Jody Kerzman
 

On January 1, 2012, Michelle Jennison made the same New Year's resolution as millions of other Americans: she vowed to lose weight.

But there is one big difference between Jennison and so many others: Jennison succeeded. She lost 58 pounds in one year. Now, two years later, she is down 80 pounds and went from a size 18 to a size four jeans. She's also become a runner, competing in the Fargo Marathon 10K, the Young Life Triathlon in Detroit Lakes, Minn., and dozens of 5K races.

She feels (and looks) amazing, but it wasn't until four months ago that Jennison knew just how important it was that she be healthy. In August, her husband went into heart failure. He's been in the hospital ever since -- and has had numerous surgeries and complications. He is currently at the University of Minnesota trying to get well enough for a heart transplant. It's been an emotional roller coaster for Jennison, but physically, she's remained vigilant.

"I exercise every single day, even though I've spent the majority of the past four months in a hospital," says Jennison. "Working out has helped me keep my cool. This has been an emotional time, and the old me would have turned to food or booze for comfort. The new me chooses the healthier alternative, which is exercise. I've just had to get creative in how I get my exercise."

Her creativity is inspiring, and whether you are a seasoned runner or just jumping on the exercise bandwagon, Jennison's creativity can help you make exercise a part of your daily routine, even if you never make it to the gym. Here are three of her most creative, and most effective, exercise tips:

Multi-task. "I've heard a lot of people say they don't have time to exercise," says Jennison. "I used to think I didn't have time either, but then I realized there is always time if you multi-task. I split my workout up into shorter intervals and just do my best to add more movement to my day." She adds movement by always taking the stairs instead of the elevator, doing calf raises while brushing her teeth, and doing wall sits or squats during commercial breaks in her favorite television programs. And every night before bed, she does a two-minute plank and ten pushups.

Set goals. "Set a long-term goal -- mine was to lose 74 pounds and get back to my high school graduation weight. But set small, achievable goals too," says Jennison. For Jennison, the small goals, like losing 20 pounds, then weighing in at less than 200 pounds, were good motivators, because she reached them much quicker than the ultimate goal.

Get moving, and keep moving. "It's hard to get started, and if you miss a day, it's hard to get back into the routine," says Jennison. "But if you're not moving, you're not going to lose weight. And, trust me, it's really not that hard to fit quality exercise in at home, the office, or in my case, at the hospital if you're creative and make an effort. Just get moving." Take the stairs, park father away, walk instead of drive -- little things that make a big difference. Just look at Jennison. Those little movements have added up to a huge weight loss.

"If I can find time to exercise, anyone can," says Jennison.

Jennison's weight loss also included a major diet overhaul too. Her top three diet tips:

* Give up fast food

* Limit alcohol consumption

* Drink water. Lots of water. Jennison drinks about 100 ounces of water every day. Then, she uses the bathroom that's the farthest away, which gets her moving even more.

Her mission now is to keep the weight off, and to inspire others. And admit it, if you've read this far, you're inspired. And you're probably doing calf raises while you read. I did 100 while writing.



 
Jody is married to Brad, adn they have four super-busy kids. When she isn't at one of their events, she's probably driving them somewhere.