By Jennifer Gallus
HOWARD LAKE, MN - It’s rare enough for someone to adhere to a New Year’s resolution, but rarer yet, is for a weight-loss resolution to amount to a loss of 95 pounds. To see a photo progression, click here.
That is exactly what Jessica Artibee of Howard Lake did within the last 18 months.
The inspiration came in the form of Christmas pictures Artibee had processed in December 2007.
“Once I got my Christmas photos back, I really didn’t like what I saw,” Artibee said.
As a result, Artibee made a resolution Jan. 1, 2008 to lose weight. She was also motivated by a free gym membership she had won at her place of employment.
Additionally, she won three personal training sessions when she signed up for her gym membership at Vital Fitness in Howard Lake.
“It was a really nice boost,” Artibee said of the membership and training sessions.
She began to exercise and eat healthier, and had lost 23 pounds by April 2008. Then, she joined the Howard Lake Weight Watchers group, which made her set a goal weight.
The goal weight she chose would mean that she would have to lose 95 pounds before reaching it.
By June 11 of this year, Artibee not only lost 95.2 pounds, but also lost 14 dress sizes.
“It was hard work, I’ll tell you that. And it’s hard to maintain,” Artibee said, but she is determined to stay within two pounds either way of her goal weight to continue her earned lifetime membership with Weight Watchers.
“Once you reach and maintain your goal weight for six weeks, you have lifetime membership with Weight Watchers as long as you stay within two pounds over or under your goal weight,” Artibee explained.
That means she no longer needs to pay registration fees or meeting fees.
“It’s not done. It’s a lifestyle change,” she said.
Artibee has made a conscious effort to become more active by joining a bowling league, signing up for water aerobics in the winter months, and even walking a 5K, in addition to her regular workout routine.
“I never thought I would walk a 5K,” Artibee said, even though she had walked that distance and more on a treadmill. “I thought, if I could do it on a treadmill, it should be no problem. It was fun.”
“The best part is how I feel now. I am more confident, whereas before I would stand in the middle of a crowd and make fat jokes about myself,” Artibee said. “I’m still getting used to it. My blood pressure used to be so high, but now I have no problems. I’m a lot happier, too.”
What also helped was the fact that just two months before she began her resolution, Artibee moved from Hutchinson to Howard Lake. “There’s no fast food in Howard Lake,” she laughed.
“Just buying clothes, alone, shocks me. I can wear stylish stuff now. I’m not afraid of the dressing room. Before, if I needed new pants or clothes I hated it.”
As part of a national Weight Watchers campaign to raise awareness about obesity and hunger, the Howard Lake Weight Watchers group is kicking off a drive for its members to collect canned food that will be donated to the Cokato area food shelf, in the amount of pounds they have lost.
For Artibee, that means she will be collecting 95 pounds of canned goods for donation during the drive. She has until Saturday, Oct. 17 to collect the food, and anyone wishing to help in the effort may email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I already have friends bringing in food,” Artibee said.