She has been following the ALWAYS HUNGRY Book Program since February and has not only experienced phenomenal weight loss, but also the freedom and joy that come from regaining control over her body! Read on to see how AH has transformed Jenny’s life for the better.
Tell us a little about your progress following the AH program.
“After my daughter died in July 2015, I had a moment of clarity that I had never before experienced and haven’t again since. I suddenly couldn’t understand why I was afraid to start taking care of myself. I deeply regretted that I hadn’t been in the physical state to try to save my daughter myself, instead of having to call for help. I regretted not having ever been strong enough or healthy enough to go for walks and hikes with her. I vowed that I would find a way to do those things with her older brother and any future children.
I lost 15 lbs through exercise alone, but I felt like I was clawing my way through every ounce. I then became pregnant. A month or so later my grandfather passed away from Alzheimer’s complications. A week later I miscarried for the third time in my life. Unsurprisingly, I gained back 5 of the 15 I had lost.
I restarted my exercise plan but my weight no longer went anywhere. I was stalled at a 10 lb loss and I was sure that I’d never be able to do it. Then I came across an article someone shared on Facebook about AH. I read it and it felt like God was taking me by the shoulders and practically shouting in my ear, “This! This! This is it! Get the book!”
I started following AH on February 8th. I never actually followed the meal plan itself. My husband is a trained chef and I’m a pretty good cook myself, so I was able to tell immediately that following the meal plan was going to take more time than I had. Instead, I studied the meal building guide and used that religiously until I knew it by heart. I planned out all my own meals each week and made sure they were meals I had time to cook.
Initially, my weight loss was very rapid. I also gained a significant amount of energy and felt euphoric most of the time! Prior to starting, I had been told I had some degeneration in my knees. Whenever I walked up stairs I could hear and feel creaking and crackling in my knees with every step. It only took a few weeks before that actually went away. I stopped having headaches, I was sleeping better than ever, and I no longer fell asleep at my desk every afternoon. Cravings went away within days! My hypertension vanished and my cholesterol settled into “perfect” levels, as my doctor described.
Adapting The Program to Fit My Needs
I developed pneumonia a few weeks after starting and had the eye opening experience of how stress on my body could completely stall weight loss. Once I recovered, my body started losing weight again. This is the point when I started experimenting with phase 2. I found that my body was happiest if I just listened to what it wanted. I would have a phase 1 or a phase 2 meal purely based on what I felt my body needed. I discovered that if I “ate around the plate,” I didn’t have to worry about calculating ratios. Instead of eating all of one component of a meal before moving on to the next, I would alternate with a few bites of each component until I felt satisfied. That was my body’s cue that I had eaten exactly what I needed.
I learned my body’s typical pattern: lose 6 to 7 lbs, gain 3 to 4 (sometimes 5), plateau for a week or two, then drop another 6 to 7 from where I was when I plateaued. Weight gains were no longer something to be afraid of, but instead became part of the typical progress. Sometimes I would find that weight gain was a signal that I needed to step back and take a break, that I was pushing too hard and needed to relax.
New Relationship With Food
I became pregnant in June (found out in July) and my whole outlook changed. Following AH was no longer about losing weight, but about eating in the healthiest way possible for a growing baby. My body let me know very clearly that it was ready to completely enter phase 2. In fact, if I ate phase 1 amounts of fat I would feel an extra measure of morning sickness. Cravings did re-emerge with pregnancy and I’m still managing those, but when I give in and eat something I shouldn’t, I end up with morning sickness for about 24 hours. Otherwise, morning sickness is almost non-existent.
Pleasant Surprises Along the Way
The thing that really surprised me was that I kept losing weight during my pregnancy, though much more slowly than before. I’m being closely monitored by my OB because, by history, I’m high-risk. My baby is growing very well and is in fact measuring slightly ahead of his gestational age. He is thriving! I have watched my body slim down all over while my baby bump begins to grow outward. It’s very exciting! I’m able to do so much more with my son and I’m starting to be capable of participating in physical activities. Once I’ve had this baby and the weather warms up again, I plan on doing regular, outdoor, physical activities with my sons. I’m finally able to!”
Total lost on AH so far: 49 lbs
Total lost from highest weight: 59 lbs
Size when starting: 3XL
Size now: XL
What advice would you give to others just starting out?
“Learn to pay attention to your body’s cues. It will tell you what you need! It will tell you when you have eaten enough of a macronutrient. It will tell you if you need to take a break. It will let you know when something isn’t quite right and that further exploration with a medical provider may be necessary. For me, listening to my body is the key to success with this plan.”
What’s your favorite part of the program?
“My favorite part of the program is the freedom I have experienced! I love being free from headaches, cravings, food obsession, and from the aches and pains I used to deal with daily. I am free from the fear that I was never going to be able to get control of my health. I’m free to enjoy this pregnancy! My previous pregnancies were miserable. I felt exhausted and ill and just weary throughout each one. This time I have energy and I actually love being pregnant. AH has given me my life back.”
What challenges have you faced along the way?
“Eating in social situations used to be a challenge. I desperately missed being able to eat what everyone else was eating. I eventually learned to plan ahead and either bring something I could share with everyone or bring a treat (such as fruit and cream, a cashew cluster, etc.) for myself. Doing that allowed me to feel a part of things without eating something I knew would make me feel sick.”
Congratulations, Jenny! We’re so proud of you!