J. J. Knightly

Team Challenge

J.J. completed her fifth session at the end of 2012. See below for an update on her progress, posted March 2013.

"If I can find the time to squeeze in the workouts I think anyone can!... I started at over 200 pounds, and now I’m doing triathlons for goodness sake!" Read J.J.'s blog, below.

You know when you see those "before" and "after" images in weight-loss ads — it's makes you wonder if you're really looking at the same person. Well, meet J.J. Knightly, our very own Team Challenge Weight Loss Program success story. She was brave enough to share her very real photos.

In 2007, J.J. weighed 200 pounds, and there she stayed until 2011, when she got serious about her health and took on the Team Challenge. As her weight went down, her determination soared. She completed not one, but five sessions. Here she is in 2012, 60 pounds lighter, rocking a pink bikini and a 1-year-old (her fourth child, BTW).

Team Weight Loss Challenge

Image: J.J. Knightly (with husband Tom), looking and feeling great at her 40th birthday party, January 2013.

March 25, 2013
(scroll down to read J.J.'s story that began last May)

Feeling work stress, and as though I'm not necessarily balancing it all that well with family and my needs (this is an ongoing challenge). Half days at school this week for my four kids, and I'm trying to crank out my work at the same volume, which is tough. My instinct is to walk to the fridge. Luckily I don't have many unhealthy choices these days. This is a tip I learned in nutrition class as a part of Team Challenge. It helps. And I had a quick 30 minutes between tasks today, so squeezed in a quick run and some stairs. Not the full workout I wanted, but it definitely does relieve some stress. Still feeling it...so maybe I will try to get out for a walk with my dog this evening.

March 13, 2013

Really noticing I am an emotional eater! Stressed, and I reach for food. Tonight, I was feeling anxious, so took the dog for a walk in the evening. I'm generally a morning workout gal, but it really broke that food craving. And released some endorphins. Felt a lot better and broke a sweat on the hills in my neighborhood.

March 12, 2013

Been so stressed out lately! Between kids and work, having a hard time balancing it all and feeling in a funk. I tried out a yoga class today. Helped so much. Ran into trainer Karen and it helped just talking to her about it. Plus, she just completed the Catalina Marathon. So inspiring to me. I think I need to set a new goal. I don't have my 40th hanging on me, and I'm also missing Team Challenge. I may sign up for the next Challenge just to give me some ooomf! I find if I don't have some sort of deadline, I tend to slack off.

March 8, 2013

Well, the bad news is I had gained 9 pounds back. Yikes! The good news is that I got my act together. Started weighing myself weekly and logging food. And I'm inching my way back down (I have lost 5 of those 9). One of the things I would do in the past is beat myself up and go off the rails when I realized I was up. In the past, I was the all or nothing girl. Now, I'm trying to look at things honestly (ie....actually weigh in weekly, even when I know it may not be good). And keep suiting up.

February 27, 2013

So, I caught myself not wanting to weigh in. Which is one of the tips that I am ignoring. Also, not logging my food. So I am committing to getting back on track.

February 12, 2013

Okay, feeling so not motivated. But something Karen (trainer at Mission Valley YMCA, and my Running 101 coach at YMCA) has said really stuck with me. She said something to the effect of, just show up. When she doesn't feel like going for a run, she goes for a walk. When she doesn't feel like going to the gym, she just suits up and shows up and gives herself permission to leave once she does that (and I tried this today and of course wanted to stay). She tries not to go more than 3 days without doing something active, so I'm sticking with this even if it's just a walk I'm doing. Kind of in a rut. Took this session off of Team Challenge, and I definitely miss the accountability and camaraderie. Karen does inspire me, though. I don't think people realize she has lost over 100 pounds and kept it off for years! And she was so supportive of me in the beginning. When I started her Running 101 class, I could only run 30 seconds (and then had to walk a minute). I'm now doing half marathons and triathalons. I may be slow, but I'm out there on the course and completing them!

January 13, 2013

My big 40th last night was such a blast. I cannot tell you how overwhelmed I was by love. Was so fun seeing all my worlds collide (friends from all sections and times of my life). And everyone said I looked great. Beyond that, I felt great. I feel healthy today. I feel like I'm setting a good example for my kids. I feel like I have my old fight back! Trainer Derrik came out (he has been there with me through five challenges and from the beginning and will always be an inspiration for me). Alex, my dear teammate from my first 4 challenges was there. And Karen and Sarah turned out. All those ladies push me to be better while still be supportive. I love the teamwork! I felt very loved last night. And Tom (my husband), who put up with all my team challenges and how obsessed I sometimes could get with them is the most amazing supporting man. Thank you for loving me in my journey babe!

January 12, 2013

My big 40th birthday party tonight. Weighed in today and I'm still 4 pounds from goal. Darn! But you know what? I look awesome in my outfit for tonight. I feel good. I'm within my BMI. And measuring 21 percent body fat. So rather than beat myself up....I'm going to celebrate my success — 62 pounds is no small feat, and I've worked my butt off and, most importantly, stayed consistent. Thank you, Team Challenge, for jump-starting me!

January 3, 2013

My official birthday today (not celebrating until the 12th due to kids' vacation schedule). But feeling good. Spent the day skiing solo, and I haven't skied like that in 10 years! I was so grateful for my body holding up. Forty doesn't feel so bad! Knees are so much better since dropping the weight. I had gotten to the point where simply going up and down the stairs hurt like crazy. And, today, I spent a full day on the mountain and skied hard. I am feeling really grateful for all of those who have supported me along the way of my weight-loss journey. Thank you friends, family and YMCA support team!

December 21, 2012

Getting through the holiday season proves challenging. Trying to stay active, and to enjoy those treats in moderation. One of the biggest challenges is simply staying on schedule. With so many holiday parties between work, play and my kids' schools, I'm having to really stay diligent on scheduling my workouts. Also, a helpful tip I've been using is to eat prior to going to any event. Sounds counterintuitive, but definitely helps (similar to eating prior to grocery shopping helps).

Learn more about the Team Challenge Weight Loss Challenge.
New sessions start regularly at Mission Valley/Hazard Center and Toby Wells.

In the Beginning, Sort of

Editor's note:

In May 2012, we heard from J.J. Knightly, who was in the midst of her fourth consecutive Team Challenge at the Y. Since September 2011, the Team Challenge had been instrumental in her nearly 60-pound weight loss. She offered to share her story, along with her incredibly inspiring before and after pictures.

Post Challenge, June 2012

I did it! Four in a row! I can’t believe it. Go Team! Love this competition. Now I’m scared — no Team Challenge through the summer. Do you mind if I continue to blog? Keeps me honest with myself. I’m keeping my same routing. I’ve found that if I schedule in my workout at the same time, I do it. And, for me, that’s morning. With four kids, the nights become chaotic. Exercise has turned into "me" time. Following on the exercise, I tend to eat cleaner when I’ve worked out (why waste it?). And Karen (another team trainer), told me she has a rule with herself not to go more than three days with exercise. It’s really helped me. And Karen’s lost 100 pounds and kept it off for over 10 years! Pretty amazing story. One of my teammates ran upon the blog and gave me the biggest compliment. She thought I was an "already in shape" gal just doing it to keep up. She couldn’t believe I’d dropped 60 pounds. Time to keep it off. So many inspirations around me. Shoshawna from my Team Challenges 1 and 2 has also lost 60 pounds and has kept it off nearly 9 months now. And Alex on my first three team challenges is constantly pushing me. (I call her a Tasmanian Devil — so fast!). A little scary to be out there on my own now without them, but hoping to see them in the gym.

Can’t wait for Cynthia to start up Team Challenge again in the fall. In the meantime, I’ll be meeting up for some small group sessions, and look for me in the Mission Valley location!

Week 6

Home stretch. I’m actually going for four in a row. I never start out like that, but the competition aspect always kicks in for me (didn’t think I had that drive in me when I started out, but, here it is again). Trying to eat super clean this week. Logging everything into www.myfitnesspal.com and also eating some super healthy snacks from www.TSFL.com (Take Shape For Life). The key, for me, is really staying in the 1250 to 1400 calorie range for weight loss. And to space my meals out to five snack-size meals and one regular-sized dinner. Different things work for different people but, for me, the weight loss is all about the food. I can exercise until the cows come in, but if I’m not tracking, those pounds seem to appear in no time! — posted June 2012.

Week 5

One of the things I appreciate about Team Challenge is that on days (or weeks like this one) when I don’t really feel like getting to the gym, Team Challenge teammates and trainer hold me accountable. Some days it’s just the mental discipline I need to keep going. And my teammates have been so supportive.

And you know what? I always feel so much better once I’m there. It’s really become part of me. Hard to believe that back when I started it was so painful. I’ve definitely passed over to the enjoyable. I’m always doing uncomfortable things for sure (Derrik really mixes it up), and I’m starting to look forward to the variety! Now I find myself branching out and trying new things I never dreamed of doing. A triathlon this past weekend!

I can hardly believe I’m doing all these crazy races. When I started with the Running 101 class through the YMCA, I couldn’t even run 20 seconds. And now I’m doing half marathons? And tri’s? And Ragnar’s? And these other crazy races? I’m really feeling like anything is possible. And signing up for stuff and keeping a calendar is really helping me stick with it. — posted June 2012

Week 4

Consistency is key. Just been working to segment things into small goals to stay focused. Nutrition had us working on water intake, and I find when I really track that, I feel more full and tend to track my food, as well. This week I didn’t much feel like hitting the treadmill (I’m not a fan of running, even though I keep signing up for races). But I’ve learned to just suit up, show up and try something new. So, my off days this week were cycle and TRX. Tic Tac Toe challenge is in full swing, so it always helps me try out new forms of exercise. You basically just check off different types of exercise —hike, TRX, Gravity, water aerobics, etc. — and the team with the most participation wins the challenge. It has really pushed me out of my shell. I’m finding some variety really helps. And, I’m actually enjoying the weight training, which I found totally intimidating in my first Team Challenge. — posted June 2012

Week 3

Water intake and tracking our sodium is the nutritional focus this week. Derik has picked it up a notch in the workouts. Just when you think you’ve got him figured, he mixes it up again. Krista in nutrition will also custom-figure your calorie intake and one team member actually lost four pounds by bumping up to a 1600 calorie intake after stalling out on 1200 per day. I need to drill back in on nutrition. Didn’t track my calories as close as I should have, and sure enough, didn’t lose. The exercise is actually feeling good now. I miss it on days I don’t work out — and this was not the norm for me several weeks back! Sharing food recipes and tips amongst the team is great. This week we kicked off Tic Tac Challenge, which is a competition to try to check off a multitude of different exercise (think Gravity class, TRX, hike, spin, etc..). It’s a great way to get folks to try something new. Love the TRX, and can’t wait to try out the Gravity class. — posted May 2012

Week 2:

Focusing in on nutrition this week. Krista has us working on tracking our fiber intake. We should be getting 25-35 grams per day. And again, tracking those calories. Derik (our trainer) has us doing a mix of strength and cardio in our workouts. He recommends two sessions of weights per week and three days of cardio. Consistency is the key. And he makes us show him our food logs once per week. Gym is still under construction but he has us set up in the basketball courts now, as well as a room we use for many of our weight/cardio combinations. And he’s bringing some new stuff to the table, incorporating a lot of body-weight resistance moves.— posted May 2012

Week 1, May 2012

Team Challenge is on it’s way! Even with construction going on at our Mission Valley location we are still in full swing. Week one postings are up (we are in first…woo hoo!) and Derik has our twice weekly workouts at full blast.

Our nutrition logs are now required to be shown once weekly both in Krista’s Tuesday night nutrition meeting and weekly with our trainer. Note: www.myfitnesspal.com is a great site to track our food intake on our smartphone or home computer.

Loving my team. Everyone is supportive and ready to work.

This is my fourth Team Challenge (each a 6-week session), and each time it’s fun to see how the team comes together. Having a support infrastructure of coaches (both nutritional and physical training), as well as the support of teammates and accountability of weekly weigh in’s has made me a huge fan of this program. I’ve lost 60 pounds since September so certainly something is working!

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