After Years of Searching, She Found Her Answer
Anyone even peripherally aware of CrossFit knows that there’s a huge divide between the athletes we see stringing together ring muscle-ups in a stadium on TV and our classmates in the 5 a.m. class at the local box.
Sometimes it’s our peers that inspire us more than the elite competitors. The aesthetics of being five percent body fat are cool — so is being strong enough to deadlift three times your bodyweight — but that isn’t exactly relatable for most of us.
It’s the grit and sheer determination of people like Jasmine Koncur, who decided to finally pull the trigger on CrossFit after being turned down for bariatric surgery and has since lost 30 pounds, that get you out of bed in the early morning hours, when it’s 20 degrees out and clean-and-jerks sound like pure torture.
When Things Started to Change
Jasmine is an archaeology research assistant at the Science Museum of Minnesota. A polite Minnesotan from a small town south of the Twin Cities, she is one of the tallest females in her family. With a mother who is 5’4″ and a dad who is 5’8″, she somehow reached 5’10.
“It’s always been a little weird,” she said, recalling some of the names she heard in high school — uninspired nicknames kids would give to a taller, broader girl.
A competitive swimmer in high school, three hours in the pool each day kept her weight around 190. Various health issues and lifestyle changes have seen that marker grow by about 120 pounds at her heaviest.
“I want so bad just to feel normal,” she said. “I haven’t felt normal since 18.”
Starting a Family Was a Process
Jasmine was always interested in history in school. A strong student, she took college classes before graduating. She’d been dating Joe since sophomore year, and they were married a couple years out of high school. He joined the Army.
Life was good.
There was an unforeseen obstacle in their path to the idyllic life. Jasmine had been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome at 18, causing her to steadily gain weight after high school. She also stopped having her periods.
PCOS is a hormonal disorder that can seriously hinder a woman’s ability to get pregnant as she ages. Doctors told her, if they wanted kids — and they did, eventually — to do it as soon as possible.
“It was really hard to wrap my brain around it,” she said. “It was heartbreaking, because we wanted to have a family, but at that time we were very young.”
By taking fertility medicine, Jasmine had her son, Charlie, when she was 22 and her daughter, Emma, when she was 24.
She gained 50 pounds while pregnant with Charlie and became a stay-at-home mom after his birth. She started taking online courses and now holds a masters degree in anthropology and two masters certificates.
The sedentary lifestyle that is essentially unavoidable in grad school, coupled with the stress of it all, caused her weight to rise even further.
“I wasn’t overeating at all,” she said, noting that the continued weight gain was directly related to the PCOS.
About 10 years after she gave birth to Emma, Jasmine began lactating for no apparent reason. Doctors found a pituitary tumor and began treating it with medicine, which has helped her to begin to lose weight.
Starting the Search For a Healthier Life
Jasmine has been stalking CrossFit from a distance for a few years now. Enamored with the mentality to continually push yourself to be better that has come to define the fitness regimen, Jasmine kicked around the idea and even tried out a class, but not finding the right fit at the first gym she tried, her mind turned to weight-loss surgery.
“The nurse who took my before picture called me a ‘really fit overweight person,'” Jasmine said.
To receive the surgery, she had to complete a series of counseling sessions. She was told it would take around two years before she would be considered for the surgery.
“I got mad at that,” she said, “so I cancelled my appointments and joined CrossFit three months later.”
CrossFit Skopos and Xplore Nutrition Spark a New Lifestyle
Jasmine joined CrossFit Skopos in Dundas, Minn. In her first six months, she lost 10 pounds.
After the open last year, CrossFit Skopos became an Xplore Nutrition affiliate and began offering the service to its clients.
“My mindset at the time was eat less, workout more,” she said.
Jasmine was paired with Xplore coach Chelsea Jackle, who immediately bumped up her calories.
“It’s been hard, eating more,” Jasmine said. “I have a baseline of 2,000 calories on an off-day. In my head, I just couldn’t figure out how I could eat that much.”
Jasmine shed five pounds right away. Soon after, her tumor was discovered, leading her onto the medication. Another 15 pounds came off after that. Her goal is to eventually get down to 225 pounds.
The weight loss has helped her become more efficient at work, where she spends eight to 10 hours each day digging holes by hand.
“It’s easier to tromp through the woods,” she said. “I dig holes faster, and I’m not as self-conscious all the time.”
Jasmine is currently part of an archaeological survey in Wadena County, Minn., trying to understand the patterns in the behavior of the humans who once lived there.
“Mentally, I’m much healthier now, and I’m learning to be OK with eating again,” she said. “I feel more normal now. Losing weight is just icing on the cake after that, a reward for working so hard.”
This blog was written by Xplore Nutrition member and contributing author, Matt Dutton.