Jenni Farrell's Journey
“When people think of daily steps, they think of the actual steps that they take each day. What I mean when I say it is every action matters to get healthier. Are you eating better, did you drink enough water, did you get a good night sleep? And of course, did you exercise.” Jenni Farrell
Listening to Jenni Farrell’s story is surreal; it’s as if she is speaking about someone from the past. After enjoying a successful record with her high school track team and a love for tennis and other sports, something went wrong. By the time she was 47 years old, she was up to 230 pounds with pain so bad she could barely walk two miles in an entire week. What turn of events could have possibly led to this?
It all began in high school when the pain she had experienced in her legs her entire life flared up, yet again. At first the pain was attributed to over-training for track, which made sense for a young athlete who spent most of her days preparing for upcoming competitions. But as the pain grew worse, she knew it was time for a medical diagnosis.
After numerous doctor visits, Jenni was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Informed that she may be wheelchair bound by the time she reached her 40’s, the diagnosis forced her to give up the sports she loved so much. Lack of exercise and pain left her with no hope as she surrendered to her disease; being unable to move for days at a time can do this to anyone.
At 27 years old, Jenni had two beautiful children. But her dreams of growing her family were halted as the doctors told her that her joints could no longer bear the weight of pregnancy. As she struggled with being a young mother and the constant pain of RA, she began eating for comfort. As it does, the weight slowly piled on until she decided to take a stand.
A New Leaf
In March of 2018, something changed. Jenni knew she could do better. Even if the doctors could not do much for her pain, she instinctively knew there was more she could do. Her first step was to change her diet, so she decided to go vegan.
The first thing she noticed was the vegan lifestyle helped her keep the pain of RA in check. Using healthier diet choices to replace old ones eliminated the flareups associated with her disease. With practice, she knew she could have a pain free week by sticking with her new way of eating. And instead of eating to celebrate, she celebrated in other ways that didn’t further damage her body. This new plan was so successful that by May of that year, she felt strong enough to exercise and purchased a Fitbit.
Jenni’s first job was to personalize her new exercise tool. Fitbits are programmed with a goal of the user taking 10,000 daily steps. Knowing it had been years since she had done any training along with her history of RA, she reprogrammed her Fitbit to 5,000 steps per day, which was a reachable goal for her.
Between her new vegan diet and the help of Fitbit, by October she had reduced her weight to 190 pounds. Feeling more enthusiastic about life and the energy that comes with living with less pain, Jenny came across Yes.Fit Virtual Races.
With Yes.Fit, you can set goals, run a virtual race and reap rewards for your hard work. A member can become part of a community and enjoy virtual races, such as the Beauty and the Beast Virtual Race, from their fairy tale series. Explore different worlds and exciting stories as you walk, run or ride your bike with other members to reach your fitness goals.
Is Yes.Fitting a Hobby?
Yes.Fitting is a hobby and a way of life. Everyone has different fitness goals, so the initial practice should be to get the steps in. With practice, steps often turn to miles. Jenni got her miles in by using creative and easy practices that she fit into her everyday life.
Incorporating small things such as taking the stairs instead of an elevator or going for a walk during the lunch break from work are practices anyone can try. As for Jenni? She looks at it as just getting up and moving.
“It’s priorities. I do an hour of exercise in the AM, 1 hour minimum in the afternoon after an 8 ½ hour workday. I’m up at 3:30 AM and in bed by 8:30 PM…. I love how Yes.Fit has motivated me… I do a 5K on my elliptical every morning. I can do that in around 22 minutes now.
At work, I march in place while talking on the phone and reading emails. I also stand at my desk, rather than sit. During breaks, I walk the halls of my office building. After work, weather permitting, I go for a jog around my neighborhood. If it’s too hot or raining, I use the elliptical again. If I watch TV, I jog in place rather than sitting on the couch.”
As Jenni says, “Setbacks will happen. You just need to reset. And if you fall down, you get back up…. People think success looks like a straight line, but it looks more like this;”
“It’s the daily steps that matter. When people think of daily steps, they think of the actual steps that they take each day. What I mean when I say it is every action matters to get healthier. Are you eating better, did you drink enough water, did you get a good night sleep? And of course, did you exercise.”
When she began Yes.Fit, Jenni wore 2XL shirts. Not surprisingly, they are too large for her now. She has gone on to complete race #35 and dropped an additional 60 pounds. As her diet and exercise plan stays on track, she compares her energy to that of the infamous Energizer Bunny.
Staying Inspired and Giving Back
Today, Jenni is still active. She is an enthusiastic member of the Yes.Fit Facebook group and always there to give advice, answer questions and help motivate others. “I tell everyone truly, 99 out of 100 times, Yes.Fit keeps me moving. On the very rare occasion, I find myself slacking off, I do what I always do if I’m procrastinating about something. I write down, “I am not doing ____ (in this case walking) today because: and then I write and answer. Every so often, I have a legit excuse like, I need to finish my essay. Most times, though, it’s something like, I’m being lazy. When I see that in writing, it’s enough to get my rear up and moving.
“I figure it’s like this. I can wear out a pair of shoes and get new ones. I can break my glasses and get new ones. I can buy new clothes and get a haircut whenever I need. But I *have* to take care of my body because I can’t just pop into the nearest Bealls Outlet for a replacement. (There’s a sci-fi story waiting to be written!) Basically, I need to eat the right foods and get plenty of exercise so hopefully I can get another two or three decades out of this thing.”
Jenni’s Recent Stats
Since May 12, 2018, she has completed 2,602.48 miles.
Her 7-day daily averages are –
Active Minutes: 175
As Jenni sees herself today, “That is quite the difference from the lady who, a year and a half ago, struggled to get 5,000 steps in a day!” We agree, Jenni, and are proud of you! You are an inspiration to others and truly a representative of what we hope for all our members at Yes.Fit. Congratulations on your success, and keep up the great work!