Jenn and her wife Kristen knew they were neglecting their health.

Despite having been an avid swimmer in high school, as the years went by, Jenn, 49, stopped exercising.

She worked a highly stressful job in healthcare, and turned to food and cigarettes as outlets. At one point, she weighed 310 pounds.

Jenn attempted to lose weight. “Name a diet, I’ve tried it,” she says. Yet nothing stuck—not even weight-loss drugs.

“It doesn’t matter if a drug makes you feel full, if you don’t stop eating when you’re full,” she says.

Then, in 2019, a happy memory made Jenn strive for something more.

Looking back through her and Kristen’s wedding photos, Jenn thought, “We look so happy. I’d like to be happy for more than a few years. I don’t want to shorten my own life. I don’t want to drop dead of a heart attack.”

She decided that something had to change.

Not one to do things in moderation, Jenn set herself a highly ambitious goal:

Climb Mount Everest.

And she did it.

She trained hard and reached the summit. Along the way, she lost 87 pounds.

Jenn at the summit of Mount Everest

Little did she know…

Her hiking group would be the last to scale Everest before the world shut down due to COVID.

Jenn returned from her great adventure to a healthcare system that was utterly overwhelmed.

As a gastroenterology nurse practitioner, she witnessed tragedy and death on a daily basis.

She still tears up thinking about it.

“As healthcare workers, we went into the pandemic expecting the situation would be really bad. But it was way worse than we ever imagined.”

As the pandemic wore on, Jenn’s clothes started to feel snug again.

Her eating habits regressed. Her mental health suffered. It started to feel like the results she’d worked so hard for were slipping away.

Jenn working as a nurse during the pandemic

During lockdown, gyms and fitness studios closed. But the river was wide open.

So, on a fresh spring day in 2020, Jenn drove to the river and went for a swim.

That swim turned into a regular ritual—and a lifesaving one at that.

“Swimming allowed me to make it through the pandemic,” she recalls.

“I could get in the water for a couple of hours and not talk to anybody and just process everything that had been going on.”

Swimming inspired Jenn to take on a new challenge. Something that would help her feel like her strong, resilient self again.

Something like… swimming the English Channel.

To be clear, swimming the English Channel is a highly ambitious endeavor. (Less than two thousand people have ever achieved it.)

The swim is 21 miles from Dover to France, and can take over 20 hours to complete.

Other than pausing occasionally to chug back protein shakes while treading water, the swim is nonstop; swimmers are followed by a boat but if they touch the boat, they’re disqualified.

To reach this goal, Jenn would have to train for many months, putting in many hours—and miles—in the river and pool each week.

As her training progressed, Jenn realized she needed help with her nutrition.

“I was having trouble balancing weight loss with fueling my training,” explains Jenn. “I felt like I was eating too much to lose weight, yet not enough to swim 20 miles a week.”

Jenn’s relationship with food was complicated: Years of dieting meant she was used to a cycle of restricting her intake, followed by periods of stress eating.

As it happened, Jenn’s wife Kristen joined Precision Nutrition Coaching in January 2022. (PN Coaching is a habit-based nutrition and fitness coaching program here at PN that helps anyone eat, move, and live better—and achieve their most important health and fitness goals.)

Jenn was curious, and tried out some of Kristen’s practices for herself.

She couldn’t believe the results.

“One of the PN Coaching practices was to eat slowly and mindfully. Just by doing that, our grocery bill dropped by 30 percent because we were consuming so much less food effortlessly. I was blown away.”

At the next available opening, Jenn signed herself up for Precision Nutrition Coaching.

“At first, I was obsessed with calories,” recalls Jenn. “I was used to measuring and counting everything. I felt guilty every time I ate, even after a big day of training.”

Luckily, she had her coach. “Coach Denise helped me make peace with the fact that if I’m hungry, I can eat and not feel bad.”

One trick Jenn learned was to separate mealtimes from “feeds.

After a ten-hour-plus swim session, she would need a quick “feed” of easily consumable, calorie-dense nutrition. But during mealtimes, Jenn practiced eating slowly and mindfully.

This way, she was able to get enough energy to support her rigorous training, while still practicing “everyday life” nutrition skills.

By the end of the coaching program, Jenn lost 50 pounds—without sacrificing strength or performance.

She entered her race day feeling prepared, energetic, and grateful.

Jenn’s English Channel swim went even better than expected.

She completed the challenge in just 14 hours and 41 minutes—especially impressive given that her swim coach expected her to clock in around 21 hours.

Jenn swimming the English Channel

(In case you’re interested, Jenn’s wife Kristen, also a PN Coaching Client, ended up completing her own athletic feat: Completing the Chihaya Ironman, a notoriously difficult distance race. How’s that for a “power couple”?)

After achieving her dream of swimming the English Channel and completing her year as a PN Coaching Client, Jenn says:

“I feel overwhelmingly grateful. Ten years ago, I never would have believed I could do this. I’m so amazed at where I am in my life today.”

Ambitious goals? We’ve got you.

Jenn’s story is a powerful reminder of the importance—and possibility—of BIG dreams.

With a clear, ambitious vision, a tremendous amount of grit, and the right kind of support, Jenn was able to achieve an amazing transformation, inside and out.

If you’re inspired to rewrite your own story, remember: PN Coaching is here to guide and support you every step of the way.

The post This woman lost 50 pounds, swam the English channel, and feels stronger than ever. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.


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