Jacquelyn Johnston - Life Cancer Free Health CoachOnce upon a time, there was a teacher who enjoyed creating hands-on programs to make learning more interesting for students. She was a size 10-12 till she started taking evening university classes that necessitated two hour-long commutes at least twice a week. Plus more hours seated in a library…and even more at home doing the assignments. Seated, naturally.

On some weekends and holidays said teacher sat on a ball giving Reflexology treatments.

One evening, seated in a comfortable chair, teacher in question sees an ad for a weekend sale of dress pants. Ah-ha! Great style, greater prices, favorite store.

Teacher saunters into featured store and tries on size 11 pants, only to notice an unyielding V-shaped zipper.

“Impossible!” she exclaims in the mirror, “They’ve mis-labeled this.” Saleslady, barely keeping her smirk in check, passes a pair of Size 16’s over the door.

“E-gad!!! They fit!” End of the world.

“No! This isn’t happening. There must be some mistake.” Startling though it was, her first reaction was to ensconce herself well- seated in the nest of denial. Wonderful, comforting, stationary denial. Then, she is stung by the change bug.

“I can do something about this!” she exclaimed. She could not get out of the store and into the gym fast enough. She met with a personal trainer who turned out to be the best thing ever.

“Fix this!” she said, “I need to lose 20 lbs yesterday!”

This trainer has a little office. On his desk is a plaque saying “The impossible we can do at once. Miracles take a little longer”. I couldn’t help wondering which I was, impossible or needing a miracle. He looks over her goal chart, and, with a charming, unhurried smile says,

“You want less weight and an energy boost. We are going to achieve both.” I love his certainly and optimism. He does not mess around. Out come the calipers, the scales (Oh no!), the computerized charts. The nutrition plan. That, of course, was what happened to yours truly.

Two things had triggered my awareness that something had to change, and fast. One was physical exertion. The other, diet. It was a cold turkey decision.

The first thing that had to go was the ultra-convenient, and ultra toxic meals-on-the-run. No more fast food between work and evening studies. No more processed food. No pop. No hydrogenated fats. Out it all went. Cold turkey. In its place, the obvious–fresh produce, fresh fruits, and no inconspicuous sugars.

I read, read and read, and resuscitated my physiology studies. The weight gain was the joint product of a both a sedentary existence and a convenient diet. This diet made for immediate convenience but long-term peril.

“We are going to take a radical look at your nutrition plan. We will align it with your exercise regimen and make sure the two complement each other.”

In retrospect, I realize Eddie did not focus on weight loss at all. He took an almost casual approach to it. What he did concentrate on was demonstrating how to build muscular strength, stretch, how to build up handle resistance exercises safely, and of course, how to kick-start the metabolism.

Actually, the process was not only painless, it was most enjoyable, with assignments to be done every day of the week. I learned about the benefits of stretching and found out how relaxing it was. I learned about the lasting effects of resistance training. I re-discovered the invigorating effects of deep sleep, and the benefit of having all the energy I needed all through the day.

Then, a couple of weeks later, I suddenly noticed the weight loss.

Fifteen years ago, it was the final straw for me. What would have been an exciting day of shopping fell flat when I realized what size I really was. Only a “large” (polite) would fit. That was the wake-up call. However, startling though that was, I consider myself far luckier to have got it in the dressing room–the alternative would have been in the doctor’s office.

There will always be something in the way: a birthday, a holiday, an anniversary.

There will always be friends or family insisting you do not need to do anything because “we love you just as you are”.

It’s about self-love and wanting to have a vital, active, healthy lifestyle for longevity.

What made me realize I had to release 20 lbs right away?

Here was my thinking while my mind was racing and my dismay was palpable in that dressing room mirror:

  • I was a healthcare professional
  • I had a wake-up-call
  • I could have had that wake-up-call in the Doctor’s office
  • I’m glad I wasn’t sick
  • I’m glad I didn’t have diabetes
  • I’m glad I didn’t have high cholesterol
  • I’m glad I didn’t have a heart attack
  • I’m glad I didn’t have cancer
  • I’m glad I didn’t have liver disease
  • I’m glad I wasn’t a smoker—or pants size wouldn’t have been my only worry.


I’m Jacquelyn Johnston, M.Ed. RCRT, Professional Health Coach. I look forward to working and walking with you a healthier life! We will celebrate that together….AND, all on the telephone!