She finds time early in the morning
With a three-week trial offer, Burton figured she would give boot camp a chance. She woke up early and went to the gym at 5 a.m., while her kids were still sleeping. Every weekday morning, she spent 30 minutes in a high-intensity interval training class (HIIT) that blends cardio and strength training.
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She loved it. “Once you get in there you feel the energy and the positivity. It just kind of changes you. You could do it on your own, but you can only push yourself so far. When you work out with people who push you a little harder you realize you can do things you never could do — pushups on your toes, pull ups, jump squats, burpees.”
Her motivation got another boost about two weeks into the trial. “The trainer said, ‘There’s something special in you, and I can’t wait to see it.’ That was kind of the turning point. I understood someone believed in me before I believed in myself. That flipped my switch. I thought, ‘If you see something in me, I want to see it.’”
Burton, who takes college courses, was able to get a discounted student membership at the gym. “The next thing you know I’m 40 years old and I’m working out next to people in their 20s and I’m killing it,” she says.
She balances her nutrients
Along with her workout routine, Burton made changes to her diet. She now balances protein, fat, and carbs at all her meals. For fats, she leans toward olive oil and coconut oil, and her carbs come from fruits, veggies, and whole grains like real oatmeal. She’s also careful to control her portion sizes.
When she eats out, she chooses places where she can order, say, a boneless skinless chicken breast with vegetables or a salad on the side, or a bunless burger on top of a salad. “I still feel like it’s normal — I’m having a burger—but I take the stuff that’s not good for me and I get rid of it,” she says.
Burton struggled to give up ice cream. For two or three years, she treated herself to a cup of McDonald’s soft serve once a week. “That was my treat,” she says. “But I got to the point where I just don’t need it. It used to be satisfying, but it doesn’t make me feel good anymore.”
Slowly, the pounds came off. “We don’t change overnight. This is a process that takes time. If we can worry about today before thinking about tomorrow, we have a much better chance at success,” she says. She’s been maintaining a steady weight of around 180 pounds for three years
She still struggles with how she perceives herself
Burton says she’s still getting accustomed to her new size. “You don’t lose half your body weight and not see the change,” she says. “I’m out of those size 28s and I love the new me. But it is a huge struggle for me to understand who I am and what I look like. Being overweight my entire life, I still see myself as that heavy girl. Sometimes I walk by a mirror and I do a double take: ‘Oh, Jamie, that’s you.’ In my head I’m still this fat girl who is scared to get on a chair because I’m afraid it’s going to break. I’m afraid to get on a roller coaster because I’m not sure I’m going to fit in the seat. Even though I lost all this weight, my brain hasn’t changed completely.”
She sees her children learning from her example
Burton has spotted signs that her focus on her health is influencing her children. “They pick up pieces of what I teach them. I see that they understand things that took me 40 years to understand,” she says.
She concedes that they are still working on making good food choices and exercising. “Slowly it’s coming together, and I can see one day at a time they are making better decisions. One of my biggest fears was that they would end up like me and I would not able to stop it. But I only had to change myself for them to see how I got healthy and took control. That’s huge for me—to make sure I taught them that,” she says.