My name is Jessica Fauver (@warrior_jessica_slashes_fat), and I am 33. I live in Houston, Texas, where I work as a nurse. I lost half my bodyweight in just a little over a year of going low-carb—and totally changing my mindset about weight loss.
My weight has always been a struggle. In 2005, at the age of 18, I had my gallbladder removed as a result of eating greasy and fatty foods, which lead to serious GI issues. I also had constant pain in my lower back, neck, and shoulders due to my weight. Just walking was painful, and my left side would go numb. I served at my church leading children’s ministry, and walking from the garage into the church was a struggle. I would cry when no one was watching.
I had to sit a lot because of the pain, but even sitting was uncomfortable. Other daily living activities also became an issue: showering, cleaning, cooking, and even grocery shopping. I tried different types of physical therapy but nothing helped. I tried working out and doing the elliptical for 10 minutes at a time, but I would have to stop.
I felt like my body was starting to break down. I even began having two periods in one month, as well as constant GI issues. I was in denial and avoided the doctor for two years. At my heaviest, at 32 years old, I weighed 354 pounds.
I was tired of being miserable and unable to live my life the way a 32-year-old woman should be able to.
I felt like I was older than I was. I was sick of not being able to fit into booths while eating out and not being able to ride rollercoasters at Six Flags. I was always worried about whether a seat would be able to hold my weight—or if it would break. So on January 5, 2019, I signed up for a DietBet challenge, which is an incentivized weight-loss program where you try to lose weight or a fat percentage in a specific amount of time, with guidance at a gym.
I figured I was probably somewhere between 320 and 330 pounds, but when I got on the scale it said 354 pounds. I immediately felt disgusted that I let my weight get that high. I said enough was enough. I literally kissed my stomach and said, “goodbye, fat.” I took before pictures to hold myself accountable during the challenge. Later that day, I showed up at my gym, Spring Fit Body Bootcamp, and signed up right away. I was so determined to get the weight off for good.
I was very fortunate that my gym provided nutrition help. I started off doing a low-carb meal plan. I also limited fat intake and cut out processed foods, fast food, junk food, sodas and sugary foods. I also changed my mindset about food; I decided to use it as fuel and not for pleasure. I love food, though, and I still do. So I have learned to get creative with what I cook and find healthy alternatives to what I am craving.
Here’s what I typically eat in a day now:
- Breakfast: Egg white veggie scramble or a protein shake.
- Lunch: Salad with chicken breast.
- Snacks: Non-fat yogurt with berries, an apple, or cucumber slices.
- Dinner: Chicken breast, zucchini and squash, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
- Dessert: Protein bar.
I have fallen in love with fitness—and I love a challenge.
I love a bootcamp with a mix of HIIT and strength training. Before I started, I was so scared because of the pain and my experience in the past with working out. To my surprise, my body adjusted very well.
I needed a lot of modifications, and I thankfully had very caring coaches that were by my side. They challenged me, and eventually I was able to need fewer modifications. As I lost weight, my full-body pains went away and I’m able to do so much more.
It definitely helped me to focus on small goals at a time, instead of large, unattainable ones.
Since I had a lot of weight to lose, I set goals between 10 to 40 pounds at a time, which helped me challenge myself to reach them quicker. I also stayed consistent and dedicated to my nutrition and workouts. Even if I didn’t feel like it, I would still meal prep and work out (still do!). I show up first thing in the morning to work out, and that has helped me stay consistent.
I also started to focus on making this journey a lifestyle change rather than perceive it as a diet. I found what worked for me and stuck to it. I never knew I would love vegetables the way I do now! My GI issues resolved, and I now have regular periods.
In the last 14 months, I have lost 192 pounds naturally by eating healthy and working out.
I had tried countless times to lose weight and failed every single time. I was miserable and in so much pain that I felt like I needed to settle where I was. I was ready to throw in the towel and say, “forget it, this is my life.” I had to change my mindset and stop saying those negative thoughts to myself. Now, I’m literally half the woman I used to be as far as weight goes, but I’m my whole self emotionally.
So I started saying positive affirmations. I started to believe in myself and love myself for who I was, and once I did, my mindset shifted—that’s when weight loss became easier. It can seem impossible at first (I’ve been there), but there is hope. Find what you love—and do it.