Here are before and after pics of my weight loss + strength-gaining journey

Two years ago, I launched into a serious weight-loss and strength-gaining journey that led to a personal victory of sorts. Between April 2021 and April 2023, I shed 30 pounds and gained significant muscle. In fact, I celebrated my 30-lb. milestone just 2 weeks ago!

Here is a “Before” and “After.”

Words cannot properly express how happy I am to be in a different place, physically, emotionally and mentally than I was in the spring of 2021, and even those years leading up to it, as reflected in earlier photos.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved my life then – we recently had purchased a house on N. Padre Island after having relocated a year prior from N. Texas. My business was thriving and my family were doing well.

But, I love my life now even more in a sanguine, contented, stronger and calmer way. Even amid the seas of loss, change and ambiguity, I’m able to maintain a sense of decorum and focused serenity that heretofore was more illusory and most definitely more intermittent.

The keys to my successful outcome have been simple consistency: eating healthier and less; working out 5-6 days/week; incorporating consistent strength training using dumbbells and bodyweight routines; and, cutting way back on things like alcohol.

I also have a husband who is similarly focused, encouraging and supportive, which is integral. He recently earned his Personal Trainer Certification from ISSA which is quite an incredible feat, and a lot of work.

I’m grateful to live and work in a community where walking, jogging, bike riding and a plethora of outdoor activities is commonplace. Who wouldn’t be inspired to be and do better with that in their line of sight?

I was further motivated by the fact that my late 50s body was starting to struggle with things like power walks on the beach. That right knee was not only uncooperative, but it also was in pain.

Moreover, I looked in the mirror and saw excess that was unnecessary and ill-defined.

The simplicity of the solution was just to do and be better. What is simple is not always easy, however, so it was, and still is a day-at-a-time process. Sometimes, hour-to-hour. Or even, minute-by-minute.

Bottom line: I’m grateful to have access to a healthy body and hopeful heart to continue on this path. Life has a way of disrupting our rhythms with painful storms, unplanned change and even beautiful surprises that can sometimes slow down progress, but even so, keeping an eye on the prize, and prioritizing our goals, makes them attainable.

Even so, we can live each moment in the hope of a better next moment. And if all goes well, we can pause occasionally, to embrace the now, having traversed successfully through hills and valleys and having reached another milestone goal.

Please keep scrolling for some additional Before and After images.


— After —

Thank you for taking a moment to celebrate a milestone with me.

My name is Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter. I write custom prose and poetry that express your feelings. Whether struggling with grief, or celebrating love, I weave illustrative stories buoyed by hope and joy.

Inspiring my poetry is my full-time job and boutique business as a career storyteller. C-suite execs hire me to convert their jumble of thoughts + words into clarity–to cultivate their personal brands to invigorate entrepreneurial ventures and propel corporate career storytelling goals.

Abiding In Solemnity

We find ourselves so quietly,
Abiding in solemnity,
When all about the seas do rage,
And talking heads they do engage,
In autocratic fashion and,
Demanding to be in-command,
And all the world like sinking sand,
Enabling their wicked plan,

But brother know, and sister, too,
It’s not about just me and you,
It’s up to us to gird our loins,
To strive for more, not be forlorn,
For strengthening resolve to be,
A better you and stronger me,
Will cut through ambiguity,
For hope in perpetuity.

©️JBPMicropoetry #JBPMicropoetry

How to Live in the Moment of Childlike Wonder While Going for Your Goals

I love to live in the moment, but it can be so easy to let the future or the outside noise hijack the ‘right now.’

This happens after a long beach walk, when I sit down with my favorite fruit bowl of raspberries and blueberries, and then start thinking about ‘what’s next,’ or I enable the floodgate of digital messages to steal the real-time enjoyment.

Or, after a full day of productivity, when joining my husband for a good movie, I begin aimlessly scrolling Facebook or Instagram to see what my ‘friends’ are up to.

While melding downtime with digital ambling can be beneficial at times, pouring too much into relaxing moments can be detrimental, the antithesis of rest and rejuvenation.

When I was a young girl, and even as a young woman, meal time, movie time and stargazing moments provided a soft bed of solace on which to place my head for emotional and intellectual rest. When I arose again, the interactive tasks could be addressed from a fresh perspective versus creating a never-ending continuum of energy drain.

Alongside my desire to live in the moment is a passionate desire to continue achieving. Today’s to-do list matters in achieving short- and long-term initiatives, so it is important to meld the restful moments with a momentum that spurs me into productivity.

Leveraging the newly spun peace mobilizes me toward goal-fueling tasks: building + checking off list items; communicating with clients; crafting business-marketing content; authoring client career stories; paving new product and revenue paths; collaborating with my colleagues; reading and learning; and so much more. After all, there is contentment in achievement.

It’s about identifying priorities and disciplining the schedule around those priorities. It’s also about simplifying the priorities–letting the non-priority natter wash away from my shore of vision, so that the discipline of prioritizing is exhilarating more so than it is hard work, and rarely a drudgery.

It’s a lifestyle within your reach, too. It’s about being a good boss to yourself versus a dictator. And, leaving wiggle room for the unexpected detours in life: illness, car trouble, family emergency. Either way, you don’t pack a schedule so heavy that there is no flexibility to adjust your sails.

Finally, it’s about being true to your goals, amid both foggy and sunny days. Maintain the momentum – don’t let others’ dim your hope. Be strategic; execute the small steps along the way. Keep striving forward.

While obsessively protecting downtime for sunrises and sunsets. To imbibe, to refuel, to exhilarate your mind, body and soul!


My name is Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter. I write custom prose and poetry that express your feelings. Whether struggling with grief, or celebrating love, I weave illustrative stories buoyed by hope and joy.

Inspiring my poetry is my full-time job and boutique business as a career storyteller. C-suite execs hire me to convert their jumble of thoughts + words into clarity–to cultivate their personal brands to invigorate entrepreneurial ventures and propel career storytelling goals.

In the Throes of Unfamiliar Seas

It is in the throes of unfamiliar seas, habits of change and growth are born.

Seeded by simple passion, newly sprung habits often are riddled with complexity and the complication of uncertainty. It is the clarification of the why, however, that compels us forward, even after the initial dopamine rush wanes.

I know for me and my household, where change has been afoot, contemplating the why has been essential in making new habits stick. What with evolving fitness goals, lifestyle undulations and work/life objectives these past several months (and years!), our collective desire to unfurl our motives has been crucial to ensuring the new habits stick.

A change rooted in isolation ultimately will wither without the ecosystem of internal collaboration. Whether amping up our fitness, earning a new certification, stopping bad eating habits, or writing a book, staying the course for the long haul requires a meaningful purpose underpinned by emotional, intellectual and physical harmony.

Growth and change also means refocusing energies while pausing toxic influences: digital noise, other people’s drama, negative news cycle loops, etc. Ratcheting down the volume enables room for a more optimistic energy, and reserves energy necessary for real battles.

While I haven’t always been successful at accomplishing such a pause, I would say that 2023 has enabled a fresh-slate perspective. Alongside my life partner and husband, I’ve been more successful this year than in the past of taking the helm of my personal ship to steer a better and more accountable course forward.

Liberating Growth Through Creative Writing

This includes carving time and energy for a relationship with my creative side.

In recent years, I’ve enjoyed a casual, yet inspired relationship with writing micropoetry. Dozens and dozens (if not hundreds) of my poems can be found by googling the hashtag, #jbpmicropoetry. Inspiring my poetry is my full-time job and boutique business as a career storyteller. C-suite execs hire me to convert their jumble of thoughts + words into clarity–to cultivate their personal brands to invigorate entrepreneurial ventures and propel career storytelling goals.

Out of this day-in, day-out career writing rigor has emerged a fervency for poetic expression. This urge to wax poetic has liberated my feelings into rhythmic clarity across 100s of micro-poems illustrated with photographs of my husband’s and my life, along with our 18-lb Yorkie, Jolly Roger (may he rest in peace), on Padre Island, TX.

My husband has encouraged me to grow my vision by putting together a coffee-table book of these poems, many which are illustrated with images of our North Padre Island beach life. The book-building process began several months ago, and I’ve busily been gathering and categorizing various poems, from inspirational, to birthday messages to pet poetry to love poems and beyond.

In the midst of this growth process, I set up an Etsy shop, and while I like the overall look and feel, a certain awkwardness about the shop’s confines left me thirsty for more. So, I began exploring creating a standalone shop.

In the sea of uncertainty, I hired a WordPress expert, Kim Woodbridge to parachute in and calm the storms of change. She did brilliant work, not only quietening the winds, but also illuminating my vision in a way that exceeded expectations.

Results of our collaboration are found on this blog’s Home Page, as well as the Buy Inspirational Poetry! and Shop pages.

I’ve even started a @JBPMicropoetry YouTube Channel.

I invite you to check them out. Return as often as you like, as I’ll be refreshing poetry samples as frequently as possible.

Growing Roots of Sustainable Change

Change that is holistic, yet certain of its goals results in a more peaceful lifestyle–founded on possibility, even amid the disruptions and course corrections of life. The uncertain, crooked path I’m navigating to build this book as well as my custom poetry shop is girded by the clarity in my ultimate goal: create a framework in which my little poems may reside.

It’s compelled forward by personal intentions and fuel – take action, today, with that first step; followed by tomorrow’s next step; and so on and so forth.


My name is Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter. I write custom prose and poetry that express your feelings. Whether struggling with grief, or celebrating love, I weave illustrative stories buoyed by hope and joy.

How TikTok, Instagram and Now Even, LinkedIn Degrade the Truth + Beauty of Experience

TikTok, Instagram, and now even, LinkedIn have degraded the quality of so many industries, including mine: the Career Storytelling and job search sector.

Years of experience and the hard yards of building intellectual value and proof are being drowned out by popular pods of entertainers who showcase made-up rules and ‘strategies’ that serve to tickle the ear, and in some instances create the havoc of confusion.

What’s unfortunate for the end-user of these career storytelling services is the result is veneer, an unstable framework that will fold at the first gust of wind.

Tips based on trite listicles of ‘do this/not that’ hacks versus the substantive thought-work, time and patience required to conduct a meaningful career change and job search process flash across the screen gripping you with their authenticism and relatable, contrived stories.

Slick marketers and their roiling waves of reciprocally supportive colleagues claim that their way is the only way. Career and recruiting bloggers whose claims to fame are being truth tellers, love to rile up their readers and be combative to the naysayers — these are the folks being prioritized by the publishers’ algorithms over meaningful and pragmatic content.

It’s a shame that this is happening, and that the platforms where many of these self-proclaimed experts reside encourage this behavior. Instead of girding their reputation with integrity and truth, they are valuing low-value content through algorithms and advertisements.

I’m not sure what to do about this, except to keep speaking honestly and supporting others who do the same.

My friend and colleague, Carolyn Smith, is a breath of fresh air in this regard, and she speaks up regularly. Just yesterday she wrote about the ‘rubbish circulating in relation to creating a job winning resume’ and suggested that people only take advice from credible sources with years of experience.

I think industry experts, whether it be career and job search, fitness, healthcare, maritime/boating (my husband’s industry), technology, et al, need to protect the credibility and integrity through speaking up and out, aligning boldly with other experienced, quality-centric professionals.

I hope we can encourage one another and be confident in asserting facts over falsities, foundational wisdom over illusion and instant gratification, and truth and beauty over the vacuous and insidious fabrications that currently poison the conversation.

I believe even though the current state of social media is a bit sour, that cream rises, and in time, the truth and beauty of wisdom will ultimately prevail.

-by Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter

End of Year Push: Focus on ‘My’ Story

The excuses we use to focus on everything and everyone else (but ourselves) mount, the moment we take our first morning breath.

Often, I mark the first hour of the day in the gym, an investment in self-care — body, mind, spirit — and for the most part, I have stayed true to that over the past 18 months or so.

Amid a fitness metamorphosis, this ‘me-time’ has been crucial to achieving and maintaining weight-loss and strength-gaining goals, as well as objectives related to inner (and outer!) peace.

However, it’s also true that minutes and moments and sometimes even, a good chunk of that hour lately are poured into clients’ needs, or energizing the care and feeding of personal or netweaving relationships.

Unintended Consequences

Over time, the unintended consequences reveal themselves through the slow suffocation of goals, akin to a fish that has washed ashore by the waves only to find itself gasping for its last puff of oxygen, before dying.

And, this inability to stay on course to personal initiatives continues throughout the day, and the week, and the month, and, so on and so forth.

Recalibrating Goals

So, as the summer of 2022 fades into fall, and the final quarter start line beams bright in my line of vision, I have decided to recalibrate and regain goal centricity.

This includes rebooting several personal and professional goals, one of which I am sharing in this blog.

By putting it out there, I feel a greater accountability to reach the objective, to march more diligently forward.

Pledge to Self

I pledge to author a full draft of my micropoetry book by December 31, 2022. This includes gathering and organizing all the most relevant poems I’ve written for the past 6-7+ years into a crystallized, albeit likely rough document, ready to polish, finalize and publish in first quarter 2023.

While I recently began the book-organizing process by pulling several dozen poems into a file, and I have determined a theme for various chapters, that’s where the process has stalled.

And, while desire for producing this written work has remained, time and energy has waned, as I continually have back-burnered this special initiative on behalf of other obligations, several which are self-imposed.

But then, just last night really, I had an epiphany: a lot of the focus on other things and people and duties was merely an excuse.

For example, most people whom I use as an excuse, are less concerned about the energy I’m pushing their direction — they have their own lives, families, obligations, areas of passion and independently driven goals and desires that not only do not intersect with mine, but also do not beckon my energy input, time or attention.

Applying Vigor and Discipline to Goals

This is liberating and a good self kick in the patootie to take accountability for my important goals. And without disciplined, diligent and daily actions behind those goals, they’ll never materialize.

So, starting today, I begin building my book.

Poem by poem, chapter by chapter, I step forward into a future as a published author, a writer with purpose and passion, and a zeal for completing what I started.

Today, I begin writing my story.

-Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter

Unleashing Angst and Breathing in Joy

We traveled to Mexico for an extended Labor Day weekend this year. This was an exciting first, as my husband and I, married for 14 years, had not yet traveled together internationally.

In fact, we were passport-less when this adventure began several months ago, after friends invited us to join them in Cancun.

We initially deliberated whether timing was right to invest in such a getaway After all, just 2 years before, we had uprooted our lives to move to North Padre Island in order to experience this type of work-life bliss on a more organic, daily basis.

However, in the throes of recent loss — my beloved mother, Ann Barrett, had recently passed away, and a few months before our constant companion and Yorkie, Roger had died — we were feeling a bit adrift.

We also love our friends dearly, and upon a second invitation to join them in their private getaway, and with a sense of wistful wonder about the what-ifs of vacationing in this coral sand resort, we were compelled to say, ‘yes.’

In the moments of preparation leading up to our departure, we found ourselves navigating the complications of work deadlines, client demands and household stresses that accompany tidying loose ends in order to make space for such a vacation.

We also faced a few online check-in hiccups and transitory concerns about the airline we’d chosen for our first international flight.

But it was not for naught, as we arose at 2 a.m. the morning of our departure to embark on our next adventure. Flying out of Houston International Airport enabled us a non-stop flight to Cancun, and it was well worth the early start.

Flashing our newly minted passports as we checked in our baggage and garnered our boarding passes furthered our enthusiasm, and we anticipated the coming flight, with desire and hope.

Our early arrival and check-in enabled time to eat before taking off. We enjoyed a satiating breakfast of eggs, rice and a bloody mary while witnessing the takeoff and landing of planes from our window seat at the restaurant.

Excitement grew, and we gratefully embraced the lingering, long moments embedded in the time away from the constant pull of tasks and duties that you feel at home.

As we stepped into the line to board the jet to Mexico, we touched hands and smiled, that knowing loving smile that couples feel when they are alone together in their thoughts and dreams, preparing for takeoff into their next big adventure.

We settled into the plane, and my husband smiled as he folded his 6’2″ self into the window seat, and I giggled as I sandwiched between Rob and the passenger beside me.

We leaned into the view at takeoff, as the Gulf of Mexico lay out before us, showing off its bright hope and wild blue beauty.

We relaxed into the speed of flight, drank in the energy of what’s next, unleashing angst and breathing in joy.

– by Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter

Contentment in Achievement: Mellifluous Results of Our 30-Day Pause

I blogged about a 30-day pause in June. This specific step in my (and my husband, Rob’s) resolve to continually evolve was successful. When Rob and I reached the 30-day mark, we found ourselves contemplative and contented that we had completed our goal.

Whether or not to share the specifics was up in the air, but this morning it makes sense to do so.

Our pause was a month-long break from alcohol.

Living in the resort-like area of North Padre Island, where a cocktail here or a craft beer there easily cools down a sweltering summer day and often is glue that cements friends’ bonding, we knew the experiment would have its challenges.

However, as we both strive to move ahead to the next phase of our life–aging not only gracefully, but also with strength and vigor–it is important to review certain habits.

Adjusting our behavioral sails, tweaking certain habits, exploring new, better and different ways to live our moments, days, weeks and years imbues us with renewed buoyancy and a particular robustness.

This 30-day pause is not something so unique, as we’ve listened to stories of others who’ve experimented similarly, each with their unique and varying results. In fact, it’s been something we’ve considered for awhile now, as a way to further cleanse our bodies and minds of the toxins that can impede hope, clarity of thought and overall health.

For us, success meant re-thinking how we relax, how we breathe-in contentment, how we look at an unfiltered sunrise to achieve more visual acuity–how we reduce artificial dependencies.

In the early phase of our 30-day time-out, we shared a day-long journey to Big Shell Beach – a 2.5+ hour drive in our Ford Bronco that netted new friendship conversations and very large shells.

It was a joyful, relaxing day, and whilst the heat of summer and a full day of traversing the National Seashore naturally wore us out, we didn’t have the added layer of alcohol lethargy draining our reserves. This was a good feeling.

Throughout the rest of the 30 days, our bodies and minds remained clear, focused and I would imagine, a bit healthier. There were occasions where admittedly, a cold beer would have hit the spot on these 100+ degree sweltering Texas summer days, but we were delighted not to submit to those urges.

As we emerged from the experimental pause, we found that our desires for such imbibing indeed had waned. In fact, while we do look forward to an occasional adult beverage from time to time–as we sit on the font porch, pondering our existence, or relax at the beach at the end of a productive week, celebrating hope and joy–we have reduced any dependencies we may have had on such indulgences.

Add to this a recent 18-month fitness journey involving (for me) a 25-lb weight loss and a reacquaintance with the gym that encourages me to eat and drink healthier. Rob’s relationship with the gym over the years has been more consistent; thus, the reference to ‘me’ in this particular regard.

Additionally, the natural joy we both glean from dwelling in our environment: strolls or drives along the luxurious seashore, scenic bicycle rides around our neighborhood and canals, tinkering in our colorfully tropical garden and evolving our home’s landscape and much more, is palpable.

It is these healthy initiatives that immerse our minds and bodies with the endorphins that nature supplies so readily and abundantly.

I’m so happy we are working together both individually and as a couple to engage in more fluid and calming habits. I’m encouraged that our lives are moving ahead with such potency and vividness. I’m glad simply to be alive in a world often hamstrung by the noise of politics and confusion.

I awaken each day in prayer, seeking mental nourishment. Even though I am not in ultimate control, I daily desire and actively reach for the solace of calm, peace and hope.

By Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter

The Beautiful Coalescence of Fast and Slow

I tend to be slower and more deliberative, while my husband tends to be faster and more instinctive. These traits have been on my mind lately as I’ve considered not only how I live my personal life on a day-to-day basis but also how I run my business.

And, while I do believe that we are each predisposed to one or the other demeanor, I also think we are not linear beings, and that we switch between behaviors almost instinctively, throughout each day, throughout our lives.

Fast, underpinned by the quietness of slow

In the case of my husband and me, while he is more of a fast thinker and doer (generally speaking), and I tend to be slower and more deliberative, we also each have habits and behaviors that illustrate how we are a bit of both and how this feeds into our more natural tendencies.

For example, Rob underpins his fast thinking and acting inclinations with a slower and more deliberative daily awakening that begins 30- to 60-minutes before sunrise. He fuels with his vitamin-C drink, the solitude of pre-sunrise and our water fountain pouring meditative calm through his soul.

Fed by this meditative ramp-up to his day, he launches into his go-go-go big picture visionary work and life blend. Rob has a strong skill for seeing the broader and artful palate of business and life and painting big picture strokes to energize sales and solutions.

The finer details, while extremely important to his perfectionist demeanor are spurred forward by his oft action-oriented impatience for results.

Slow, buoyed by an exercise in vigor

And, I on the other hand, juxtapose my slower and more introspective demeanor with an action-oriented start to each day, as I move more from bed to gym clothes, striving to knock out my exercise regimen before weight of the day drains my physical ambition.

It is amid this heart-pumping routine that I sweat out angst and imbibe clarity. This buoys my confidence and calm necessary for the day’s introspective writing and conversations with ambitious and often anxiety-ridden senior executives in the throes of transition.

I do believe that Rob’s more natural state and talent is ideating and envisioning complex and often magnificent destination ports. However, plotting the most efficient and swift paths thereto often is strengthened by slower mornings as well as other intermittent, more thoughtful habits that equip him for such energizing and often heart-pumping results.

I also believe my more natural state is immersion in the slower and often finer details of a conversation, a written few sentences as they unfold into several well oiled paragraphs or the deadheading of my hibiscus plant as I wander slowly through my garden.

But likewise, my deliberateness is equipped by fast-moving exercises such as my morning fitness routines that open up the airwaves for clarity of thought and creativity.

The complementary nature of fast and slow

Again, while most of us exude a blend of quick and slow thinking, instinct and deliberative action, we generally find ourselves both surviving and languishing in one side or another of this river of thought.

As such, we do well to pair our natural inclinations with those who complement us in order to create a more well rounded and robust life, one that is not dictated only by our DNA.

I know, for example, that my 16-year relationship with Rob has enabled me to marry my slow and in-my-head demeanor to his more get-it-done big picture energy, enabling kick up my heels periods of wild abandon and wind-in-my-hair moments that I might otherwise not have known.

-Jacqui Poindexter

Sailing Forward With Renewed Vision and Hope

We have a hanging daybed in our backyard. It faces toward the serenity of our courtyard, where Rob and I meet for peace, coffee, early morning agenda-setting and evening wind-downs.

In a world of stress that at best, is intermittent and manageable, and at worst, knocks you off your axis, this go-to space has been immeasurably valuable and soothing.

But sometimes the winds that whip through our spheres require more than our routine respite.

During these past two weeks, for example, our resilience has been tested, and our solace-seeking has extended beyond this calming  courtyard into our friends and family network on whom we have relied for counsel, stability and encouragement.

Amid this encouragement have emerged shared stories that buoy us in solidarity. We’ve laughed, cried and consoled one another amid our angst and concerns.

While we find ourselves still a bit untethered, we are also encouraged and grateful as we navigate this storm — yet another in a series of such tumultuous interludes that intermittently line the roadways of life — less alone.

In the unity of shared stories and empathetic others, we are reminded  that it is often our common struggles that can clarify future vision and that can provide both comforting and healing.

It is in this sea of solidarity, that we sail forward with renewed vision and hope.

-by Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter