Referee Jenn: The Small Changes I Made to Begin my Weight Loss Transformation

DietBet Referee Jenn D. lost 175 pounds, and it all started with small changes. Read about the tiny steps she took to start off her incredible journey.

Like most overweight adults, I have struggled with my weight my entire life. The first time I realized that I was heavier than most kids my age was when I was 6 or 7 years old and my Brownies sash wasn’t very loose around my waist. I noticed, but didn’t really think too much about it until I was a bit older and started getting called names during recess; “thunder thighs” seemed to be a personal favorite of my classmates.

I continued eating my feelings throughout my childhood and doing very little to no exercise, which turned me into a 220-pound high school freshman. I learned quickly that I would never be that pretty, slender girl that the guys wanted to date—so I honed my sense of humor and became the funny girl that was friends with everyone.

I think I also used my sense of humor as a way to deflect what I was feeling on the inside: embarrassment, shame, and self-loathing. By the time I registered for college, I was right about 300 pounds, and the dreaded “freshman fifteen” quickly turned into the “freshman fifty” for me.

When I signed up for my first DietBet game in April of 2014, I submitted my weigh-in at the highest I had ever seen it: 373.6 pounds. I was questioning so many things at the time, like how had I let myself gain that much weight, and, more importantly, how was I going to lose all of it?

Neither answer is simple, but over time I was able to lose a serious amount of weight and radically change my lifestyle. However, it was a gradual process and it started with small, simple steps—and though they may not be the juice cleanses or high-intensity workouts you see in magazines, the steps I took at the very beginning were the hardest and most important things I’ve done to improve my health. So to anyone wondering how on earth to make the huge changes they need to: Remember that you don’t need to know exactly how your journey is going to go. You just need to start.

Here’s how I started.

I knew I needed to make small, manageable changes in order to not overwhelm myself and create an excuse to quit. First, I cut all soda out of my day, which was easier than I thought it would be. Before joining the game, I was drinking at least a liter per day of Diet Pepsi, and then I quit cold turkey. I haven’t had a soda in over a year and it feels great! After my initial two or three cups of coffee in the morning, it’s all water all the time! I could not believe how much better I started to feel after just making that small change. You should try it!

The next small change was to count my calories every single day. This was before I started to really “diet;” I just wanted to see how much I was eating a day. After two days, I was sick to my stomach calculating it all up—I was eating over 3,000 calories a day easily, and most of those were empty, sugar-filled calories. I knew right then that my food calories had to be reduced, but even more than that, I had to make up for all the nutrients I was missing. I made some easy switches, like non-fat Greek yogurt instead of ice cream after dinner, or celery with whipped peanut butter and raisins instead of a chocolate and peanut butter candy bar. 

After making these little changes in my food, I was able to incorporate other changes into my life. I started playing the Zumba video game on my Wii in the comfort of my own home—which was a good thing, since I could only imagine what I looked like when I started out! At first, I was only able to do about three or four songs without having to stop to catch my breath. But every day I did it, I tried to go just a little bit longer. It wasn’t long before I could do a full 20 minutes, and it was an amazing feeling!

All the while as I was making these little changes throughout my daily life, I kept playing more and more DietBet games—and winning them was the best feeling ever! I have played a total of 23 games and have successfully won 21 (and yes, those two games I lost bother me to this day!). Because of DietBet, I was able to lose 175 pounds, and I know that I wouldn’t have been nearly as successful if I didn’t play the games. You know how I know? Because I haven’t played a new game in a few months and gained some weight back—but that’s a story for another day!

Individual results may vary from Success Stories.

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Let Jenn inspire you on your own journey! She regularly hosts Kickstarter games and is does an amazing job of sharing tips and motivation. Just check the game description to see who is hosting!