On June 15, 2019, Jodi Miner couldn’t wait for what should’ve been one of the happiest days of her life to end.
Although she was elated to witness her oldest daughter, Ellie, get married, she felt miserable for herself. Several months before the wedding, Miner was diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes and underwent surgery for a broken foot. She was also taking medication to combat an inflammatory disorder.
“There’s a photo from the wedding of me in my blue dress,” said Miner, a Washougal resident. “I was all swollen; the (medication) made me puffy. I felt horrible, ashamed and bad for my children. That was hard for me. Who wants to be the fat mother of the bride? I felt that way. I was sad. It was such a long day, and I just wanted it to be over. That’s not how I should’ve felt on a day like that.”
Miner had tried in previous years to lose weight, but her efforts were largely unsuccessful. After her daughter’s wedding, however, she found renewed inspiration to try one more time. Her efforts, combined with the assistance of a longtime friend, family members and virtual workout partners, have paid dividends.
Miner has lost more than 40 pounds in the past year, and feels better than she has in a long time. Now she’s trying to help other people find success through her role as a wellness coach.
“She’s very contagious with her desire,” said Washougal resident Dawn Jayne, who has known Miner for eight years. “She encourages others and has a heart for people. Her goal is to not only get healthy herself, but to help others get healthy. She makes (people feel) like they’re supported, loved, accepted and that they have value.”
Healthier and happier
Miner was an athlete when she was growing up in Wyoming, but as she grew older, everyday life responsibilities such as work and raising her five children precluded her from giving her physical condition the attention it deserved.
“I always knew I needed to deal with my health,” said Miner, a contract specialist for Parathon, an Illinois-based healthcare technology provider. “I struggled with my weight, and struggled to put myself first. My dad died in 2007 from heart issues compounded by cancer, so I have some genes that are not great.”
In the past 11 years, Miner underwent six surgeries on her thyroid, toe, knee and foot. With every operation, she fell further behind on her health goals. She joined Weight Watchers, worked out on her Nintendo Wii, and even led a “boot camp” at a local gymnasium, but her weight continued to escalate and her inflammation continued to increase.
“Even before I got the (diabetes) diagnoses, I tried to eat clean, work out, all of the things that everybody else does, and they didn’t work for me,” she said. “My body was resistant to weight loss, I guess. I felt super discouraged, and a lot of sorrow because I felt I lived in a limited capacity. I said to a friend, ‘I feel like I’m sitting on the sidelines of my own life and not experiencing things I want to experience.'”
But things changed in 2016, when Miner was asked by one of her friends, Battle Ground resident and personal trainer/health coach Becki Neuman, to join Team Beachbody, a national provider of fitness, nutrition and weight-loss programs and creator of some of the United States’ most popular fitness and weight-loss solutions, such as the P90X Series.
Miner didn’t hesitate to say “yes.”
“One of my sons has autism, and (around that time) he went through a physical, violent phase, and I knew I needed to be strong to take care of myself and him,” she said. “That’s when I knew I had to get serious about it.”
Miner didn’t find success at first, but rededicated herself to the program last year and started to see the results that she wasn’t seeing previously. She belongs to a “team” of people from all around the United States who share nutrition plans, goals, accountability strategies and more, and participate in 30-minute virtual workout sessions together.
“Everything together — the workouts, the nutrition, the accountability, all one place — made the difference,” Miner said. “Becki revamped the way she approached things after recognizing that people need to connect on an emotional level. I was a leader in the (local) home-school community for 10 years, and when I left, I felt like I had lost those connections. But this helped me find purpose, something outside of my job and family that I could focus on that was good for me. It just clicked.”
Jayne said Miner’s transformation has been “wonderful to see.”
“Health-wise, physically, she is in the best spot I’ve ever seen her,” Jayne said. “I think that because her health is better, her emotions are better, and you can see the whole picture kind of coming together. In that picture, I see a smiling lady.
“She’s more focused,” Neuman added. “It’s like she’s come out of a fog; she can see more clearly now. She’s become more joyful. She inspires me every day.”
Miner’s daughter Erin, a senior at Washougal High School, has become her mother’s unofficial workout partner and motivator.
“She inspires me,” Erin said. “I definitely want to stay motivated to work out after seeing the results that she’s having. She has a lot more energy throughout the day. In the past few months she’s been a lot happier with herself, which has been really cool to see.”
Miner has endured a tough summer, however. On July 1, she learned that the treatment that her father-in-law had been receiving to fight his cancer was no longer working. The next day, she found out that her mother had been diagnosed with cancer. And in late August, she was told that her mother-in-law has cancer as well.
“When life gets hard, it can be a struggle to keep going, even though you know those things are good for you,” she said. “Becki called me and said, ‘You didn’t show up in the group. Show up tomorrow, sign in to the group, comment, be present.’ It was a slow process, but now I’m back on track. I lost the weight that I had gained and am headed in the right direction.”
“In a season of such incredible difficulty, having an online community of people supporting you, wanting to share in the things that are hard, has been super beneficial,” she continued. “Sometimes I just want to cry and eat chocolate, but they remind me how to manage stress, eat right and work out to get endorphins in the body. I can’t go to the gym, so being able to work out in the living room with other people makes all the difference in the world.”
Jayne attributes Miner’s resilience to her “can-do attitude,”
“She just keeps moving forward,” she said. “If she stumbles and falls, she just dust herself off and keeps on going. She’s home-schooled five kids, and she’s been through a lot with her youngest, who has special needs. But she’s always overcome and pulled through and kept the family together. She’s incredibly organized and well-structured.”
Miner is now a Team Beachbody coach as well. She works with her own set of clients and works with Neuman from a “virtual office” where they can access all of Team Beachbody’s resources.
“Jodi has a really big heart,” Neuman said. “She listens to people well and reflects back to them. She shares current research, and brings up things that I’ve never seen before, which is fantastic; I appreciate that she has a different perspective. She’s a great team player, and she’s got so much enthusiasm.”
Now healthier and happier, Miner is focusing on her next goal: her son’s upcoming wedding.
“My goal is to feel better this time around than I did (at my daughter’s wedding) last year,” she said with a laugh. “It’s exciting to think about, and a fun thing to look forward to.”