My name is Jennifer Hennessey (@jen_henney), and I am 36 years old. I’m a full time mommy, health and fitness coach and Beachbody Coach from Toms River, New Jersey. I did Beachbody workouts and the Ultimate Portion Fix program and lost 120 pounds.
My whole life was a battle with my weight. My earliest memory of being on a so-called dieting was when I was 8 years old. I was always made very aware of my weight and that I was heavier than other girls my age. I was seeing a nutritionist when I was in the seventh grade, and after that, I was put on every diet ever made.
I was made to fear food and to never fully understand nutrition. It was either cut out a food group completely or eat a ton of veggies and grilled chicken. By the time I reached high school I had tried every over the counter diet pill, nutrition program, workout program, and read every weight-loss book. No fad diet tactics ever lasted, and they never made me feel good.
When I met my husband in 2009, I wasn’t at my thinnest or my heaviest, but to him weight didn’t matter. I found someone who loved me despite that number on the scale or the size of my jeans. We had our first son Owen in 2013, and I gained 70-plus pounds with that pregnancy. Even after I gave birth, I didn’t focus on myself or getting in shape.
I stopped taking care of myself because my only focus had become my baby.
In 2016, we had a miscarriage, and it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to go through. I wanted and prayed so hard for that baby. When we lost it, it shook me to my core. Everyone told me to start taking care of myself, to get healthy, and that in time we would have another baby. I did the opposite—I ate my emotions and gained more weight.
I wanted nothing more than to have another baby, and I knew in time it would happen—and it did. In October 2017 I gave birth to our son, Caden. But with that pregnancy I put on even more weight, and by the time I gave birth I was approximately 250 pounds. I felt hopeless.
My eating habits were awful. I was eating fast food four to five times a week, and I was embarrassed to show my family how poorly I was eating. I would struggle to walk a couple of blocks, let alone do any form of exercise. I had frequent headaches and back pains. I would get light headed walking up a few stairs. Simple tasks like bending down to pick something up or walking around the block made me feel short of breath. I gave up at the idea of ever being able to get healthy.
My turning point came in the summer of 2018. I was in the basement with my two boys, when my oldest son asked me to get a ball from upstairs.
I walked from the couch to stairs (which was maybe eight feet away), walked up two stairs, then instantly had to sit down. I had a cold sweat come over me, started seeing spots, and my hearing got fuzzy. I thought I was going to pass out right in front of them. It scared the life out of me. I never wanted to relive that moment ever again, and knew I needed to make a serious change. My boys are my "why."
I changed my entire outlook on eating and nutrition with Beachbody’s Ultimate Portion Fix. For once in my life, a health plan made sense to me. I didn’t have to cut anything out of my diet. I didn’t have to starve myself. I didn’t have to take any supplements. I was able to eat normal food, but I would just have to measure each food group into the program’s colored containers. Simple portion control.
I thought I was going to be starving, but it was actually the opposite. I was feeding my body proper nutrition, which actually gave me more energy and made me feel good instead of feeling tired and sick.
Here’s what I typically eat in a day:
Breakfast: Two eggs, spinach/tomatoes, rolled oats with fresh blueberries, coffee with unsweetened, homemade almond milk.
Lunch: Grilled chicken salad with fresh veggies over brown rice or zucchini noodles with shrimp.
Snacks: Shakeology (Beachbody superfood) mixed with fruit and frozen riced cauliflower, or hummus with a vegetable, raw almonds.
Dinner: Grilled salmon, roasted Brussels sprouts (or some other vegetable) is my to-go-to. Or I will make something from FIXATE (recipes created by Autumn Calabrese & Bobby Calabrese that fits with Ultimate Portion Fix.
Dessert: Almond butter with a fruit or on a rice cake.
On day one of my journey I also started Beachbody’s 21 Day Fix and took it one day at a time.
I had to modify every single move, including jumping jacks. What I loved about this program was that Autumn Calabrese, Beachbody Super Trainer and nutrition expert, made me feel motivated even through a screen. I had to pause and take many deep breaths, but I pushed through. The program is a mix of cardio and weights, which made it fun that I wasn’t doing the same workout every day.
As each day passed, I got stronger and stronger. After a while I didn’t have to modify anymore and was able to increase my dumbbells. I started lifting with three-pound dumbbells, and now I am able to do that same moves with a 20-pound dumbbell.
I work out every single day now because I love it, not because I have to. Working out has become therapy for me. I stick with one of the many Beachbody programs, finish it, then move on to the next one. I've done multiple rounds of 21 Day Fix, Extreme and 80 Day Obsession.
I have never been a morning person, but now I wake up at 5:30 a.m., drink my pre-workout, then go into my garage gym. I love working out at home because the gym has always been a place I feared. I would always have anxiety going into a gym. But with these workouts, and the Beachbody programs, it allowed me to stay in my home while still getting amazing results.
These three changes made the biggest difference in my weight-loss results.
Don’t put any pressure or a timeline on your journey. I would always have a deadline as to how much weight I want to lose by a certain time and always failed. This time I said to myself, "This is going to be a lifelong journey." It doesn’t matter if I reach the goal in a year, three years, or five years—what matters is that I am changing my life to be healthy, not a size. So, I took it day by day, meal by meal, workout by workout, and took the pressure off of myself.
I took monthly progress pictures. On the 12th of every month ( I started on November 12, 2018), I would take a progress picture. It would help me see with my own eyes the progress I was making and gave me the encouragement I needed to keep going.
I started to cook more. Instead of eating out or ordering take-out, I became more active in the kitchen and started trying new, healthy recipes that my family would enjoy as well. Watching my boys choose healthy options makes me proud to know I am setting a good example for them. I also am still utilizing Portion Fix.
I lost 120 pounds in 17 months.
I hope that my journey inspires other women to believe in themselves and gives them hope. I’ve gained confidence. I’ve gained a happiness within myself that I never knew existed. I’ve gained the ability to run outside with my boys and be active with them. I’ve been able to go on rides in Disney with my family and not have the fear that I wouldn’t fit in the seat.
I’ve been able to show my boys what healthy nutrition is and that working out is fun—they even join me when I am working out! I hope that every woman reading this says to herself, “I can do it too”, because you can. Find your "why"—then fight for it and don’t give up.
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