Caroline Jhingory lives in the community and works out at the Results Gym at City Vista six days a week. Shape Magazine and Essence recently featured her dramatic weight loss transformation in which she lost over 120 lbs. Follow the “Read More” jump for pictures and a Q&A Caroline did with another medium that she sent me.
What’s your weight/fitness story?
I was 5’2 in height and 273lb the year before starting high school at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts.
Over the last eight (8) years, now at 29 years old and still around 5’2ish, I have lost and maintained a 123lb weight loss without gastric bypass surgery, any commercial diet programs or fad diets.
I attribute my weight loss success to strengthening my faith, determination, patience…and a treadmill.
Exercise has been the central tool in my transformation, but it’s still only one part of the puzzle towards health. I significantly changed how I eat; altering my relationship to food and eating. Again, I adhere to no specific diet. I practice mindful eating, remaining disciplined and limiting my intake of carbohydrates, sugar, dairy products and caffeine.
What was your turning point and/or “Ah-ha!” moment?
There was no major incident that caused me to have an “aha moment” really. One day I was home visiting from college. And I just said to myself “I had enough!” Enough of wearing body girdles to fit into certain outfits, enough of being the girl that guys never acknowledged. Overall being obese had caused me to miss out on enjoying simple things in life: I had not worn a bathing suit since I was 9 years old, was never able to ride a roller coaster because the safety bar did not fit over my stomach, and did not have my first boyfriend until graduate school.
How has losing weight/being healthy & fit changed your life?
Outside of all the superficial stuff of being able to wear cute clothes and a guy or two noticing me, my weight loss has made me more driven all around. Losing 123lbs has made me feel as if no obstacle is too big whether its school, work-related or family-related. Life has taught me that God is never gonna give me more than I am capable of handling.
How often do you exercise?
My key to success was learning to replace an unhealthy addiction: mindless eating while sitting in front of the television, with a healthy addiction: hitting the gym everyday. “I eat everyday, so I workout everyday,” is my number one fitness tip when giving advice to others.
What is your favorite workout?
For 60 minutes, I love to do a combined high speed and high incline walk on the treadmill while listening to music and/or watching a mindless reality show on the built in televisions. It really makes me feel like I’m challenging myself and using every muscle in my body to pull myself up on the incline. I also enjoy riding my bike through downtown DC and to the World War II Memorial at night. (I so appreciate DC’s bike lanes, however Metro bus drivers seem to ignore them;-(
What 5 food items are “must haves” in your kitchen?
- Costco’s Kirkland Organic Salt-Free Seasoning – Sure it is healthy, but I have just never been a fan of salty food.
- Economy size bag of frozen chicken breasts. – I think of chicken breasts as my “chameleon food.” I can make them adapt too almost any dish and they are a convenient source of lean protein.
- Frozen veggies such as cauliflower, spinach and bell peppers – Being that I am a single lady and feeding only me, fresh veggies tend to spoil very quickly. Frozen veggies of course last longer, are usually already chopped and cheaper!
- Leak-proof Tupperware – I am a creation of convenience. On Sunday, I typically cook my lunches and dinners for the week and put them in Tupperware. That way I always have healthy food ready that I can just pop in the microwave.
- Bottled water, water, water and more water – Living in Washington, DC there has been way too much controversy on drinking the tap water here. Water keeps me well hydrated for my workouts and lubricates my joints for tough workouts as well.
What is your favorite motivational/inspirational quote?
Those who can truly be accounted brave are those who best know the meaning of what is sweet in life and what is terrible, and then go out, undeterred, to meet what is to come. — Pericles … (a gift from Tulane Professor Cinda Lanza, when I was having a really bad day)
How do you find balance in your life?
My faith, exercise and travel have become my therapy.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
It would be expected that losing 123lbs is my greatest accomplishment. However, my greatest accomplishment is coming to peace with the car accident death of my two teenage cousins and absence of my father after my parents’ divorce. For many years, I was angry at the world and God about these two things. I dealt with my anger by vacuuming in Hot Pockets and Hostess cupcakes. Perhaps my real “aha moment” was reaching a place of forgiveness.
What do you love most about your body?
I love and admire my body’s stamina when I am at the gym. The amount of physical acitivity I am able to do always shocks me. Even still I ask myself where did this come from?!?!
Favorite things, places in Mount Vernon Triangle?
I love that I have a place that is within walking distance that serves shrimp and grits, which is my kryptonite. Busboys and Poets! Also Safeway is a lifesaver. Cooking my own food and always having something low carb prepared has become a central part of my life.
What weight loss/fitness tools do you use that you rely on in your weight loss/fit life journey?
Good, comfortable and affordable workout clothes from discount designer stores like Marshall’s in Columbia Heights You really can find the durable sweat resistant workout clothes there for half the price. For me, having cute fitness clothes, motivates me to workout.
My IPOD and Black Berry! A few weeks ago an intern at work showed me how to stream music through my Black Berry so it’s a stand in for my IPOD from time to time.
I am a member of many online wellness and fitness communities. Discussing health and wellness with individuals from all over the world keeps me motivated and most of all EDUCATED on adhering to a health lifestyle.