Tag Archives: healthy living

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

My Client, Holly.

Follow this amazing woman as she fights for her health, joy and happiness on the Happy Body Food Program!

 

https://whatagirlwants.blog/author/hollyvdf/

 

Confessionals and Hail Mary Poppins

Forgive me followers, for I have sinned. It has been two months of summer fun since my last confession. In that time, I have…

  1. Abused alcohol while travelling through Ireland with my husband, such that the contents of my sweat and tears is STILL roughly 37% Guinness.
  2. Used sex within marriage, but with absolutely, positively, holy-shit, OMG NO intent of procreating life.
  3. Deliberately ingested impure foods such as pasta, cake, s’mores, and soda bread.
  4. Permitted a couple of impure thoughts about Chris Pratt, but only after they announced their separation – so at the very least, it wasn’t completely adulterous…right?  Anyone?  Bueller?

Now that school is back in session, vacation time is over, and summer will soon start to fade into fall, I am happily returning to the comfort and structure of routine. While I remained committed to my health goals throughout the summer, and even managed to drop a couple of pounds, I was more prone to gluttony and indulgence than usual. I consumed more alcohol, swapped spin class for floating around my best friends pool, let go of any pressure I felt to publish any blog entries, and generally stuck to spending quality time with family and friends. It was a fun and memorable summer, and now it is time to get back to work.

Even though I am looking good and feeling even better, I need to keep reminding myself that I still have a long journey ahead of me. I have to pause and work up the courage to type this, but I still have almost 100lbs to lose before I can afford to kick back and thoroughly enjoy my success. As the milestones of success pile up, and I start to feel better and better about myself and how I look, it only gets more challenging to buckle down. Not that I have been going off the rails. I am absolutely confident that my old lifestyle will remain just that…my old lifestyle. It isn’t difficult for me to maintain my weight now, but it IS difficult to keep dropping. I really have to work for each and every pound – which is a big change from the initial 40lbs that came off so easily. The last 10lbs have been much slower, and much harder fought for.

Fighting for those pounds is easier when I’m back in my regular routine. I’m highly susceptible, it turns out, to the lure of a warm summer evening cocktail on the patio, or three, or eight. And most of my exercise comes in the form of floating around weightless in a pool…with more cocktails. In hindsight, I’m not entirely sure how I managed to maintain my weight this summer, let alone drop a couple of pounds. Miracle pounds is what they were – and all the more reason to get slightly uncomfortable again, push harder, and work for the gift of better health.

Although the summer was definitely more relaxed, it wasn’t without some significant wins. For example, I flew overseas in economy, and it didn’t even occur to me to be nervous about the seat-belt because those days are solidly behind me. I also buckled down and pushed myself to a record 130,000 steps Monday through Friday for one week in July (although I was proud of myself, I would not recommend this goal to other working moms with challenging commutes – while doable, there is precious little time for anything BUT walking). I had a few other small but significant wins while shopping in my own closet. Like my favorite white linen pants, I have always kept my absolute favorite items. I have packed them and unpacked them from place to place, which always made me a little sad – but it also must mean that I was holding onto hope that they would one day fit again. I am so glad that I did.  Here are some highlights…

Babe-n'suits

 

dresses 2

In addition to the highlights above, I also lost another couple of pounds and a few more inches, which was great but difficult to put into context. Or, difficult until my health coach helped put it into perspective for me.  Jennifer sent me txt that read, “23.5 inches total, from when you started tracking.” The “from when you started tracking part” was because, unfortunately, I didn’t measure myself at the beginning – even though Jennifer explicitly told me to. I must not have truly believed this lifestyle would work, or that I would be able to find success  Anyway, while it’s too bad that I didn’t believe in myself enough to grab the exact metrics, it absolutely guarantees that since January 2017, I have lost over two feet of inches from my body. I did that. Me and my roadmap from Jennifer did THAT! I just high-fived myself!  It’s 7am on Saturday morning, and I am alone in my living-room, and I looked a little unstable doing it, but I high-fived the S out of myself.

But far and away the very best part of the summer was my trip to Ireland. And I don’t mean the actual trip, which was absolutely wonderful; I mean the prep and packing of outfits! While I love a good wedding, or gala, or 3 Michelin star dinner, these types of events are also a great source of anxiety for me. I really care about what I look like. I love clothing and fashion and design – but I have never felt comfortable in my own body and have had serious limitations on where I can shop for clothing, so have never truly felt beautiful at an event, or at work, or on a date night. Ugh…that makes me so sad to think about how much time I have spent over the years worrying about how I am going to look, or what I am going to wear to a friends wedding, or my own wedding, or the holiday party, or a birthday party, or to target, or the bank, or the kitchen for a glass of water. When I was single, it was arguably worse.  At least now I’ve snared a man, I would think. When an event, like a wedding, was months away, I would start planning on how much weight I would lose beforehand, and how great I would look and feel if I could buckle down and just DO IT! Inevitably, though, the stress and pressure of trying to drop dress sizes before an event would only lead to gaining wait instead of losing it – followed by feelings of shame and self-loathing – and then finally ending up sweating over some outfit that wasn’t up to my expectations, shoes that I would have to take off 1/2 way through the event, and generally feeling uncomfortable in my own skin until I was sauced enough to leave it all on the dance floor and have a great time. What a waste! How I wish that I could have seen myself as the world sees me, and loved myself enough to take better care of the one vessel and one life that I’ve been gifted. At the same time, I am so grateful for Jennifer and the path that she has helped put me on.  A path that ensures that I will never ever go back to my old life again.

This time, it was different. While I was still a little anxious about what I would wear to my cousins wedding in Ireland, I was grounded in the fact that I had finally achieved what I could never manage before. I wasn’t just a couple of pounds down before this event, I was 24+ inches and 50 pounds down.  And more importantly, my insides were matching my outsides. It makes me tear up just typing that. Out of all of the wins that I have enjoyed this year, this was by far the best. My insides matched my outsides, and both were beautiful.

The wins started with the typically painful process of finding a dress to wear to the wedding. I have never been able to wear my best friends clothing. Like, not even once. So when we were at her pool one afternoon and she suggested that I go surfing through her closet to find something, I was immediately resigned to the fact that nothing would fit. We selected three dresses to try – none of which were particularly A-line, which is the only shape that has ever worked for me. Even as I was slipping each dress over my body, I was sure they wouldn’t zip up in the back. But not only did they zip up, they each looked great! So great that I couldn’t decide and took them all home to play fashion show for Craig. I ended up settling on a black wool (summer in Ireland is still Ireland) Calvin Klein dress in a fit and flare shape. You read that correctly – fit and FLARE!  The last thing I usually want my ass to do is flare! Fit and camouflage is more my speed. Anyway, the dress looked great, and I was happy.  And because I borrowed a dress, I figured that gave me license to procure a new pair of shoes – so off to Nordstrom I went.

Historically, shoes are the next hurdle, after the dress is found. I used to wear heels and wedges all the time. Then something happened post children where I gave up on them all together. Probably because I felt frumpy, and probably because wobbling around on anything but flats when you’re 300 pounds kinda frigging hurts! The last wedges I purchased were some kind of ‘high-comfort’ line, which….dear god….can someone make those cuter? They are the Nissan Leaf of the womens shoe industry. Sure, they’re practical – but they look like a nightmare! So when I walked into Nordstrom, and worked up the courage to tip toe into the designer shoe section, it was a big deal. I was fresh off of my dress win, but still fairly certain that the back patent Gucci loafers would be a bust. Even though the look I told Craig I was going for was naughty Irish nanny / Mischievous Mary Poppins, I was scared the loafers would make my feet look wide and my legs look to fat. Plus, I still wasn’t sure how to break it to Craig that I was hoping to spend THAT much on a pair of shoes. People…it was just like final scene in Cinderella – only my prince charming was a salesman, and my glass slipper was Gucci, yo! Like a glove, I tell ya! I brought them home and prepared a powerpoint presentation for Craig proving why these shoes were more important than the girls chances at a post secondary education. I put the entire outfit on and walked past my husband, who immediately agreed I should keep them. Not only did he agree that they were the naughty nanniest, when I asked for his opinion on black patent vs red patent, he told me that he couldn’t decide and that I should go back and get both. Lordy, did I burst into tears. I have longed for that feeling for tens of years, and it was even better than I thought it would be.

Of course, I did take Craig up on his offer and went back to Nordstrom the very next day. I didn’t end up buying the red ones, though. The red was too dark for me, and I didn’t want to completely overdo it and end up with buyers remorse – or worse, homeless. Instead, I decided to head upstairs to find the perfect super opaque black tights to go with my nanny costume. Now, it has been about 8 years since I last shopped for clothing in the normal section of Nordstrom.  I am usually a third floor shame section only kind of girl. You may or may not be familiar. If you are, then you know that flitty dance that you do, like you’re just there to look at kids shoes…and then you ghost yourself across the walkway into the “Encore” section – where the last thing the women shopping there are hoping for is an encore performance in the encore section. Believe me, we would much rather the Encore section be a one hit wonder section. But before I made it to the escalator, a top in the normal womens section caught my eye. Maybe it was because I was on such a roll that I decided to detour and sift through the pretty merch.  And I am SO glad that I did. Not only did I walk out with that pretty top, but three tank tops, one sweater, one suit jacket, a pair of boyfriend jeans, two adorable baby-doll tops, a pair of skinny jeans, and a FREE PEOPLE top! Their slogan should be “for free people; not fat people.”

I was over the moon. I have never been more excited for a trip! I folded and unfolded my new clothing. I paired things with stack-able bracelets, statement necklaces, and cocktail rings. I practiced rolling the sleeves of my suit jacket, and pairing it with a crisp white tank top, rolled up boyfriend jeans, and about a bajillion jewels (and, of course, my multi-purpose Gucci loafers). I didn’t dare take the tag off and wear anything before our trip. I wanted to unpack a fresh and fabulous outfit for every day I was travelling. And that’s exactly what I did. Starting with the big event. The wedding.

For me, the final woeful moments of any event has got to be the primping stage. I usually spend the day hoping, wishing, and praying that whatever mumu I brought will fit. I try in earnest to at least make my hair look great, in hopes that it will distract from what lies beneath my neck. I blow dry, and then I sweat from the heat, which frizzes up my hair.  And then I pull and wiggle and jump up and down to get my dress on, which makes me sweat again, and further frizzes up my hair. Then I tell whomever is within whining distance that I don’t even want to go to the ____ anyway. And then someone hands me a “dresser” martini, which is enough liquid courage to get me out the door and on my way to dancing queen-level intoxication.

I have never been so calm, so dry, and so blissful before an event. Not even 20mins under a blow-drier could shake my zen. My makeup was flawless. My hair conservative AF! My dress floated over my body. And my shoes. My god, my shoes. I pranced across cobble stones, gave a damned fine reading, glided across the dance floor, and generally stood in absolute merriment from 1:00pm-11:00pm.  An Irish wedding that ended at 11pm, you croon??? We are nothing, if not professional boozers. Gurl, pleaze, we ditched the car and the parents back at our vacation rental and hit the pubs until 4am. ireland

The rest of the trip was a repeat of new locations, new outfits, and completely doing my hair and makeup every single day. I felt proud to be on Craig’s arm everywhere we went. And I felt like Craig was proud, too. I felt so good that I even ditched the Lululemon for the 10 hour flight home, and instead opted for skinny jeans and my free people top. It didn’t stop there, either. Since being back, I have quaffed, rolled, jujed, painted, and bedazzled my way into each day (except for today, when we had two soccer games in a 100 degree field). And not in a fake-it till you make-it kind of way. I am making it, and it feels fabulous!

 

How do you learn to love yourself?

noah-silliman-107988

Photo by Noah Silliman

 

I grew up watching Oprah on television and she often returned to themes of self-esteem, confidence, and self-worth. Everyone has heard of “self-love”.  I always thought I loved myself, after all isn’t that an innate human trait? How can you not love yourself? I remember often I would roll my eyes listening to talk shows and reading self-help books and think, “Get to the good stuff, what’s going to make me skinny?” I said affirmations. I wrote letters to myself. I journaled my feelings. I told myself that I was capable of being anything I wanted. Nothing changed.

It wasn’t until a few years ago when I looked up the definition of “self-love” that I so clearly saw the problem.

Self-Love: regard for one’s own well-being and happiness.

I remember actually smiling when I saw this because at that moment I knew the final piece in the puzzle was not only identified, but ready to be played.

The problem all along had been lack of action. My walk did not match my talk. You can say affirmations all day long, but if your physical actions deplete you, then the message you are sending to YOU is, “I am not worth my own time and effort.”

Having REGARD for your own well-being and happiness is self-love. Unfortunately most of us do not practice this, instead we put our own oxygen masks on last.

You can’t feel love when you wear ARMOR. So many people walk through life wearing protective shields of armor made up of busyness, martyrdom, housekeeping, over working, errand running, people pleasing, partnering, parenting, caring for pets, perfectionism, taxi driving and more. We don’t need protecting, we need to be able to FEEL and release emotion and stress. We’re not capable of receiving love, warmth and nurturing, if we are wearing armor.

Somewhere along the way we have been conditioned to believe we need to put on a happy face, get it all done (and more) PERFECTLY, stoically, and just keep swimming. This is not possible though as we are humans designed to feel, process and show emotion. As a result of shutting down our feelings and emotions, we become toxic. We have no ebb and flow with our environment, nor within our own spirits. We simply intake. Day after day we take on more, take in more and often feel more isolated and unappreciated.

Instead of thinking about self-love, think self-care. We all understand what that is, and most of us do a really poor job of making time for it. Self-care is the way out, the way to better health and the way to self-love: regard for your own wellbeing and happiness. If YOU cannot make your own wellbeing and happiness a priority who will? No one. I promise, because we teach people how to treat us.

Many of my clients come to me practicing no self-care. They take exactly ZERO time for themselves. Even the obligatory manicure/pedicure is now filled with frantic texting, scheduling, and task elimination thanks to our smart phones. Remember the days when you just read a magazine, talked with a girlfriend, maybe made a new friend, or gasp…even closed your eyes? Those days are gone. There is always one more thing that can be done, and we should get that done now….right now.

When is the last time you took a walk, not to sweat but just to breathe? Had a massage? Read a book without your phone in the other hand? Sat in your own backyard alone? Took a yoga class? A cooking class? Signed up for something for no other reason than it would bring you JOY?

We have finite time here. For some of us it may be down to months, days or hours…we just don’t know and that’s ok. What is not ok is wasting the time you do have NOT being happy and staying trapped in the armor where you just exist, stifling your authentic self.

If you wear one of these suits of armor and you want to dismantle it allowing yourself to become more present, aware, and yes healthier, then you must start with self-care.

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Photo by David Marcu

FIRST, protect your time. Almost every person I work with at some point says, “Well if I don’t do it, who will?” I get it because when I was a toxic, unhappy, angry, martyr this was my slogan! I often used it more than once a day, I was “Queen Martyr in charge.” Here is the thing: change is hard. Dialing back your commitments, your kid’s activities, your work schedule, the frantic pace at which you live your life will take some work. You will have to become a firm advocate and fan of the word NO. It will be your protective weapon as you start to pry off the pieces of your armor and let your authentic self step out into the world. But like anything it gets easier. Soon your overuse of the word NO makes room for more YES, but now when you say YES it is to things you actually want to do. This is self-care; this is self-love.

SECOND, rethink your legacy. Your current traits will have to change and this is also hard and uncomfortable. Perfectionism is the trait I had to release. I remember when I would walk by a pile of laundry and fight the urge to drop my keys and purse, cancel my “me time” and just get it done. Now I am a reformed over-laundry-doer and I simply shut the door. Laundry, dishes, and all the rest really can wait. But can you? If you drop dead tomorrow no one will speak at your funeral about how good you were at laundry and dishes. They will talk about who you were as a person and what you loved doing, what made you happy and most importantly how you made them FEEL. The catch is they have to know these things; they can’t stay stuffed down in your suit of armor. You simply cannot stay the same and change. You cannot expect your current attributes will deliver you to a new way of existing. If you want a different life, one where you are more present, one where you practice self-love, then you will have to dig deep and resolve to let go of some of your long standing attributes.

THIRD, think “we” instead of “me”. Harder than yielding your NO sword and dropping long-standing traits like perfectionism, is asking for help. The only way others in your home, your life, can be of assistance is if you ASK them. Kids actually thrive on being given responsibility. Your kids can make their lunches, make their beds, do their own laundry and pack their own bags for games (their coaches actually encourage this). Your partner needs to know you need support and help, you can’t resent them if you haven’t used your words to express your needs. (If you have expressed yourself and they don’t help then you have my permission to 100% resent them!) Your co-workers will keep piling on the work if you keep saying yes. People won’t offer to help you if they think you have it all handled. Think community, lending support, and receiving support. There is no gold star for going it alone. What you gain is stress, toxicity and a depleted soul.

I will never go back to being angry, toxic, unhappy, nor a martyr (even though I excelled at all of those things) because I will never give back my self-care. I will never stop loving me. When I was able to begin caring for me, filling my own cup first, my armor fell to the floor and I actually felt free for the first time in my life. My weight also fell off because I was practicing self-care. Sleeping more, listening more, being more present, fueling my body with better foods, and moving more. For the first time in my life I understood self-love as I had regard and care for my OWN wellbeing, and I felt this love envelop me like a warm blanket. I knew I was going to be ok.

I have gone from “Queen Martyr in charge” to a happy, imperfect mother, sister, friend, daughter, wife, business owner, and student who is healthy and loves herself, unconditionally. I wear many hats, and I have many roles in my community, but only one trumps the rest and that is being a human who practices self-love. This practice allows me to do everything else with energy, vitality and authenticity.

Don’t tell yourself you love yourself, show yourself. Parent yourself. Be kind to yourself. Make time for yourself. When your soul is content the rest falls into place and your authentic self can step out and shine.

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

 

Healthy Cookbooks I Use

I don’t usually use many recipes, but rather I combine the healthy foods I have in my refrigerator and create as I go. However, it took me time to get to this place. Like everything else it takes practice and repetition to learn what tastes good with what, and how to put it all together. These are all books I own, and use. It is great to flip through the pages and get ideas. Many of these I have owned for years. The new ones have been chosen by my kids. They want to make a list, walk to the store, and create what they see in the picture! Healthy cooking is a hobby I can get behind 100%. My Son loves the Alton Brown, Every Day Cook, and my Daughter chose The No Time To Cook! Book.

I will start sharing some of the recipes I love, and hope they help others as they have me!

I also included In Defense Of Food, those of you that have followed my journey know this was the book that began my “wake-up” call. Not a recipe book, but a reminder of what food is, and more importantly, what food is not.

Happy New Year! Happy cooking! Healthy life!

xo

Jennifer

               

              

              

             

New Books on my “wish list”:

       

Books for kids

    

Kindle

                         

Standing on my own two feet

It has taken me almost two weeks to sort my thoughts on this one. To articulate what I want to say in a manner that truthfully reflects the gravity of the situation, for me, and for so many who will read this.

When I work with a client one of the things that comes up within the first month is the change they begin to notice in their relationships, every time, no exceptions. It is a tough conversation for me to have with people because I have lived the monumental change their life is about to undertake. I know it will get much harder before it gets easier. The truth is, when you are unhealthy, sad, lonely, depressed, insecure, or simply just don’t feel “good enough”, you attract people into your life who share similar traits.

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said that “we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” Simply put your vibe does indeed attract your tribe. What you put out into the universe is what you get back. So when you take your unhealthy habits, and your negative, defeatist attitude and begin to transform into a positive, happy and healthy person it is startling for people. Not everyone. Some people who maybe loved you from afar start to draw closer…they come towards the light, they like what they see. Others, who maybe shared some of your less positive traits want to jump on the train, they want to have what you’re having!

Sadly though, when you take steps to better your life, your body, your mind, your soul…you will lose friends. I know for me this hurdle kept me from succeeding for many years. The thought of not having “my tribe”, the security of the people I called friends, scared the shit out of me. Why would I walk away from relationships I had nurtured for so long? Why would I want to be alone? When I would start to feel the “shift”, the cold shoulder, the undermining comments, the phone not ringing, I would take my energy off all the good I was doing for myself and I would focus it back on the people who were pulling away.

Did I do something wrong? Are you mad at me? It seems like you are upset with me? Can we talk? How can I make this better?

I let others dictate how I felt about myself. If I didn’t feel their love, their support, then I must not be worthy of love and support, these were after all, my friends.

Often I would be told how I hadn’t been there for someone. I hadn’t realized they were going through a bad time. I had been selfish, I had been all about me. Like a child I would be scolded back into my role of sidekick, or more accurately doormat. I would ask for forgiveness, apologize profusely. Buy cards, a small gift, and be readily available at a beckon call.

If this sounds pathetic to you, it was. 100%. But please understand it was the only kind of love and support I had ever known. For me, all of this ridiculousness was love.

What I now know is when you love yourself, and put yourself first you draw the right kind of people into your life. Yes, I lost friends, but those are no longer the relationships I care to have. They were never going to fill me up. I place no blame on anyone other than myself. My choices were reflected back to me on a daily basis, and I accepted them. I allowed people to treat me the way they did.

As you heal, and learn to stand on your own, you have to drop the negative influences. There is no room for toxic relationships in the world you want to live in. I am here, and I can tell you it is “Heaven on Earth” to like who you are, to love who you are, and the amazing people you now have room to know, and spend time with…it is mind-blowing really. The only hard part is not lamenting on all the years you missed out on living your authentic life…so I try to focus on how lucky I am I got here when I did.

It is ok to say goodbye to your old self. It is ok to kindly and gently step out of relationships you know are not healthy for you. Give yourself permission to take the best care of you you can, because I promise you no one else is going to do it. When we do not care for ourselves emotionally, we cannot care for ourselves physically. This will leave you at the hands of the Health Care System in America, and that is really a “Sick Care” system, a place that is very hard to get out of, once you walk in.

Just last week one of these relationships, that I had gently stepped out of, appeared back in my life…no warning, just a “I am going to stop by to make you feel like shit and shove you around a bit.”I got the email on our 15th wedding anniversary while we were driving to get away for the night. My Husband said, “Do you think she is on drugs?” Because that is how CRAZY her email was. We haven’t seen one another in 3 years, havent spoken in a year, maybe more. I guess she unfriended me on FB last year, and I hadn’t noticed. What can I say? I just don’t have the time and energy for this, and neither should any of you.

What the interaction did do was make me feel really sad for the old me. It is a shame that I allowed this type of interaction on a regular basis. When people needed to feel better about themselves I was an easy target, and I called them friends. Again, I want to be clear, I am not blaming anyone other than myself. I am not a victim. I was just a passive participant in my life and I didn’t care enough to set boundaries and to stand up for myself.

This picture really resonated with me. It popped up on a friends FB feed right as I had been reflecting about who I used to be. The universe truly does speak to you when you live in it with an open heart.

Relationships should lift you up. They shouldn’t carry you, you have to carry yourself, head held high. But they should rise with you, just as strong, just as steadfast. They should surround you with color, warmth and joy, and on the darkest days they shine even brighter. Those are the days they lift you up and remind you who you are and why they love you.

My wish for everyone reading this is unconditional love for yourself. Only then can unconditional love from the right people follow.

I am Jennifer, I am @HappyBodyFood, and this is my journey from unhealthy to healthy…but more truthfully this is my journey from self-hate, to self-love.