Category Archives: Uncategorized

She Is A Healthy Person

Written by my AMAZING, brave, strong and inspiring client, Chrissy! I have shared her photos, but these are her words. So powerful!!! We truly can be, and do, anything we want once we are no longer defined by our story. Chrissy, you make me proud and you are a fantastic Healthy Person!

“Before I even knew the Universe had my back I stumbled upon Jennifer and the Happy Body Project at just the right time. I was living a lie, projecting happiness but feeling miserable. I thankfully started reading Holly’s blog just when my tolerance for my own BS was at an all time low. I just needed to be free from decades of self-abuse and self loathing. I wanted out but I had no idea how to get there. Then I read Holly’s blog What A Girl Wants. I read Holly’s words like they were my own. Her honesty and bravery inspired me to be honest and brave. I tracked down Jennifer’s website and wrote her an email. After I sent it I cried, because maybe this would finally be my way out. I wanted Jennifer to fix me.

I very quickly learned that wasn’t going to happen. Jennifer could not fix me, I must fix myself. Jennifer provided the framework for me to “get real” and tackle life long issues, while promoting self-love and empowerment. I got myself into this mess and I would get myself out. Once that really sunk in, I was free! I am strong; I am loved; I am a healthy person!!!

Every week we build ourselves anew. Even when I had setbacks; hard days; days I felt so sorry for myself I could only cry, Jennifer would remind me that only I have the power to turn things around, make myself stronger, prove I have resilience and drive and unabashed amazingness! Which I do!

I started the Happy Body Project weighing 271.8 pounds on my 5’3” frame my BMI was over 46 and I was racing towards a life of disease and an early death. It has been just over 6 months now and I am 198 pounds, over 70 pounds lost and I am now racing towards a new future. I have started a new business and I have ZERO doubt I will lose over 100 pounds because of Jennifer’s guidance. The one thing I want to tell everyone who reads this, and sees themselves in this is…YOU are strong. You are loved. You can do this! Don’t waste another day in your beautiful precious life. Be a healthy person!” 💚~Chrissy McIntyre

The road ahead is paved with humble pie.

Where there is a conversation there can be no shame. When there is no shame we can begin to heal. Owning the BS we tell ourselves is the hardest step in the process. This is Holly owning her story from unhealthy to healthy.

Holly GoWritely

I am a healthy person.

I don’t even say that to myself as an affirmation, or self-fulfilling prophecy.  I truly am healthy.  My body is filled with all of the vitamins and nutrients that only whole foods can deliver. I get somewhere between 7-8hrs of quality sleep every night. I am making time for exercise, girlfriends, the arts, and even nature!  I literally picked jasmine and stuck it in my pigtails while on a walk last week…AT WORK! Every time I turned my head, I was reminded of how much I love the smell of spring.

I have shed 32lbs of self doubt, people pleasing, and unresolved wounds from my body.  I have worked closely with Jennifer (my amazing health coach) to identify and even name the voice inside of me who tells me that I am not good enough (we call her my negative roommate).  I named her Felicia…

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Weathering the self-drought

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!!!

Holly GoWritely

At my last weight and measure check-in, I was 36 pounds lighter than when I started working with a health coach back in January.

That was three weeks ago.

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…

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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…

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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.

Healthy Seven-Layer Dip

It is almost Super Bowl time so I am sharing this really simple, but healthy & tasty, seven-layer dip. This recipe is from Tosca Reno.

Truth be told, I make this year round! This is a great meal, and leaves leftovers for lunch the next day. The best part is heating the leftovers the next day(there will not be any if you make this for a party)! I heat some up and add it to the top of a a bowl of greens. For my kids I throw some on tortillas and make burritos, or put on top of a tostada, or into a hard taco shell.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 Cups plain non-fat yogurt, strained for about two hours to thicken. If you use Greek yogurt straining is not as necessary.  (see below)

4 Tbs mild green chilies

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

2 cups plum tomatoes, peeled, chopped and drained in a colander (really any kind of tomato works)

1 cup finely chopped red onion (nicer-dicer it)

1/2 cup fresh cilantro

1 16-oz can low-fat refried beans (get spicy if they have it & black if they have them)

Tabasco sauce, several drops (or your favorite hot sauce)

Worcestershire sauce, several drops

1 1/2 cups guacamole (trader joes and Costco have great ones, already made & zippy! Also they can be frozen & used as needed. Just drop the package in warm water.)

1 cup black olives, chopped (optional)

1 bunch green onion, trimmed and chopped

1 1/2 cups low-fat Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

DIRECTIONS

1.  In a small bowl combine strained yogurt with chilies, sea salt and pepper.  Set aside.

2.  In a medium bowl, combine chopped, drained tomatoes, purple onion, cilantro…mix well and set aside.

3.  In another medium bowl combine beans, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauces.  Mix well and set aside.

The dip gets messy so try NOT to use a glass dish if you have another option!

1st layer is the bean mixture.  Spread, making as smooth as possible.


(I added some leftover whole grain rice. Feel free to add ground beef, turkey, shredded chicken, or anything else you feel like sneaking in. Get creative!)

2nd Layer is guacamole


3rd layer is the yogurt mixture from step 1

4th layer is chopped black olives if you are using them

5th layer is tomato & red onion mixture, use hands to distribute evenly


6th layer is green onions


7th layer is shredded cheese


(Add cilantro to the top as garnish-I was out)

EASY, Simple and delish, what more could you ask for?


Serve with chips, cucumber slices, celery & carrot sticks!

About the yogurt:

*To Strain the yogurt: Place 2 layers of cheesecloth which you can get at any grocery store in a fine-strainer and dump the yogurt in.  Place over a bowl to catch the liquids and place in the fridge. I don’t always do this. If I am making the dish and serving it right away I don’t bother. I find the Fage 2% Greek yogurt is pretty thick to begin with.

White Bean Chili…SLOWLY

One of the things I love about being a Health Coach is chatting with my friends about food!  In thinking about eating healthy people remember of all the yummy recipes they have in their vaults that are actually pretty darn HEALTHY!  If you have a delicious, healthy recipe email it to me, we are all in this together! 

This recipe comes from my friend Stephanie in Boise and the family INHALED it! We have now been making this for a few years and it is always a hit! Easy and full of flavor, and perfect for cold Fall days, especially when many of us are getting home late from work and kids activities.

Thanks Steph!

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White Bean Chili in the Crock Pot

Makes 8 servings

INGREDIENTS

Three (3) 15-oz. cans Great Northern beans, drained – (AKA cannellini beans)

8 oz. cooked and shredded chicken breasts, could also use cooked ground turkey (skip the chicken for a Vegan/Vegetarian option & add one more can of beans)

1 cup chopped onions

1 1/2 cups chopped red bell peppers

2 jalapeno chili peppers, stemmed, seeded, and chopped (optional/ and I used one small can)

2 garlic cloves, minced (or two Trader Joe’s frozen garlic cubes)

2 tsp. group cumin

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

3 1/2 cups chicken broth (use vegetable is going the vegan/vegetarian route)

sour cream

shredded cheddar cheese

tortilla chips

DIRECTIONS

1. Combine all ingredients except sour cream, cheddar cheese and tortilla chips in slow cooker.

(If you are going to be around you can add the onions and peppers about 1 hour before completion for a bit more crunch)

2. Cover. Cook on Low 8-10 hours, or High 4-5 hours.

3. Ladle into bowls and top individual servings as desired: sour cream, greek yogurt, cheese, cilantro, lime wedges, chopped tomatoes, diced red onion, guacamole and chips.

Enjoy!

The 411 on the White Bean Chili: Calories 193/ Fat 3g/Fiber 6g/Protein 21g