Weight loss journey leads to bodybuilding competition

Jessica White, a full-time nurse, began her weight loss journey in 2017. After losing 275 pounds, she decided to pursue bodybuilding. (Courtesy photo)

HARLINGEN— What started as a medical necessity to help with her pregnancy became a challenge that led to the bodybuilding stage.

Jessica White, who lost a total of 275 pounds in four years, began her weight loss journey in 2017 after being told she was practically infertile.

She had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, pre-diabetes and a fatty liver.

“You name it, I probably had it,” she said.

Her doctor told her she would not be able to have children if she did not lose weight. She decided to start a healthier lifestyle and began working with a physician’s assistant who introduced her to the gym.

“She slowly began helping me to pick healthier foods, and I lost 147 pounds after going to the gym,” White said.

After hard work, White got pregnant and had her baby in 2018. Her baby came early and was sent to the NICU area for about four months.

White gained weight again after having her baby but continued her weight loss journey. She consulted a nutritionist who helped her stay on track with her meals and went back to the gym after they were open.

“I thought it would be really awesome to do a competition. I had never seen anyone who had lost an excessive amount of weight do a competition,” she said.

White contacted two bodybuilding coaches, David and Trish Swander, and began preparing for competition in March.

“So many people have told me they have thought about competing or that they feel discouraged, but if you want to do it, you do it. You set your own limits regardless of your insecurities,” she said.

“I wanted to do this show to prove if I can do it anybody can do it,” White said.

Through her journey, she said she learned the limitations she had were the ones she set for herself. But now she believes in herself a lot more.

“I think I would have accomplished more had I not had a good support system. It is a tedious process, but being a full time mom and nurse I have learned a lot about my body. I learned about patience and trust,” she said.

Even though White began her journey to be able to conceive and did the bodybuilding competition as a personal goal, she enjoys being able to inspire others through her experience.

She is the first in her family to pursue bodybuilding.

“I would tell people every day is a new day, and every day is an opportunity to start working on your goals. Sometimes fear keeps people from doing what they want to do, but if they remove it they will find themselves places they never thought possible,” she said.