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Missy Santucci

This mother of two decided she needed to get healthier after losing both parents in her 30s. She transformed her body as well as her life in the process.

Missy Santucci

Written by Missy Santucci

Ever since high school I have struggled with my weight. I was always either too heavy or too skinny, depending on the year and what was going on in my life. I hit my heaviest weight — 175 pounds — after having my first child and losing my mother to cancer, both in less than a year. I was miserable, depressed and just didn't care, and I stayed that way for several years. I dropped to 115 pounds after I had my second son, but not in a healthy way. I hardly ate, with the stress of a failing marriage, being a full-time mother of two, and the loss of my father to a heart attack.

After a terrible bout with pneumonia that laid me up for a week and being diagnosed with Meniere's disease (an inner ear condition), I decided I had had enough. I needed to get serious about my health. I lost both of my parents by my early 30s. I don't wish that on anyone, and I definitely did not want to do that to my boys. I had a goal — to be healthy — but I was lost on how to get there. I tried several plans and diets but nothing that kept my interest for long.

I shared my struggles with my good friend and fellow JYM Army member Kevin Williamson, and he suggested I join the gym. At first, I laughed at the idea. I had the stereotypical idea that the gym was for guys or bodybuilders, not girls like me. Plus, I didn't have the first clue about weight lifting! Any time I had spent in a gym was on a treadmill, but I decided to put away all the excuses and give it a try. I joined my local gym, picked a "girlie" plan and began. To my surprise, I liked it! The more I got into it, the more Kevin shared Jim Stoppani's video tips and suggested the JYM Army Facebook page. It didn't take long before I was hooked!

I started using all the JYM supplements and joined the Super-Man Challenge. I was amazed at the change in myself. I had done a 12-week plan before that didn't yield nearly the results, visibly and physically in strength and stamina, that five weeks of one of Jim's programs did!

I have since completed Unrested Development, five weeks of Tabata Weight Blast, Daily Grind and Top to Bottom Legs. I have gained about 10 pounds of muscle, with very little visible body fat. I have gained several inches in my arms and legs. I can do pull-ups, push-ups, and squat my bodyweight — nothing I ever dreamed I could do prior to Jim's programs. I now have strangers stop and ask me where I work out. I tell them it's not where you work out, it's the program you follow. My results come from Jim and will continue to!

I've learned, and continue to learn, how to get my nutrition on point from Jim. I count my macros as recommended in Dieting 101, with some carb cycling. I love it; it makes eating enjoyable and not feel like I'm "dieting." Inevitably, you eat healthy in the process of fitting your macros, but you can still fit in foods you love from time to time.

I can honestly say weight lifting in combination with Jim's programs and supplements have changed my life. I love working out now, I look forward to it every day, and I'm disappointed if I miss a day. It's like therapy — it's a stress reducer and endorphin enhancer! Working out has sparked other lifestyle changes for me as well: I don't drink like I once did, I quit smoking, and I've set other non-fitness-related goals. I feel like I can achieve anything I put my mind to now. I like the girl I see in the mirror. I'm an overall happier, healthier, more confident person!

I will say that changing your lifestyle is hard. It takes consistency and the will to do it, and it can be difficult when not everyone in your life is about fitness and a healthy lifestyle. It's created some distance between me and people I have been close with, but for me, the goal to be healthy for my kids and myself is more important.

I would say the contributing factors to my success are having the right tools: Jim's website, programs, and supplements; the JYM Army community to motivate me; having someone to "talk gym with" like my buddy Kevin; and my day-to-day reminder of why I started – my two boys.

My advice to anyone considering beginning a program, questioning their journey, or just in a rut: Just do it! Keep at it! Don't give up! Step out of your comfort zone, be patient, be persistent, and enjoy the process. The results will come and you'll be so proud of yourself! I started off unsure and lost, not just in fitness but a bit in life as well, and now I consider myself a weight-lifting, goal-oriented, happy person! You just might surprise yourself!


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