My name is Jenny Hodges and at 369 pounds I was always the biggest person in the room.
Life in the early 1970s was pretty good. I stayed active by riding my bike, playing with my friends and I relaxed by reading and watching TV. A lot of reading. And a lot of TV. When I was 8 years old my mother began working out of the home and our diet suddenly changed to more processed meals, and a lot of fast food. But my real downfall came in the early 1980’s when my parents opened up a pizza restaurant. Suddenly I had ready access to high calorie foods anytime I wanted. I quickly began to put on the weight and I was only 11 years old.
I tried to make jokes about my weight, and I was always thought of as the funny fat girl with the pretty face and I always felt that people were talking about me behind my back. I never had a boyfriend in high school, and though I always dreamed of being a runner like my sister and my cousins, my weight always held me back. As I got bigger and bigger I surrounded myself with other overweight women. They made me feel that I wasn’t alone, they never teased me. Food meant everything to me. I ate because I was bored. I ate because I was lonely. I ate because I could. The bigger I got, the more I ate, and the worse I would eat. I would feel good when I was eating, but as soon as I was done, I would feel horrible. So I just didn’t stop. It didn’t take long until I was close to 400 pounds.
When I became a mother for the third time in three years my weight really began to take a toll on me. It was very difficult to take care of my children’s most basic needs; I couldn’t bathe them in the bathtub because I couldn’t get up off the floor from a kneeling position, so they took their nightly bath in the kitchen sink. While their basic needs were a challenge, so was having fun with them! I couldn’t get down on the floor and play with them, and it was a struggle to take them to the park. My obesity was impacting more than just me.
I knew I had to lose weight in the summer of 2008. My kids had just turned 2, 3, and 4 and I fell in the backyard while I was attempting to play kickball with them. I hurt my right knee and ankle very badly. I couldn’t get up off the ground and the kids had to run for daddy. Thankfully my husband was home, but he couldn’t pick me up and carry me inside. He had to get a blanket, roll me on the blanket, and then drag me inside the house. I was humiliated. And scared. What if I had been home alone with the children and suffered a heart attack brought on by my obesity? I had high blood pressure, my triglycerides and cholesterol levels were through the roof and I was pre-diabetic. I knew that if I didn’t do something that I was going to leave my children without a mother and no way was I going to let that happen.
I knew that to be successful I was going to need support. I immediately turned to my husband who agreed that something had to be done. Knowing that actions speak louder than words, he came home from work one night with a gym membership complete with childcare. I began working out right way. I started off slowly with low impact exercises, but after a few months I took the biggest step of my life. I joined in group fitness classes. I was still over 300 pounds, and still the biggest person in the room, but I went in, and I asked for help. The instructors were more than willing to show me modifications for even the most basic of low impact aerobics and weight training exercises. And people were talking about me…in a positive way. I had so many encouraging words from the other women in my classes. The support was, and still is, phenomenal. My fitness has evolved over the past 4 ½ years. I am a runner, a triathlete, an endurance athlete, and now I do CrossFit. I never let myself stagnate. I always push myself out of my comfort zone.
But I had to change my diet too. And change it I did. I cut out all refined sugars, white breads, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, and the biggest one of all…fast food. And my diet continues to evolve and change. I’m currently focusing on the Whole30 plan and am feeling amazing!!
In order to be successful I had to learn how to put myself first and leave the guilt of the previous 37 years behind. I was a woman on a mission. And I am still on that mission.
I’ve been fortunate to be able to motivate other people by having my story featured on International, National, and Local Press outlets. I’ve been in a major commercial campaign for Weight Watchers, and Mad Dogg Athletics (Spinning), and have been featured in Woman’s Day Magazine (December, 2012). In addition, I was a Project Athena Grant Recipient in November, 2012 I am the 2013 winner of the Athleta Power to the She Award Iron Girl Clearwater.
My weight loss has given me confidence. Confidence that I can do anything. The best part about being healthier and slimmer is being able to keep up with my kids and being a positive role model for my family and my community. I am proud of me.
I’m a former marine biologist, librarian, and fat girl, turned amateur athlete, motivational speaker, and writer. I lost 212 pounds by changing my mindset, clean eating and adding in daily exercise. I am a certified Spinning instructor, and CrossFit addict. I also enjoy adventure/endurance challenges and running races with my children. I am married to James, and we have 3 kids (The Trio), and one autism service dog; a giant yellow Labrador named Matthew. I have a pay it forward Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/jennyhodgesismetamorfit and I blog at http://www.metamorfit.org. You can also follow me on Twitter @JennyMetamorfit, Instagram, and Pinterest.
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