Tea of choice: Vancouver’s Steam Tea House.
What we cover: “For temporary results, commit to temporary changes. For permanent results, commit to permanent ones.” —Karin Fortin Jackson, 3-time Ironman finisher, who lost 120 pounds
In 18 months of conversations with people I admire, this might rank as my most favourite chat yet. And I say that with the full admission that I have loved every one of my Guest Titan encounters. Karin Fortin Jackson is so honest, so unassuming, so humble, so candid. She allows us a private peek inside her very personal journey – a journey that has a clear “before” and a clear “after”. She walks us through her “before years” – from the day as a child when she was called “fatso” to her days as an adult who chose to accept the label until she ultimately found herself as a 255-pound mother of two, who couldn’t shop from the bottom shelves at the grocery store for fear of not being able to hoist herself back up again.
Part One of our conversation delves into these years – the “before years” — who she was and what was going on in her life. Part Two takes a look at the “after years” and how things began to shift for her from January 1, 2008 to today, — ten years later. She admits freely that there was no trauma she was sedating herself from, there was no form of self-medicating, in those years when she chose to live her life on the couch – this is just who she was, this was the definition of herself she chose to believe. And similarly, she admits that there were no trumpets, no lightening bolts, no big ahas when she finally made the decision to strive for more. Today, 120-pounds lighter, she is a 3-time ironwoman, a soon-to-be 6-time marathoner, and is as vibrant and joyful and active a participant in life as they come.
With an estimated 1 in four North Americans living in and around the obesity mark, Karin’s story is certainly not unique. While the details may differ from person to person, the feelings are so often the same. She’s not special in that regard. As an obese woman, she juggled a career, two young children, and the demands of daily life – just like we all do. But eventually — and this is why she is special — she incorporated a slow commitment to gradual massive change, inch by inch, month by month, year by year. So if you think you don’t have the time, or if you’re waiting for your big a-ha – you just may be denying yourself your best chance to live a vibrant life. My friend and mentor Sharon Shales says: “If we wait until we are ready, we will be waiting for the rest of our lives.”
This is not a conversation about following a specific diet. I have no idea if Karin is vegan or paleo. That’s not what this is about. And the food plan that works best for you is of course entirely your business. This is an open conversation about the feelings and the events that come with living unconsciously, and the gradual transformation that occurs when you instead live with your eyes wide open. When you chose to love yourself more than you love – in Karin’s case and in Karin’s words – the pizza and the chocolate and the wine.
The reason I started this series, is so that my two daughters, Majella (who we call JouJou) and Burgess (who we call Birdie) will have an inventory of inspiring conversations with paradigm-busters to draw upon for those times in their lives when they feel stuck. Each conversations give me the gift of at least one perspective shift – a new way of looking at the situation. And I want to thank Karin for reminding me that if we want temporary results in our lives – then commit to something temporarily. If we want permanent results, then we must stick to something permanently.
Completely unrelated but always exciting for me: Many of you know I’ve been plant-based for 18 years. Chad, who’s an endurance athlete, has been for about a decade, and I’ve talked about Vega a lot in the past on this show, because I often have a Vega One Smoothie in my hand while I’m recording. Vega is a certified vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, nutrient-dense line of clean, plant-based nutrition products. Our kitchen shelves are perpetually stocked with Vega. And Season 2 is brought to you in part by Vega – which brings me no end of happiness. I legitimately am a Vega freak.
Until November 11th, 2017, Listeners of Tea with a Titan can save 25% (which is kind of a big deal) on your Vega orders, when you head to MyVega.com and enter the promo code MARYJO25. It’s a way for you to have amazing plant-based nutrition delivered right to your door for free (because they offer free shipping on orders of $100 or more). But it’s also a way to support “Tea with a Titan” because Vega offers me a percentage of the sales generated from my site. (You can order in this way to support the show after November 11th, too of course. But the 25% promo wraps on the 11th.) Or, you can order it, like always, right from here, by clicking the big pink Vega banner. Just be sure to enter the promocode MARYJO25. That’s full disclosure – and I thank you in advance.
An extra big shout-out to Vega, too. And a bit of an announcement on this end – Chad will be competing in an event called Epic Five in May. This is a bonkers experience, whereby he and about 9 other athletes from around the world, will aim to complete five Ironman events, on five Hawaiian islands, in five days. And he will be doing that fuelled entirely on Vega. I will for sure keep you all posted on his journey – we are six months away from the start line — and I am so proud and so excited and it’s amazing to me how, like Karin, this is a guy who chose to reinvent himself, from smoker, and partier, and hamburger-eater to elite world-class plant-based endurance athlete. If you want to get to know more about Chad’s amazing transformation check out episodes #28 and #29.
Thanks, Karin. I am going to go and sign up for a 5k run now.
How you can learn more:
- Twitter: @KJRunnin
- Karin’s blog: kjrunnin.blogspot.ca
- Instagram: @KJRunnin
- Tea supplier: Vancouver’s Steam Tea House