By Jenna Leveille
The founder of the website ‘Getting Closer Every Day’ shares how she finally conquered her weight-loss demons
After my daughter was born in 2001, I couldn’t take off the pregnancy weight and got up to 270 pounds. For 13 years after that, I went on every crash diet you can imagine. You name it, I tried it—probably more than 50 diets in all. I was always dieting for something: an event, to get into a dress, to get in shape for a vacation ….
In 2013, I was finally inspired to make a real change. I was sedentary but I was working with all these great people who were getting up early to work out, and that got the ball rolling. My team in Denver was my biggest inspiration.
I was referred to a trainer who told me to meet him at a Centennial gym called Landow Performance, which turned out to be a Broncos training facility. I walked in the first day and saw Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker and other pro athletes. I thought I was in the wrong place—but it turns out I could not have found a better gym. After a week of being there, these guys were high-fiving me and cheering me on.
My trainer suggested I start posting about my workouts and diet—which consisted of high protein, low fat, low carb and no sugar. And I mean no sugar: I limited myself to 10 grams of sugar a day, which meant I could eat one apple every two days. Soon, friends and family began reaching out via Facebook or text asking me, “Did you work out today?” That helped me be accountable and really focus on all the support I was getting and be strict about my diet. I felt like I was beating this—finally!— and when friends would ask me to go out to happy hour or dinner, I’d say, “Ask me to do something else,” and we’d go on a hike or walk instead.
One of my biggest cheerleaders kept saying to me, “You’re getting closer every day,” so when I had a bad day, progress was slow or I was getting frustrated, I’d remember that phrase—and that’s why I launched the website gettingclosereveryday.com and its corresponding Facebook community, which includes everyone from nutritionists and yoga instructors to people who want to lose 15 pounds and people in the 300- to 500-pound range. So many people in the community asked me what supplements I used to stay healthy while losing weight that I decided to also sell them on the website for anyone interested. And two years ago, I was lucky enough to join Spafinder, the largest gift card network of wellness spas, as its global sales director, and it has truly been the perfect fit for my lifestyle and encompasses everything about wellness that I believe in.
Finally, after I lost 140 pounds, I felt healthy, happy and free, so I decided to put the cherry on top and have a breast lift and tuck. It was the first surgery I’d ever had, and though it wasn’t a walk in the park, it was priceless in my book, and I’m so grateful to Denver plastic surgeon Stacey Folk and her amazing staff. But nine months later, I needed to have an emergency hysterectomy and had a scary incident in post-op that required CPR. I often wonder if my heavier self would have survived. So when you’re looking for inspiration to be a healthier version of yourself, just remember it could be preparation to beat the unexpected things in life.
10 important things I’ve learned
1. Write down your goals and read them every day before you do anything else.
2. Take it 10 pounds at a time; it’s less overwhelming.
3. Tell everyone you are getting healthy and really need their support. Not everyone knows how to be supportive; maybe you shared bad habits together. Whatever it is, make sure you stay strong and firm.
4. Be accountable! If you need a partner but don’t have someone to buddy up with, join our free Facebook group.
5. Don’t worry about your skin sagging after weight loss. It can turn into an excuse not to start.
6. Move earlier in the morning so your day doesn’t get away from you.
7. Drink a glass of water before every meal. Add lemon if possible.
8. Reduce your carbs after 2 p.m. And remember: An apple a day but not much more. Sugar is sugar and it can slow your progress.
9. Get a pedometer to track your steps. It’s a great, inexpensive way to keep yourself motivated and accountable about how much you move.
10. If you fail one day, try, try, again. And be kind to yourself! Fill your brain with thoughts that move you forward, and then pass them on.