Jacqui Andra

Armed with a 6 Pack Bag and a simple mantra, Jacqui Andra was able to turn around her life with her extreme weight loss journey. “You do you. Everything else will fall into place as it's meant to be." It's as simple as not worrying about what others think and doing what you have to make the chances you see fit.

The changes Jacqui saw fit to make included upping her gym regimen and severely altering her diet. In the conclusion of our conversation with Jacqui, she talks about how she managed to change all this while still spending time with kids and offering her advice for other mother's to lead healthy lives.

You come at weight loss from a different perspective because you're a mother of two and have had success losing the pounds. Did your diet effect how your kids eat as well?

My oldest had already moved out, but I have had an influence on my brother who lost 85 pounds doing the same exact thing. He and his wife had started the Weight Watchers thing for awhile, but nothing was working, so they pretty much do what I do now. A lot of people are asking me questions and asking for me information, but when they find out it takes some work, they get discouraged. They shouldn't. This is easy. It's second nature now.

What advice do you give to someone that comes to you and asks for help?

Baby steps. You can't jump into 100% and expect miracles. It happens for some people, but it can't happen for everyone like that. Baby steps. Don't forbid yourself certain foods. Allow yourself to enjoy a glass of wine if you enjoy a glass of wine. Work it into your day in a way that it isn't wrecking your day of work or week of work. A lot of people say, “I'm going to eat this piece of cake today and do an hour of cardio tomorrow." It doesn't work like that.

Jacqui Andra1

In our first Fitness Feature, you said you didn't have an issue with getting to the gym, but that your diet was where you got in trouble. What kind of advice would you give someone who is also having a hard time getting to the gym?

They have to find something they enjoy doing. I was a mountain biker, so I started a lot of my cardio out on the bikes. Find someone you trust, feel comfortable training with and make sure they keep you accountable and that will help. If you find something or someone you like, it will make you love working out. Find your comfort level and find the thing that makes you tick.

As a mother, you know what it's like to have kids at home and still feel the need to go workout. How do you deal with that time crunch?

My sister is a mother of four and says she doesn't have time to get to the gym. I was like “You have kids, don't you? Hold them and squat with them." If you can't make it to a gym, do it at home. Find five gallon water bottles, fill them up and use them as weights. You have stairs in your house, run up and down the stairs. Sprint with the stroller or go to the playground and play with your kids. Do pull ups and chin ups on the monkey bars. Find something that doesn't take you away from the things that you need to get done in your daily life.

What's the biggest lesson that you've taken away from your weight loss journey?

The biggest thing I've learned, and I know a lot of women feel this way, you do have to take care of yourself, in order for you to take care of others. It's not selfish to want to be healthy - It's selfless. It all comes back to my motto, “You do you. Everything else will fall into place as it's meant to be."