Jasmine Parent, 31, can point to the moment she got serious about losing weight. Every Christmas, she and a group of childhood friends get together and take a photo. “In 2017 we took that picture and I was getting ready to post it,” she told TODAY. “I didn’t recognize myself in that photo. I love to share that photo with friends and family, but it took a lot for me to put it up. I was embarrassed, seeing myself with them.”
Jasmine’s struggles with weight gain started in 2013, after her father died. She started overeating to cope with the loss, and by 2015 she had gained 100 pounds. Two pregnancies brought more extra weight. “My body took quite a hit,” she said. “By the time I delivered the second I was a little over 300 pounds. I packed it on pretty quickly.”
Her weight forced her to give up the sports leagues she played in with her friends. She couldn’t run up the stairs. She was too big to go on the slide with her daughter at the park. “It was upsetting to not be able to do these things,” she said.
Her husband, Jeremy, saw how upset Jasmine was after seeing that group photo. And he had seen his own weight creep up after an ACL injury sidelined his physical activities.
He was afraid to step on the scale, and when he did he saw he was up to 333 pounds. “Seeing that number when I did made it reality,” he said.
They both wanted to lose weight and get healthier. “We decided we were going to be one of those couples. We made a New Year’s resolution,” Jasmine said. They kicked off their plan on January 1, 2018.
The Parents' game plan was to:
- Count calories
- Eat healthier
They tracked what they ate
“We were overeating, but we never really had any idea what we were putting into our bodies. We knew our portions were out of control,” Jasmine said. They used Lose It!, a weight-loss app, to keep track of what they ate.
“We were eating recklessly. We didn’t realize how some little thing could be 400 or 500 calories. The Lose It! app definitely changed our outlook on how we ate and what we put into our bodies,” Jeremy said.
They followed the 80/20 rule
“We cut out juice and soda completely,” Jasmine said. “We wanted to look at ingredients, read labels and know what we were eating — that would be the 80%.”
She said they don’t feel hungry. “There’s a perception that you have to starve yourself but that’s not the case. You have to get enough food to properly fuel your body. When you make better choices, you get quite a bit of food,” Jasmine said.
They both saw progress quickly. They each lost about 30 pounds within two months. “That felt amazing,” Jasmine said. “That was all the motivation I needed to keep going.”
They started exercising
With two daughters under age 2, the couple looked for workouts they could do at home. They started with Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day Shred. “That was extremely hard. We did it every single day for the first two months,” Jasmine said.
After that they explored other videos they found online and through social media. “I wanted to make sure it felt fun for me. If I was enjoying it I could keep doing it,” Jasmine said.
After a couple of months, Jeremy started going to the gym early in the morning before work. And in July, Jasmine also added gym workouts. She started with cardio and added in weightlifting, and by the end of 2018 she was there five or six days a week for an hour or more.
“It was a release for me physically and mentally. I was home with two little ones all day long. It was nice to get out of the house and do something for myself,” she said.
They're maintaining their progress during COVID and pregnancy
Jeremy has about 20 pounds left to lose to hit his 230-pound goal weight. For now, he’s focused on maintaining his weight during the pandemic. “When COVID hit it took me off my game. I’m making the best of all that’s happening now,” he said.
Jasmine has lost more than 120 pounds and now helps others as a wellness and nutrition coach. She also shares her progress with her 174,000 Instagram followers.
The couple is expecting their third child any day. Jasmine has been tracking her calories to make sure she’s eating enough, and she’s gained 18 pounds, compared to 50 to 60 with her first two pregnancies.
“The difference is night and day,” Jasmine said. “With my first two daughters I needed help getting out of bed in the morning. This time I can run up the stairs."