Transformation Tuesday: POPster Jaclyn’s Before & After!
I haven’t done one of these in a while and am sooooo long overdue. Today’s story was told to me by a beautiful girl named Jaclyn who I met at the POP Pilates certification in LA a couple weekends ago. When we all got up to say our intros to the group, I remember Jaclyn looking so nervous and excited; her eyes were full of light. From the chills I saw forming on my arms, I knew she was holding back a really big story. During break, I approached her and asked her to tell me about her journey. I am so glad I asked. Here it is.
My name is Jaclyn. Let me first start off by saying what a blessing Cassey has been to my life! There were times where my only happiness was when I was watching her videos and doing her workouts.
But I’m getting ahead of myself…let’s begin back in 5th grade health class when we were learning about nutrition. I hated health class. I hated hearing about my eating habits, as I knew they were terrible. I hated it even more when it was announced that we were going to get our weights taken. I remember this day so well. Almost a decade ago, I still can picture walking towards the back of the room to stand on that dreaded scale. Several girls I passed bragged about being less than 100 pounds which made me cover my stomach with my arms and keep my head down as I walked. I was 10 years old and 4’2” at most, but the jeans I was wearing were a size 13. With that in mind, I stepped on the scale. A few silent moments later, my teacher whispered “156 pounds.” Tears filled my eyes.
Growing up, especially in middle school, I didn’t really have many friends. Don’t get me wrong, I had a few best friends that came and went, but we were always on the outside looking in. I also played basketball from 7 to 17 years old. You would think that basketball would make me fit, but it did the opposite. It bulked me up because I would eat a lot and not healthily.
More than all of this, I was sad. Hate is a strong word but I hated my body. I hated how I felt. I hated myself. This led to even more eating. In addition, there aren’t many pictures of me during these years because I either deleted them or made sure these pictures were “boobs up” so that my stomach wasn’t seen.
The first year of high school didn’t change anything. I played varsity basketball, but the seniors weren’t a big fan of a freshman taking their spots on the court and they made my life miserable. They pushed me into the showers. They made fun of me. They made sure that I would feel like the lowest of the so low. This inadvertently made me eat more. At the end of my first basketball season in high school, I tore my ACL. This was the first time in my life I said, “Okay I’m going to make a change in my diet.” I had always been a lover of animals so I became a vegetarian. Unfortunately, I spent the next 9 months rehabbing my knee and being virtually inactive which didn’t help my cause.
So the picture in the white shirt (above) is from sophomore year. It is of me sitting in a desk in the back of class and, yes, I filled the entire space between the chair and the desk. To be honest, I am more embarrassed of that picture than any other. And I hope it shows a lot of growth that I’m sharing it with all of you. We truly all are on our own fitness journies and it’s only fair that I present mine as honest as possible.
I tore my ACL again sophomore year and my meniscus junior year (all on the same knee) both keeping me inactive for months at a time. Senior year was the year my life changed. In the winter, I decided to go to bootcamp. It was the first step in trying to change my body. I had just gotten into a relationship with a wonderful man a couple months before and, like every girl, I wanted to look good for prom. Bootcamp was okay, but it wasn’t fun (they were mean to us!). Plus I noticed I was bulking rather than slimming and toning. But when I shopped for my prom dress, I amazingly “fit” into a size 4. First size 4 of my life! I use quotation marks on “fit” because the dress was so tight that if I let out a breath, it would have ripped.
One day in spring, I was on YouTube. I can’t even remember what I was online for, but I saw a suggested video that caught my eye. It was a tiny thumbnail of a woman in black yoga pants with a mint waistband. It was called “POP Pilates: Intense Ab Workout! (Full 10 min)” and I clicked on it. I decided to follow the moves and thought it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Obviously I had no core strength.
I kid you not, I did that workout every day for the next 2 weeks. I loved it! I searched for more videos by the same woman and I started pairing different videos together and doing them everyday. I was beginning to find happiness and excitement when I thought about my workouts. I was even waking up more energized! My relationship was benefitting too. I was so inspired by this beautiful woman, I began to research healthy recipes and only bought healthy snacks.
A week before prom I tried on my dress again. You’ll never guess what happened! It was so big, that my mom and I had to go out and buy a second corset to wear over my first one so that the dress stayed up. And though all of this was happening, I still didn’t have any idea who this woman was that made prom the best night of my life!
So the summer after I graduated, I continued to watch and do this woman’s videos. They were so much fun! They gave me the confidence to travel all the way from New Jersey to University of California, Santa Barbara to go to school when I was only 18 years old. I even had the confidence to rush (a process of joining a sorority) and was chosen to join the top-flight sorority Delta Gamma.
I couldn’t be happier! I was in sunny California and enjoying my intense daily workouts. I needed to learn more about this woman who had changed my life. I mean I had been creepily watching her for months. It was definitely time to learn more about her.
This fabulous woman is none other than Cassey Ho! Her cheerful attitude and grueling routines really transformed my life. Cassey’s smile was infectious! Her energy changed me. I became so much more positive and outgoing than I was growing up. I became strong in my muscles and in my confidence. There was a time when I couldn’t do 10 waist whittlers on my knees. Now I can do 100 in a full plank!! The icing on the cake was when I found out she releases a calendar each month that tells me exactly what videos to watch everyday. Still do this day I religiously follow this calendar as well as add my own flare of cardio. I even make sure to find a spot at the gym next to an outlet so I have battery to watch every video. My favorite time of my day is the time I spend with Cassey!
Today I am stronger, healthier, and happier than I’ve ever been before. At 19 years old, I am 5’4½” and my weight fluctuates between the low to mid 130s. But that doesn’t even matter to me. I love the way I feel and look. I love myself.
Though this was insanely difficult to write, I wanted to share my personal fitness journey with the rest of POPster world. Through Cassey, I have found a love for fitness and health. I owe this woman so much! No longer do I fear the mirror or body-length pictures. In fact, I probably take more selfies than I probably should!
I am so excited Cassey has started training instructors to teach POP Pilates. I can’t wait to be officially certified so that I can bring her bubbly personality and life transforming workout routines to my very own fitness classroom!!
Jaclyn is getting certified as a POP Pilates Instructor! I am super excited for her and couldn’t be more happy. I mean, talk about full circle. Talk about taking your life into your hands and making it happen. She is a SHINING example of how you can truly carve your own destiny and live to your own potential. I can’t wait to see how her story will evolve.
Guys, if you want to follow Jaclyn, you can check her out on Instagram: @jaclyn_taylor
Also, if you guys want to send me any stories to be featured, please send it to POPsterPost@gmail.com with photos and your full journey.
Thank you so much and have a lovely Tuesday!