Tag Archives: self-love

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

How do you learn to love yourself?

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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.

 

 

 

 

If You Want to be Healthy, Align your Goals and Values

My latest piece for Thrive Global!

If you want to be healthy you must find a goal that your values support, and that is authentically YOU! Look at what is driving you to change your current situation, because if you are honest…skinny isn’t it.

Enjoy!

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Photo by Alexandre Chambon

https://journal.thriveglobal.com/if-you-want-to-be-healthy-align-your-goals-and-values-b635ddbd24ee

 

 

This is the end; this is the beginning.

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.

Holly GoWritely

February 28th vs May 5th February 28th vs May 5th

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…

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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.

Happy Body Project: New Group

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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.