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
Amount of weight lost: 100 lbs
Hometown: Beavercreek, Ohio
Occupation: Academic Advisor
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.
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