For many, Disneyland is “the happiest place on earth,” but for Christina Jordan, it was the most embarrassing place on earth. She was kicked off a ride in front of hundreds of people and her two young kids for being “too big,” just after having been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
“I was terrified because nearly every member of my family was overweight and had diabetes, and several had even died from it,” she says, explaining that she was teased and bullied her entire childhood and suffered from low self-esteem. “I had just had my second child and knew I had to change.”
Cleaning Out and Cleaning Up
Jordan had an unhealthy relationship with food, starving herself all day long while drinking sodas and sugary coffee drinks. At the end of the day, she would come home exhausted, and too tired to cook, she would binge on pizza, french fries and other processed foods.
“Eating was my outlet for self-abuse,” says Jordan, who hid food in her closet and under her bed. “I would eat until my stomach was so full that I would cry. Then as soon as I could eat again, I would.”
When Jordan realized that it was time to make a change, she sat her husband down and asked him to help her stay accountable. Then she purged her home of all junk food. “I actually hated any kind of vegetable or fruit, so I had to force myself to try new foods,” she says.
For exercise, Jordan began by simply taking a brisk walk every night after dinner. Within a year, she had lost 100 pounds and had completely reversed her diabetes. She added hiking, kickboxing, weightlifting and yoga to her routine, and when she got pregnant with her third child, she gained only 27 pounds instead of her usual 90. She lost that weight plus another 30 pounds, and today Jordan does strength training three days a week and yoga and cardio two days a week. Her husband, a black-belt martial artist, remains her biggest advocate. Together, they exercise with their three boys in their home gym and enjoy taking weekend hikes.
A Family Affair
Motivated by her success, Jordan quit her stressful job and went back to school to become a nutritionist. “Because of my transformation, my parents, siblings, cousins and even grandparents are all eating healthy,” she says. “Now our family holidays are hosted at home, and we always have healthy options available.”
In 2017, Jordan wrote her first book, Forever Fit Weight Loss Guide (amazon.com), and she launched a six-week workout program. She also competed in and won her first-ever beauty pageant and now serves as the 2017-2018 Mrs. USA Elite Global Earth.
“I never realized how much I hid behind my weight until it was gone,” says Jordan, who was recently signed by a national modeling agency. “I can do handstands and elevated push-ups, run 3 miles without stopping and hike mountains.”
Christina Jordan/Queen Creek, Arizona
old weight: 271 lb
current weight: 137 lb
occupation: Nutritionist and YouTube host
Swap smart: Replace a bad habit with a good habit. Instead of unhealthy milkshakes and sweets, have a protein shake and go for a walk.
Mini-meals: Before, I would starve all day, then binge on something unhealthy. Now I eat five to six small meals every day.
Start small: If you have a lot of weight to lose, set small goals and accept that this is a complete lifestyle change.
Teach your taste buds: At first, I didn’t like vegetables, but I learned that salad doesn’t have to be boring and that flavoring with various sea salts, garlic and cilantro makes a huge difference.