8 Weeks to Greatness – 2018

Jenny Stilley

Lost 32 lbs of fat
From size 14 to a 6

Week 1 & 2
“You’re never going to be 100% ready and it’s never going to be just the right time, but that’s the point. It means that every moment is also the right moment, if you want it, you just have to do it.”

Since having children 9 years ago, I was always waiting for the RIGHT time to put my health and myself first. I’ll start after that party; after that vacation; after my next child; after they all go off to school in the fall; next Monday; after I lose 20 pounds I’ll start exercising to keep it off and take off the next 20..… yada yada yada… excuses and excuses were everywhere. I had to make myself a priority.

I had heard about 8 Weeks to Greatness a couple of years ago and it peeked my interest; but once again I was waiting for that RIGHT time. And I’m not going to lie, gyms have never been my favorite place to spend my “free” time. But then years passed, and a couple weeks ago I randomly reached out to a previous 8 weeks participant. I asked her if she thought I could do the program with success and she said yes. That was all it took for me to realize this was the RIGHT time for me to be ALL IN.

Even though it wasn’t the “PERFECTLY” RIGHT time to start- it was May and with the craziness of the kids school wrapping up, summer beginning, and vacations just starting- I realized I couldn’t make excuses anymore. It was MY time (and one thing you need to know about me is that when I am all in, I am ALL in).

I met with Christina and she helped me develop a meal plan (chosen from foods I liked to eat) that was feasible with 3 kids under 8 and a husband to cook for. Each meal was laid out and I knew exactly what to eat every 3 hours and how to go about weekly meal prep. Any question I had concerning the meal plan, Christina was always willing to help me out. She also walked me through a workout to see where my current understanding was when it comes to weights and cardio. For cardio, she developed a creative cardio routine that I could do anywhere and with anyone, even my 5 year old!

In addition to a meal and cardio plan, during my first week Christina taught me how to use a heart rate monitor to gauge my cardio workouts. I can’t believe in my 37 years no one had taught me this, it was a GAME CHANGER!!!!! I quickly found that my 30 minutes of daily exercise was not something to dread, it was actually something that I looked forward to doing. This came as a total shock to me because in the past I would spend over an hour in the gym getting in the best, most sweaty workout I could do during that time. The heart rate monitor opened my eyes and has really helped me “listen” to my body better.

Starting exercise and eating healthy at the same time has always been out of my comfort zone. I have been down many health journeys, but never have I started a health plan where I focus on food and exercise at the same time. I am optimistic that this is the reason why I have not been successful on other paths and why I will be successful on this one (plus the added support, guidance and knowledge of Christina and the His & Her Fitness staff).

At this point, after 1 week of clean eating and 30 minutes of cardio, I am feeling both blessed and excited for what is to come….. “It’s about having the RIGHT people, with the RIGHT abilities, in the RIGHT place at the RIGHT moment,” And I feel like I have found all of this at H & H Fitness. I couldn’t be more excited to be in my moment….

Week 3

“My body’s feeling sore but my soul is feeling pretty good.”

While the first 2 weeks were focused on meal prepping, meal planning and incorporating daily cardio; this week was all about the weights! The last time I had learned about and seriously lifted weights was in high school. So, needless to say I was excited for a refresher course that catered to my 37 year old body instead of my 17 year old body 😊 I had never dabbled in free weights and, while a little intimidated by my lack of knowledge, I was excited to learn.

In addition to my 6 days of cardio, I lifted 3 times this past week. They were all beginning weight level workouts with the purpose of waking up and activating small muscle fibers that hadn’t been used in a while. Christina and the staff at His and Her Fitness were there teaching, helping and supporting (physically and mentally) me throughout each workout. They knew exactly what my body needed and could handle. And WOW did they do a good job in waking up my muscle fibers 😊

I’m continuing to gain confidence with every workout and am feeling great. I have tons of energy and I am sleeping like a baby at night. The meal planning and eating every 3 hours seems to come naturally now. I prep my breakfast for the weekdays on the weekend and this helps relieve some of the craziness of our weekday 8 am swim team mornings. I am continuing to pack snacks and food with me while on the go and this is especially important due to the craziness of our summer day schedules 😊

Christina and the trainers have made the gym a place where my girls and I want to be. While watching mommy “build muscles” and doing some creative cardio of their own, His & Her Fitness is also inviting my children along for the journey. And it’s amazing.
“Children are great imitators. So give them something to imitate.”

Over the past week, my girls started asking about my “diet,” why I am eating differently than before and why I am working out so much. I have always been careful to talk about my body in a positive light to my 3 daughters. But I want to do more than just talk about it to them; I want to personally believe it. And to lead and teach my children positive body image by being an example. We have replaced the words “diet,” “losing weight,” and “losing chubber,” with different responses. My girls understand that mommy is reprogramming and cleaning out my body (and mind) so that I can live a healthier life. They have even joined in with eating better and exercising too. I want to be able to run with my children, and they want me to run with them. With the help of His & Her Fitness I really feel like I am having an impact on my children, as well as myself. And this is super exciting to all involved.

Week 4

“Eat to fuel your body, not your emotions.”

This was a good week. With cardio and weights becoming a part of my daily life that I am beginning to crave, we focused on my meal plan.

Christina and I started out the week by revamping my meal plan. Since I was getting a little hungry by mid afternoon, Christina reviewed my food journal and added more protein to my morning snack. (And it made a huge difference- I was no longer hungry in the afternoon). She also encouraged me to use the recipes on the His and Her Fitness webpage to try 4 different dinners. And the results were great! Not only were the recipes easy and good, but I continued to lose inches, fat and pounds on the scale. I am feeling the difference in my clothing, energy and I feel just awesome! I look forward to trying more new recipes in the upcoming weeks and finding some new favorites. I am so grateful for the support and resources that His and Her Fitness has provided me with in order to get where I am at.

My whole outlook on taking care of myself (and my family) has changed for the better. By now it is second nature to meal plan and prep for the day and upcoming days. I will admit that food temptations haven’t gone away; they’re here more than ever. BUT my mind has shifted; I now aim to fuel my body and not my emotions. It’s NOT always easy but I have taught myself that it is possible. Wednesday swim meet nights don’t seem as daunting anymore. Eating small dinners rich with starch, fiber and protein every 3 hours is becoming a habit (and so is eating when I wake up). Throwing away the kids leftovers is, believe it or not, OK. And instead of dreading heading to the gym, I actually look forward to doing my cardio and weight sessions. The trainers are such a valuable resource in teaching me how to get the best results for my body. They welcome me with a smile, give me direct and indirect encouragement and push me through the entire workout.

My mind was made up from day 1 that I was going to give it my all and make a lifestyle change; through the guidance and encouragement of the His and Her fitness team of trainers I feel like I am getting closer to my goal each and every day. And I’m so excited!

Week 5

“It’s going to be a journey. It’s not a sprint to get in shape.”

Life was good at the beginning of week 5. I had great energy, was seeing positive results from the last 4 weeks and I was getting into a good groove. Then a curve ball was thrown my way; complete and utter fatigue. It was like nothing I had ever experienced. Luckily, Christina and the staff at His and Her Fitness were there with support. Christina was extremely responsive and caring; she helped me tweak my meal and exercise plan which eventually helped get my groove back. She also explained to me WHY my body was experiencing what it was going though and provided me with the tools I needed to get through the fatigue. It was so comforting and calming knowing that someone was there for me. The support from the H&H staff is truly genuine. They REALLY care about their people.

This week I also received an outpouring of support and encouragement from friends and family. People who hadn’t seen me in a while couldn’t believe how much I had “transformed” in such a short time. My own family mentioned to me countless times how proud they were of me and how I look more healthy and happy. Or in the words of my 5 year old, “You look like you are young and don’t have any kids!” I cannot explain what these unexpected words of encouragement did for me this past week; they really kept me in check. So thank you. I am very happy to have week 5 behind me and look forward to staying consistent with my food prep, meal plan and workouts. It does feel great to be wearing clothes that weren’t fitting a month ago…

“If you keep going, you’ll get there. Consistency is the key to success.”

Week 6

“That feeling when someone tells you that you inspire them….”

People are starting to notice changes in my body and in my confidence. And they are celebrating with me! I have never been one to handle a compliment well, but I am embracing and filling my bucket full with each and every one of them. My friends and family’s compliments and kind words are inspiring me to keep going steady with the process (which makes resisting temptations less of an obstacle).

Inspiration… For me to be inspired by others compliments and kind words is great; but for me to be the one inspiring others is just an INCREDIBLE feeling!

I have had a lot of people tell me this past week that through following my journey, they have become inspired to become more healthy/active. Especially moms who have thanked me for my honest and “real” social media posts and candid talks about how it’s okay to take time to do something purely for themselves (even though everyone in the family benefits with mom becoming healthier). I am overly humbled to be an inspiration to others and hope to continue spreading inspiration through the next 2 weeks and beyond.

As for my progress on the plan, I am doing things in the gym (both cardio and weights) that I couldn’t do a month ago. It is very encouraging to see how far I have come in such a short time. Christina and Monica continue to push me each weight session and I can tell that I am becoming stronger. My body is responding well to the weights; I actually think I may be craving it somedays (which is crazy for me to say!) It is so nice having a trainer who knows what to do for my body; it takes the guesswork out of it for me. And I enjoy it. They tell me what to do and show me how to do it and I get a sense of accomplishment in doing it and with their support, doing it well.

The last week and a half I have dabbled with running (mixed in with my creative cardio) in an attempt to get my heart rate to the top of my zone. While running brings my heart rate up, by talking with Christina she encouraged me to stay with creative cardio for my body’s best results. Once again, if I was trying to do this on my own, I’d lost. Completely lost.

I have found that things run more smoothly around my house when I do meal prep and planning because I am not left scrambling when dinner time rolls around. This was a crazy busy week for us and through meal planning I had all the ingredients for the dishes I wanted to make and didn’t have to run to the store because I decided last minute what to make and didn’t have what I needed. I just don’t want to live like that….. I have found that my best time to meal plan is when I am at one of my kids practices since I am usually just sitting there waiting for them to finish. The recipes on the His and Her website have been a key to making meals more diverse from one another. They are easy to prep and make and if I have any questions on the recipe, Christina is quick to answer them. They are also really yummy!

Each week I continue to make progress towards the goal that Christina set for me at the beginning of the 8 weeks journey and I am forever thankful for her commitment to me. This has been a blessing and the best thing that has come into my life in a very long time. It’s easy to get excited about a week with big losses (on the scale and measurements) but with my mind set on continuing this as a lifestyle change, I am most excited that I have found the right path to becoming the healthiest I have even been.

“We tend to forget that baby steps still move us forward…”

Week 7

“Don’t expect success. Prepare for it.”

Week 7 started with an 8-hour train ride and a long weekend in Chicago with friends. Vacation is the ultimate excuse to stray from healthy habits; “Vacation calories don’t count,” “I’m too tired and there’s not enough time for exercise,” “I’ll get back on track once I get back home.” In the past I have bought into these excuses only to come back off track and in a rut to getting back on track. This time, I wasn’t going to let that happen. Plus, travel is a way of life for us. We do it a lot. If I am going to continue working on my healthy lifestyle then I have to include my travel….

A couple days prior to leaving on vacation, I wrote out my week 1 meal plan (made by Christina) for the trip. Then the day before leaving I meal prepped my 5 meals for each of the 4 days we would be gone.

Since we were taking a train, taking a cooler was an option so I had NO excuse. Once the food was prepped and packed, on the trip it was all mind over matter. All my meal decision were made; I didn’t have to think about what goody I wanted to eat… it was right there waiting for me. I was able to view food as fuel for my body. I am proud to say that while temptation was everywhere, and a bite of Chicago pizza would have been great, but sticking to my plan, and coming back in better health then I was in before leaving, was even better. The creative cardio routine Christina made for me was also key in me completing my cardio. Every morning when the family ventured to the breakfast buffet, I would do my 30 minutes of creative cardio followed by my meal prepped breakfast. It was actually very nice to have that time to myself each morning!

When we got back, it was the neighborhood 4 th of July block party. Once again, mind over matter and my mind won again! I grilled the best flatbread pizza of my life and had a fantastic time catching up with neighbors (without the next day hangover from beer and wine!) I am learning how to have a new kind of fun that doesn’t have to revolve around food and drink and surprisingly it’s liberating.

Over the last week, a lot of people have commented on how great I look. They also have many questions about 8 weeks to greatness. When they ask what I am eating they are SHOCKED to hear that I am eating real food; a real food plan built on food that I like and is easy to prep and make. And they are shocked at the amount of food that I eat and the frequency of each meal. They are also surprised by my cardio plan and how possible it is to get it in everyday without a trip to the gym. Christina and the staff at His and Her Fitness have made a plan that works for someone who leads a busy lifestyle and who likes to eat I really am feeling great.

“Mind over Matter- Tell your mind to get out of your body’s way!”

Week 8

“Embrace the Journey. Take time to celebrate how far you’ve come TODAY.”

It is photo shoot week and I can’t begin to even tell you how loved and supported I feel. I am overwhelmed and humbled not only by the endless support and time given to me by Christina and the staff at His and Her Fitness, but by the generosity of so many small businesses in southern Overland Park. You all are reminding me how important it is to celebrate successes along the way and I am forever grateful for this reminder. It has been such a long time since I cared properly for myself and honestly, I feel like a princess. As if 8 Weeks To Greatness could get much better; I have been gifted several sessions of Cryotherapy (my new indulgence) from Frank at Cryosalon, a facial from Lindsey at Advanced Aesthetics, a haircut and style from Aimee at Nevaeh Salon, a Roden and Fields lash boost, a hair dye session by Heather, a 2 week teeth whitening kit, a Kendra Scott necklace for the photoshoot, numerous restaurant gift cards, a free photoshoot outfit from Scout and Molly’s, custom orthopedics from KC Running, new workout apparel from Scheel’s and a month free to try Lotus Yoga. THANK YOU.
THANK YOU. THANK YOU.

I have found a place that I want to be part of. From the trainers to the clients, the atmosphere in the gym is warm and inviting. I feel important and my needs are met whether training in a small group or in a one on one setting. Each week I would come in 3 times for weights, regardless of whether I was ready for my workouts or not. (Yes, somedays were harder to come then others). But I would still show up.

And once there I put my faith into Christina and Monica and let them work my body to its fullest potential. And I would leave feeling fully satisfied and happy. I like to surround myself with positive, giving people and it is incredible to be working with a team of people who TRULY love their job and whose passion is to help others achieve greatness.

I have achieved so much these last 8 weeks. I know I was the one who ultimately did it, but there is no way I could have done it without Monica and Christina’s support, guidance and knowledge. To have a cardio, weight and eating plan catered towards my needs has been a life changer and something I think I can incorporate into my forever lifestyle. Even though my 8 weeks are up, my path doesn’t end here. I have so much more to learn and more personal health goals to reach. And knowing this only inspires and excites me to keep on treading down the same path to even greater success.

Oh, And I am having fun. I don’t remember the last time I thought working out and being healthy was fun… Thank you Christina and His and Her Fitness for giving me a place to find myself again. It’s easy to lose focus on yourself when you are worrying about so many others. My girls thank you. My husband thanks you. And I thank you. This is the best thing I have ever done for me.

“Celebrate what you have accomplished but raise the bar a little higher every time you succeed…”

Jeff Crooks

Lost 39 lbs of fat
Lost 30 inches
Lost 35 lbs on the scale

Week 1 & 2

I trained with Christina many years ago and kids and time consumed me. After training for 8 years, I really didn’t notice I was getting soft in places I shouldn’t be and suddenly I developed “Dad Bod” again!! Well, I have a canoe trip scheduled to the boundary waters for 8 days in September. I need to get ready to go!

The first step was to get a personalized meal plan and workout regimen from the trainers. I met with Christina and she laid out a specific plan just for me. I know exactly what I’m supposed to eat for 6 meals a day. The food prepping has been crucial and prevented me from just grabbing something quick and easy regardless of how healthy it was. I even cut out my 1 can of diet Coke a day…. I still miss it.

I keep my food journal daily, which is a first for me, as I was terrible keeping track of it when I trained daily for 9 years previously. I do enjoy having the accountability and the positive encouragement from the trainers. I am doing 6 days of cardio and will introduce strength training soon. Between adding a FitBit to my wrist and the positive attitude whenever I show up to the gym, it really helps keep me motivated.

I took measurements on selection day. I was down 5 lbs and 2% body fat!! Very encouraging. Keep you posted how this adventure goes.

Week 3

Strength training!! Oh my muscles are soft! If pain is weakness leaving the body, I’m feeling it now. I got fancy this week and prepackaged my meals in individual disposables from a local restaurant supply house. Makes planning much easier when I’m on the go.

Between owning my own business, 3 kids travel baseball, travel soccer, and travel volleyball teams! I don’t think I could pull it all together without the weekend food prep.

Cardio 6 days a week. 3 days of full body workouts with the trainer and 5 days of ab workout on my own. Suffice to say, I sleep a lot better with few restless nights. Monday comes early and with it, a new adventure.

Week 4

This week was all about habit forming. The gym is beginning to be more familiar again. The aches and soreness after workouts has subsided. Adrian is very good at reaching out for support as is Christina, of course. Both are keeping me honest about what I eat and offering ideas for alternatives. I’ve dropped several pounds at this point. Meal planning is much easier with prepped meals over the weekend. I can just grab and go The kids call them “happy meals” now. Not sure if that’s a reflection of how easy they are, or how much better of a mood I am when I don’t miss a meal. 

Week 5

I think I’m getting a bit leaner. I can actually see a “2 pack” on my abs. I’ve made a point to do 10 minutes minimum ab workouts daily since I started this adventure. I think it has helped stability a lot. I’m also out of belt notches to tighten my pants. I may in the market for a new belt or two at this point, maybe even new pants. I feel incredibly blessed and grateful to the trainers at His and Her Fitness.  

I still haven’t found a way to enjoy weighted walking lunges….I still seek that enlightenment. Lord give me strength!

Week 6

Down 16 pounds so far, at weigh in this week. Body fat is dropping off gradually. I had an out of state baseball tournament my son attended that cost me my regular Wednesday session, so I did cardio, abs and pushups at the hotel and doubled up sessions Thursday and Friday.  Suffice to say, with 2 days of weights in a row, I slept well Friday night. I was a bit stiff Saturday morning, but cardio and abs loosened that right up.

Very motivating for me to see the changes in my body and how easily maintaining the routine has become. I typically prep meals for my family for the week anyways, the extra step of portioning out the “happy meals” controls how much I eat at a setting. I think I’m eating MORE food actually each week, from a calorie perspective, and still losing weight. Suhweet! 

Smoked salmon tacos are delicious by the way….I do love tacos.

Week 7

I’m noticing my strength from training is returning and I’m not sore as long after a heavy workout. It seems to be more habitual in the timing of my day and allocating time in my schedule for cardio, meal prep, workout. I have stayed consistent and dedicated to my healthy eating.  We plan our meals for the week, make them so they are ready to go when we need them and it makes meal time a breeze. I don’t find it inconvenient at all to take meals with me and when I find myself helping the kids make cupcakes or splurging on ice cream cones, I don’t have the need to join in. While tacos remain a weakness(!), Christina has ample options to make a healthy alternative. I continue to have an incredible support group and can’t believe the progress I have made in such a short period of time.  

Week 8

What a ride!! Great staff. I’ve know Christina for many years and am glad to have gotten to know Adrian and Rob. Fantastic trainers and very positive motivators. I appreciate their attentiveness and follow up so much.

This week was a lot of kids sports travel and rescheduling sessions. They are incredibly accommodating with enough notice. I did get all my workouts and cardio in, but had to do a back to back lift day. I hit a physical wall at the end of the second session. I was a bit tight the next day, but nothing cardio couldn’t loosen up. 

I’ll need to buy some new pants now….and some new belts as I’m out of spaces now. All great problems to have. Thank you all so much. It has been amazing.