This Mom Lost 77 Pounds in Just Over a Year After Her Son Called Her 'Really Fat'

jeanine-mcdonald
(Photo: PEOPLE / Jeanine McDonald)

For Jeanine McDonald, it was easy to tell where she was going wrong with her diet and fitness routine. It was simple: After having four kids it became harder and harder to make time for herself.

“You just get into a routine and it’s hard to get out of,” the 39-year-old Pennsylvania event designer told PEOPLE. “My eating habits were terrible. I made dinner for the boys and ate what they ate. I did not take the time to prepare healthy dinners, as it’s very hard when you’re a full-time employee and mother of four.”

And even though she wasn't cooking healthy dinners or hitting the gym religiously, she'd still describe herself as "active."

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“I have always been an ‘active’ person, but I didn’t exercise before March 2016,” she says. “I have four kids, so exercising was the last thing on my mind. But I am always on the go with the four boys [ages 9, 7, 6 and 3] and keeping up with house work.”

But one day, her wake-up call came — when one of her sons called her "really fat."

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“Kids are honest and he wasn’t being hurtful at all, but hearing that was just a wake up call to get started,” she says. “I did this for myself. I want my kids to see the positive changes in my life so they can make better decisions in their lives.”

McDonald started her weight loss journey in December 2015 with Isagenix’s diet and supplement-based weight loss plan and lost 30 pounds. By March of 2016, she felt good enough to hit the gym; she followed a strength training routine and to date has lost 77 total pounds.

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She knew it wasn't going to be easy, especially with her sons' many doctors appointments — three out of her four sons have autism. But she made a promise to herself to get healthy.

“Having three boys with special needs is tough because there’s a lot of doctor appointments, therapy, etc.,” she says. “When I started going to the gym, I made a promise to myself: ‘If I’m not happy and healthy, my kids won’t be either.’ I have a babysitter who watches my boys at night, and on nights I do not have my sitter, I follow a lot of routines I can easily do here while they are asleep.”

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McDonald loves being a positive role model to her kids so much that she started an Instagram and Facebook pages, Living Fit at 40, to motivate other people in her shoes. 

“I want to help others now,” she says. “I want everyone to know it’s possible with hard work and dedication.”

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