A GFDR Participant Lost 65 Pounds! Amazing Story Below!

The Great Father’s Day Race received an amazing story this past week from a 2013 participant named Jennie Novitske. From June of 2013 to March 2014, Jennie has lost almost 65 pounds! Read her incredible story below. And of course, a before/after pic!

I lost almost all 65 pounds of baby weight that I gained during pregnancy in less than a year, and I did NOT eat salads for every meal! It’s true. I HATE salads and I LOVE eating, so you can imagine how difficult this may have been to do! I have ALWAYS had a sweet tooth and was never taught the importance of an active/healthy lifestyle growing up. The excitement and joy of becoming pregnant with my first child gave me the excuse to overindulge (and ‘relax’) for 9 months because I was “eating for two” (but really more like eating enough for 3 or 4!). My weight loss journey this past year started when I found myself surpassing the weight of my almost 6’3” husband towards the end of my pregnancy- I was determined to get back into shape, to be a healthy mom and model the healthy habits that I want my children to have.

After my son was born at the end of February, adjusting to new parenthood and survival -for all involved- was my number one priority. I’m sure most parents can understand those first few weeks/months where you forget to eat, and when you do, you’re just eating whatever is easy/fast/around. I lost about 12 pounds those first few weeks (I’m guessing it was a result of forgetting to eat regular meals). Once I had something that somewhat resembled a “routine”, I signed up for the Great Father’s Day Race 2013 and THAT became my motivation to jump-start a whole lot of weight loss! I did the “couch to 5k training” and jogged/walked 3 times a week with my “itty-bitty” in the stroller. I ended up walking a lot on race day and finished in a whopping 46 minutes. Once it got so darn hot, I became less excited about exercising and that’s when I hit a plateau and was stuck at only -12 pounds for a few months.

The BIG change started when I went back to work in August. I’m a 3rd grade teacher and I teach next door to the healthiest person you could ever meet inside & out. I was always complaining about how “fat” I felt and she was always so encouraging “Oh no you look great! You just gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, don’t be so hard on yourself!” She soon took on the role as my official cheerleader/life coach, so started sending me Pinterest recipes and ideas to help me actually become healthier person, instead of just complaining about my “unhealthiness”. Her message was simple: Don’t diet, just get used to living a healthier lifestyle. I began making the recipes she was sending me, and learning which foods are healthy substitutes for others. I used a lot of my friend’s recipes for squash (which are VERY low in calories, and quite filling) and made all of these diverse and delicious meals using mostly vegetables and low-fat meats (i.e. spaghetti squash chicken enchiladas- made of all veggies and baked chicken breasts….SO GOOD!). I discovered vegetables that I had never eaten before: squashes, mushrooms, brussel sprouts (delish! Who knew?!), and I didn’t feel like I was depriving myself of food because I wasn’t! I wasn’t making salads for my main meals, but rather using them as garnishes to my fancy veggie/meat meals. I learned substitutes for different things (mashed avocado instead of sour cream, balsamic vinegar can make just about anything taste good, and no oil to cook things with, just use water!). No calorie counting, no crazy exercise, just plain old healthier eating.

As soon as I started trying all these easy recipes, it became really simple to eat healthfully, and just to learn how to cook in a healthier way. The pounds started FLYING off! I’m not even kidding. I was eating delicious REAL food, not rabbit food! BONUS: The weeks that I included some exercise into my busy schedule, the weight loss doubled/tripled! I lost 6 pounds in ONE week just by adding two sessions of Zumba with eating my healthy meals. Most weeks I lost about 2 pounds.

So here’s what I learned this year: It’s really easy to eat healthy when you can learn to cook a variety of vegetables in different ways, have supportive friends and family that are excited for you to reach your goals, and a Pinterest account with fun, delicious & nutritious recipes just a ‘pin’ away!

The added bonus of knowing that my finishing time for this coming year’s Great Father’s Day Race will be so much faster since I’m almost 70 lbs lighter is also an incentive to keep my new habits up! 🙂

Good luck reaching your goals! Warm Regards, Jennie Novitske

Here are a FEW links to my favorite recipes that are now staples in my house:
Balsamic butternut squash- peeled, cubed, roasted with balsamic vinegar 400 degrees for about 40 min- SO GOOD!

Roasted Cabbage Wedges

Spag Squash Chicken Enchiladas

Cauliflower Pizza Crust (one of my faves!)



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