I’m Jessica Larche Washington, a television news anchor and reporter, wife, daughter, friend and lover of laughter.
Like many of us, I’ve struggled with weight issues my entire life. Even though I was extremely active growing up in New Orleans (dance school, dance team, cheerleading, etc.) the weight seemed to stick around. When I got to college, more weight slowly piled on. And as my career in television news progressed, so did my bad eating habits and lack of exercise, bringing my weight to 267 pounds on my 5’3″ frame. I went through cycles of losing weight only to gain it back and then some. Sure, I’ve always had high self esteem and confidence, but I was tired of the same old, same old when it came to the scale.
In 2012, I had a wake-up call that made me realize it is not just about losing weight or squeezing into a cute dress.
A visit to the doctor revealed my blood pressure was roughly 150/100, which is dangerously high. I was embarrassed that my poor eating choices and lack of a consistent exercise routine led to blood pressure medication at 27 years old.
I decided that I had to begin a lifelong journey toward health and fitness if I was going to tackle this, and do away with the notion of a “diet”.
I started by falling completely in love with myself at that exact moment, no matter the number on the scale or the size of the pants I was wearing. I had to use the love I had for myself as fuel for making better decisions.
I also had to find the blessing in my burden. Once I realized that it is actually a blessing to have a “problem” I have the power to work on everyday, I became grateful! I literally had a moment when I talked to God and said “Thank you for blessing me with a challenge I can tackle with some hard work. I won’t disappoint you!”
I began researching foods that help lower blood pressure. Kale, spaghetti squash, flaxseed and cauliflower rice kept popping up. I found fun recipes to help break up the monotony of my low-sodium, lower-carb lifestyle.
I paced myself when it came to building a routine at the gym, starting off with a personal commitment to workout two or three days a week. Now I’ve worked myself up to using a personal trainer and taking some high-powered cardio classes like Body Combat at One Life Fitness!
Over the last few years, I’ve lost 100pounds! At first, losing less than a pound a week may seem small, but when you add it up over time, it equals big results.
I’m now a comfortable size 12 (10 depending on the designer lol). A size 14 is the average size of a woman in America.
The biggest achievement of my journey? My doctor took me off high blood pressure meds! Sweet baby Jesus!
I chose to share my story after getting so many supportive e-mails from my viewers at NewsChannel 3 who were asking me how I was losing weight. At the end of the day, I’ve been making wiser eating choices, exercising more and finding the blessing in my burden. Don’t get me wrong, when I’m ready to have some of my favorites like crawfish or daiquiris, I allow myself to have some. I just make sure I put in a few extra laps or some extra squats at the gym. My journey has been about finding joy in making healthier choices. I take it day by day, meal by meal, workout by workout. If I have a rough day, I dust myself off, and try again. It’s a marathon, not a sprint!
We can all make the journey toward better health. Just be patient with yourself, and you’ll eventually get there!