Category Archives: Blog

Happy Body Food

Green Power Your Day

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.

Cheers!

Green Power Drink from Dr. Andrew Weil

  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • 3 large kale leaves ribs remove (baby spinach works too)
  • 3 whole dates pitted
  • 1 tablespoon hemp protein powder (optional)

Drop the Excuses.

Published by Thrive Global, on Medium
Drop the Excuses

 

Roadmap to Health

Drop the Excuses.

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.

Unsplash: Lizzie Guilbert

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.

Living My Option B


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 CHOSE to 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 permanence that 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.

Happy Body Project: New Group

HBF-wheels-words

Announcing the next Happy Body Project May 9th, 2017

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

  • Complete confidentiality

  • 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.

Read Testimonials Here

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:

  1. Commit! Just decide it is time
  2. BELIEVE in yourself
  3. 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!

Read Facebook Reviews Here

good food. good life.

Jennifer

HappyBodyFood@gmail.com

 

My latest piece for Thrive Global, published on Medium.

 

READ on THRIVE: Roadmap to Health: Make Better Choices

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.

Image Courtesy of Unspalsh

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.

 

Soulcycho

Had the pleasure of doing one of my most favorite activities with one of my wonderful clients last weekend. Holly shares another milestone on her journey to health here, enjoy!

Holly GoWritely

Soulsisters Hey sister, soul sister, go sister, soulcycle.

2016 was the year that I committed to running every morning (mon-fri). I ran alone. I listened to loud music that pushed me harder and made me feel strong and confident. For the first time since having children, I was carving out time just for me – and doing something that tapped into my inner strength.  I was getting back to me, and it felt good.

Unfortunately, I started to get discouraged when the weight-loss slowed and then eventually stopped.  Because I wasn’t integrating healthy habits in the rest of my life (other than avoiding bread), they caught up with me and I couldn’t out run them.

When I started working with my health coach (Jennifer at HappyBodyFood) , we agreed that I needed to focus on nutrition and portion sizes, at least initially.  Not because exercise wasn’t important (it’s super important), but…

View original post 494 more words

A Final Farewell to Shame

A few weeks ago I received the following email from a 23-year-old in Germany;

“Dear Jennifer, I am from Germany and came across your story one week ago and I think I read every article you have written. So touching and so inspiring and I can relate a lot especially with the “one day I will be the best version of me”, but actually the years go by and nothing changes but even gets worse…. This could be also the way I start to focus on self-love and not only on body image, healthy living and weight loss. Please keep sharing. I still don’t know how exactly you learned to love yourself from reading your articles but I hope that you will write it down one day. Thank you!” 

The past few months have been an amazing whirlwind. I wrapped up my first Happy Body Project then launched not one, but two more Happy Body Projects and took on some incredible individual clients as well. I am working harder than I ever have in my life with long hours and I am loving every minute of it.

I wrote about my compulsive overeating for myself. Then one day I got brave and put it on my blog. Then I got even braver and let Thrive Global publish my story on Medium. Each time my story was read by more people, I got stronger. I got stronger because I owned my behavior. I was telling the world my obesity was a result of my own actions. There was no blame, no excuse, and nothing I could hide behind other than admitting it was a series of choices I made. I released myself from the shame. I was free from the shackles that my abuse of food had kept me chained down with as I forged towards health and healing. Still, l had an escape hatch. In the back of my mind, I knew I could delete my blog post. I could quietly step back from my health, and health coaching…there was still room to be small.

Being small was exactly what I had spent my life doing by being fat. Ironic isn’t it? My weight was how I hid from my authentic self —my authentic voice. The voice inside me that would guide me towards change, urge me to speak my truth, share my emotions, apply for THE job, plead with me to challenge myself. The little whisper that would say, “You can do that. You are capable. You are worthy.” Every time I heard that voice, I would flood with emotions, with fear, and I would eat. No, I would binge. I wanted to quiet that voice down and make the noise in my head stop. I wanted to play it safe. Why? Because I didn’t love myself. I didn’t believe I was strong or capable. I did not believe I deserved to have success, happiness, or unconditional love.

The day Sheryl Sandberg shared my story of being a compulsive overeater with the world, I knew I had been freed forever. I felt like someone had thrown the old me a farewell party. I woke up the next day, sat on the beach, and just sobbed. I let the ocean wash over my feet and take away my tears along with any remaining space where shame could grow. It was at the age of 43 that I said a final farewell to the little girl who felt so abandoned by her Father’s death, and the woman I grew into who chose to be a victim of her circumstances rather than the architect of her life. On that day, on that beach, I felt like I finally knew my purpose: I would spend the rest of my life helping people feel less broken. When I looked up a rainbow had appeared.


I had already begun the process with my Integrative Nutrition degree, but I am now more resolved than ever that this is what I am here to do, and that is exactly what I have been doing for the last 8 weeks of my life. Helping people feel less broken. I start after my kids leave for school and most days I end around 10 pm. There is so much I want to teach these beautiful women who have entrusted me with their greatest fears, their insecurities, and their absolute despair that perhaps they will feel “less than” their whole lives, broken and in need of repair.

This work that consumes me has been the most rewarding work I have ever done. I sit in awe each day and think how time really is our friend when we surrender the control and start to feel the world around us. Time is our friend when we release the fear, the shame and embrace empathy for our journey. It is hard to believe that somebody who sent me an email inquiring about working with me on the first of January is now 30 pounds down and it is only March 1st. Or someone who had a BMI of 32 now has a BMI of 29, and is no longer medically considered obese. In these short 8 weeks someone who is prone to binging on a weekly basis can tell me they’ve gone 4 weeks without a binge. Someone who hasn’t slept longer than two or three hours in a row for the last 15 years has now had some six and seven hour nights.

And then there are the emails and conversations where women actually thank me for saving their lives. Of course we all know that they are saving their own lives, but I understand what they mean. They are grateful for the roadmap out of a situation that has suffocated them for years. I know what it feels like to live in a body you don’t recognize when you catch yourself in the mirror. I understand the despair one feels thinking they may never feel normal-ish. I can empathize with them.

What I can’t find the words for is the immense gratitude I wake up with each day, and go to bed with each evening, knowing that I get to share my passion for health every single day. My gratitude toward each of them for trusting me when I said jump. For believing me when I tell them it’s okay to eat food, to nourish their bodies. For believing me when I tell them that they are good enough, strong enough. For believing me when I tell them that they already have everything they need right inside of them. For believing me that they are enough. For believing me that I will catch them when they fall. For believing me that when they feel they have failed they’ve actually laid one more stepping stone toward their ultimate success. I have no words to adequately explain what this feels like for me each day. Witnessing women learn to love themselves is an amazing miracle. I am overcome with gratitude for their trust.


I don’t know if everyone I work with will make it at the time we do the work, but I do know they will all have the tools when they decide it is the right time. That is the beauty of this process, ultimately we all decide when we are ready to choose self-love.

I have also gained so much strength from all the kind souls that read my story and reached out to tell me “Your story is my story.” 362 to date! 362 letters, emails, Instagram DM’s, and FB messages telling me it was like I had written their story and taken their truth, their thoughts, and shared them with the world.

In those 362 communications, one question prevails: HOW? How did you get to where you are today? The answer is simple, but it is far from easy. I look forward to sharing my roadmap with all of you who want to know. The opportunity to help others love themselves, feel better physically and emotionally, and to see that instead of looking for the light at the end of the tunnel, they actually ARE the light in the tunnel, they just need to decide it is their time to shine…and this is my “why”. Together we are better, we are stronger and where there is a conversation there is no place for shame to persist.

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.