Doctors say next to smoking, maintaining an unhealthy weight is the number one preventable cause of deadly diseases and other health problems. At the same time, most Americans are either overweight or obese. The pandemic made a bad situation worse, as Americans sat at home, stressed and bored, reaching for junk food.
Jeff and Angela Jordan were no different. At five-feet nine inches tall, Jeff tipped the scale at 264 pounds, and at five-feet three inches, Angela weighed 195. But through faith in God, combined with healthy habits and exercise, Jeff lost 100 pounds and Angela lost 50.
Angela told CBN News, "We feel 20 years younger! We feel so much more energetic and active!"
Jeff told CBN News if he and Angela can do it, so can other people.
"It's very doable. There's nothing special about us. We have full-time jobs, kids, all the baggage that most people have."
After 25 years of marriage, like many couples, over time they gradually put on weight, especially during the pandemic.
"I had actually gotten to the point where my wedding ring was cutting off the circulation to my finger," Angela said. "And I developed lower back pain just from standing and doing the dishes."
Jeff chimed in, "I had gotten to my peak weight. I was the heaviest I'd ever been, and gotten so lethargic, waking up Monday morning not having gotten anything done around the house."
The two decided to make a change, starting with exercise.
"I told myself I didn't have time to exercise," Jeff said. However, when he finally decided to start running, Jeff asked for, and received, God's help.
"When I devoted time to exercise, I recouped all of that in productivity from how much better I felt and from how much more active I felt," he said.
The two joined the Kempsville Run Club, where they found friendly accountability partners.
"They asked us what our goals were and we said, 'Well we're here for fitness,' and they said, 'That's great! We'll help!'" Jeff recalled. "They were just there for everyone, whether they were going to run an ultra-marathon or just walk or jog to the end of the street."
Angela says running brings her closer to God.
"To go out on a run and put worship music on and you surround yourself in that and you feel like you've actually been to church and worshipped," she said.
Jeff shares a similar story.
"I told God, I said, 'Every step I take toward becoming physically fit, I want you to prosper and bless it' and I feel like he has," he said.
Soon after the Jordans started running, they wanted to get better at it and enjoy running more. That motivated them to change their diet. Angela researched nutrition, at which time she and Jeff started avoiding sugar and processed foods.
"I started naturally gravitating to foods that would provide better energy," Angela said, which meant filling up on whole grains, vegetables, beans, and fruit.
"One of the things that I discovered in all of the research is that 97 percent of Americans are deficient in fiber. I found that the more I migrated toward that higher fiber content actually translated to more weight loss," she said.
They discovered even people who eat healthy foods can eat too many of them, so they started counting calories.
"If you take in less than you burn you're going to lose weight," Jeff said. "You can see it in black and white and when you put everything on paper there's no blind spots."
After a year, the excess weight was gone. Angela said her back pain was a thing of the past, too.
"One day I was like, 'It's gone. I don't have to take the ibuprofen anymore, and look at this, this ring actually comes off now.'"
Jeff and Angela hope their story inspires other people to find a workout they love, eat healthier, and lose weight.
"I would say it doesn't have to be running," Jeff said. "But find your exercise that suits you and pursue it."
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