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Many of you know I am a special needs mom. What many of you do not know about is my struggle with my weight due to the stresses that come with being a special needs mom. I’m not going to tell you that I’ve struggled with my weight all my life because It’s not true. I am going to tell you how I became a stress eater and what I decided to do about it and what you can do about it too!
I Was a Stress Eater…
Google defines stress eating as:
“Turning to food for comfort, stress relief, or as a reward rather than to satisfy hunger. Most stress eaters (or emotional eaters) feel powerless over their food cravings. When the urge to eat hits, it’s all you can think about.”
While I’ve had ups and downs with my weight in the past due to a hypothyroid and having kids, I can definitely remember the moment I became a stress eater.
My daughter was in the hospital for her 3rd or 4th hospital stay and we spent a total of two weeks there during this time. In the hospital, there’s not much to do. There’s a lot of sitting and waiting and a lot of waiting and sitting. There’s also plenty of opportunities to eat. There’s the snack machines, the hospital cafeteria, the fast food places, and the snacks you have in your room to help pass the time.
I would take laps around the halls, but that didn’t do much to help with losing or even maintaining my weight. The hospital cafeteria was kind of like a buffet. There were lots of foods to pick from, and while I did eat a lot of salads and fruit, the eating I did in-between because of the stress turned me into an emotional stress eater.
It didn’t stop there. We continued to have hospital stay after hospital stay and many doctor’s appointments. At one point we even traveled up to Boston to try to get help for our medically complex daughter. I was finding that eating made me happy. Eating made me feel good… until it didn’t. I knew I was stress eating, but I went back and forth between not caring and hating myself for doing it.
At my highest weight, I was 183 pounds. Looking at the scale made me disgusted and I hated that I was having so much trouble finding clothes that fit. I was a size 16.
In 2015, I started Accutane for my severe cystic acne and other skin issues. My dermatologist told me that Accutane is kind of an appetite suppressant and that I would most likely not feel like eating as much. This gave me the motivation to I needed. I knew if I wasn’t going to be as hungry, I would eat less. I was on Accutane for 9 months and in those months I lost 10 lbs. My original goal had been to lose a total of 50 pounds and to get to 130 pounds. I had 40 pounds left to go.
Over the past summer, I decided that while I was a special needs mom and while I was extremely busy, that there were still changes I could still make to keep the weight off. I started eating out less and bringing food with me when we had doctor’s appointments. I took my daughter for walks more. I portioned my food and changed out unhealthy snacks for dried and fresh fruit. These were small changes I knew I could make and still keep up with the stress of parenting two special needs kids.
Then last month I received the opportunity to start Jenny Craig – a diet program that is based on delivered, prepackaged, AND pre-portioned meals and the emotional support of a consultant. I knew this was the perfect opportunity for me to finally focus on losing those next 40 pounds.
On January 1st, 2017, I received the phone call to start Jenny Craig. Here’s what I wrote in my journal:
I got the call today to set up my Jenny Craig account and all I can think about is how scared I am to start. I don’t know what I’m scared about, but maybe it’s that I’m scared to fail.
As I look at my body full of ‘battle scars’ from two babies, and I see the stubborn fat that never seems to go away, I’m discouraged. But I also have hope. I have lost weight before (25 pounds after having my son), and I know I can do it again.
Being a special needs mom doesn’t mean I don’t have to take care of myself. It means I have to take care of myself so I can take care of my kids. So ready or not, here I go!”
My Jenny Craig Journey:
I had heard about Jenny Craig before, but to be honest I didn’t know much about it. Jenny Craig is a clinically proven and recommended weight-loss program designed to provide structure and support to help members lose weight and learn how to keep it off. The program takes a holistic approach to weight loss and weight management, focusing on food, body, and mind. This is why it works for anyone who is a stress eater. I love this because there aren’t many weight loss programs that take a whole body approach like Jenny Craig does.
When I received the phone call to set up my account, I chose to be sent two weeks worth of food. I was sent tons of pre-packaged meals and other foods with a full menu to follow with me filling in the extras such as fruit, vegetables, greek yogurt, etc. Below is my menu for the first week. Everything in the bold is a Jenny Craig meal and those listed that aren’t bold, I buy myself.
I also was assigned a consultant to help me reach my goals and to explain to me how Jenny Craig works. I love that every member is paired with a dedicated consultant who provides them with one-on-one support to identify their challenges and goals. My consultant also helps me create unique weekly meal and activity plans and places the orders for more food based on what I like and dislike. I chose to speak with my consultant over the phone, but members can also choose to speak via video chat or go to a Jenny Craig Center nearby.
Every week my consultant will provide education on portion control, healthy eating habits and teach me different strategies on how to combine the meals and snacks I receive with fresh and free additions that are rich in water and fiber to help keep me feeling full longer and with fewer calories.
So far it’s been an incredible experience! People ask me all the time, “…but how does the food taste?” and I can genuinely say that I find the food delicious. With food created by 40 professional chefs, and with more than 100 premium menu items in flavors you can’t resist, what’s not to like?
I also love that on the boxed meals there are suggestions on how to add different fruits and veggies to make your food taste even better! For example, one of the breakfast meals I chose was french toast. On the back of the box, they suggested I saute some apple slices in cinnamon and add them on top of my french toast. Those apples came out so good and the meal totally made my whole day!
Every day I weigh myself to see how I’m doing, and I’ve already lost 2 pounds for the first week! Some of it is probably water weight, but I am excited about the progress I’ve made. While results are not typical, members can expect to lose an average of 1-2 pounds per week, which is a healthy range of weight loss.
The pre-portioned meals help me to see what good food portions are and the healthy snacks throughout the day really help to keep me from being a stress eater and feeling hungry all the time. You can follow along with my journey on Instagram and stay tuned for another post with more details about how I’m doing on this diet and the weight I’ve lost!
Ready to lose some weight with Jenny Craig? Want to curb those stress eating habits? Check out Jenny Craig now!
Results not typical. Members following the Jenny Craig program, on average, lose 1-2 lbs. per week. I received promotional consideration.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.