This week I wanted to change it up a bit and post a real-life inspirational story from someone I know personally! Meet Jess
Jess Orban is an NGA Bikini Pro Bodybuilder and food blogger (IG: @femfitfoodie) whose passion for health and wellness helped guide her way to a transformation of self, inside and out. She is a lovely human being who has a wonderful story to share. I truly enjoy her story because it has such a meaningful subjective message with an objective basis. In that regard, Jess’s transformation should be inspirational to us all because it proves that there is a way for ANYONE to accomplish their goals!! All it takes is a lil combo of finding an activity you like AND determination….then taking Baby Steps each day along the way!! 🙂 Before ya know it! Boom! Goals Achieved! hahah
*Make sure you read to the end for one of my favorite recipes by Jess!*
I found myself in Old Navy in search of work pants for an interview. I grabbed several pairs and headed to the dressing room only to find that none of them fit. Not even close. I needed to go up a size. How could I need a bigger size again? I had already gone up two sizes in the last year. I put everything back and walked out empty handed; I wasn’t going to go up another size.
That was my moment – the one where you say to yourself that something has to change because nothing good awaits at the end of the path you’re currently on. I didn’t know the right place was to begin, but there was a Gold’s Gym a block away from my apartment so I signed up for a membership. The weight room intimidated me more than public speaking so I became quite the cardio queen. I slowly started seeing the scale weight move, but it wasn’t fast enough for me. Maybe I needed to change the way I ate. I stopped eating out and became very restrictive in my diet. No junk in the house, I was determined to shed this weight one way or another. Fast forward three weeks later and I was finally seeing the results I’d been hoping for – the scale was moving down at a faster pace, which should have made me happy. But oddly enough, I wasn’t. All of the cardio plus trying to maintain a very restrictive diet, even sometimes skipping meals altogether, had left me burned out. I wanted a brownie. A cupcake. My mom’s chocolate chip pancakes with powdered sugar. I felt deprived. So I indulged. And because one indulgence lead to another, I gained back the weight that I’d worked so hard to lose. How could I have let this happen? Time for a change of plans.
While I wasn’t quite ready to delve into the weight room, I found a gym that offered a variety of group fitness classes – welcomed the change and comradely atmosphere, as long as it didn’t involve an elliptical (haha), I was happy. Now for round two of dieting and this time I wanted to do some research! But what I found instead was a slew of conflicting information – one article told me I should be eating low-fat and another told me high-fat and low carb. Then there was a 12 week program and a 21 day program. Which was right and which was wrong? Was there such a thing? Somewhere there had to be a happy medium that provided balance and wasn’t restrictive. At least I’d found an exercise regimen that made me happy and gave me variety, which meant it was something I could stick with! If you don’t find something that works for you, you can pretty much guarantee it’ll be short-lived.
Fast forward several years and a few body setbacks and milestones later, I had found my balance after discovering flexible dieting, better known on social media as IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros). I had also wanted to continue challenging my body, so I joined a new gym that offered a hybrid version of CrossFit and taught me the basics of weightlifting. The following year I was craving another challenge and while at the time I thought I was a little crazy for doing it, I hired a coach and signed up for my first bodybuilding competition.
My fitness journey is on-going and isn’t just about how I’ve transformed physically, but used fitness as a segway to finding balance in other areas of my life. Looking and feeling healthy is going to start with finding an activity you genuinely enjoy doing and then doing it consistently. It isn’t a one-size-fits-all program and it isn’t supposed to be so restrictive that you become unhappy. It’s about starting with a baby step (a baby goal) and knowing that that one step is going to lead you somewhere positive, rather than attempting to take a huge leap into a regiment that drastically changes the way you’ve been doing things and then wonder why you’ve failed. Transformation takes time and patience, some ups and downs because progress isn’t always linear, but most importantly, it’s about the baby steps.
WOWZERS!!! What a transformation! CHEERS to you Jess! And remember people…BABY STEPS!! 🙂
If you need a lil diet assistance and/or motivation MAKE SURE you follow Jess on Instagram @femfitfoodie
Here’s one of my favorite recipes she’s posted! Super awesome and healthy! Enjoy!