Teacher, First In Family: Jillian Finkbeiner


My journey with Coach Anne and the First In Family has been life changing. I changed I how I looked at food. Food can either help me or hurt me. I don't have a relationship with it, but instead I have an empowered mindset of how my choices will effect my overall health in the long run.”

Tell us a little bit about yourself... ​

My name is Jillian, I am 36 years old and live in Washington State.

I am an elementary school teacher who believes every human being can arise to their potential no matter the circumstances.

I am from rural America where I learned the principals of being firm in your faith and loyal to your family. I love to travel, have lived overseas and currently have checked 33 countries off my list!

What brought you to the First In Family initially?

First In was suggested to me by my brother, Kenton, as a way to tackle my ongoing health issues. I was frustrated and wanted solutions to achieving long term health goals with someone who would take the time, effort, and patience to help me tackle my goals.

Kenton explained how First In Nutrition would work and why I could trust Jonathan and Anne with my health. So, for my 35th birthday, I gave myself the gift of nutrition and health. It’s the best birthday present purchase I have ever given myself!

Tell us a little bit about your background and history with food.

At age 25, I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and the autoimmune, Grave’s Disease. On paper, my endocrinologist described me as an 85 year old woman trapped in a 25 year old body. My muscular system was degenerating, hair loss was evident, fatigue was brutal, and water retention was at extremely dangerous levels. For six months I endured tests, medicines, blood work and weekly doctor visits. I had gained over 25 pounds in water weight and I was in an immense amount of pain. I was also told that my hormonal levels were so unstable, I would never be able to carry a child to full term. Doctors wanted to surgically remove my thyroid and I was defeated. I left the doctor’s office vowing to heal my body naturally.

Fast forward 10 years, and I knew I needed to pinpoint my nutrition down. The water weight was a constant issue and I wasn’t seeing the results from 3 years of dedicated training. I struggled with finding the right balance of diet and exercise in order to have my thyroid function properly and also lose weight.

What was the turning point in your life when you realized you needed to make a change?

The moment I knew I needed to make a change was when I wasn’t seeing the results from dedicated training and being on the Zone Diet. I would not stick to the plan and loathed cutting out foods I loved to eat: bread, burgers, pasta and all the other good things! I had become frustrated with the road I was on and knew I needed to go in another direction.

I wasn’t improving in the gym and was not improving in the weight loss either. I was actually gaining weight while working out. I knew I had to stop the cycle of insanity that I was currently on.

After First In Nutrition was recommended, I decided to commit to a long term plan where nutrition came first and exercise, weight loss and confidence would follow. 

What was the journey like and what changes did you make?

My journey with Coach Anne and the First In Family has been life changing. I changed I how I looked at food. Food can either help me or hurt me. I don’t have a relationship with it, but instead I have an empowered mindset of how my choices will effect my overall health in the long run.

My life outside of nutrition has changed drastically. I’ve examined the way I deal with stress and the importance of getting a good night’s rest and drinking plenty of water in order for my body to fully recover.

I have a continual growth mindset that I must take care of my body in order to live my best life.

How do you feel after making those changes?

My blood work speaks for itself.

After one year of committing to nutrition and First In, I was officially no longer pre-diabetic, my cholesterol dropped 45 points, my thyroid was officially functioning at normal levels (something I had never seen on a chart) and all medicine recommendations had been removed from my chart. My doctor also told me that I could healthily carry a full term pregnancy.

I was shocked, stunned and humbled by the healing that had come over the past year. I had also shed almost 25 pounds and was enjoying both nutrition and exercise.

I am a different person since I joined First In. I am more confident, calm, at peace with myself and loving the transformation both inward and outward.

What did your friends/family think of your transformation?

My family have been my biggest cheerleaders. They have seen my ten year journey, struggling with genetic health issues and have wanted to see my conquer my on-going battles.

My family know the seriousness and importance of why I am in First In and constantly give praises and accolades all along the way!

Were you active or did you workout during your journey?

I typically exercise three to four times a week. I attend group fitness classes at my local gym because I hate the treadmill, elliptical or any other machine with a plug-in. My body is the machine and it loves to work and move!

What does being First In mean to you?

Being First In means I am committed and loyal to my body, health, outlook and life.

Every day I make the choice to commit to myself in order to honor God with the body and health He has given me. I daily surrender to what I need and not what I want.

What was the biggest challenge or change when you started with First In and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge when I first started First In was the mindset that I don’t have to cut any foods out. Anne explained I could still have the ice cream, pizza, burgers, fries and cake. Just account for it in your daily choices.

I had such a damaged view of majority of foods being “bad” it took several months to overcome what society has been preaching. Food choices controlled my life and First In allowed me complete freedom.

I feel free to eat my burgers and fries, as long as I stay committed to my process and hold myself accountable for the nutritional choices I make.

What’s next for you and where do you see this journey taking you in the future? ​

My journey is long term with First In.

There is always a way to improve and a community that will keep me accountable. How could I possibly stop and give up on myself?

I am constantly striving to move forward, lose more weight, learn new cooking techniques and encouraging others on their health and wellness journey.

What are your top 5 "secrets" for success?

1- Sleep: I love to quote Coach Jonathan who told me, “Be an adult and go to bed.”

2- Drink your water: weight loss, better skin, defeats water retention…I could go on and on and on…

3- Ask questions: There are so many members that have way more experience than you. Ask. Don’t guess, and there are no stupid questions.

4- Be accountable: Hold yourself to a higher standard for once in your life. You deserve a healthy life.

5- Cheerleaders: Only place your health journey in those who actually want you to succeed. Tell only those who will help you and not set up roadblocks, judge or hinder your progress.


any advice for someone thinking about getting started?

The amount of medicine my doctor was going to put me on, on my 35th birthday, plus the additional blood panels and doctor visits would have been more expensive than me taking control of my own health.

Don’t think about it, just do it.

First In has been worth every penny, because I celebrate staying out of the doctor’s office!


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    Testimonials were given freely and service members did not receive any preferential treatment, discount, or other benefit due to the nature of their service, rank, or position and in no way are the views or beliefs of any branch of the armed forces or uniformed services.