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Posted on Monday, September 22, 2014 at 9:49 am

jackie sutherlandJackie Sutherland settled in Grundy County eight years ago. Since then, she has made her home in Tracy City and become a part of the community. Jackie met with the Herald at Tenacity Adventure Fitness on the first day of a new adventure in her life – as one of the gym’s Biggest Loser contestants.

Before we start, I have to thank Robin Walker for introducing us. She described you as brave and ready to start an incredible journey as one of the Biggest Loser contestants at Tenacity. “Well, I’m here! I have a lot of work to do.”

Let’s get some background. How did you come to Grundy County? “I’m originally from Ohio and I grew up in Bradenton, Florida. I moved with my family to Tracy City about eight years ago. My dad actually pointed at a map, hit Grundy County, and here we are.”

Can you tell us about your husband and children? “I’m married to Rodney Cook and I am a stay-at-home mom. I have two children, Brendin Sutherland, 12, and Jacob Cook, 6. They both go to Tracy City Elementary School.

“In fact, Jacob’s teacher is Seth Layne who is also here at Tenacity. He really pushed me to come to the gym. He told me about the benefits for both me and my kids -that my kids could exercise at the same time I was doing my workouts.”

You mentioned that Seth encouraged you to come to the gym. What has your path been up until now? “I feel like I have been overweight since I was four years old. I remember going on my first diet when I was seven. I felt shame and it led to unhealthy behavior.

“I can look back through hundreds of pictures and I am not in any of them because I don’t let people take my picture. I have lots of family pictures, all without me.

“Over the years, I’ve tried every way to get the weight off – starving myself, Weight Watchers, Atkins, diet pills. I can lose the pounds, but without making other changes they come right back on.

“And, all of this extra weight has led to health problems. I have high blood pressure and knee pain. I need to have both knees replaced but we are waiting until I get some of my weight down. I had gestational diabetes with Jacob and he was born early with a C-section. I would love to have another baby, but I can’t because of my weight.

“Right now, just walking from the car to the classroom with my children makes me out of breath. I can’t go to the park and play ball with the kids without having to sit down every five minutes.”

It sounds like you really are motivated. “I am. I want to make changes for me and my kids. I have to educate myself about making healthy choices so I can educate my children.

“It kills me to watch my children make the same bad choices I make. I don’t want to be a hypocrite. I want to show my kids that I’m making great changes in my life and I want to be a mother they can be proud of.”

What was it like when you first came to the gym? “Coming into a gym is intimidating for me. But, here it is different. I have been to other gyms and I don’t know how to use the equipment or I don’t have a plan. The first time I came here, Robin introduced me to a workout plan. I didn’t just get on a treadmill and go home. I actually went through a real workout for an hour – I almost died, but I did it! And, I left feeling motivated and wonderful.”

The Biggest Loser competition will require you to make some changes. “Yes, I will be working out here at Tenacity five days a week. I plan to join the kickboxing and Zumba classes and my kids will do MMA.

“And, one of the biggest changes is my diet. I will work with a nutritionist.  Yesterday we cleaned out our kitchen at home. The first to go were the sugary drinks. Colas are my biggest problem and I am going to only water.

“My whole family will be eating healthy with me. I think it is a shock to my kids and they will have to get used to it. You know, they like those fruit roll-ups and juice boxes. It will be much healthier for us to take fresh cut fruit and cheese on a picnic to the park than fast food.

“But, that does bring up another problem. It is not easy or cheap to buy healthy food. You have to plan and budget your meals. It is really easy to get caught up in buying the quick and cheap fast food.”

The winner of the Biggest Loser competition gets a great prize, $1,000. What will you do with the money? “If I am lucky enough to win I will split the prize money and give $500 to each of my children’s classrooms at Tracy City Elementary.

We are excited to follow Jackie on her three-month Biggest Loser adventure. She told us that it if was not for Seth, Robin, and Stephanie Campbell she would be sitting at home, eating, and crying on the couch. She is not trying to be a size six-her wish is to run around the Grundy Lakes with her children. We are looking forward to some great family pictures!