feeling a little uncertain and read your interview here and felt uplifted. My experience was much the same when I blogged and got some responses back I was moved. It sure is about ebb and flow but consistency always pays off. Thank you for sharing your journey! Report
Congratulations ;o) Report
Thanks for sharing! I lost my motivation and for the past 6 months stuck trying to get it back. Every morning, I have been waking up feeling disgusted with myself. This morning, I woke up and decided to check back in with Sparkpeople. I read your blog and now I'm going to get up and finish what I started. It's time. Report
Congratulations on your achievement, thanks for sharing. Very inspiring it's has encouraged for new journey. Report
I like to read your blog because it is so inspiring. Please continue blogging. Report
Great story, I'm thinking I'm going to try to get back at losing my weight, and after reading your story, I think I can. Report
Fantastic job, Jan-Marie !!! Report
congrats! amazing & inspirational story. Report
I am sooooooooooo proud of you and inspired by your story. Are you and JD still in Athens? Your before and after pictures don't look like the same person! I can't wait to see you in your wedding dress! Report
Great job ! You look fantastic. Report
Wow, congrats!
I love reading stories from here on Spark where others have lost 100 pounds or more. It gives me hope that I can do it too, and I have 170 to lose. I am from Ohio as well, you have inspired me! Report