Another wonderful piece from Holly! In two weeks a group of amazing women will join me in fighting for their health and happiness for 365 days! For one full year we will be working on self-love and healthy choices. When I was asked to design a program to take these women to the next level I felt immense gratitude, and if I am honest-a bit overwhelmed. It would be easy to stick to what I know…12 weeks, 3 months…it works! My program indoctrinates my students into a healthy lifestyle and teaches them how to keep choosing their own health and happiness. I am pretty sure none of these women expected me to come back with this proposition: One year. What was amazing to me, and so inspiring, is how quickly they all responded with “YES”! If they are willing to fight for their own health, willing to keep working hard every damn day…then I can step out of my box, feel the fear, and take these women on a journey that I know will change all of our lives. For 365 days 8 women will choose health, happiness and most importantly… self-love. This is the end and it is the beginning, because “there is no there there”, there is only the journey.
One week ago today, I completed a three month commitment to weight-loss and improving my overall health and wellness. For me, the end of the Happy Body Project is met with mixed emotions. On one hand, I am radiating with pride over all that I have accomplished. I have lost 40 pounds, and countless inches (I say countless because stupidly I didn’t start measuring until 1/3 of the way through the program). I have also dropped two dress sizes. Most importantly though, I am armed with the tools and knowledge that will keep me on the road to success.
In other ways, the end is bitter sweet. I have shared my inner most feelings of shame and struggle with the women in this group – and they have shared their inner most feelings of shame and struggle with me. In the short period of just…
Most Americans struggle to eat enough fresh vegetables. Dark leafy greens, like kale and spinach, are especially lacking in the Standard American Diet (SAD). According to Jill Nussinow, MS, RD, author of The Veggie Queen, “Greens are the No. 1 food you can eat regularly to help improve your health.” These veggie powerhouses are packed with calcium, fiber, folate, vitamins, minerals and they work hard in fighting cancer, heart disease and diabetes. The more immediate effect of these greens is the healing, uplifting hit of energy they provide.
Solution? Get these cancer fighting leafy delights in before you leave the house. All you need is a powerful blender and your imagination! Start with a basic recipe like the one below, or use a resource like www.simplegreensmoothies.com and build from there!
Give your green smoothie routine a week and it will become as addictive as your morning cup of Joe. This green start to your day will also go a long way in fighting overall inflammation.
I had decided my current circumstance, being obese, was no longer bearable. I then got to work making better choices. CHOICES, that day after day would lead me to healthy.
I, like many of you, had spent years focusing on my circumstances. My Dad died, my Mom was sad and then angry, and often drank too much. I had really good reasons for being fat. I mean excuses. I had a suitcase full of excuses. I unpacked those, and by unpacked I mean I opened the suitcase and dumped them all out and shoved them into a corner. I do not mean I tackled resolving all of them, at that time.
I want to be clear, bad things happen, life happens, but we still get to CHOOSE our reaction (we are making better choices now). Do we further harm ourselves and become victims of our circumstances, or do we choose to persevere?
The most powerful words I have ever read in regards to my healing are these:
Many obese people have been conditioned to believe we have been traumatized, or violated, or abused somewhere along the way and thus we protect ourselves with layers of fat. I do not believe that is true for all overweight people (it is for some), but I think the way we go about understanding why we are struggling is all wrong.
If you are asked to figure out why you are obese, usually by going to therapy and digging deep into your childhood, while trying to lose weight at the same time, it all becomes so overwhelming you are almost guaranteed to fail. I know when I started talking about my loss as a child I left most sessions and drove to a fast food restaurant. When you have used food to medicate, to keep from feeling and suddenly you are feeling everything, what do you think you want to do? EAT!
My belief is that we do not have to solve the “WHY” in order to fix our current situation. For some of us there may be a childhood violation or trauma (this was the case for me when my Father died), but I don’t personally believe that has to be identified, nor fixed, in order for you to become a healthy person. Others may have ended up obese by being fed foods that lacked nutrients as a child, or by starting a cycle of restriction at a young age. Many of my clients were on their first diet as young as age 10, setting them up for a lifetime of yo-yo dieting and a poor self-image.
Personally I believe if you are nourishing your body with real, whole foods (a choice) and freed from the brain-fog induced by fake food, food dyes, chemicals, preservatives, and excess sugar you suddenly have CLARITY. You have clarity, you have energy, you have vitality, and you have a lot more time because you have freed up the daily anxiety your poor relationship with food had caused. You can then take this time to go back to the pile of excuses you unpacked and search for answers more easily because you are feeling stronger and have a foundation under your feet.
Once you are nutritionally sound and clear minded, the odds of success are greatly weighted in your favor. You don’t have to carry all of that baggage with you in order to begin healing, simply set it aside lightening your load. Your clarity also allows you to begin identifying your triggers. You are able to see what makes you want to eat, and then you can use that “SPACE” to make your choice.
I want to be clear that I am not a physician, therapist or any other type of doctor, I just know what worked for me, and what makes good sense. Set yourself up for SUCCESS by being the healthy person you want to be and making better choices, then look back so you can heal any open wounds or unresolved issues. Obviously if we do not address the baggage we unpacked we cannot move forward, but again, set yourself up for success!
When something is broken do you need to know why it broke in order to fix it? No, you just fix it. I don’t believe obese people are broken, rather the system we operate in is and I will get to that, but for now just FIX it! Start putting yourself back together, nourishing from the inside out. Today, right now, drop the excuses, take space and choose to start making choices that support the person you want to be. HEALTHY!
I am Jennifer. I am @HappyBodyFood. This is my journey from unhealthy to healthy…but more truthfully this is my journey from self-hate, to self-love.
To tell people Sheryl Sandberg helped change my life sounds a little self-serving and hard to explain. Today, with the release of Option B, the entire world can now understand the powerful affect her ability to openly share her grief, and process her loss had on me. I lived her Option B real-time. I saw the pain, fear, courage, heartache, the waves of grief that brought her to her knees, and openness with which she dealt with losing Dave Goldberg, her best friend, husband and father of her children. As she shared her roadmap out of the depths of pain, I was able to step out of my own pain. She found a path, and I CHOSEto follow.
I had the great honor of reading Sheryl and Adam Grant’s book while it was being written. Each chapter left me processing years of grief I had not come to terms with, and helped me so clearly see that I was not a victim, I was a survivor. I had chosen to personalize my loss. My Mother found me in the sand box a few days after my father died and I asked her, “What did I do to make Daddy go away?” The script was set and it became pervasive in every aspect of my life. The personalization and pervasiveness of my loss, and other life circumstances that came with that loss, created a permanencethat I carried with me every single day of my life. It kept me from believing in myself, from trusting people around me, and from really loving anyone, including me. It manifested in a lifelong struggle with food and addiction.
Sheryl and Adam included a small portion of my story in their new book, which is a great honor, but it is also a full circle moment. I am no longer defined by my past. I have immense gratitude for this journey I am on. I AM RESILIENT! Watching Sheryl persevere and fight for her own happiness and joy freed me from years of suffering.
I hope everyone will read Option B because we all live an Option B, and resilience is not something you are born with. Your ability to overcome life’s obstacles is a CHOICE, and resilience and gratitude are both traits you can build, expand and grow.
Today I am “kicking the shit” (as Sheryl & her friend Phil like to say) out of my own Option B. I went back to school graduating from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and now have a successful coaching business, Happy Body Food, where I help other women build their resilience, learn to fight for their own happiness and understand that their life circumstances do not define them, but can be used to empower them.
Each day I am lucky enough to wake up I find a day full of moments where I get to choose. I choose me. I choose self-love, compassion for my journey, and I choose to be grateful. Life happens, and yes there are times where I do not get a say in what happens to me, but I always get to choose my response, and that is a powerful revelation.
To Sheryl, Adam, Nell Scovell and all the others who worked so hard to make Option B accessible for all of us, I am grateful.
Here is what you can expect when you sign up for the
Happy Body Project:
A small group of women with similar goals
Weekly group coaching –calls Tuesday, 12 noon to 1:30 pm PST (Next group begins May 9th, 2017) SOLD OUT! Please contact me if you would like to be wait-listed for the next class.
You will be matched with an Accountability Partner
Complete Health History with me, including personalized suggestions
Direct access to me via texting & email
Secret & private Facebook Group that will provide you with 24/7 support! A place for sharing thoughts, milestones, setbacks, tips, ideas. A place to just be YOU!
Recipes, food shares
And so much more!
You have nothing to lose but weight, unhealthy habits & excuses! You will gain self-confidence, power, knowledge, energy and a renewed relationship with real, whole, healthy foods! Support, guidance, healthy habits and friendships are all right here in one place! Together we will bridge the gap between who you are and who you believe you can be.
This is not a diet, but an introduction to living and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. You already know there are no quick fixes, so let’s stop looking for those and just get busy being healthy people, and we might as well have a little fun doing it together!
If you want change you must be willing to make changes!
The keys to succeeding are:
Commit! Just decide it is time
BELIEVE in yourself
Hold yourself accountable. One day at a time, becomes one month, becomes one year, and before you know it you are eating clean and living your most optimal life, a healthy life, for the REST of your life!
The Happy Body Project is a 12 week program, join today and take charge of your health!
Email me if you would like more information, or if you are simply ready to commit!
Surviving a plateau is indeed difficult. We must remember our end goal is health, not a number on a scale. Focusing on how we feel, how we nourish, how we move…living our best life. Remembering there is not a light at the end of the tunnel, rather we are the light in the tunnel and we need to shine! Well done Holly!!!
Since then, I have hit a three week slump. Ok, not a slump, but a plateau (because everything sounds less alarming in French). I knew that eventually my weight-loss would slow down – at least for short periods of time. I had prepared for this. Unfortunately, it didn’t make it any less frustrating when it actually happened. Unraveling half a lifetime of insecurities when it comes to my weight does happen in three months, in theory. In practice, I am still wrestling with some of my old experiences and habits.
All-or-nothing mentality. Historically speaking, I am an expert at kicking off a diet and sticking to it. That is, until I make one mistake. Then it is back to a…
This year I had the opportunity to hear Robert Herjavec speak (you may know him best from Shark Tank.) He said this, “When the pain from your current situation becomes unbearable, you’ll change.”
I found myself saying out loud, “Yes, THAT is it!” I really do not believe there is any other catalyst that will result in long-lasting changes other than your inability to tolerate one more second in your current situation. Unbearable does indeed facilitate change.
I woke up one day broken. Physically broken. The food had caught up with me. I was almost 250 pounds, tired, depressed, angry, and sad. I stood in front of my bathroom mirror and looked at what I had done to myself. I looked at all the fat, the skin, and my body distorted from the shape it was intended to be. I remember actually seeing my body for the first time. Not hidden under clothes, not hidden by a towel or a robe. I realized I never actually looked at myself. I got dressed in the closet and avoided mirrors. I had chosen not to SEE what I was doing to myself, and the aftermath was devastating. It takes a lot of work to be obese. It is day after day after day of making bad choices. Day after day after day of not caring about yourself. As I stood there, I suddenly realized it was a CHOICE.
For 3 decades I had made millions of choices, but I had not been choosing me. We make choices all day long. I had chosen to be fat. I had chosen to abuse my body. I had chosen to feel sorry for myself. I had chosen to be a victim of my circumstances. I had CHOSEN to tell myself stories to support my lack of health: I am big boned, I have a slow metabolism, I have been overweight my entire life, this is just how things are. As I looked in the mirror and touched a body I did not recognize and had absolutely no connection to, I remember thinking, “I do not accept this.” My current situation had become unbearable.
So I decided I would start making better choices.
The way I had gotten to obese was the same way I would get to good health. Making choices day after day after day, I would make better choices. I also realized it was going to take time. For some reason on that day (in my bathroom, in front of the mirror, assessing the damage and realizing it would take time) I felt free. Time suddenly felt like my friend instead of my enemy. If time could make me fat, time could make me healthy.
There are no quick fixes. You do not get fat overnight; you will not become healthy overnight. You must own your journey and accept your current situation is a result of your own CHOICES. Once you decide you are worth fighting for, you just start. Life is simply a series of choices. You choose every single day, all day long. You choose how to react, how to spend your time, how to see yourself, how to present yourself to the world, what to eat, what not to eat, and what you spend your time and energy on. So if you want a new story start making different choices.
No one is coming to save you. The right partner, the right friends, the right job, winning the lottery, the right number on the scale…none of that will make you happier, you have to choose YOU! You must put one foot in front of the next and forge through the challenging, the uncomfortable, and the pain. In the end, you build your resilience, and this creates a sense of power coupled with gratitude, and you become unstoppable.
I could write 200 more pages on how I got to here: a healthy weight, a career I love, friends who support and love me unconditionally, amazing energy, and opportunity the universe continues to bring my way because I am open to receiving it. Most people want a quick fix, so this is what I tell people who ask me, “How? How did you get to where you are today?” I tell them I just decided I was done being fat, or in other words, my CURRENT SITUATION was no longer bearable.”
Owning my weight and accepting that my current circumstances were 100% my own doing were the first steps. I accepted who I was, I owned all of it. That alone was very liberating. I quit lying to myself and I dealt with the facts…I was fat, I was unhappy, and I no longer wanted to be.
Many people want change, but not if it means THEY have to change. If you want a new story just start. Start making choices that support the life you want. Be the change you want to see. It is simple, but it is certainly not easy. Change is hard work. So ask yourself, is my current situation no longer bearable and am I willing to work?
Your path to health lies in your answer.
I am Jennifer. I am @HappyBodyFood. This is my journey from unhealthy to healthy…but more truthfully this is my journey from self-hate, to self-love.