Monday, August 05, 2013

Perseverance Pays Off

It was so hot at Big Ticket Festival in June of 2012, I was literally melting away. I had ice packs stuffed in my pockets. At almost 300 pounds, it was hard to take that much heat and humidity! After a performance of the Stand Strength Team, Bryan “The Marine” Beaune came up to me and said, “Jenn, if you want to work out with me, I can get in great shape by next Big Ticket.” I took his card and told him I’d think about it. I thought about a dozen excuses why I did NOT want to work out with the intimidating body builder: he would want me to go on some crazy diet, he wouldn’t understand how to work with someone so out of shape and the biggest excuse of all....he would KILL ME (or make me wish he had!)

I packed all my excuses into my gym bag and went to meet with him. He told me about his eating plan, several mini-meals throughout the day, clean eating, with all whole foods from the grocery store. I didn’t have a problem with what was ON the plan, however I had big problem with what was NOT on the plan, no processed foods, no fast foods, no pop, no popcorn, I was in BIG trouble. One redeeming part of Bryan’s plan, a weekly cheat meal, whatever junk food my body demanded, as long as I faithfully followed the plan all week long!

A few days later we started working out. While Bryan’s first workout didn’t kill me, it certainly hurt. So did the next one and the next one. However losing 15 lbs the first month and better fitting clothes was enough motivation to keep on going. My body fought back against the new eating plan throwing crazy cravings at me right and left. I felt miserable for months as I had to go through a junk food detox. I actually had to block friends on facebook who often posted pictures of their delicious dinners online triggering a new batch of cravings for me to overcome.

In April, 2013, Bryan opened his own CrossFit box and I got introduced to the exciting world of CrossFit. I had already done many of the moves working with him as my personal trainer, but now they come at me much faster and harder! I also moved from working out with just Bryan, to working out in a group setting with others who are much younger and in much better shape than myself. It has been a struggle. I know I should not compare myself to others, but it’s hard not to feel like a bit of a failure when it takes twice as long to complete a workout. But I DO complete the workouts! And I probably burned more calories than those skinny minnies too!

All my life I’ve used food as a reward and a comfort. Food would take me to my “happy place.” I’ve had to learn to find a new ways to be happy, something new and healthy to look forward to. I’m seeing God slowly release me from the bondage that food had on my life. I still love food, but I’m trying to learn to “Eat to Live” and NOT “Live to Eat.” I can’t believe how much I’ve changed this past year. The obvious changes include losing 60 pounds going from “Morbidly Obese” to just plain ol’ regular “Obese,” getting so much stronger, (Did I mention I can dead lift 200 pounds! Oh Yeah!), and wearing smaller clothing, goodbye size 24, hello size 14.

It’s the changes you can’t see that I’m most happy about; moving from strictly following an assigned food plan to living a new healthier food lifestyle automatically without having to measure every bite. I used to love it when I got a break from my workouts because of travel plans. Now, I really miss it when I can’t make a workout. I “enjoy” CrossFit and I actually invested to create my own basement gym. Now when I travel I take my jump rope with me and grab the weights at the hotel. I rarely miss a work out and now I am learning how to work out by myself when needed. For the first time in my life I have confidence that I will reach my healthy weight loss goals and eventually even master the jump rope, handstand and the burpee....someday!

Jenn Czelada, co-host of the Morning Espresso with Jenn and Brian, lives on a small farm in the thumb area with 12 hens, too many roosters and her husband Ed and 6 year old twin daughters Hosanna and Hallelujah. She blogs occasionally about her healthy lifestyle efforts at

Bryan Beaune is the owner of Building Your Temple CrossFit in Oxford, MI and offers meal planning and 8 CrossFit classes at day at his box.

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