Jean-Ellison Shanon, 62, began her fitness journey shortly after retiring from Cedar Sinai in October of 2015 – and the first order of business for the newly retired Center for Health & Fitness (CHF) member was to lose 30 pounds of stress weight.
And she did.
We sat down with Jean, now known as a group exercise guru at CHF, to learn more about her progress and to get her tips for shedding pesky poundage.
What do you enjoy most about CHF?
“I love the classes. I don’t do machines! I thoroughly enjoy classes. The instructors are incredible. The people attending the classes were all so helpful and friendly, because I was very intimidated and nervous at first. So I try to do the same thing when I see someone new and help them with the equipment and make them feel welcome and confident.”
What is your weekly exercise routine?
“I’m taking three classes a day, from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. At a certain point, I plateaued with just two classes a day, so I did an analysis and decided it’s time to kick it up. I also looked at my lifestyle and decided to cut out wine before 5 p.m. and after dinner.”
How has your health changed since joining the gym?
“Dramatically! I remember visiting my grandsons last year and it was hard for me to get up and down off the floor. And now, I’m up and down, up and down, and up and down throughout my classes without a problem! My mobility and balance are so much better than they were before and, of course, my endurance.”
You’ve successfully lost 30 pounds since joining, so what’s your ‘secret’?
“There’s no fast solution. It took me seven months to get this weight off. It was very discouraging at first because when I was in my 20s and 30s, I could drop five pounds in a week. Now I lose about one pound a week. I was expecting dramatic results, but as you age your metabolism changes. So my secret is good old-fashioned exercise, nutrition and changing your lifestyle.”
What is the feeling like when you finally started seeing your progress and losing weight?
“I got more confidence. Shopping used to be difficult for me because I’d get discouraged, but then my sister and mother took me on a shopping spree two weeks ago, and I didn’t even know my size. About a year ago, I was wearing a size 16 – so when I put on a size 6 and it fit, I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited that I started prancing around.”
How has your diet changed?
“Now I keep healthy snacks around and really try to think before I put something in my mouth. I also try to be extra careful with carbohydrates and, of course, wine is a carbohydrate. So I’ve cut back, although I still enjoy a glass as part of my wine tasting group.”
Do you have any current personal fitness goals you’re working toward?
“My original goal was to lose 30 pounds, which I did. Now I’m thinking I can lose about five more.”
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into exercise and lose weight, but can’t seem to motivate themselves to do it?
“It’s important to make a lifestyle change, a commitment to yourself and keep it up. Find a friend to work out with or make friends with a person in the gym who has been successful and ask them for tips. I always tell people to first look at their lifestyle and decide what unhealthy things they can cut out or cut back on. Whether it’s wine or too much TV time, we all have healthy changes to make that will help.”