Jocelyn Shaw battled with bad eating for a long time until she decided she had avoded the mirrors for long enough, She got herself focused and went on to lose over 60 pounds making an incredible body transformation.
What Made You Turn Your Life Around?
Before I hit my heaviest weight I had been into working out for a while, but hadn’t really been serious about it. I used fitness as a means to fit into a smaller size, but didn’t really have a deep passion for it, and saw working out as a chore most days. It was more of a means to an end than it was a lifestyle that I enjoyed. In September of 2007 my husband at the time told me out of the blue that he wanted a divorce, and over the next few months, in spite of moving out on my own and going through the divorce I managed to still stay in pretty good shape. In early 2008 however, I started to drink and party a lot, and the stress of my new lifestyle and having to pay the bills on my own started to take a toll on my body. I began to pack on the pounds, and started a pretty bad cycle of binge eating and dieting. I was getting ready for my first deployment, and figured that I would just be able to lose the weight while I was in Iraq, so I didn’t have to worry about it.
I was so wrong.
After months of doing the same thing again and again, I got burnt out and tired of being deployed overseas. I was able to avoid mirrors pretty easily, and found that sitting at my desk all day eating all the free food was much more appealing than getting up and going to the gym. When I returned home in March of 2009 I was finally forced to deal with how much I had gained. None of my clothing fit, and I was a hefty 178 pounds. I knew I HAD to get that weight off not only for my job as a military professional, but for my own mental well being.
How Did You Do It?
I had to start over from the beginning with what I knew; lift heavy, do moderate amounts of cardio, keep my diet clean and spread out my meals, and stay consistent with it. I was determined not to keep repeating the cycle of binge eating and dieting that had gotten me so out of shape to begin with. Slow and steady was going to have to win the race this time!
What Helped You Stay Motivated?
I would love to be able to say that I have some higher reason for staying motivated other than looking good, but honestly that is the number one factor! I love how I look; I feel more confident, powerful, sexy and I think that translates into all areas of my life. When I see the way my muscles move under my clothes or the way that people respond to me when I speak, it just makes me want to keep working to improve.
Secondly there is the motivation of others; I’ve gotten to the point where I absolutely adore this lifestyle, and I want to inspire other people to feel the way that I do! My fiance tells me often that I push him to work harder and to be better, and to hear that from someone that I admire so much really is the best feeling. Lately I’ve had other people tell me that my inspiration has inspired them, and that has only helped to fuel that fire inside of me. If i can overcome all of the deployments (5 and counting) the long days at work, the broken bones and surgery, the emotional ups and downs… anyone can.
Were There Any Unique Challenges That Made Your Transformation Difficult?
Things were actually going along pretty well from March of 2009 when I started trying to lose weight up until early 2010. I had been working out consistently, and been losing weight at a nice steady pace, focusing on dealing with the emotional aspects of my transformation. I had managed to get down to a pretty nice 140 pounds or so from my previous 178 in just under a year. In January 2010, I returned from another trip overseas and was having some acute pain in my right hip area. I underwent several tests over the next couple of months, and it was finally revealed that I had a badly fractured femoral head, and would need surgery almost immediately to pin the sections of the bone together. I was on crutches for 8 or 9 weeks, and during that time I still managed to maintain my weight loss. I couldn’t do much, but I would get down on the floor and do whatever exercises I could just to keep moving. Keeping my meals clean was the key during my recovery, and once I was cleared to start working out and walking on my own I progressed very quickly, which I largely attribute to my clean diet and all of my former weight training experience.
What Was Your Approach To Training?
My training approach was fairly straight-forward when I initially set out to make a change; 3 full body workouts per week and 3 days of moderate cardio. I knew at that point that the key was going to be getting my food intake under control, and that any amount of exercise would be helpful.
Over time I have changed my workouts to include a lot of different elements; yoga, CrossFit, various types of cardio (running, HIIT, stair machines, rowing, etc.) body part split workouts, plyometrics, Kettle bell training, full body workouts and so on. My workouts change with each day, and I never do the same workout twice. That approach keeps my body responding and keeps me from getting bored with my workouts.
What Does Your Training Plan Look Like?
Lately I have been splitting up my week into the following;
Day 1: Active Rest Day (light stretching, yoga, etc.)
Day 2: Upper Body Split
Day 3: Lower Body Split
Day 4: Cardio and Abs
Day 5: Full Body Workout
Day 6: Full Body Workout
Day 7: Cardio
The specific workouts change each time, but for my Upper and Lower split days I try to lift heavy while also using supersets to keep my heart rate up and my gym time down. On my Full Body workout days I focus more on doing CrossFit style training; heavy compound/olympic lifts, plyometrics, and only enough rest to catch my breath and keep myself from throwing up.
My cardio days lately have been consisting of a steady state run for 15-20 minutes before I get into some sprint work, and then follow that up with rowing or using the arc trainer. These sessions usually last about 45-50 minutes total, but I only do them twice in a week.
What Was Your Approach To Nutrition?
Initially I focused on just getting back to the basics and to paying attention to my body. I had to really learn to control those urges to binge eat until I was finally happy enough in my life to not have those urges anymore. It took me a long time, but once I was able to deal with the emotions that were making me want to eat, I no longer had to fight with myself to eat clean.
My approach currently is “everything in moderation”. I see this as a lifestyle, and therefore don’t restrict myself too much in any way. I do “eat clean” most days, but on holidays and special occasions I will treat myself to whatever it is I want, without any guilt. I know that a short vacation or a couple of nights of eating foods that I normally don’t isn’t going to hurt my progress. If I decide to compete one day I will definitely work with a trainer on a more specific diet plan, but for just living my life, I like the balance I have.
I love to cook and experiment with recipes for typically unhealthy foods and find ways to make them a little more figure friendly. I never eat the same thing day after day, and love to use new spices and products to keep my mouth happy!
What Does Your Nutrition Plan Look Like?
A typical day of eating might look something like this;
Meal 1: 3 egg whites, oatmeal, sugar-free coffee creamer
Meal 2: Protein shake, green apple, caramel rice cakes
Meal 3: 1 egg and 4 whites, mixed veggies, light feta cheese
Meal 4: salad, mixed veggies, chicken and parmesan cheese
Meal 5: broccoli, califlower, carrots with chicken, avocado & salsa
Meal 6: 1% fat cottage cheese, 1 tbsp peanut butter, strawberries
That is a typical day of eating, but as I said before, I love to switch things up! I have a ton of clean eating foods I incorporate weekly, like bacon protein pancakes, healthy breakfast sandwiches, lightened up pizza or pasta with sausage and cheese!
I keep my daily calories around 1400 most days, but thats just an average. I might have 1300 for a few days if I’ve just come back from an indulgent vacation, or on the opposite end of that spectrum I may have just returned from a trip to visit my fiance where we went out to eat each night and I didn’t count calories at all. I’m all about living and enjoying my life, because I deprived myself of that for so long.
Did You Allow Yourself Cheat Meals?
I sure do! I don’t have a planned cheat meal each week or anything like that, I just eat clean until I feel like eating something different. Usually for me that co-incides with special occasions or holidays. I would say on average I have a cheat night/vacation every 3-4 weeks, and keep things pretty clean aside from that. I just feel better when I eat food that is good for me, but no amount of clean eating will ever kill my taste for ice cream or cookies. To say that those things don’t still appeal to me would be a lie!
I’ve also found as I’ve gotten leaner I’ve been able to not only incorporate more “cheat” meals without harming my physique, but that the sudden boost to my leptin levels has helped me to break through plateaus and actually keep getting leaner!
What Supplements Did You Use?
I have tried all sorts of things over the years, but generally I keep things pretty simple. Right now my supplements consist of;
Oxy Elite Pro (2 pills before my pre-workout meal)
Fish Oil – 6 pills over the course of the day (2 x 3 meals)
Calcium and Vitamin D supplement
What Is Your Lifestyle Like Now?
My life has done a complete 180. I am not afraid to take on new challenges, and I know that there is nothing I can’t do if I set my mind to it. Unless you experience a feeling like that for yourself it’s hard to really describe.
Being able to make these changes has given me courage and confidence in all areas of my life; my career (which I will soon be changing in order to pursue fitness full time and go back to school after 10 years in the Air Force) and more importantly in my relationship with my fiance, whom I am currently in a long-distance relationship with. I don’t have the self esteem issues that would otherwise have prevented me from being able to maintain that distance and still stay happy and secure.
Any Suggestions For Others?
I’ve had a lot of people ask me what my workouts are like, what my diet is like, and how I find the time to keep up with my workouts. When I explain to people that I DO, in fact, eat more than just lettuce and I DON’T run 8 miles a day, they think I’m joking! I try to tell them just to keep it simple! Consistency is the biggest key; you might lose some weight by going on a crazy crash diet, but in the end it’s just not sustainable. I don’t think of the things I do a “dieting” or trying to do anything for a short time period… its just how I live and love it. I know it sounds cliche, but it is in fact a LIFESTYLE, and I couldn’t do what I do I didn’t love it.
I think the key is just finding what works for YOU and sticking to it. Don’t force yourself to eat things you hate because it’s “good for you” or run if you hate running. Do things that you enjoy and then it won’t feel like work!!
I haven’t gotten too specific on my training or nutrition plans, because changing things up constantly is what works for ME. I’m in the fitness game for the long haul, so I have the rest of my life to play around with it, and I have found as my body composition has changed, my workouts and nutrition have too.
Desiree McCombs of Indigo Peaks Photography – Facebook