Jill Thidobeaux Success Story
Jill Thibodeaux is frank about why she signed up for CrossFit Unlimited’s Nutrition Counseling.
“I have no self-discipline and I love donuts,” she said.
A member of CrossFit Unlimited Eunice since November 2016, Jill fell in love with the exercise program. But one day while stretching, fellow members were talking about food. Jill mentioned she had enjoyed a chocolate-covered donut that morning. That’s when she first admitted that she needed to get her eating habits under control.
“I would wake up three times a night and eat each time,” Jill said. “Not just a little snack, either. If I had made chili for supper, I was going to fix a bowl of chili. I love Little Debbie snack cakes, so I would eat about six of those. I have an 18-month-old and always made sure she eats well, but I would just eat whatever. My breakfast usually consisted of a huge cup of coffee with three tablespoons of sugar in it.”
CrossFit Unlimited Eunice coach Kate Thibodeaux suggested the gym’s Nutrition Counseling program to Jill, to which she responded, “Are you going to make me eat weird food that I can’t pronounce?” “Maybe eventually,” Kate laughed. “Let’s take small steps for now.”
At the time, Jill was in a size 14 and had little energy. She loved CrossFit, but felt like her results were plateauing. “When you first start CrossFit, you lose weight and at some point see your performance increase because you’re going from being sedentary to moving,” Kate explained. “But if you aren’t eating well, your progress will come to halt because nutrition is the basis of fitness. That’s why Jill’s progress was slowing down.”
Jill tracked her food and beverage intake for three days via My Fitness Pal (MFP). During their first consult, Kate related to her client’s struggle. “She had a sugar addiction. It was all about sugar,” Kate said. “I thought, ‘I’m dealing with myself because that was me a few years before.’ I would wake up craving sweets, need a sweet snack, eat snacks after each meal.I knew the struggle she was going through and how hard it is to overcome that. It’s an addiction. It’s more than physical; it’s mental, too.”
Instead of having Jill remove sugar from her diet completely, Kate helped her decrease her sugar intake little by little. She also taught Jill how to track her macros nutrients, especially sugars and carbs.
“The idea of Nutrition Counseling is not for clients to keep me forever, but to learn and eventually do things on their own,” Kate explained. “Jill needed me longer. Everyone is different. Most people signing up for this program are actually signing up for accountability.”
“I’m not a person who can say, ‘I want to eat healthy,’ and just do it alone,” she admitted. “I need accountability. Kate never made me feel ashamed because of how I was eating or when I would eat a donut or something very unhealthy. She would confront me and make suggestions, but she never made me feel bad about myself. She only made me believe I could conquer my problem with sugar.”
Though she was eating lots of sugary foods and thought she was “overeating,” Jill was only consuming 1,200 calories per day – much too low for her daily needs. That is a common problem for individuals battling their weight.
“People don’t realize you have to eat enough food for your body to stop storing fat,” Kate explained. “So many people are not eating enough, and what they do eat is not a good choice. Instead of eating a big breakfast that is proportioned with healthy sources of protein, fat and carbs, they are making quick stops at fast food places and eating fried foods with excessive fat and tons of carbs. Usually, there is little protein in their diets, too. If you want your body to change, you need protein. People in Nutrition Counseling actually find it’s hard to get all their calories in during a day because they need to be eating so much more.”
Jill followed Kate’s directions – for the most part. She still struggled with eating sugar and too many carbs. So she created “punishments” for herself. If she failed herself by eating the wrong foods or not meeting her daily macros, she had Kate enforce a punishment of 20 burpees or sometimes a few laps in running.
“Finally I thought to myself, ‘Is this worth it? Is a bag of M&M’s worth doing more exercise on top of my CrossFit workouts?” Jill recalled.
So Jill tried harder. Soon, she felt better during workouts and her squats became easier. She added weight to her bar and dropped it from her body – 15 inches in two months, to be exact. Her size 14 ultimately dropped to an eight.
“One day she walked into the box and I thought, ‘Where did Jill go?!” Kate said. “Even the other CrossFitters saw it. Her confidence had grown. She has always been talkative and fun, but she wasn’t really secure with herself. Now she was coming to work out in new clothes because her old ones were too big. She just really got into her workouts and taking care of herself.”
Jill went through two consecutive months of Nutrition Counseling. On top of learning about proper nutrition, she also learned to ignore the scale, something she struggled to do for so long.
“The scale ruins your day,” she said. “Sometimes I would get on the scale, get upset, then go eat three donuts. Then I finally realized sometimes the scale would say I had gained a pound, but my measurements showed I had lost an inch or two. I also realized that I was only hurting myself if I decided to eat junk. I was throwing away progress.”
Jill plans to do a third month of counseling just to make sure she’s ready to take over on her own. “Like I said, I need accountability. I’m still doing better than I was before, though. I don’t eat snack cakes anymore; I don’t even by them. Sometimes I feel like I am forgetting something when I leave the grocery store. That’s how much I used to eat those things,” Jill summed up.
To anyone struggling with eating or weight concerns, Jill suggests they give Nutrition Counseling a chance. “It’s not a diet,” she said. “It taught me so much and the people are so encouraging, it’s ridiculous. Next to joining CrossFit, Nutrition Counseling has been the best thing I could do for myself. I know what I need now, and I just feel better overall.”