Hi, my name is Jessica Smart.
I am excited to share with you the journey that I’ve been on for the last two years; my weight loss success story. About two years ago, I found myself in a place that I was extremely uncomfortable. I was 100 pounds overweight, I was in pain, and I was tired. I was, for lack of better words very depressed. I was so uncomfortable in my own skin that I wouldn’t want to leave my house just so that I wouldn’t run into anybody that I knew. I felt that everyone was looking at me thinking about bad things and that I needed to explain myself. Explain the story I am about to share with you.
Let me back up just a little. Life had a way of throwing me curveballs. I ended a 7.5 year marriage to the man I thought I was going to spend my life with when I found out he had been less than honest and that I truly didn’t know him at all. I had custody of his beautiful baby niece while her mom was working on getting clean. I had no children of my own and my world was crashing down around me.
I met my incredible husband now after a tough divorce. We were so happy and grateful that we found each other (yes, match.com works)! We decided to start trying to have a family of our own and quickly learned about and started our battle with infertility. I felt betrayed, like my body just sort of went against me. My hormones and thyroid and everything else just stopped functioning correctly. I would get pregnant just to miscarry. Four back-to-back miscarriages. Four times of getting excited and hopeful, feeling sick, and struggling in the early pregnancy phase just for the devastation of another loss… four times I had to say goodbye to the hope of meeting my own child. Every time I would get pregnant I would gain 10–15 pounds. As part of my healing and trying to move forward would focus really hard on trying to lose that 10 or 15 pounds without any success whatsoever. Then it seemed like I just couldn’t get pregnant anymore at all…
So, fast-forward, and I ended up pregnant with my now 4-year-old incredible, beautiful little boy. I was so excited and completely freaked out and uncomfortable because I started a pregnancy 40 pounds overweight. I thought “I can’t even keep a pregnancy when I was healthy, how could I possibly do it now?” I so desperately wanted my baby to be ok. I was willing to do whatever it would take. I’m a hairdresser; I stand behind the chair all day. Holding up that much extra weight really was taking a toll on my joints and my feet, I was in pain constantly. I was stressed that the physical demand would cause my body to fail me once again. It was a very stressful time for me and all I cared about was the health and safety and growth of the incredible little being I was finally creating. My pregnancy was a little rough; I spent nine months extremely nauseous and tired, but super grateful. It’s funny, I feel like nothing is by chance. I feel like had I not experienced the losses and wanted a child so bad that I didn’t care the cost. I’m, not sure I could have mentally handled the hell those 9 months were. But, because I tried so hard to get pregnant and stay pregnant, I was beyond happy and grateful and was so willing to just make the most of it and do what I could to get through it. I was happy and grateful for every ounce of nausea because I knew he was growing. I had him, a perfect, healthy baby boy at 8:21 am Christmas morning 2014. He was my Christmas miracle. Amazing. Again, nothing by chance.
I was 100 pounds overweight when I left the hospital with my new little gift. I was adapting to being a new mom and trying to embrace the changes I saw when I looked in the mirror. I told myself to be kind to me, to be patient, but I was spiraling down a dark hole of self-hate and wasn’t even aware of it… it was an ugly cycle. I would beat myself up for not just being fully grateful but for being so hard on my body. Then I would feel guilty. Guilty that I wasn’t a better mom, a better wife, because I was so stuck in my own way. I do not wish those feelings on anyone. I believe they call it “baby blues” and it was the hardest, most trying time in my life.
I started focusing on doing everything I knew to lose the extra weight only to find that no matter what, nothing that I did, would give me any sort of results. I was stuck. I was once again “broken.” I chalked it up to all sorts of things, you know, my body’s just trying to figure out what’s going on. It’ll happen later, after my babies a little older, like all of the things that will just kind of make me okay with where I was. Or at least seem like I was ok to everyone else when really my drive and passion for life were slipping away.
As soon as he turned one, I gave myself permission that it was time for me to focus on me. To fight like hell to get me back so that I would feel comfortable in my own skin again, and be the mom my little guy would be proud of. About a week later, I was shocked to find out I was pregnant. A surprise pregnancy (a bonus and gift) with our now two-year-old amazing little guy, Duncan. Talk about conflicting emotions.
I was beyond extremely grateful because of the journey we had been on trying to get pregnant for so long with Dash, that I knew and felt this was truly a gift. But, I was even more freaked out because now I was 100 pounds overweight starting a pregnancy. Talk about guilt… Once again, I was sick throughout the pregnancy, I was tired, I was trying to keep up with a one-year-old, I was so uncomfortable. And, I felt incredibly blessed. Two healthy little boys? That was so much more than I ever dreamed of. We had Duncan, an incredibly healthy beautiful baby boy. It was incredible, amazing, and overwhelming. I now look back at pictures, and they make me cry. I cry because I was so unhappy and unhealthy and uncomfortable that I wasn’t fully living. I wasn’t present at the moment and I wasn’t present for my babies’ lives. I cry for the time I was so stuck in self-hatred that I gave up time adoring my beautiful little boys.
I remember just going through the motions. Feeling so guilty, because I had prayed and begged for these beautiful baby boys and now I wasn’t capable of making the most of my time with them, and enjoying them and soaking in all that baby goodness. I wasn’t capable because I was too stuck in my own way of not being able to love myself. Of being mad at the body that had let me down. I would go down this vicious cycle of feeling guilty because their lives were passing by. The anxiety of time slipping… You don’t get time back.
But I didn’t have the energy, the drive, or the motivation to get up and play with them. To LIVE!! I was a walking shell. I found myself sinking further and further into the darkness of not wanting to be seen. Funny thing is, now I look back and think man, I was nowhere near where I believed in my head I was.” No matter what I did, no matter how many hours I spent in the gym or how little calories I consumed I just couldn’t get anywhere. I was completely stuck. I couldn’t feel comfortable because I would try and try and try and I would count every calorie and I would do every eating plan perfectly and I would get nowhere. Everyone else around me seemed to be able to reach their goals, but not me.
I finally went to a doctor hoping and thinking that I could get some answers to why! Why am I broken? Why is it that I would spend two hours at the gym until I was blue in the face doing really, really hard workouts, and I would never progress. That day, on my way to the doctor, it hit me that I was really hoping that they would find something wrong… I could just get some answers and maybe get some hope. It’s those moments in life that bring you to your knees. A blow to the gut when you know that you’re in the darkest place of your life because you have the most amazing boys in the whole world and you’re walking through the doctor’s door, hoping that they find something wrong with you. I cannot explain the feelings that hit me at that moment.
I walked through the door and sat down. The doctor came in and told me that all of my levels are within the “normal range” and that I should just do Weight Watchers. Little did they know that I was doing SO MUCH MORE. It was easy to assume, because of the 100 pounds I was carrying around that I had just sat on my couch and done nothing to try. I left the doctor’s office that day devastated. Hopelessness started to wash over me and rear its ugly head. I didn’t know where to go from there. But I knew that where I was wasn’t okay. It wasn’t good enough, and I couldn’t settle for it. It couldn’t be my only option. So Instead of sinking into it and letting the hopelessness wash over and consume me, I promised myself that no matter what I would keep looking, keep trying, stay open-minded and not give up. I wouldn’t quit.
I promised myself not just for me, (because let’s be honest, I wouldn’t have had the strength to do it for just me at that point) but for all of the millions of people that found themselves in the same similar situation that I was in leaving that doctor’s office that day. You see, I love people. I love the unique beauty of each one of us possess. I love helping others see it who maybe can’t find theirs in themselves. I remember being in my early 20s and always observing the people around me. I love to get to know people I love to bring out the beauty that they bring to this world. That’s why I became a hairdresser. So that I could help even in the smallest way make someone’s day and, even if it’s just for a moment, make them feel special. I remember being really young and observing, or people watching. I think it was at a grocery store one day when started to notice and question, “when do we as women stop trying and stop caring? When do we stop believing we are beautiful and start giving up? When do we give in to just rolling out of bed and wearing our big baggy clothes, not taking the time to feel beautiful to just go about our day and lives that way? When does that happen? Why does it happen?” I remember thinking maybe I can do something about it. Maybe I can help.
As I left the doctor’s office that day, it all came flooding back. They didn’t give up. The system failed them. They tried and nothing worked. They went to the doctor hoping something was wrong so they could be fixed and were told they were fine and to go about their life, so they gave up and gave in to that because it was their only option. It came full circle when I found myself in that place, standing in a parking lot heading back into my life where I would just accept the new reality that “this was as good as it gets for me.” Was I suppose to just live my life this way and focus on my babies and be uncomfortable the rest of my life in my own skin? Maybe, maybe that is truly my only option. Maybe the best years are gone and this is it.
I promised myself I would never give up. There had to be a better way, and if not for me I was going to find it for them. For all those fighting this same battle. For all those who felt broken. right around that time, one of my clients in a very similar situation introduced me to simple technology: a drink that would put me into ketosis. I had no clue what that meant. She told me that if we drink it I will lose weight. I laughed and I thought to myself, “ok, right… if it’s that simple why aren’t we all drinking or then?” It seems too good to be true. That seems too easy. But then that little voice in my head reminded me, that I promised myself I would keep trying I would be open-minded. That I would look for something different, something better. So with that, I said, “All right, let me let me give it a try.” Right away, I started to feel better. I started to notice small changes in my mood and in my energy and in my drive. I started to notice a couple of weeks in that I wasn’t so caught up in thinking everybody was judging me for the weight I had gained. Whenever I walked into a room, it was me, myself, that was being so harsh on me. I started to “wake up.” The fog was lifting.
I decided right then that I really wanted to figure out how to make the most of that and to maximize that feeling. I wanted to learn what it was and why I was becoming better. As my journey went, I had no idea what was transpiring, no idea how life-changing what I learning was going to be. Learning the lifestyle opened up all sorts of doors and all sorts of possibilities of pushing myself just a little further each day and seeing that I, that we, have maybe not been doing what is very best for our bodies, and in changing things just a little, huge things can follow. I started to realize all of the limiting beliefs that I put on myself and my ability to achieve the physical goals and fitness and all those things. I would tell myself, “Oh, I’m just not genetically capable.”
With being in ketosis, I started to quickly realize that for all that time I just didn’t have the right fuel. My body had been running on empty 90% of the time. That just making these small changes, and being open-minded to the possibility that what I had known to be the right way possibly wasn’t and changing that changed everything. Since then, I have lost 100 pounds and gained a whole new understanding. I’ve been extremely blessed to be able to share my story with thousands of people (my goal is to help change a million lives for the better) and to offer new hope to people who lost theirs. To those who maybe are in a similar space that I found myself in just two years ago.
Now, I just spread that hope, hope that there’s something better. That there is a different lifestyle, that is so amazing and freeing. There’s better fuel that your body needs that you can run on. It’s a pretty simple change, and everyone can live it. Sharing that message and helping others helps me feel like I’m giving back. Like I’m living in gratitude for a second chance I was given. Supporting others when they are too broken to believe, lights a fire in me so big that I want to shout it to everyone that they can believe, they can fight like hell and break every single chain that has held them back for so long… That they can achieve more than they could possibly believe.
I’m just really excited. Excited to spread hope. Excited to share that hope with anyone who needs and wants it to leave a ripple effect of better everywhere I go. Thank you so much for your time and for reading and hearing my story.— Jessica Smart