As told by Jessica Fonseca, The Vitamin Shoppe Health Enthusiast
Growing up, when I wasn’t in school I was home helping my single mom take care of my younger siblings. Our diet had two requirements: fast and easy. Which meant that microwave meals, sandwiches, and cereal made up most of our daily eats. I was always a little heavy, but couldn’t find the time or motivation to exercise.
I got married young—at 16 —and was pregnant a year later. While I was pregnant, I found out that I had hypothyroidism, meaning my thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones. It made me feel fatigued all the time and explained my sluggish metabolism. The weight just kept piling on.
Three years and three children later, I was up by 90 more pounds. My husband and I split our attention between the babies and work; our own health and nutrition were afterthoughts. We filled our dinner plates with refried beans, rice, and fried pork chops, the traditional Mexican food we knew.
Baby Steps Towards A New Lifestyle
Three years ago, my husband, who was always very thin, started hitting the gym because he wanted to bulk up. I decided to go with him and started exercising four days a week.
At first, I walked into the gym most days without a plan. I spent the majority of my time on cardio machines, like the treadmill or stationary bike. Meanwhile, my husband hit the weight room, and after a year he’d put on pounds and pounds of muscle. I’d lost only six pounds.
My husband and I split our attention between the babies and work; our own health and nutrition were afterthoughts.
I decided to try strength-training with him for just one month to see what would happen. That’s when the inches and pounds started to fall off—finally.
Kicking Into High Gear
Once I had a taste of those results, I was all in. We overhauled our diet, loading up on vegetables and protein. Spaghetti squash with pasta sauce and turkey meatballs became one of our favorite dinners. I also upped my training, lifting weights five days a week. Over the next six months, I lost 25 pounds.
Related: Get all your protein needs met.
I had more and more energy as time passed, and lost fat but gained muscle. I even ditched my morning coffee.
We’d been going to The Vitamin Shoppe often for protein powder and supplements like CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), and about a year ago I noticed our local store was looking for a part-time employee. I was so invested in this new lifestyle that I left my full-time job and became a Health Enthusiast. From there, my motivation to feel healthier and fitter hit an all-time high.
So far, I’ve lost 60 pounds and dropped almost 10 dress sizes. My three sons all wrestle and play soccer, and I’m the mom that can go out and run around with them instead of watching from the sidelines.
Once I had a taste of those results, I was all in.
Whenever I have a tough day—hey, they happen—I look back at old progress photos. Seeing how far I’ve come these past few years really lights the fire in me to keep pushing forward. I feel so confident now, and I love sharing my story with my The Vitamin Shoppe customers. I want them to know that they can make this journey, too!
I never would have thought I’d feel so full of life, love deadlifting, or start a new career in the health industry.
Advice For Others
Find someone that will motivate you and keep you going. My husband always encouraged me (he’s gained more than 70 pounds of muscle, by the way) and held me accountable for eating healthy meals and making time for the gym.