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Monthly Member Spotlight {Denise}

I am so happy to be able to share my personal story of success and struggles with everyone. I got an Instant Pot for my birthday last fall and stumbled upon The Instant Loss Facebook page while trying to find recipes. It was fate intervening at the perfect time!

I have been over weight my entire adult life. However, I always considered myself a healthy overweight person. Last September, I started to feel swollen and bloated all the time, my reflux was out of control, my blood pressure was slowly creeping up to high normal range, and my joints were hurting. I knew all this was directly related to my weight. I was out of control with my eating. I ate because I was hungry, bored, happy; sad….any emotion was an excuse to eat. My portions were also out of control. I could eat more than my husband.

Sometimes I would stop and get donuts or fast food and hide the trash at the bottom of the garbage can out of embarrassment. As bad as I physically felt, that was still not enough motivation for me to change my eating habits. I would think about how much weight I had to lose and would get so depressed I would just go eat bad stuff. Totally doesn’t make any sense!!

Last fall, my eight year old son told me he wanted to go zip lining with me this summer on vacation. I love an adventure but I knew in my mind there was no way I would safely be able to zip line at my weight of 300 pounds. That was all the motivation I needed to start living a healthy life. I did not want my son to grow up and think that I chose food over him and that’s why I could never participate in fun activities with him.

I told my husband I was getting ready to make a major change. I didn’t know what I was going to do at the time, and I gave myself a month to research and make an educated thought out decision. I loved Brittany’s approach to eating and how willingly she was to share her success with others. I picked a day to start my journey, cleaned out the pantry and fridge and haven’t looked back once! My total weight loss goal is 150lbs with 55 lbs. left to reach my goal. I am so close to 100lbs lost! Thinking about the weight that I have already lost, is surreal to me. I always read stories of people having such weight loss success but never dreamed that I could achieve something like this for myself. If I can do it……so can you!!


When I reflect on my life, I can identify several life events and factors that aided my eating issues. First, my father was killed in an accident when I was twelve years old. About a year later, my mother started dating again and by the time I was sixteen she was leaving me home alone all weekend so she could sleep at her boyfriend’s house. I never realized how much that affected me until I became a mother. Shortly after I got married, my wonderful mother in law passed away suddenly and a month later my father in law had a massive stroke, leaving him paralyzed. He died a year before my son was born.

My husband and I tried for ten years to have a baby and ended up having fertility treatments to get pregnant. We have one healthy son who just turned nine years old. When my son was three, I made the hard decision to sever my relationship with my mother for various personal reasons. As much as it hurt, it was the right decision for both me and my son. Not everyone has a mother that loves them unconditionally and learning to accept that was really hard.

My husband and I packed up our life and moved eight hours away from the family drama. So now, my husband and I are all he has for family. It breaks my heart that he doesn’t know the love of grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. Through all of these life events, I chose to eat my emotions rather than talk them out. Fortunately, I have been blessed with the best “framily” anyone could ask for in life. My friends have been so supportive in my journey. It really helps to have so many people rooting for your success.


I work as a nurse in a neonatal intensive care unit. I work full time nights. My job can be stressful and sad at times (read “stress eating” between the lines!). Anyone who works in the medical field knows there is always some sort of treat in the break room or potlucks being organized constantly. If I know there will be treats at work, I make one of Brittany’s yummy desserts and bring that for myself so I don’t feel so deprived and still participate in the fun! Working nights is a beast in itself on my metabolism. My body never knows what it is supposed to be doing, and when! So it has been difficult to find the happy medium of what works for my body.

 I started JERF eating officially in November 2017 and as of today I have lost a total of 95 lbs. and over 60 inches. When I hit 50 lbs. lost, I wanted to add working out into my routine. I joined Orange Theory and love it!! I feel so much better physically! My husband also jumped on the band wagon and has lost 40lbs and my son, wanting to help us, made himself our accountability coach. It has become a family effort. My son is my number one reason for my life change. To see the joy on his face when he tells me he can wrap his arms completely around me is all I need to keep me going to lose the remaining 55lbs. In June of this summer, I came through on my promise to him and we zip lined together! He was so happy he cried right there on the zip line platform!

 It has not always been easy for me. I still struggle with my self-confidence and body image issues. I also obsess over the scale to a fault. There have been many times on this journey when I have had emotional breakdowns from frustration, anger that I let myself get this big, and emotional issues in trying to forgive myself and others for wrong choices and decisions in life that have led me to where I am right now.

From the beginning my husband and I decided we were going to treat this as a lifestyle change and not a diet. We do allow some cheats here and there but it is never a spontaneous cheat. It is always a planned thing because of vacation or a weekend campout with friends. We always get right back to it the next day. Although I have a good bit more to lose, I know I will reach my goal because of the core changes I have made and the basics of JERFing I have learned from Brittany. I can honestly say that Brittany changed my life, gave me hope, and most importantly gave my son a healthy, active, engaged mom. None of us are perfect and we all have struggles, but knowing that we are not struggling alone sometimes makes it a little easier to face the challenges in this health journey a little easier. 

To read more about the Instant Loss lifestyle, click here!


  1. Oh HONEY!!! What a JOY that was to read. Wow, 100#!!! So proud of your progress and determination and consistency! I could learn a thing or two from you! XOXO

  2. Thank you for sharing your story. I too know the pain from disconnected parent(s) and have had to navigate my own path of healing. I remind myself that whatever caused the brokeness I do not and will not continue the cycle. Keep taking care of you and your own because you do have value. I am down 38 pounds and have 55 pounds to go!

  3. “In June of this summer, I came through on my promise to him and we zip lined together! He was so happy he cried right there on the zip line platform!”

    You have made my day! What a lovely image. 🙂

  4. You are absolutely beautiful! I never comment on posts, but your story so touched my heart, I saved it to come back to. Good for you MOMMA!! None of us are perfect, and I lift you up for such an awesome decision. Taking care of you has wonderful benefits for your relationship with your Son not just now, but well into the future. Anything is possible if we convince our mind to do it. Many Blessings to you and your family!

  5. Thank you for sharing your story. Literally tears as I read this. so many similarities to our stories. I am also a ER nurse and totally relate. Have been following Brittany for over a year now.. and she inspired me to get a instant pot. Never have gotten around to committing 100% just as you know its a viscous cycle especially with the work stress and food has become my coping and comfort. After reading this I am ready to go. You have no idea the impact you have just by sharing your stores. Maybe one day soon I will be sharing my own personal victories!

    1. Thank you Aimee for your sweet words! I wish you nothing but the absolute best on your personal journey! Just remember to take everything one day at a time! You’ve got this! <3

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