“I have always been overweight,” Kerry Pilgrim says. “At some point, I just accepted that I would always be big and there was nothing I could do to change that.”
But in September of 2014, she changed her thinking.
“After years of being unhappy with my weight, I decided it was time to change my poor nutrition choices and get healthy.”
Working 12 hour days as a nurse, Kerry knew it wouldn’t be easy. Her stressful job in neonatal care made the constant supply of treats in the break room nearly irresistible.
Kerry’s husband, Jon, also wanted to get healthy, but he had his own challenges to face. Staying at home with their two toddlers kept him busy. In addition, Jon is unable to do rigorous exercise. Three years ago, he was injured in a terrible car accident. Due to severe physical issues and brain trauma, he went from hiking and playing tennis for 1-2 hours several times a week to struggling just to go on walks.
Nonetheless, the Pilgrims were determined to lead a healthier life together. In less than a year, Jon and Kerry (our July Ship Shape Challenge winners) achieved an incredible transformation!
Our lifestyle took a turn for the worse”
Like many couples, Jon and Kerry’s life changed when they started having children.
“We didn’t lead the healthiest lifestyle prior, but our first daughter was born and three months later I was in a really serious car accident, so for almost a year Kerry had to balance working, taking care of our daughter and taking care of me,” Jon says.
After making it through this difficult period, and welcoming a second baby girl into the family, the Pilgrims decided it was time to build a healthier homestead for them and their two children.
While Kerry started exercising first thing every morning, Jon’s physical activity remained limited to walking and yard work, so they knew their success hinged on their diet.
“September of last year was when we both made the conscious effort to start living a healthier lifestyle … It was in that that we decided to try some type of a meal replacement,” Jon says. “We tried four to five varieties, and IdealShake was by far the best tasting.”
In addition to having an IdealShake every day for breakfast, the couple started having IdealBars for snacks and a vegetable and protein heavy dinner (similar to the IdealPlan). Jon’s grandfather was a chef, so he grew up in kitchens. “I was able to make healthy things taste really good,” he says.
Filling up the fridge with fresh produce can get expensive. To keep their grocery bill from getting out of hand, the Pilgrims planted a garden. Being in Florida, they can grow year round and enjoy flavorful picks like eggplants, okra and black eyed peas.
The biggest thing is the fact that Kerry and I are doing it together.”
After a long day at work for Kerry and a busy day with the kids for Jon, teaming up has helped them avoid getting into the “old groove” of ordering a pizza or Chinese.
“It’s hard to be able to cook sometimes,” Jon says. “Now Kerry can say, ‘Don’t worry about cooking, I’ll just have an extra shake when I get home, or leftovers.’ If she’s not gonna do it [order takeout], I’m not gonna do it. It’s really easy to stay on track when you have that.”
Jon makes it clear that neither one is eating healthy for the other person, though. “We’re doing it for ourselves,” he says. “There’s not a guilt aspect to it, dieting because the other is. But it’s nice to have that other person with you.”
Kerry agrees: “Having a strong support system has been the biggest help,” she says. “My husband has been amazing. I think without him on board I probably would’ve given up at some point.”
The couple also keeps healthy company. “We entertain a lot and we were always the negative influence in the group. We were the ‘treat house’… pasta with cream sauce, etc.,” Kerry explains. “They ate healthy already so they’ve been supportive, super helpful and encouraging.”
As for workplace temptations, Kerry has a strategy. “I pack my food, avoid the lunchroom if I know there are treats, and avoid the coffee place downstairs – I just have tea,” she says. “On rare occasions someone will bring in fruit and it’s there all day. No one will eat it – I’m like, Yay!”
I’ve gained an amazing amount of confidence.”
Since September 2014, Kerry is down from a size 18 to a size 6. She says, “More importantly, I FEEL so much better. With the weight I’ve lost, I’ve gained an amazing amount of confidence. I feel an amazing sense of accomplishment by finally taking my health into my own hands.”
Jon was happy to lose 50 pounds without exercise, and says the shakes helped him get more protein in his diet to counteract muscle loss. Despite a recent setback (he had to have arm surgery), now he’s back on track.
The Pilgrims’ two toddlers, now three and two, are getting into the healthy groove, as well. “My oldest daughter has a shaker bottle and has ‘shake’ like mommy with just milk in her bottle,” Kerry says. “It’s made a big impact on our family.”
“I wasn’t expecting everything to go as quickly as it did. I’ve been really happy with the results,” she says.
“It’s worked out really well for us,” Jon adds.
The Pilgrims’ goal now is to maintain their terrific results, and we have no doubt they can do it. In fact, since the time they entered the contest, Kerry has lost 8 more pounds!
As our monthly Ship Shape Challenge winner couple, Kerry and Jon won a trip to Park City, Utah, and they’re automatically in the running for the annual grand prize, a Caribbean Cruise! If you have an IdealShape success story, we want to hear about it!