Jill Perry-Eising jokingly says she’s been doing Weight Watchers since high school. But she says she’s tried nearly all the popular programs such as Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Isagenix and zero carbs.
“It was after having my two kids that my weight really ballooned. And that was followed by running around with them and their sports and eating on the run,” says Perry-Eising.
In May 2017 she was at an appointment with an acupuncturist for pain in her knees. She was already getting winded when climbing stairs, and her blood pressure and cholesterol numbers were up.
“I can remember it was a rainy day. I knew my blood pressure was high because I had a headache and my face was red. I was lying there thinking, ‘I’m going to eat myself to death, have a heart attack and leave my kids with no mother.’ It was a real epiphany. I made a doctor appointment the next day,” says Perry-Eising.
In a discussion with her, she decided to eat only half of every meal. Within two weeks, she'd dropped 11 pounds. Motivated, Perry-Eising downloaded the My Fitness Pal smartphone app and used it to count calories. She challenged herself to keep every meal to no more than 500 calories. Within 15 months, Perry-Eising had lost 122 pounds.
“After shopping in plus-size stores for so long, I was able to fit into regular-size clothes by January, when I was down about 80 pounds. I couldn’t believe they fit. I was like a kid in a candy store. There’s so much more of a choice, and they’re so much less expensive,” she says.
She starts her day with a protein bar and water mixed with Benefiber, a fiber supplement. Lunch is usually leftovers from the previous evening’s dinner. An example is a stir-fry of chicken and vegetables over brown rice. And she makes sure she drinks 80 ounces of water a day.
Perry-Eising targets going to the gym three times a week. “But I don’t stress if I don’t get there. I don’t want to feel guilty,” she says. Her routine starts with a warm-up on a stationary bike, then 30 minutes of weight training, focusing on different areas of her body. She finishes with a half-hour of cardio on a treadmill or stationary bike.
“It’s a journey, and there will be highs and lows. It won’t be perfect every day. On hard days, grind through it and don’t feel guilty. I’m shocked I was able to do this. I had given up on ever being thin.”
51, Deer Park
Before 298 pounds, April 2017
After 176 pounds, Aug. 2018