Member Spotlight – Cali Montalvo

Congratulations to Cali for being May’s Member Spotlight!! Job well done!!

              

Cali’s journey on how she gained her confidence back is her story in her own words…..

“When I first spoke with Daris over the phone, I remembered exactly how I felt: nervous, skeptical, and a tad embarrassed. Embarrassed because I was answering questions as to why I was interested in JCF and the reasons that led me to click that Facebook ad with the interest in joining. It was October 21st, 2016. I called from my office, because that was and still is my second home after I was promoted to a more demanding position at the university where I work. Working in student services, aside from time consuming, is where you need more energy as you support and gear students toward success throughout their time studying. And with that comes guidance, problem solving and a little bit of confidence. Confidence – a word that has been there in front of me my whole life and where I never truly reached it in every aspect. Most of that lack of confidence came from my relationship with my body. After leaving soccer in 2004 and then marching band when I graduated from high school, due to my knees getting worse and trying to focus on my education, I was not noticing how poorly I had treated my body. After years of all nighters, drinking, ice cream, along with two-three part time jobs, I was working so hard, I didn’t realize my over all body and mind was in a depression of sorts. So, by the time I graduated college, four years prior to contacting JCF, I was at my heaviest, at roughly 300 lbs. When I was in grad school, I tried so much to loose, but things kept going up and down and various diets and fitness plans were not working for me and my knees. I just gave up.

So interestingly enough, when I joined, after my first week, I made it, but it came with tears. Tears were there because Holy Moly, I made it! Tears also came because of the support from everyone else around me, which reminded me of the team spirit I’ve missed from being out of soccer for so long. Also it brings camaraderie and true support to all of us. When I’ve participated in every challenge since I started, which has been about 4 or 5 now, even though folks got competitive, there was a given structure and support from the JCF team and the members that showed we were all in it together to reach our goals, whatever they may be and be accountable to each other. One of the best tools I have really honed in on with this aside from nutrition, is tracking progress and what I eat, which is something I never really did before. It’s been so essential as I move forward!

JCF has changed my life in many ways more than one. All those years ago, you would never think I was caring about what I ate or even working out regularly if it was aside from soccer practice. Now I’ve picked up healthier habits where I am choosing better food for my body and not starving myself, including actually eating breakfast (not just coffee), and cooking more than I ever had from planning my meals weekly. I’ve also been able to work things out with my nutrition and fitness schedule so that when my work schedule changes, which can change weekly sometimes, I don’t freak out! And this group has inspired me to participate in things that I  thought I could never do. Those things include 5ks, a 10k, working out outside with no fear, even jumping into a Tough Mudder! Within my first year and a half, I have lost between 45-50 lbs, which include: 15 inches lost around my waist, hips and thighs; 7.3% loss in BMI; 5.3% in body fat; and 5% muscle gain. All of these are huge since I went down 1-2 sizes in pants (depending on the brand/type) as well! I’ve seen a bunch of change in my body composition. I mean – I have muscles (particularly traps) and a solid core that I didn’t know existed! And I want to keep going!

There is definitely still more progress to be made. Still my biggest struggle is my stress that I battle with everyday from work mostly, everyday life and most recently – my wedding planning. Despite that, JCF has given me so many tools that I go back to as I keep evolving my healthy nutrition and fitness lifestyle. And when things get to their hardest, the sessions and good company become therapy to me. It helps to keep my head in the game and knowing that the only thing keeping me away from managing those stressful times and improving them, is myself. So, with all that I’ve learned – JCF has really pushed me to change my life for the better in gaining confidence to fight these battles head on with no fear. My future goals are to continue this learning throughout, even beyond my #sweatingforthewedding phase!

With someone who is thinking of joining JCF, or any organization similar, I would tell them to go for it, don’t overthink it, and trust the process, but also communicate when you are concerned of how things are going or if you need guidance! Also, make sure you have your own support system to keep yourself accountable and to share your journeys with! Thank you JCF Team and members for helping me change my life for the better. I’m looking forward to continuing the journey with all of you!”

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