This Couple Shed More Than 200 Lbs.: ‘Losing Weight Together Has Brought Us Closer’
Meet the inspiring people featured in PEOPLE Magazine’s Half Their Size issue who took action to become healthier, happier, and completely changed their lives in the process.
Jasmine Parent and Jeremy Crawley felt like they were in heaven when their first daughter Jurnee was born in 2016.
But as their family grew, so did their waistlines.
"We were in our own little world and very happy — and eating mindlessly," Jasmine tells PEOPLE for the 2021 Half Their Size issue. “Everything we did, every celebration, every night was, let’s get chips and pop and takeout.”
Their meals consisted of prepackaged and processed foods like chicken nuggets, cheese sausages and fries, plus lots of sweets. “Everything went from a box or a bag into the microwave or the oven,” recalls Jasmine, 31. “We rarely ate vegetables.”
The engaged couple from Halifax, Nova Scotia, tried a few fad diets but nothing stuck. When Jasmine got pregnant a second time, "it all went out the window because I knew I would get bigger," she says.
Her second pregnancy was difficult. The additional weight plus sciatica meant Jasmine was often in pain; some mornings she needed Jeremy’s help to sit up in bed. Mentally it was tough for the former college basketball player. "Being incapable of doing physical things like that really hit me,” she says. "How do you go from being a university athlete to — less than 5 years later — your partner is lifting you out of bed?”
Carla Jessome From left: Jasmine with Jerian, Jurneee, Jianna and Jeremy
After Jianna was born in Nov. 2017, Jasmine reached 300 lbs., while Jeremy was at 333 lbs. They were exhausted with two kids under 2, but they knew they had to make a change.
"I felt miserable physically, emotionally and mentally," says Jasmine. "I wanted to have more energy for my children."
Jeremy, 29, also remembers feeling ready to take action. “It was time to hit it hard and not quit or give up," he says.
For more inspirational stories of people who changed their lives to get healthy, pick up a copy of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
The couple made a New Year’s Resolution to commit to a healthier lifestyle. In Jan. 2018 they started using the app Lose It! to track their calories.
The first step was taking inventory of their kitchen. “We went into our cupboards and threw out all junk food and anything processed,” says Jasmine, adding that they switched to whole foods. "If we couldn’t grow or harvest it ourselves, we decided not to eat it."
They chose not to meal prep, preferring instead to make quick, easy meals that included a protein, a vegetable and hearty whole wheat carb, like chicken, broccoli and brown rice. They only drank water.
Within two months, they had each lost more than 30 lbs. — a result not only of tracking their calories, but also of working out. At first they relied on Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day Shred, a 30-minute HIIT program that got their heart rates up quickly. “We started January 1 and did it for 30 days straight,” says Jasmine. “We took a few days off and then did it again."
While Jasmine admits the initial push came from her, "Jeremy was a hundred percent on board from day one," she says. As motivation fluctuated, they needed each other's support more than ever.
Says Jeremy, "Some days I didn’t want to stick with it, but I saw how pumped up and ready to go Jasmine was, and it helped me push through."
By the time Jasmine got pregnant with their third child Jerian, she had lost 120 lbs. and Jeremy was down almost 90 lbs. Because Jasmine was in such great shape, "it felt like night and day" compared to her second pregnancy. "I worked out on the elliptical the day I gave birth," she says.
Now a health and fitness coach, Jasmine says her weight loss and improved mental health allowed her to ditch the anxiety medication she had been on for 5 years, which she calls "one of my biggest non-scale victories."
These days, the couple still works out together every morning; in fact, exercise has become a family affair. "We used to take the girls to the playground and I would just stand there and watch," Jasmine recalls. "But now I'm running up the steps and going down the slide and then going across the monkey bars." They have dance parties at home and even ran a 5k as a family.
Along with motivating each other, Jasmine says communication has been the key to her and Jeremy's weight loss success. "You have to make sure you're supporting your partner and asking what the other one needs," she explains. "If something might trigger me or be stressful and impede my weight loss, I would want Jeremy to know."
Approaching their health journey as a team has been crucial: "You have to be happy for the other person," says Jasmine. "It can't be a competition. It was always, 'I push you, you push me. I'll celebrate your success, you celebrate mine.' "