Total transformation: An interview with success.

One year after taking control of her nutrition and fitness

Over the course of the last year, I’ve watched my friend Jen completely transform her body.  From what she tells me, it’s been quite an amazing journey.  I can tell you that it’s been awe-inspiring to watch.

I mentioned her last week as being my friend who was stuck in a headset during the Verizon strike and still doing plyometric lunges at her desk to get some exercise in.  Now that’s dedication! So, here we go… My interview with Success:

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?  I’m married and reside in Stewartstown, PA. I’m a mother to three boys (15, 12 and 3), which keeps me very active and an Executive Assistant to three Directors at Verizon. I turned 40, a big milestone for me, on August 11th of this year.

Your journey began on Mother’s Day of 2010.  I understand you went through some major “life changes” in regards to exercise. What made you decide to make the changes? I was 39 years old and did not want to head into my 40’s unhealthy and overweight. With 3 boys to keep up with I had to make a change for the better. I wanted to be a good role model for my children and didn’t feel I was with my current lifestyle.

How did you get started? I motivated myself in the beginning by keeping a daily journal that tracked my caloric intake, activities, and weekly weight loss. This held me accountable for my actions and showed me what was and was not working. In addition, I immediately cleaned out the refrigerator and pantry and went shopping to stock up on healthy foods (chicken, fish, fruits, veggies and grains). I began walking daily (sometimes twice a day), as well.


How did you stay on track? I stayed on track by telling myself it was not an option to go back to my old habits and reminded myself daily of how unhappy I was being overweight and unhealthy.

Jen, before her journey began

I also set short-term goals along the way vs. long-term ones that would keep me less inspired. When I did slip up, I was kind to myself. Slipping up is an opportunity to begin again, only this time more intelligently. I’d tell myself, “I know I’ll be back on track tomorrow.” And, I was!

Who was influential in your success/how? My sister has been and still is my biggest motivator. When I was overweight, she never criticized me for it and when I finally made the decision to change my life, she was with me throughout. Even though we live miles away from one another, she frequently called to check in on my status and to let me know how proud she was of me. My sister kept me going and I wouldn’t be where I am today without her support.

You must have a tremendous amount of pride in yourself. What are you most proud of? I’m proud of myself for taking the initiative to make this change. For once in my life I did what I set out to accomplish and surpassed any goal I’ve ever set for myself. I now realize that if you want something bad enough, you can obtain it. It just takes hard work and a positive mindset.

Where do you workout? And what does a typical day look like for you?  Gold’s Gym – Shrewsbury for 45-60 minutes of strength training and 30-45mins of cardio (6 days a week), 1 day of rest (unless my body tells me otherwise).

Practicing her moves for the fitness competition

What’s your advice to others who want to get over the exercise hump? Don’t wait for tomorrow, start today. If you want it bad enough there is no room for excuses. You need to make the time to do it.

  1. Set short-term goals. When you reach a goal you will be motivated to go further.
  2. Plan your meals out ahead of time and stock up on fresh fruits and veggies. When you are hungry they are easy to grab and they take the edge off. 
  3. Keep a daily journal. Write down your daily intake, your activities, and your accomplishments. You’ll be reminded of how hard you have worked and it will motivate you to stay on course.

You were featured in the most recent issue of Oxygen Magazine. What was that like? How did it make you feel? It was outstanding and I am honored to be featured. It makes me happy that Oxygen readers have contacted me with praise and also asking for my advice! There are so many people in the same situation I was in and I love inspiring and helping others!

What’s next for you, Jen? I’m currently training for my first Figure Competition, which is this month. I’m not sure for 2012…I will have a new goal set soon though!


I’d really like to thank Jen for her time and for sharing her story. To say she’s an inspiration is an understatement. When I think about what she’s accomplished, it brings tears of joy to my eyes.

I remember sitting next to Jen, when she attended her first Figure Competition, as a spectator this past April. I looked to my right and saw a sort of sparkle in her eye. I asked her if we’d see her up there some day and she was hesitant to say yes, but I knew we would.

I can’t wait to see Jen take the stage in a few weeks and show an audience what she’s done! Look at where Jen was… Look where she is now… And, perhaps take her advice and “start today”.

What’s stopping you?


Carri Nelsen



About The Zone Magazine

The FREE, all digital, local magazine focusing on good news in Northern Baltimore County, Harford County & Southern PA. Visit our website.
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2 Responses to Total transformation: An interview with success.

  1. Maggie Doyle says:

    I am so proud of Jen. Her dedication is amazing.

  2. Pingback: Setting the bar a little lower | The Zone Magazine

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