NEW YORK, USA: Jacqui now. MDWfeatures / Jacqui Horn

By Rebecca Drew


AFTER this woman was DUMPED by her first boyfriend she spent two months crying and gorging on FAMILY PACKS of cookies and even refused to leave her apartment – but after signing up to a kickboxing class she got her mojo back, lost almost five-and-a-half-stone and is now a self-declared ‘BAD ASS’.

Jacqui Horn (22) from New York, USA, struggled with her weight for her entire life and her life lacked structure, which often saw her gorge to the point of vomiting as a child as she desperately tried to clear her plate.

As she hit her teens, Jacqui’s weight affected her self-esteem and she’d try countless fad diets in a bid to shed the extra pounds, dreaming that one day she would wake up thin. Insecure, she considered herself lucky to have friends even if they treated her poorly and after her first serious boyfriend broke up with her at 19, Jacqui fell into a deep depression, thinking that no one would ever love her.

NEW YORK, USA: Jacqui before her weight loss. MDWfeatures / Jacqui Horn

For two months, Jacqui cried, didn’t leave her apartment or go out with friends and instead binged on family size packs of cookies.

As time passed, she started to hang out with her friends more and one day they signed up to a kickboxing class which Jacqui fell in love with. Before long she was going to class every day and as her endurance increased, she became mindful of what she was eating.

Jacqui has gone from 15st 10lb and a UK size 22 to 10st 5lb and a size 10 and what she has lost in weight she’s gained in confidence.

“I remember my mother had a rule that I had to finish everything that I put on my plate. I think this is a Great Depression mentality that was passed down from her parents. Leaving uneaten food on your plate is wasteful, so I understand how this mentality gets passed down,” said Jacqui.

“The problem is, this mindset was instilled in me at a very young age and it stuck. I always ate all the food on my plate, even when I was stuffed. Finishing all the food on your plate isn’t always a good thing, especially when it comes to larger restaurant portions, holiday parties, or large buffets.

NEW YORK, USA: Jacqui before her weight loss. MDWfeatures / Jacqui Horn

“When I was a kid, I distinctly remember a few occasions when my family and I went out to eat at a restaurant and I tried to eat everything on my plate. Eating an entire restaurant entree is no easy feat for a seven year old. After the meal I would go to the bathroom feeling sick, and then I would throw everything up because I wouldn’t be able to eat such a large portion of food.

“I got used to eating to the point of feeling sick and being uncomfortably full.

“My criteria for friendships were not the greatest. Although I do have many lifelong friends that have stuck around and have loved me at any size, I have had friends that would use me and take advantage of me, and I would let them.

“I kept several toxic people in my life because I didn’t think I deserved better. I had friends that were blatantly mean to me, and I knew that they were, but I would let them. I didn’t believe that I had any value so at the time, I didn’t mind taking a few punches every once in a while or being the butt of their jokes if we had a good time overall.

NEW YORK, USA: Jacqui’s confidence has improved dramatically since her weight loss. MDWfeatures / Jacqui Horn

“My first serious boyfriend broke up with me when I was 19. It was my first real relationship. It was the first time I felt heartbreak. I was devastated. I fell into a deep, deep depression. I was usually a very happy and goofy person. I was funny and goofy and I had blue hair, but now all I did was cry.

“I cried every day for two months. I would buy family size packs of cookies and eat them by myself. I didn’t leave my apartment. I didn’t go out with my friends. I thought about dropping out of school. I isolated myself from everyone.

“My parents were worried about me. I started going to therapy and they put me on medication. Over time, things started to look up, but I couldn’t help thinking that I was grotesque, repulsive, and unlovable. I had no self-worth. He didn’t love me and he never would. I didn’t think anyone would ever love me.

NEW YORK, USA: Jacqui now. MDWfeatures / Jacqui Horn

“One day, I was sitting in my friend’s dorm room and two of the boys were sparring. They did Kendo and Karate. The girls in the room were giggling at them. We decided together that it might be fun to all try to sign up for a kickboxing class together. We all signed up for a class and went together. I loved the first class so much that I kept coming back.”

Jacqui is proud of the self-worth that she has achieved thanks to her weight loss and she now boxes, dances, runs, cycles and lifts weights.

Her diet before consisted of cereal and a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast, cookies as a snack, a sandwich and crisps for lunch, and an entire box of mac and cheese for dinner.

Now she has two eggs with fruit for breakfast, salad or a sandwich for lunch and either a burrito, salmon, chicken, burger or stir fry for dinner and Jacqui still snacks on sweets and cookies every day in moderation – something she says has been the key to her success.

“I have good days and bad days like everyone, but at the end of the day I’m a bad ass. I showed myself that I was able to accomplish things that I never thought I was able to do. I’ve lifted weights that I didn’t think I could. I’ve run distances I didn’t think I could. If I’m able to do all that, there’s really nothing I can’t do,” she said.

NEW YORK, USA: Jacqui’s progress. MDWfeatures / Jacqui Horn

“That confidence that I have in the gym carries over in every aspect of life. If you asked me a few years ago if I thought I’d be here, I’d laugh in your face. I never thought that I would graduate early from NYU. I never thought that I would land my first job out of college at NBC. A few years ago, I was crying and sitting alone in a dorm room, eating an entire pack of cookies by myself.

“I eat whatever I want – I just make it fit. I eat foods that I know will make me feel good and make me feel full, but I pay attention to calories. I exercise every day because I like to move, not because I feel obligated, but I do exercises that I enjoy.

“At first I was proud of how much weight I lost and I wanted people to notice. I liked the attention. After all, this was something that I worked really hard for and something that I longed for my whole life. It was validating that people were able to see that all the hard work paid off.

NEW YORK, USA: Jacqui now. MDWfeatures / Jacqui Horn

“But after a while, I started to feel like there was a magnifying glass on me. It felt like people were looking at me. I became even more insecure.

“After my dramatic weight loss, it felt like I was a spectacle. Was I okay now? What if they think I’m still fat? Not only that, but friends and family thought that since I lost the weight, they could poke fun of what I used to look like when I was overweight, but the problem was, that was still me.

“My advice would be to start small. Don’t start your journey saying, ‘I want to lose weight’ because losing weight is temporary, but the lifestyle that you want to live you want to last for the rest of your life.

“Don’t cut out foods that you love. Don’t eat foods you hate. Don’t do exercise you don’t enjoy. Find foods that you love. Find activities that you love that will get you moving – mine was kickboxing. Maybe yours is dancing or swimming or cycling. Bring a friend. Make a friend.

“Don’t make weight loss a job. Just live your life because once you make it part of your life, it’ll just happen on its own and you won’t even have to try.”

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