How One Woman Lost 171 Pounds Doing CrossFit

A revamped diet, a new outlook on fitness, and the CrossFit community kept Jackie Laing on the right path.

Michael Nystrom January 10, 2017

Name: Jackie Laing | Hometown: Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Canada

Age: 41 | Occupation: Copywriter

Old weight: 297 lb | Current weight: 126 lb 

THE BOX: Describe your relationship with your weight:

Jackie Laing: I have always had a weight problem, ever since I was a kid in elementary school — I was an emotional eater with bad eating habits. I’d eat when I was sad, stressed or even when I was bored. So having a bad relationship with food paired with not being a very active person resulted in me gaining more and more weight.  

THE BOX: What did your diet consist of?

JL: I would eat a lot of pasta, cheese, breads, chips, chocolate bars, fast food and frozen prepackaged foods. I never prepped any meals, and I ate very little veggies. Plus, I would drink a lot of calories — I was a big pop drinker. I would drink two or three pops a day!

THE BOX: What caused the change mentally?

JL: I get asked this question a lot. To be honest, it was a buildup of all the years of not being happy with my body and how my weight felt like it was holding me back. I was tired of feeling sick and tired all the time, so one day I decided enough is enough, I was going to get healthy. It’s odd. It’s almost like a light switch flicked, and one day I just said to myself, I’m going to do this, and I never looked back!

THE BOX: How did you lose the weight?

JL: I had no idea how I was going to get healthy and lose the weight, but I started by getting rid of the junk food in my house and researching a lot online about healthy food options. I became a vegetarian. I then started walking, and I bought a few weights and kettlebells and started using them at home by following videos on YouTube. I started working out with my friend who is a personal trainer, who then introduced me to CrossFit. I have been doing CrossFit and bodybuilding ever since, and I have reached and passed my weight-loss goal through hard work and eating healthy.

THE BOX: What drew you to CrossFit, and what keeps you coming back?

JL: I love the variety and how every WOD is different. CrossFit is for everyone, no matter what your fitness level or age. WODs can be scaled, so everyone can enjoy this sport and have fun while getting fit! I love how at our box, Motivators Gym, everyone is very friendly and we encourage everyone to do their very best!  

THE BOX: You mentioned you’re vegetarian, what does your diet look like now?

JL: My diet completely changed! Besides becoming a vegetarian, I cut out all pops and sugary drinks, and I eat a lot of fruits, veggies, nuts, beans, tofu and rice. I also now track what I eat with MyFitnessPal. This may sound daunting, but once you get going, it really is easy to do. I eat between 2,000 to 2,200 calories a day, and I break it up and eat small meals throughout the day. I have never felt better!

THE BOX: Do you have a favorite meal or recipe?

JL: My favorite recipe is pretty simple actually, it is overnight oats. I prepare my oats every night, and this is what I eat for breakfast every day. 

Simple Overnight Oats

½ cup steel-cut oats

½ cup coconut milk

dash of cinnamon

Combine your oats, milk and cinnamon in a Mason jar or bowl with a lid and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, heat your oats or eat them cold. You can top them with fruit — I like to top mine with a banana and some blueberries.

THE BOX: How do you continue to keep the pounds off?

JL: I maintain my weight loss by staying consistent with my diet and exercise. I feel good when I eat healthy and exercise regularly, so it is no longer like a chore for me. I enjoy it.

THE BOX: Any advice for those looking to lose weight?

JL: Remember every healthy choice you make gets you one step closer to your goal. When looking at your goal weight, it may seem like you’ll never reach it, but you can by eating healthy and exercising!  

THE BOX: Favorite quote?

JL: “You can have excuses or results, not both.” — Arnold Schwarzenegger

For daily inspiration, follow Jackie on Instagram here.


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About the Author

Michael Nystrom

Michael Nystrom is the online editor for Oxygen, the Box Magazine and Muscle & Performance. He is a 2x IRONMAN triathlon finisher and is an avid cyclist, triathlete and surfer. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.