My name is Jordan Watters, and I am 28 years old. I’m from Bristol, Rhode Island, and work full-time as a marketing support specialist and a part-time health and fitness coach. After struggling to lose weight for years, my cousin bought us a gym membership, which jumpstarted my workout routine and healthy eating.

Before losing weight, I remember always being the heaviest person in the room. My weight figuratively (and literally) weighed me down. My weight consumed a lot of my thoughts. I thought about wanting to lose weight all the time. My family was pretty healthy for the most part, and I felt like the overweight outlier. I don’t remember ever going to the doctor and *not* having them tell me I was obese.

My initial motivation to lose weight wasn’t tied to any health issues other than being obese, but a couple years into losing weight things caught up to me and I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and put on medication. From that point on, getting off that medication was my motivation to keep moving forward and losing weight. At my heaviest, I weighed over 250 pounds.

I had tried to lose weight so many times before I was successful. But in the fall of 2015, I was ready. My cousin and I lived together at the time, and he bought us a gym membership. We started working out together, grocery shopping, and cooking. Having him to help hold me accountabile was everything.

At my corporate job, I signed up for a Biggest Loser competition put on by our Health and Wellness Committee.

It was a $25 buy in, and I knew if I put in the effort at the gym, I could win my money back and more. I ended up losing 25 pounds and winning the challenge. During the challenge I had created a routine and discipline, and I just kept going.

I try to follow the 80/20 rule. When it comes to nutrition, what actually works for me is a balanced diet.I’m not the kind of person that can go without carbs or sweets. I believe it’s all about having everything in moderation.

Here’s what I eat in a day now:

  • Breakfast: Carrots, two eggs, a slice of whole grain wheat toast, and all-natural peanut butter.
  • Lunch: Shredded fajita chicken with peppers and onions on corn tortillas with lettuce and a little cheese.
  • Snack (1): Bell peppers and hummus.
  • Snack (2): Plain Fage 0% Greek Yogurt and two clementines.
  • Dinner: Zoodles, crushed tomatoes, and turkey meatballs.
  • Dessert: Chocolate superfood shake, half a banana, unsweetened almond milk, and ice.

I no longer look at exercise as something I have to do to lose weight, but rather something I’m able to do.

It brings me joy! But it wasn’t always that way. When I first started working out, it was all about weight loss. I honestly thought I’d exercise until I lost the weight I wanted and then I could stop. It was all about a destination. I initially started going to the gym and all I ever really did was cardio. I didn’t like it, but I tried to burn as many calories as fast as possible. Overtime, I’ve grown to enjoy working out, and it actually makes me happy now.

I first started running with the help of the Couch to 5k app and eventually got into running road races. At first, I had a goal of running one race a month, and now I actually consider myself to be a runner. I average seven or so races a year, and in 2019 I ran my first-ever half marathon, something I never thought I could do.

Now, a typical week of exercise is six days of 30-plus minute workouts at home. I also love to add in cycling classes and running. I’m a lot more flexible when it comes to my workouts and always open to trying new things. I’m currently working through a six-week at-home boxing program that involves three days of boxing and two days of weight lifting.

These three changes helped me see the most noticeable results in my weight loss.

Change one: I have accountability partners. I’m a hard-working person and can be incredibly disciplined, but if I didn’t have people in my circle to lean on when things got hard, I wouldn’t be where I am.

Change two: I focused on portion control. I allow myself to eat carbs, but in moderation. I make sure I’m eating enough fruits and vegetables. For a long time, I thought I was eating healthy, but the truth is I was eating too much of some food groups and not enough of others.

Change three: I started using structured workouts. For years, I did my own thing in the gym and I got results, but it wasn’t until I started to follow a structured workout created by a trainer that I got faster, more targeted results.

Since 2015, I have lost 80 pounds.

When I set out to lose weight in 2015, I never could have imagined what I would accomplish. With just a tiny ember of belief in yourself, you can move mountains.

I want to encourage you to start today! Stop putting your goals, happiness and hopes for the future off. But take it one day at a time. For years, I focused on the big picture of what I wanted, rather than taking each day as it came. I instantly felt defeated because it all seemed so far out of my reach and unattainable.

It’s okay to have big goals, but focus on what you are doing today and in this moment to get you there. And remember to celebrate every victory. No victory is too small. Celebrate the fact that you only ate one cookie when you wanted the whole box just as much as when you went down a pant size. The small wins add up and get you to those big victories.
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