“You have to want it more than anybody else.”
By Jessica Calixto as told to the Tonal Team
My weight loss journey has been a long one. I didn’t struggle with my weight until I had my two kids. Since it had never been an issue for me before, gaining weight really disrupted how I saw myself. I was able to lose it by working out consistently, but when Covid-19 hit, I developed some bad habits and gained that weight—and more— back. I wasn’t seeing people much and barely went anywhere. That got to my head, and I just completely stopped caring about my appearance.
I tried going back to the gym because I wanted to take my life back. I had totally stopped dating and I wanted to love myself again before seeking validation from anyone else. The gym felt pretty intimidating. I was always comparing myself to other people and felt self-conscious. I wasn’t motivated so I only lasted about a month. Finally, last December, when I reached the highest weight I’d ever been, I decided enough was enough. I was tired of sounding like a broken record, always complaining about my weight and pitying myself.
Ultimately, it came down to my daughters. I was considering getting liposuction, but my daughters convinced me not to do it. They believed I could lose the weight on my own, and I wanted to prove to them that I could. I wanted to show them I’d be around for a long time. That’s when I got serious about my diet and exercise and ordered my Tonal.
My Tonal arrived in February and I’ve been in love with it ever since. In the first two months of using it, though, I only lost one pound. Despite eating a healthier diet and working out consistently, I didn’t see the scale move as much as I hoped it would, and I started to get discouraged. But then I took a picture of myself and compared it to one taken eight weeks earlier. My body looked much more toned with more visible muscle. I could really see the changes.
I posted my picture in the Tonal Facebook group and got such an encouraging response. People appreciated it because no matter where you are in your journey, you want to see progress, you want to see a difference. A lot of us focus so much on that number on the scale, but seeing that picture even without a huge weight drop shows that change is happening and consistency works.
The Tonal community has been so supportive. People cheer you on after you complete a workout, and it makes me feel excited when I see one of my friends post. I created an Instagram account for my journey and now people are reaching out to me for advice and to ask what workouts I’m doing. I just finished HIIT The Beach with Coach Gabby. She’s great. I don’t know how she’s so energetic after doing all the hard moves she does, but she’s still smiling.
I’ve noticed even more changes that have nothing to do with weight. My clothes, especially my pants, fit better and are easier to get on. Going up just one flight of stairs used to leave me huffing and puffing. Now I can run up the stairs. I used to have problems putting my shoes on because I couldn’t lift my legs up, but now I can do it easily.
I used to sweat so much from just moving around. It got to the point that I had to leave events within ten minutes because my body could not regulate my temperature. My heart would race from doing the simplest things. I wouldn’t meet up with friends and wouldn’t be caught in any pictures. I was missing out on so much of life because I was hiding my weight.
Gaining weight can be tough emotionally and socially. You want to seclude yourself and not talk to people. Now, I feel more confident going places without having as much anxiety.
Recently I went to a water park with my kids. I used to only be able to do one slide because of all the stairs, but this time I went down more than I could even count and I wasn’t even out of breath. That’s what’s important: little things like being part of the fun instead of sitting out because “Mommy’s too tired.”
I love working out on Tonal so much that I’ve changed the way I think about my fitness journey. Exercise doesn’t feel like a chore, and now I’m enjoying each step I take in the process of getting stronger.
Working out at home is a big help too, because I’m very busy. I’m a behavior analyst who does in-home therapy with children on the autism spectrum, and I’m a single mom homeschooling my own kids. Sometimes, I’ll even do a family workout in the morning with my kids. It’s good to show them that anyone can do it.
Forming a habit can be so hard when you don’t want to do it. Being comfortable feels good, but it doesn’t always make you happy because it doesn’t get you where you want to be. To get out of that situation, you have to push yourself. You have to want it more than anybody else.
When people reach out to me for advice, I tell them you really have to want to change. I’ve had trainers at the gym in the past, and it just didn’t work out because I wasn’t motivated. I was depending on somebody else to motivate me into doing magic, but I needed to decide to do it on my own.
Being on this journey made me realize that how I feel is so much more important than a number on the scale. What’s been really empowering? I actually gave away my scale, and now I’m just focused on getting stronger.