Guest Post: Family, Faith, Fun and FINISH LINES!


“You must feel so much better!”

That’s what most people say when they find out I have lost 112 pounds.

My answer?

“Well, actually I never really felt bad.”

You see I never felt sick. You could say I was a healthy obese person. Yes, that sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s the truth. I have a strong faith in Jesus Christ and an amazingly loving and supportive family. However, I could never tackle my weight problem – probably because I was healthy and never felt a need to do anything about it.

In December, 2008, I finally decided to “do it.”  One thing I learned through this process is that you cannot convince and overweight person to lose weight. They absolutely must come to the decision to “do it” themselves.

I began by getting a personal trainer and I think it was a key to my success.  She taught me about exercise, eating right, and how to make this a lifelong change.

Has it been hard? Sure, but worth it every step of the way.

As I said before, I have an amazing support system, my God, my family, and my friends. Without them there is no way I could have achieved this.

A year ago during my usual summer trip to the Adirondacks, I watched people participate in an annual triathlon in Piseco Lake, NY. At that moment, I vowed that the following year I would do it.

I trained for a whole year, working at my swimming, biking, and running. My goal was to simply finish the race – ideally in under three hours.

July 17 I did that triathlon, and not only did I finish, but I did it in 2 hours and 4 minutes!  I was thrilled.

As I crossed the finish line, my Mom, my biggest supporter, was waiting with arms wide open as I listened to “Blessed Be Your Name” on my Ipod one of my favorite songs by Matt Redman.

Yes, it took hard work and dedication, yes, there were days I did not want to get out on that bike, or put on those running shoes, but God gave me strength, and my family and friends kept me going. This weight loss journey, which let me add is not complete, will be something I will work on for the rest of my life. Not only did it teach me about my own strength, but it showed me just how very much I am loved by so many.  Blessings come in so many packages, and for me, this blessing has been lich a much-anticipated gift on CHRISTmas morning.

So when someone says to me, “You must feel so much better,” I tell them I do, but not just physically. Losing weight is not just about shedding pounds. It’s about feeling lighter physically AND emotionally, it’s about becoming stronger mentally AND spiritually.

My new motto is “Dream the Impossible, then go make it happen!”

God bless!

Jill Herkel is the drama teacher at Pine Forest School of the Arts, a public elementary magnet school in Jacksonville, FL. She also loves being a Jacksonville Jaguars season ticket holder along with her parents and attending high school football games at her alma matter, St. Augustine High School. She sings, and plays guitar and keyboard in her church’s praise band.


2 thoughts on “Guest Post: Family, Faith, Fun and FINISH LINES!

  1. Christina Hansen

    Cheryl was reading your guest post this am & Kate came by and yelled “Hey! That’s Ms Herkel! when she saw the photo” Enjoyed the post by “Ms Herkel” and enjoy yours also. Continued prayers for your family. Hugs and see you soon.


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