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Saturday, February 4, 2017

My Journey to Getting Fit Through Diet and Exercise – Part 2

Location: Avon Park, FL

June2012When I was a child, I loved to run. I spent hours out in the woods with my cousins, just running all over the place. Or riding my bike. I was so active. Those were the days before coJune 2013mputers! The days when kids went outside and then didn’t check back in until it was time to eat. Thinking back, I think that started to change when I became a teenager. I was too grown up then to spend hours outside running around. I started to gain some weight and it just became a vicious cycle. More weight…less active…and on and on.

In 2013, I was 47 years old and hadn’t run since I was about 12. I didn’t think I could run actually. But we were up in NY for the summer, when one day in late May my May312014sister showed me her running magazine where there was a “couch to half marathon” program for beginners, and asked if I wanted to do it with her. I’m still not sure what came over me, but I said “sure, why not”. And that’s where it began.

We signed up for a half marathon that August, and then we started running together in the mornings. The first day I could only run 0.67 mile without having to stop and walk. August 2013 Half MarathonAnd even for that 2/3 mile I was gasping for breath. I had been walking on a daily basis but running was a whole new ball game. It took me about a month until I was able to run a mile without stopping.

All through that June and July we worked on the half marathon program. It was slow progress, but progress! And in early August 2013, we traveled to Lake George, where I ran in my first ever race, and a half marathon (13.1 miles) at that! And I finished it! It was very hilly, and I walked more than I ran, and I came in next to last place, but I crossed the finish line - in 3 hours 6 minutes.

That was just the beginning. Since then, I’ve completed:

  • two 5ksJan2015
  • two 10ks
  • two 4 mile races
  • three more half marathons





Someday I would like to do a marathon. My sister and I have talked about doing one at Disney, which would be amazing.




For me, running has made all the difference. But any activity is good activity. I was losing weight by tracking my calories and just walking even before I (re)discovered my love for running.




Another thing that has come in handy was getting a fitbit to keep track of my movement throughout the day. I’ve found it very helpful. It uses my activity to provide me an estimate of my calories burned. I switched to using the Fitbit app instead of the Lose It app to track my food each day.


July 2016Beside logging my food, the other thing that has really helped me is weighing in daily. There are huge differences of opinion in this area, but for me it works. I used to avoid the scale. My clothes would get super tight and when I finally weighed myself, I would have gained ten pounds, or more. I found that much more discouraging. Tracking my weight on a daily basis keeps me on top of how I’m doing. I don’t get hung up on a number if I’m “up” one day, but if my weight continues to tick up over a week or two, I’m aware of it, and can make changes as needed.

July2016It’s still a work in progress, but I am at the point now where I have lost enough weight that I am feeling the best that I have felt since I was that 10 year old kid running around in the woods. I have a little less than 15 pounds to go to get to my final goal, and hopefully I will get there this year, but if not, I’ll keep putting one foot in front of the other until I do get there!

It’s been an amazing journey so far!


  1. Love, Love, love these last 2 posts! Congrats!
    My highest weight back in Spring 2001. I was thin as a kid and young adult. I put on about 10 lbs after accepting my first desk job, but when my clothes started getting tight - I was able to lose it fairly quickly with saying no to extra helpings and no dessert for awhile. Then I got pregnant and it was a license to gain! I didn't do too badly, but when my daughter was 9 1/2 months old, I found out I was pregnant again! I was still hanging on to an extra 10 lbs - just enough to keep me from zipping up my pre-pregnant jeans. Eventually they got sold at a yard sale b/c after gaining almost 40 lbs with my son, I held onto an extra 25 lbs, plus the 10 I never lost after my daughter. I yo-yo'd with 10/15lbs for the next 10 years, then with Bill working away from home for 2 years and comforting myself with ice cream and snacks every night, I put on an additional 20 lbs! After he returned home full time, I knocked off that 20, but the rest remained a challenge. Finally, August 2012, a friend invited me to go to Zumba with her. I LOVED it! In Dec of 2012, I decided enough was enough and set a goal to get serious about getting healthy. I used the "My Fitness Pal" app to keep track of food and increased Zumba from once per week to twice per week, sometimes 3 times. It took me a year but I lost 43 lbs! I had set my goal by deciding what size jeans I wanted to fit - not weight. I remember well the day I went into the department store to try on a size 12 pair of Lees. I was so nervous! Well - I put them on and - THEY WERE TOO BIG! I actually started crying in the dressing room booth! The lady knocked on the door and asked if she could help me and I handed her the jeans and said "Can you get me a size 10 in these?" She brought them back and THEY FIT! I called Bill I was so excited! I bought 2 pair! When people ask me how I did it - I tell them - increase exercise, smaller portions and for me at the beginning was about very low carbs - as I was a HUGE carb addict! It was also about the mental "I'm just ready to do this". Since then, I am up about 10 lbs and my jeans don't want to zipper, but I'll figure it out! I'm finding it difficult to keep up with Zumba on the road - but I do love my new bike! I didn't run as you did as a kid, but instead rode my bike everywhere!
    Sorry for the short novel here in your comments - but I so appreciate your story - wanted to share my own! It's an awesome feeling!
    Congrats again on an wonderful achievement!

    1. Thanks for your comment Kelly! Yes, it's a never ending battle, isn't it?! I have never tried Zumba but I think I would enjoy that also. I'm sure it is very challenging to find that as you are traveling. You may have gained a few but you are still looking great! I understand about the clothes feeling tight though. :)

  2. Jessica, as in rving, it is jot the destination, but the journey. So it is with your half marathon, it's not what place you are in, it is doing it and finishing!! Hats off to you for all your hard work and discipline.

  3. You look FANTASTIC and not sure where you want to lose the extra pounds as you already look fit!
    For me retirement in 2016 has brought renewed health and the best health of my entire life...at 64! Our first workamping gig had me going from a desk junkie to a housekeeping nut and I just cut back on portions. Example: half a sandwich at lunch ILO whole sandwich. We split a chicken breast at dinner ILO cooking one for each of us. Becoming more active has helped a lot, I have lost 14 lbs and for the first time in my life I am in a size 16 jean. Onward and downward for me I hope. My exercise of choice is bicycle riding as I have two bad knees that prevent running. I absolutely love being outdoors.
    I find I ask myself, before I eat, am I hungry or am I bored. Do I want it or do I need it.
    I need to increase my water intake during the winter months, I drink plenty of water during the other months.

    I have followed your blog since before you started fulltiming. We are fulltimers now 1-1/2 yrs in our Heartland Cyclone and we work in the summer to get out Florida and do some traveling and we spend the winter months at our lot in Silver Springs, FL at Wilderness RV Resort.

    Continued success and I am very happy you are returning to blogging!

  4. Hi Jessica,

    This is a very inspirational post! I wonder if you would comment on your calorie intake and calorie burning amount and the balance between them.

    Thank you for your blog; i have followed since before you sold your house and am glad you are back to more frequently posting!

    Thanks, Katy

  5. Hi Jessica...
    Don't know how I wound up here today?!?!! Didn't even know you had a blog...but so glad I did. You are fighting the same battle as my daughter and she just reached her goal weight:o)) Just wanted to say congrats and encourage you to continue to work your plan. Bill and I have been asked many times what are the most important things to do to be able to live as a full-timer. Our answer is to be debt free and healthy. As we approach the big 70, healthy really does go way to the top of the list. Without good health, the rest just isn't possible. So happy for you and wish you the best!!!