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After graduating college in 2012, Jasmine Parent spent the next year getting into shape. But a year later, her father died from cancer. As she dealt with her grief, she turned to food for comfort and her weight slowly crept up.
“I started to emotionally eat,” Parent, 29 of Nova Scotia, Canada told TODAY. “I didn’t realize how unhappy or how anxious I was because it was just my norm.”
Then she became pregnant and gained 50 pounds. After having her daughter in 2016, she quickly became pregnant, without losing the weight from her first pregnancy.
When she left the hospital after delivering her second daughter, she weighed 300 pounds. While she was happy that her family was complete, she disliked how she looked and felt.
“I looked at myself in the mirror and I was in so much pain. My knees were shot. My back hurt and I was tired,” she explained. “My anxiety was so bad I didn’t want to leave the house.”
Parent knew she needed to lose weight, but she didn’t make any changes until she saw a picture of herself taken around Christmas in 2017. Each year, she and her childhood friends get together and document their reunion with a photo. They've been doing it since they were 12, and this year was no different.
But when Parent saw the photo, she was stunned.
“I didn’t want to post it,” she said. “I was embarrassed.”
Devastated, she talked to her partner, Jeremy Crawley, and the two decided that their 2018 New Year’s resolution would be to lose weight. Crawly, who is 6 feet 5 inches tall, weighed over 300 pounds and felt the same as Parent.
So she started researching. She found something called the 21-Day Meal Plan, which seemed like it would work with their lives. The plan showed them what foods they could eat and what they should skip. They started by cutting sugar, junk and processed foods and added vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains and lean meats, such as chicken and turkey. In the first week, Parent noticed a difference.
“I had more energy and was more focused,” she said.
In a month, she lost 17 pounds and Crawley lost 20 pounds.
“Seeing the results is so motivating and such a driver. I think, ‘What can I do next month?’” she said.
In addition to changing their eating habits, the couple started exercising. At first, they did 25-minute workout DVDs at home.
“In my mind, it was only 25 minutes. It was something I could sustain,” she explains.
Still she struggled to do it at 294 pounds. But with Crawley at her side she continued. When the couple hit a plateau, they would change up their exercise or eating habits.
By being persistent, they succeeded. In 10 months, Parent lost 120 pounds and Crawley lost 95 pounds. They love their new active and healthy lives.
“I am happy with how I look. I am happy with how I feel. I am just overall happy,” she said.
Parent shares tips for anyone hoping to lose weight.
1. Find what works for you.
The meal plan that Parent and Crawley follow works well with them. It involves real food and they can tailor it to fit their needs. Parent even lost weight as she was breastfeeding.
“People should do research and find something that’s gonna work for you,” she said. “Find what is going to be sustainable.”
2. ‘There is no quick fix.'
“There are so many diets and fads and things people want you to put your money in but there is no quick fix. It is going to be hard and it is going to take work but it is worth it,” she said.
3. Have a buddy.
Losing weight with Crawley helped Parent be more successful. When things felt difficult, Crawley supported Parent. When he struggled, she supported him.
“It completely changed everything,” she explained. “We really fed off each other’s energy and it was a lot easier having someone eat the same meal as me.”
4. Have evolving, realistic goals.
Parent’s original goal was to lose 40 pounds and run a 5K by July. When she lost 40 pounds by March, she set a new one.
“I knew that it had to be something short-term and realistic,” she said.
She adjusted her goal from losing 40 pounds to losing 80 pounds then losing 100 pounds and finally to weigh 170 pounds (she's four pounds shy of her goal).