A JJ is someone who joins the gym in January, and while some regular gym rats hate the influx of newbies, it’s been nice to read that many of you make an effort to include them.  After all, some of them do stick around!  Some people are even leaving the JJs Operation Beautiful notes in the locker rooms to encourage them.  Smile 


Without further ado, here are some more JJs.  I’ll be following up with them throughout the year and in January 2014!  Check out the first of the JJs for 2013.


Jessica wrote, “I have a membership at the local YMCA, and even went to spinning classes there for a while, but fell off the wagon.  Something has to change because I’m 28 years old and I feel 58. I’m the fat vegan and I hate it (an anomaly, I know, but Oreos and vegan ice cream were enjoyed a bit too much). I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome when I was 21 years old and have really been battling my weight ever since. The weight piles on easily and is so hard to lose. I lost 40 pounds back in 2007, but I did that the unhealthy way (Lean Cuisines and skipping meals), and I gained it all back PLUS more.


I lost my father in November 2010, and from then on my emotional eating started. Everything in my world felt so wrong (losing my Dad, unhappy at work, unhappy at home), and I turned to food to make me feel better. I’d binge eat on my lunch breaks at work to escape the unhappiness there. 40 EXTRA pounds later, and I’m on blood pressure medication (at 28 years old!), my body hurts and I’m severely unhappy. All the extra weight has affected my mood, my relationship (I’ve lost my mojo and confidence), and I can’t seem to get out of this vicious cycle.


I just finished my first semester of my 2nd Master’s degree and plan on switching careers when I’m finished. I walked the dog for a brisk 30 minutes yesterday in the NYC cold. I’m going to try and walk at least 30 minutes a day (which is hard to do, as I have stupid plantar fasciitis in both my feet) and maybe one day start jogging. I’m so ENVIOUS of runners – – I even DREAM that I run and like doing it. Sad, huh? I’m going to CLEAN up my diet and try to do something else, like walk around my job’s neighborhood, when I feel an emotional urge to eat crap. Something has to change…because I don’t think I can stand another year of depression, mood swings and lack of confidence. “



Nicole wrote, “I have ALWAYS struggled with my weight… All through high school, I hated my size and became really self conscious.  In college, I put on even more weight and got to right at 200 pounds.  I decided to do something about it. I started to walk with friends and eat better, and eventually, I lost 20 pounds.  After I graduated college, I signed up with a personal trainer, I lost 20 more pounds, and felt even better! 


Then my life started to unravel.  I ended a 3.5 year relationship with this guy I dated/lived with who made me feel horrible about myself, my aunt was dying from cancer, I had a full time job and was going to night class 3 times a week.  My relationship with food and the gym turned obsessive.  It was the only thing I could control in my life at the time.  It took about a year of this for me to realize how all those things that were going on in my life at the time screwed up my relationship with food and working out. I decided to stop my unhealthy behaviors, which was good.  I gained back some of the weight and was really happy.  However, the cycle began to repeat itself – I got lazy, gained back even more weight, and before I knew it, I was at a bad place. 


In the summer, I made a commitment to myself again.  I started running after work with my boyfriend Mike and it was a great hobby for us to have.  After work, we would go to the park or to the gym, and we were seeing results and loving it.  Mike had never been a runner and ran his first 5K with me in June.  He was hooked.  In August, we did a 5k mud run where about a mile in, I tore my ACL and Meniscus.  I was devastated!  I couldn’t believe that I wasn’t going to be out of commission for so long because of this injury.  After 2 surgeries and a million hours in physical therapy, I am now cleared to start going back to the gym!  I won’t be able to run for a while, but I can do the bike and other low-impact things.  I thought it was very fitting that this happened the first week of 2013…I definitely felt like I was going to be looked down upon as one of those people who just started to go to the gym because it is the beginning of the year.  I know I used to think that way about all the people the first few months of the new year… but now I am going to embrace it.  I am back up to about 190 and my goal for this year is to lose the 40 pounds that I gained over the last few years.  Mike set his goal at 25 pounds so we are working on this together!  I can’t wait to see what 2013 has in store for me.”


photoMeagan is ready to get truly healthy so she can have a baby!  Meagan wrote, “My husband and I have been married for over two years now, and we’ve decided that this is The Year – time to start a family!  I sincerely hope that it will be easy for us, but the reality is that it’s not in my control.  But my health completely is – and I know that living a healthy lifestyle is the best thing I can do between now and whenever that Big Fat Positive happens (and beyond)!  I have been working on healthy eating and fitness goals for some time now, and both my husband and I are using the fresh start of the new year to really get focused on our health together.  Think of me next week – I’m joining a January boot camp!”



photo2Arlene wrote, “While I’m not planning to join a gym this month, I am making 2013 the year I finally get healthy. At 41 years old (42 in October), it’s long past time. My mother died at age 59, having had a heart attack and bypass surgery, and getting diagnosed with diabetes while in the hospital. She’d been overweight (okay, obese. I hate that word.) for as long as I can remember. I want to avoid a similar fate.


With that in mind, I’m making 2013 my year of "consistency." I plan to consistently make good, healthy choices and make a huge dent in weight loss. I probably can’t hit my goal weight of 170 my 42nd birthday, but I can get back below 200 pounds. 


My eating plan of choice this go-round is Weight Watchers. I started on New Year’s Day. So far, so good. I’ve been eating well. Strangely, it seems to be more food than I was used to!  I’m also working on making simple swaps, like drinking water at Starbucks!  My exercise plan isn’t up to snuff yet, because I plan to get a handle on diet first, then add in workouts. I want to be logging regular workouts (3x a week) by mid-January. “


I really like Arlene’s simple goal of consistency.  It’s such a hard thing to achieve, but so powerful, too.  I love the Gympact app – it’s a killer way to ensure consistency.  Nothing like having cash on the line!


I  loved the tips you guys had for the first group of January Joiners (check out the comments). Do you have any tips for Arlene, Meagan, Nicole, and Jessica?



  • Caitlin @ This Bride's Joyride January 11, 2013, 2:10 pm

    I love these January Joiner posts!

    I think consistency is an awesome goal (and definitely one of the hardest) but a key to success. For me to be consistent I really have to plan ahead and have set days and times for workouts (I always think of them like a work appointment – they are just a part of my schedule). Another tip I learned is that the best time to workout is the time you will always do it! I can’t workout after work because inevitably I have to stay late or plan with friends come up, so morning it is for me.

  • Natalie @ Free Range Human January 11, 2013, 2:34 pm

    I love how Meagan and Nicole are making it a family affair. Having a support team is so important, and this will benefit them in so many ways.

  • Jen January 11, 2013, 2:37 pm

    My comment is for Jessica

    Jessica, when I read ” I’m so ENVIOUS of runners – – I even DREAM that I run and like doing it,” I thought, wow, I can relate. I used to literally dream about running too and I think it was because my body had a lot of unused energy within, waiting to come out!

    Over the past year I’ve been struggling and succeeding at learning to exercise consistently. I haven’t lost much weight yet, but I can tell how much stronger I am and how much more stamina I have.

    I did have to realize one thing. I don’t like running. It hurts my joints and feels endless and just doesn’t bring that rush that it brings to some people. It’s ok that I don’t like running too. I like other things, like treadmill “hikes” with the speed and elevation varied throughout my workout, or the stationary bike. For a while I felt like I must be failing because I didn’t love to run. There must be something wrong with me.

    But, as I began to enjoy some other types of cardio workouts, I realized I could be successful without running too. I have the utmost respect for running, it’s just not for me personally, at least right now.

    I’m not at the health level I want to be at yet, but I am trying, and I know how hard it is. I hope that you find some activities that you like to do. This is kind of a rambling comment, but I related to your story and wish you all the best!


    • Katie @ peacebeme January 11, 2013, 11:03 pm

      I loved this comment Jen and I second it! I used to be a major runner but now I have an inflammatory nerve disorder that has sidelined me from most physical activity beyond light swimming. I just always want to tell people to be grateful to be able to move and to do what activities you DO enjoy!

    • Shannon January 11, 2013, 11:06 pm

      5 years ago I was almost 300 pounds and i would wake up from super realistic dreams where I’d been running effortlessly down the road, bounding over obstacles and feeling absolutely amazing. I’d go to sleep at night trying to picture what it would be like to be able to run. I suspected it was because my body and my mind were ready. Rady to move and change and explore the future.

      5 years later I’m a muscular and fit 160 pounds and becoming a personal trainer.

      I’d say the journey has been long, but it’s not a journey. It’s just life, lived everyday in the best way that I can with what I have at the moment.

      It’s different for everyone and the minute that you stop trying to put your unique self into someone else’s mold and find what truly works for you, it becomes nearly effortless. Not to say that the workouts are easy or cooking for every meal all the time isn’t a pain, just that there is no question about any of it. The mental part becomes just who you are and how you live.

      Thanks to Caitlyn’s JJ series, I too try to smile at the unfamiliar faces at the gym these days in the hopes that some of them will stay!

      • Jessi January 13, 2013, 6:22 pm

        YES! My dreams are INSANELY realistic! Running feels natural, organic and effortless in my dreams. But when I try to do it in real life.. I fail miserably. What an inspirational story you have!! Did you ever start running?

  • Stephanie@nowirun.com January 11, 2013, 3:40 pm

    My advice… every day is a new day to make a choice to be healthy. Remind yourself that you’re worth the effort, you aren’t giving things up you’re gaining a new life, and you CAN do it!

  • Sara @ fitcupcaker January 11, 2013, 3:42 pm

    Just stay consistent… Have your family members, friends etc get on board with your diet, your routines so they can help you, not hinder you 🙂 It will be easier with support 🙂

  • Jill January 11, 2013, 6:51 pm

    I want to HUG Jessica. JESSICA, you can email me if Caitlin wants to pass on my email privately to you. Seriously. I am the same way and so depressed.
    Thing is that I live in middle of nowhere and we are currently in a 3 day SNOWstorm ….I’ve been “shut in” for 2 days and tommorow gets worse (freezing rain + wind). I cant’ do stuff inside because I live with a retired person who would freak out any noise used for exercise (and we live in a TINY apartment). I can’t go out and walk. I obviously don ‘t go to a gym and couldn’t even if one existed here. I’m sitting….depressed…and eating, and eating, and eating.

    I KNOW all your pain. I’m feeling it and I want to hug you and say we can conquer this depression. We have to be OKAY with every day. I know I’m going to be a sitting duck for the next week….and more.
    But like you…..wheenver we don’t have blizzreds , I will TRY to go out for a walk. That might only be 2 days a week, but I can’t can’t let it get me down…the food, well, that’s going to be a struggle for a long time, I can’t seem to even want to change…but anyway, Hugs.

    • Jessi January 13, 2013, 6:20 pm

      I want to hug you too!!! I’ve been trying this past week, really trying. My mom just had her knee replaced on Friday and my bf’s family stayed at my house for 2 days. It’s been a struggle not wanting to devour crap food to somehow make myself feel less stressed and exhausted. I brought carrot slices and sunflower seeds to the hospital to munch on (it’s 1.5 hour commute into Manhattan from SI by public transportation), and lots of water. I resisted a soft pretzel and took the steps whenever possible. I’m really, really trying this time. How can we get to chatting with each other? Can you maybe try some yoga at home? Or just go into the bathroom or your bedroom and do some jumping jacks and stuff like that? Get your blood pumping??

  • Ashley January 11, 2013, 8:21 pm

    I don’t have any tips, but I just wanted to say, You ladies rock!! Go JJ !! 🙂

  • Dory January 11, 2013, 11:58 pm

    I downloaded gym pact a few days ago! I saw it on your website and wanted it but they only had it for iPhone’s at the time. Not so now! I already work out consistently but I wanted to kick it up a notch this next few months. It already is helping, today when I didn’t feel like doing anything I remembered I would have to pay $5 for the day. That was enou incenticentomget up and walk the dog :). What started out as a “30 minutes and get it over with” ended up being almost an hour and me looking for hills! I highly recommend it!

  • Amy H. January 12, 2013, 2:20 am

    I love the one-word “Consistency” theme for the year . . . that is a good one! Arlene, I am doing Weight Watchers too — and wanted to suggest my favorite healthy swap there. Try the Tazo Passion Iced Tea with no sweetener — it has zero WW points and yet SO MUCH tart fruit flavor. It has become my go-to afternoon treat at Starbucks.

    Also, if you are craving coffee/dessert, for a treat once in a while, I really enjoy getting their iced coffee with skim milk and putting only one sugar packet (or less) in myself — don’t have them do the “pump” or “two pumps” of sugar syrup.

  • carol January 12, 2013, 9:13 am

    My comment is for Arlene – I joined Weight Watchers in July of 2010 , reached my goal weight in April of 2011 and have become a lifetime member . I have to say the points plus program worked for me and with unlimited fruits and veggies daily it seemed like a doable goal and one that has been easy for me to stick to . I have eliminated all medications that I was on and now take daily vitamins and natural supplements to remain healthy . The meetings and tracking your food are key to success on this program . Stick with program and you’ll see results immediately ! I’ve lost 45 pounds and kept it off – Hang in there girlfriend !

  • Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut January 12, 2013, 12:33 pm

    Jessica, I used to have plantar faciitis flare ups all the time, but I have learned tricks to keep them at a minimum, even when I’m running a lot or training for a race. A few things that really help are:

    -Roll a frozen water bottle under your foot back and forth several times (even when it hurts) to massage the arch. Really get in there, this helps A LOT!

    -Stretch your calves regularly

    -Do not wear totally flat shoes. Shoes like Converse SEEM comfy, but they do not give your arches any support. Wedges or boots with a small heel would be good. Even my Keds (I found some cute ones in fun colors) that have arch support help, too.

    I feel your pain! Best of luck on your journey!

    • Jessi January 13, 2013, 6:25 pm

      I have to get back into the groove of stretching and icing, definitely. I have PF in one foot and what they THINK is Baxter’s Nerve Entrapment in my left foot (possibly from a surgical procedure to fix chronic PF!!). It’s just so hard when you WANT to walk..but it hurts so much. I get up from sitting and I walk like a 90 year old. Thanks for the advice 🙂 I’m going to try an anti-inflammatory for a little while again, too 🙂

  • Jillian January 12, 2013, 7:08 pm

    Meagan – Getting healthy before baby is such a great motivator!! I’m excited to hear how things progress for you!

  • Meagan January 13, 2013, 10:01 am

    Thank you for the comments everyone! I’m excited to be a part of such a motivating and inspiring group of people!

  • Arlene @ Adventures in Weight Loss January 15, 2013, 1:39 am

    Let me chime in with my thanks, too. I appreciate all your comments and support.

    So far, Weight Watchers is working like a dream — down 9.8 pounds since Jan. 1.

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