Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Before & After Success Story (Jenna of Small Fry Blog)

I've been pestering my friend Jenna (of Small Fry Blog) to allow me to post about her weight loss and fit-lifestyle gain for awhile now and she finally gave in!  She's a mom to two precious boys and looks younger than ever.  I'm so proud of her and thrilled that she is allowing me to share her story with you all here.

Not only does she look amazing, Jenna feels better than ever after making some serious changes to her diet and embracing a lifestyle of exercise.  I think there is nothing better than REAL LIFE examples of regular women who are committed to changing their health for the better and then get to show off their results as a testimony to the sweat and hard work it took to get there.

I'm motivated and encouraged by her and I hope you will be too.

Here are Jenna's BEFORE & AFTER photos and her story in her own words below.  



I've always been "fit." As in, I've always worked out at the gym & felt guilty when I ate a whole plate of brownies. I never would have considered myself overweight but just your average size 8-10 girl, 5'5, 145 pounds

I got pregnant with my first son Quinn, and after a miscarriage and some bed rest issues, I found I had gained a solid 45 pounds. No worries though because 'nursing will FOR SURE take it all off! Lies! (At least for me.) I discovered that my body more easily wanted to hang on to the weight than lose it while I was nursing. I was ravenously hungry and filling myself with anything I could find to stay full and happy! I worked out occasionally, tormented myself with P90X, and wished to be skinnier. I lost everything but 10 pounds by the time another baby was to come two years later.

Pregnant with my second boy Jude, with a bit more experience under my belt, I tried a little bit harder. I definitely was more conscious, and knew that the weight wouldn't just miraculously fall off after his birth. I only gained 30 lbs but with the additional 10 I had held on to previously, I was sitting on a lot of extra weight, and a lot of bad habits. The second he was born I knew it was time to change. 

Initially I signed up for Weight Watchers because they have a nursing program and I actually REALLY loved this program. It was perfect for me, and I got enough food to keep my supply up for my baby but at the same time was conscious of portion control. It was the beginning for me, at the age of 27, of finally being conscious and present in what I'm eating. I had never known before this program how much of my eating was out of boredom. At this time I was also working out at the gym quite regularly, doing pump classes or running. 

At four months post partum I weighed 153 lbs and was 26% body fat. At this point I was introduced to the world & culture of Crossfit. As much as it is a trend now, when I started I was one of the only women I knew of my friends who did it, and it was terrifying. I had never put any weight (literally) in strength training & all the olympic style heavy lifts were very intimidating for me. I remember sitting in my car before class, and giving myself a pep talk to go inside. Which is so not like me as I'm a very social person, but like I said this atmosphere was so foreign and new to me at first - and completely terrifying! It took one week for me to fall in love with Crossfit, one month to become obsessed, and a couple months to see the difference in my body. I'd lost 12 additional pounds and weighed 141 & was comfortably a size 6. I ran a half marathon, excelled in crossfit and generally just felt alive again! 

It was ineviteble for me to be introduced to the world of Paleo shortly after the world of Crossfitting. But of course I was working out harder than I ever had in my life so surely I did not need to adjust my eating :) I was definitely making better choices; oatmeal, whole grain toast and salads but there was something about this challenge I wanted to take on. So I started. The withdrawals were outrageous, and I found myself declining lunch dates with friends because I knew full well I couldn't control myself there. It was a whole new world of lean meats, sweet potatoes, fish, and considering pineapple a dessert. This was when the most change happened, in my opinion. While I only lost 10 pounds in 60 days of being 100% paleo, I lost 5% more body fat taking me down to 16% and lost over 10 inches taking me down to a size 4. I learned to take my focus off the scale, its results could never compare to the leaps and bounds I was making in body fat and inches. I've never felt better than when I'm following the guidelines of Paleo. It's not for everyone, and I now follow the 85/15 rule to allow for some fun every now and then. To me living 85% paleo isn't so much a diet as it is a lifestyle. 

Besides the fact that I feel great in my clothes, (although I'm always wanting and challenging myself for more body change. I don't think I'll ever be an "after", I'll never stop looking for ways to challenge myself and improve my health!), I've found that a healthy lifestyle has made me a better person, wife, and mother. I'm happier, more energetic, excited about life, and confident! All these changes result in a happier, healthier home for our family. 

* * * * * 

It can be scary to share yourself so openly in such a public format.  If her story resonated with or encouraged you, please leave a comment so that she knows she has helped someone. - Megan

If YOU have a BEFORE & AFTER success story you are willing to share, please send it my way.  I'd love to feature you here!

You can email me at:  honeywerehealthyblog@gmail.com



89 comments:


  1. Wow! What a transformation...she is adorable!

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  2. Wow, inspiring story. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Congrats Jenna! That is amazing. I don't really know what Paleo is but what incredible results you've gotten! I'm in the process of finding a work/life balance that allows me time for the gym. Taking Megan's advice to just put my feet on the ground in the morning has finally made me able to get in 5:30am workouts 5x a week. Thanks for sharing your story to help all of us stay motivated to keep with it!

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    1. i'm so proud of you!! KEEP AT IT! by small and simple things, such great things happen!

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  4. Great post and story. Inspirational! Thanks for sharing!

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  5. That's a fantastic and very inspiring story. Congratulations Jenna, you look wonderful! I have heard about the Paleo lifestyle and am now more curious than ever to check it out. Thanks for sharing Jenna's story.

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  6. what a great story! i love the idea that you're never really an "after" because you're always evolving! i have also learned recently that just exercise isn't enough - what you put in your body is just as (if not, more) important. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story!
    -- jackiejade.blogspot.com

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    1. as much as i wish it wasn't true, it is!! eating they say is 90% and exercise 10%, but i'm willing to bet it's 100%! it's so important. best of luck & thanks for your support!

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    2. From my understanding you are definitely right about what you eat being more influential on your weight, but exercise is extremely important for many other reasons, like preventing cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, depression, and the list goes on! Great work, you look amazing!

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  7. Congrats to Jenna! She looks amazing! I'd love for her to share some of the foods and 'snacks' she eats that are Paleo approved. My husband and I tried Paleo and while we liked it we gave in after a few weeks. I love her 85/15 Paleo idea!

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    1. paleo can totally be exhausting. it takes SO MUCH preparation & if you're caught without preparation, you are bound to fail! i know when i'm hungry and running errands and i forgot to bring something to snack on....I'M TOAST! i eat a lot of leftovers. i prepare twice the amount of meal a paleo recipe calls for so i immediately have something to eat the next day. i love ground beef recipes for that purpose, they are hearty & go a long way. chili, bolognese over spaghetti squash etc.... for snacks i eat a lot of nuts, fruit (paleo suggests small servings of fruit but i don't care ;)) cucumbers & peppers with s and p. i literally have baggies of those things in my car at ALL TIMES so i don't go hungry when running my kids around. hope that helps and good luck!!

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  8. So inspiring, congrastulations, good job!- Nuria from Spain

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  9. Jenna, you look awesome! And I know that it is so true that when you take care of yourself you can be a better wife, mom and friend.
    Susan

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  10. You look great!! Im pretty fit and healthy as well but really started putting effort into clean eating and have already noticed a difference not only to my body but to my face(constant break outs) as well.
    FYI-love your longer ombre hair.

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  11. You look great! I too struggle with losing weight while nursing. My second is 5 months old and I started clean eating and my milk started to tank. I had to add in oatmeal and brown rice just to get the calories I needed. It's so frustrating but in the end my baby comes first and I will continue to do what I'm doing. Thanks so much for sharing your story. It really does inspire me.

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    1. exactly how i felt, which is why i did weight watchers for so long & didn't work out a ton. i'm blessed with a great supply but if it ever started to tank, i would definitely adjust my eating/fitness plan. what i do love about paleo is you are getting full on such nutrient dense and wholesome food so you are never hungry. there is also no portion control suggestion with paleo, i just found that i got full SO FAST because the food is just so nutritious. perhaps you could look in to doing something like that? but like i said, baby first :) you're doing awesome!!

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  12. Jenna, great story! I passed it on to a friend that just started Paleo. It is amazing how healthy eating makes you a better mom. I feel like I have so much more energy!

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  13. Jenna, great story! I have a friend that just started Paleo so I passed your story along. I agree that healthy eating makes you a better mom. Having energy is a must with a 3 year old!

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  14. Such an awesome and inspirational story! She's totally motivating me post partum!

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  15. I am going to make being featured on your blog with my before and after a goal towards losing 40lbs! Thanks for sharing this story very encouraging!

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  16. So inspiring, Jenna! So proud of you.

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  17. Thank you for this. I just had my first baby and during my pregnancy I gained 50 lbs. at 5 weeks pp I still have 20 lbs of that left plus 20 more I'd like to lose. I've always considered signing up for crossfit but I'm so scared since its such a cult following. This has inspired me to rethink the idea. You're a wonderful inspiration

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    1. it's true. crossfit's logos, t shirts, images EVERYWHERE just make it seem crazy & plain annoying. if you can just get past the stigma, it really is the best workout. so efficient (i'm in and out in 45 minutes to an hour) and it's just the best workout of your life!

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  18. Yes, she looks fantastic!!! Love the story. My husband and I are trying to make better choices when eating although not really following Paleo guidelines, but I think every small change here and there will add up! Thanks for the inspiration!

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  19. You look amazing and you are so inspiring!! Thank you so much for sharing your story!

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  20. Any advice for someone who longs to join crossfit but simply can't afford it? I need the structure and can relate all too well to Jenna's 'before' story. I have two small kids and am a stay at home mom.

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    1. You can TOTALLY do crossfit on your own. The group atmosphere is ideal because a trainer is so helpful with form and the social aspect is so motivating, but lots of people all over the world do it at home and stay connected through the crossfit website. It's helpful to do it at a crossfit for a month to get the format and form coaching but the website posts a video of the workout of the day daily so with some study and buying initial equipment you can do it!!

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    2. yes all what darcie said!! i have an entire board of at home workouts i've pinned! if you can't afford equipment at the time being (there are a lot for sale in the classifieds) you can start with getting yourself a jump rope ($25-$50-) and you'll have a thousand workouts to do! jump ropes, burpees, situps, pushups, air squats etc...can all be done with just your own body! crossfit.com is a great resource too!
      best of luck and let me know if you have any other questions!

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    3. http://calicrossfit.blogspot.com/ is a great blog where she posts daily workouts. some require equipment but tons do not. she's also collected tons of videos to demonstrate good technique. i did crossfit for a few weeks on my own before starting at an actual location and learning good technique revolutionized my results.

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  21. I've actually seen Jenna at the crossfit studio here in Pleasant Grove and wow I seriously can't believe it when I saw her before photo in this post! I would have never thought that was her! This makes me want to try paleo

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  22. Thanks so much for sharing your story! Great work and I like that you also mention the 85/15 lifestyle - real life, real results. Thank you!

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  23. wow -- such an inspiring story...thanks so much for sharing it with us!

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  24. Jenna makes me proud. People such as her are my favorite to train. Hard workers and no excuses. Way to go!

    Your dumb dumb trainer.

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  25. Do it Jenna! You already know you've been an inspiration toward me changing. You'd totally be my dream "after"

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    1. i love you babe!!!!! i'm so happy to have seen you go through this life change. i know it freaking sucks at times but keep pushing you're looking amazing.

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  27. I heart Jenna and am so proud of not only her dedication to a healthy lifestyle but for sharing it here. Jenna. . you totally inspired me to get off my boo-tay and start kick boxing again!

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    1. you're my favorite. thanks for reading friend! xoxo

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  28. Wow! You look so great! I was wondering if your whole family eats following Paleo or if you cook multiple meals? I would really like to try something like that but I have a husband and three children (11, 15, 17) who would balk and I'd have to make two meals. And then I wonder what kind of message I'm sending to the kids doing that?!

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    1. GREAT question. At the beginning I was sort of making my own meals & i thought two things 1. this is too much work! 2. this is sending a weird message to my kids about food. Fortunately for me my little boys are great eaters & my husband won't eat unless he's cooked for so he didn't have much of a choice :) My kids love salmon, chicken, beef, sweet potatoes, veggies all of the things i cook but i do often supplement and have bread available for them or rice or pasta. I like to feed them what we're having first & then just have a grain as a small part of their meal if they want it! they also eat dairy but sparingly. they drink milk daily.

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  29. You go girl! Time to get off the couch and start Crossfitting! I've only heard good things, and this has put me over the top.

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  30. Good for you! Everyone thinks we are "cute" while pregnant but then the baby comes and... We still have that weight to lose! Congratulations on your success!

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  31. Thank you, Jenna (and Megan), for sharing your story. It definitely speaks to me, as I had my first child about 10 months ago and am working hard to get my body back. Your experience with Weight Watchers and nursing postpartum is so similar to mine- nursing definitely did not make me lose the weight, and I was so hungry all the time! I did Weight Watchers briefly, and now use the MyFitnessPal app, and boy was it eye opening to realize how much food I actually need, and how many calories I consume due to boredom. I am training for a half marathon, and I am curious about the Paleo diet; your post has inspired me to give it a try!

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  32. Really inspriational story! I'm pregnant with my first, and started my pregnancy heavier then I would've liked. I had also just started Crossfit. I kept up with CF through my pregnancy until just recently (25weeks) because it just became to uncomforable. I'm hoping that CF and paleo will help me to get back to my pre-baby shape and better!

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  33. Jenna I feel like your before story is exactly like mine. I am in that place right now just had my second baby still holding on to 10lbs from baby number one, plus the weight from baby number two. We even started at the same pre- baby weight. Your story gave me the kick in the butt I needed to get started. I start today:) so excited. Thanks for being so brave and putting yourself out there. You are an inspiration.

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    1. this made me cry! please email me your progress! xoxo jmrammell@gmail.com

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    2. I will keep you updated! Thanks for sharing your story :)

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  34. Your story sounds just like mine but I don't have an after yet. Thanks for sharing.

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  35. Any recommendations in starting paleo? Cookbooks?

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    1. for sure by the paleo solution. it's a great book to get started & teaches you the science behind eating the cave man way! but after that just start searching the internet! my favorite site is paleoomg.com but there are so many out there! good luck!

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  36. Great story. I am going through my own journey. I have lost 50lbs to date and feel amazing. I am lifting 3 times a week and run two times a week and do a Bootcamp every morning. I never thought I would enjoy working out or that life could feel so great. I love to hear peoples stories of success. It definitely helps me push to continue working hard. Thanks for the inspiration. :-)

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  37. Great story. I am going through my own journey. I have lost 50lbs to date and feel amazing. I am lifting 3 times a week and run two times a week and do a Bootcamp every morning. I never thought I would enjoy working out or that life could feel so great. I love to hear peoples stories of success. It definitely helps me push to continue working hard. Thanks for the inspiration. :-)

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  38. Thank you so much for sharing your story! It's so inspirational. I could really relate to this. After four years, two pregnancies, I FINALLY feel like I am getting my life and body back. I actually feel stronger than I have in my entire life. In July, 6 months postpartum, I was 29% body fat.
    Currently, I'm down 15 pounds, and my body fat is 21%. Still working on it, and this story just helped keep me motivated! Thank you!

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  39. So inspiring! Jenna, do you live in the Houston area? If so, where can I go for a crossfit class? Also, how do I go about getting my body fat measured? Thanks!

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    1. hi! i don't live in the houston area but i'm sure there are plenty of crossfits to choose from! find one nearest you & go in for a couple classes. it's free when you're starting out! also i got my body fat tested at a local college with a very high tech bod pod. i love it because it also tests the fat around your organs!

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  40. Megan thanks for getting Jenna to cave in! Ha ha! Jenna... what a great story! I'm 28 with 4 children ages 6,4,2 and 1. Crazy... I know. BUT, I wouldn't have it any other way. I admire you for being so driven. I want to change our household eating habits... I'd love to move towards healthier choices and can't wait to incorporate 60 minutes of play a day. They get tons of play at school and day care but I thought it'd be fun to be intentional about it at home so that I can be encouraged too. I've always been teased for being small and scrawny. With our firstborn, I gained 32 pounds and lost 27 the day I gave birth to him. Crazy, I know. I was so excited about FINALLY GAINING some weight. I tried everything prior. Now that the "baby factory" is closed I'm encouraged to do weight lifting (I've NEVER done it before), and work out regularly to maintain a healthy body! My hubby is a gym rat... he's dying to eat clean. 2013 is the year for our family change... I can just feel it! P.S. Jenna, seriously you look amazing... looks like you could be their Nanny... not mommy! You GO girl... :)

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    1. haha i LOVE THIS! to be honest i sort of wish i had done all this hard work AFTER having all my kids, since i probably will have a couple more. but i'm hopeful that my new eating and workout habits will keep my weight in check, allow for an earlier delivery & promote a faster recovery! strength training is EVERYTHING. the more muscle you have, the more fat you burn. it's as simple as that! xo.

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  41. Megan thanks for getting her to cave in! Jenna... great story! You look amazing and I'm so sure you must feel it! LOVED your last statement. I want that to be ME! I'm a 28 year old mother of 4 (my husband and I are super blessed, our children are now 6, 4, 2, and 1). It's so crazy and busy. I've made it a goal this year to make better eating habits and being more intentional about active play. My husband is a gym rat and has been dying to eat clean. I REFUSE to cook "special meals". I'm realizing that eating clean isn't so bad and now would like for our entire household to eat clean or cleaner at least! It'd be a dream to eat fresh, healthy foods daily, NO PROCESSED junk. It's a process but I'm moving towards it! Thanks for your inspiration!!! You look great... seriously people in your town must think you're just their babysitter and not their mom! HA ha!!! :) Thanks again Jenna!

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    1. You definitely have your hands full Kischa! It's so much easier when the whole family (or at least you and your husband) are eating the same way and have the same health goals! I need to do more food posts to give you some inspiration for easy, non processed food you can cook quickly. You can do this!

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  42. Thanks so much for sharing your story! You look amazing! I stuggle with my eating every single day! I do a boot camp 5 days a week and LOVE it!!! What I can't seem to do is get my eating in check! I do really well and lose weight and then gain it all back while doing boot camp!! That tells me it's definitely my eating! Will definitely look into Paleo!

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    1. yes i have splurge days, splurge meals and freaking december was a splurge MONTH! so don't get down on yourself. i have set backs all the time. the thing i LOVE about paleo most is that when i am consistent my weight does not fluctuate UP at all. for instance when i'm eating regularly, i can fluctuate up to 5 lbs a day...with paleo i'm literally the same weight when i wake up as when i go to bed (unless of course i've lost anything.) i think that says something! good luck!

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  43. How do you afford crossfit?! I tried it through a free trial and LOVED it, but I just can't justify paying close to $200 a month vs the gym which is only $36 a month. You look amazing BTW!

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    1. it's pure insanity isn't it? my gym is $110 a month, so better than $200--but still INSANE. but i'm so in love & it's a priority & it's what works for me. I justify the costs this way 1. Im in and out in 1 hour TOPS. time is money & i have to be at the regular gym for at least 1.5 hours to get a decent workout 2. i'm no good on my own. some people can follow a regimine and be awesome--i'm not that girl. if i'm not careful i'm talking on my phone on the elliptical having a hell of a time ;) 3. it's constant personal training. i get one and one help every day with lifts & couldn't achieve what i do without the trainers. 4. they're my family now i love it. they truly are some of my dearest friends & greatest supporters! the crossfit atmosphere is like no other!

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  44. Wow, that's incredible! I'm in the same position as your before. I gained 50lbs with my daughter, Olive, and I was already 20lbs heavier than I wanted to be. I figured the weight would "fall off" like it does for everyone else... Wrong! I dropped 20lbs or so at my 7 week pp checkup. Which is nice, but still left me 50lbs heavier than I wanted to be. I ate my feelings away after that, of course.
    I just got a gym membership yesterday though, and I plan to go for an hour a day. If I can do that, I can do anything.
    You're such an inspiration and I hope I have a story to tell one day too! Also, I'd love to eat paleo but how do you keep all your perishables from going bad so quick? It seems any vegetables I buy go bad within a week, and I try to grocery shop only once or twice a month, to keep me from buying junk haha. Do you have any tips?

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    1. good work getting started! you're doing awesome!

      perishables NEVER go bad in this house. when you're eating paleo, it's just the way it is....you can NEVER have too many veggies or fruits. when you're supplementing with grains you get full on those things & not your nutrient dense foods you're eating in paleo!

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  45. Thank you, Jenna! I seem to be in a rut, as much as I don't want to think I am. I even bought a pair of jeans - just one size larger - the other week and wonder if this is the beginning of something really bad. Thank you for the encouragement, being real with all of us, and inspiring each person who reads this.

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    1. return them and buy a size smaller. you can do this!

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  46. Great job! I'm in crossfit and eating Paleo and it's all true! It works and you feel alive again!!!! Every mom should try it..it's such an amazing way to have energy all through the day for your little ones. :)

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  47. You look fabulous, and it's so great to hear that the lifestyle change has given you so much energy and happiness. :)

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  49. Jenna your story is truly inspiring! You look absolutely amazing! I just started crossfit and love it, especially for the sense of community and no nonsense approach! I love the idea of Paleo but I am a self confessed foodaholic and love rice, beans, pasta, milk and cheese. Any advise on how to transition to Paleo? The thought of cutting out entire food groups scares me. Lack of willpower is my biggest obstacle! Thanks so much!!!

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  50. Great encouragement because I am a crossfitter and I recently started a paleo only challenge and it is tough but I am hoping to see results physically as well as my energy and mood!

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  51. Great story!! Thanks so much for sharing!!! Amazing!

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  52. Thank you!I tried crossfit, and loved it, but I wasn't dedicated to paleo, and eventually quit b/c I was planning a wedding.. now I find my size 10's getting tight and its awful.. I have made it to the gym everyday this week so far and have changed from "easy" eating to smart eating. This just proves to me if I can stick with it, I can accomplish it!!

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  53. Great story - especially the part about not focusing so much on the weight - being fit and eating right is so important. Your weight will settle in from there. My girls were in school, and they now just don't focus on weight but body fat%. I remember her gym teacher said she was in great shape but she didn't think so because the scale said she weighed more than a lot of the girls. Her gym teacher said that being fit with lean muscle was better than being skinny fat. :)

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  54. I am finishing up grad school and licensing exams this winter and plan to start up a new workout routine in March once it's all finished - get more in shape and lose the 15 ~ 20 lbs I put on over the past 5 years of work/school. I used to be very in shape but I will definitely feel like I am starting over. My boyfriend did crossfit for the past year and lost 45 lbs, so I have been considering it but I have some issues with it. He said that there's a lot of cheering and "group" mentality - like if he doesn't go to a practice his friends are supposed to hound him, etc., and they post pictures of people working out on facebook. I want the workout but at the same time if I go for a run or to a class I enjoy kind of being in my own little world - working out is an individualistic/personal thing for me. I don't want anyone watching and cheering me on while I am working, let along taking photographs. I always was very self motivated but I need something a little more serious to rebuild the muscle this time. Are all cross fit places like that or is it just his experience?

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  55. This is so inspiring! I'd never heard of Crossfit over here in England but maybe it's around?

    I'm making it a goal to be a before and after on here!!

    *watch this space*

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  56. This is amazing and so insipring! I have been actively working out 3+ times a week for over 2 months now and cannot lose the weight I want to lose. I out on 32 lbs. with my son almost 2 years ago and I just want to lose 8 more lbs and tone my stomach so it doesn't look like I am 4 months pregnant! Crossfit isn't in my budget right now, :( I so wish I coudl afford or even find a babysitter to watch my son so I could go. I work out during my lunch break at work. The workouts are great and I can feel a difference, my muscles are sore and my legs are starting to look more toned, but my stomach, my poor stomach... nothing. My husband and I are going to Vegas on May 1, and I just want to feel comfortable in a bikini. Thanks for sharing your story! You look great!!!

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