Military spouse, mother, First In Family: Jamie Holaday


Being First In means putting your goals for yourself first--before other people's expectations, before excuses, before laziness, and before convenience. When I look in the mirror and see my results, when I pick up something that used to feel a lot heavier, when I run further than I have in years, that's how I'm First In. I'm getting better, every day.”

Tell us a little bit about yourself... ​

Jamie Holaday (38).

I am a military spouse, and we are currently stationed in beautiful Hawaii. It’s hard, but someone has to do it lol.

We have four great kids (10, 7, 5 and 5).

I keep busy volunteering, chasing kids, sailing, hiking, and recently I’ve started taking college classes with the goal of becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife.

What brought you to the First In Family initially?

I heard about First In from Kim L. She and I were working together as volunteers for a local mom group and she just kept shrinking!

She looked great and had nothing but good things to say about it. When my husband decided he needed to lose weight, I recommended he try First In. Then I really had a front row seat to the process and the results.

I was in a place where, finally, after nine years I was neither nursing or pregnant and I realized I had no idea how to feed myself. I was getting anxiety about how and what to eat and it was causing me stress and tight pants. So, six months later, I signed up too!

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

I have always been on the small side, both in stature and body type. After having kids and hitting my (a’hem) mid-30s, I had put on some weight.

I’m so small that a relatively small gain really shows on me.

I enjoy food. I have a big sweet tooth. And I’d developed a habit of snacking at night as a reward for parenting all day long.

A few years before I had joined a mom’s workout group. It got me a lot more active but didn’t do a ton about my waistline. I was eating better, but there was a lot of snacking still going on and no real food tracking.

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

When I decided to join the Family it was because I realized that I had gone as far as I could on my own.

I was seeing both my friend and my husband making these incredible strides. I wanted that for myself. 

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

I am the main food buyer and cook in the house. So when I make a change, we all make a change. I really like cooking and I have loved the flexibility to still cook things I love. I’ve also enjoyed the challenge of figuring out how to make adjustments so I can still indulge.

It seems like having to weigh and measure everything you eat would be really stressful. I have found it to be completely the opposite. I can make healthy, tasty choices, include snacks, and then eat it with no stress or guilt. I already know that what I’m eating is moving me closer to my goals. There’s no more little voice questioning whether I should be eating that or if it’s too much, or what if I just grab one more cookie. There’s truth to the idea of freedom through structure.

My training is always changing, it seems. With a husband who travels on a regular basis and small kids, I can’t always get out to bike or run on my own. But I have made time to workout twice a week as a minimum and I find myself really looking forward to it. I apparently now look like I know what I’m doing. An older lady stopped me at the gym recently to ask what she should do to workout her triceps. Believe me, I have never been that person who was super fit. This is all new territory.

I’ve also joined a hiking group. This has become one of my biggest joys. We are so blessed to live somewhere we can hike year round. To have a group of strong, fierce women to climb mountains with has been incredible. It feeds not only my body, but my soul. Not to mention all that time in the gym means, I can keep up with confidence!

How do you feel after making those changes?

I told Anne not too long ago that she has changed my life. It seems like kind of a dramatic statement, but it couldn’t be more true.

I go out to lunch with friends and hear them talk about “cheating” or “earning my cocktail.” I don’t worry about that kind of self-talk. I am so clear on my goals and I can order with a clear conscience. Now, sometimes that means that I have something small because I’m going to eat for real at home. But it’s not a punishment. It’s a choice I make to make my life better.

I am stronger. I am leaner. I am faster. I am more confident in my body. And I look damn good.

What did your friends/family think of your transformation?

People have definitely noticed a change. The reactions have been generally positive. Friends want to know what I’ve done/am doing. They are understanding when I don’t indulge in all the Book Club treats.

Family tends more toward, “Maybe you should have a cheeseburger” reactions. I suspect that is mostly because I don’t get to see them often and it was probably much more shocking when they saw me recently. I don’t let it get me down because I know that what I’m doing works.

Were you active or did you workout during your journey?

I have been working out at least a little throughout my journey. What I’ve been doing has changed.

I went from a lot of HIIT workouts to more of a weight lifting focus. I have biked throughout except for the last few months when my husband has been away.

I have started hiking and I try to sail as often as I can. In fact, I started lifting so that I could maneuver the boats better to get them in and out of the water.

What does being First In mean to you?

Being First In means putting your goals for yourself first–before other people’s expectations, before excuses, before laziness, and before convenience.

When I look in the mirror and see my results, when I pick up something that used to feel a lot heavier, when I run further than I have in years, that’s how I’m First In. I’m getting better, every day.

Where do you think you'd be right now had you not joined the First In Family?

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

Dealing with a perfectionist streak was probably one of my biggest challenges. If they say to hit that macro, I want to hit it. I want triple zeros. And some days it’s just not possible. I had to find the balance for me between striving for the best and realizing when it was just making me crazy.

After being at it for almost a year, I have a healthy sense of what margin of error I am ok with (it’s still really small). And I can move on if I forget to eat something or have a night where I have an extra drink with friends.

It’s so hard to say where my journey will go. There are some goals I am finished with.

I am done with the scale. I weigh myself every day. But it’s just a data point. It’s nothing for me to get emotional about.

I want to keep my gains. I also want to continue to challenge myself physically to stay fit and to try new things. I know that I will be eating this way for a long time to come.

I mean, I can eat ice cream or cupcakes (in moderation!), and not gain weight? And not stress? Yes, please.

What are your top 5 "secrets" for success?

1- Be honest in week 0. If you try to impress them, you’re only hurting yourself.

2- Ask the Family. Someone has been where you are. They know pretty much all the things.

3- Give yourself grace. Yes, you should strive for the best you can do. But you should never be unkind to yourself to get there.

4- Food is your friend; be creative with it! This is not the death of tasty food. It’s a whole new world of possibilities.

5- Trust the process. This is not a quick fix program. It is a change not only in your food but in your outlook. It takes time, but it’s worth it!


any advice for someone thinking about getting started?

Investing in yourself is never a bad idea.

This is a chance not only to change the way you look, but to grow as a person.

A lot of the confidence I feel about my journey comes from a place of personal growth. I have to choose to follow my goals, to honor my journey, every day. That is an empowering thing.

It bleeds over to the rest of your life.

You’re going to find yourself saying yes to things that you never would have before. You’ll know the power that you have to make decisions, stick with them, and see results. And you’ll look awesome doing it!


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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.