Healthy Living: Jenn's Story

>> Friday, October 22, 2010

Jenn writes:

Hello (never home)maker fans! So great to see ya. Here is a bit about me and this story of health of mine:

I remember standing in the Texas Wal-Mart, full of frustration and thinking to myself, "Look at this body. Too much of this. Too much of that (pointing to my belly and my hips). No more food for the rest of the day Jenn. That banana and slice of toast you had is it." I was 15. And that became my world for the next 13 years.

I grew up in a healthy and active home. My mom raised me (and my two brothers) by herself. We lost my dad when I was 5. But she was the rock star of the house! We had everything we wanted: I danced, played tennis and volleyball. I had my first boyfriend in middle school. A very standard life, if you ask me. But in high school my standard life became a battle. A battle that I started. I began to hate my body. I began to think that it was never good enough, thin enough, small enough, or pretty enough. It just wasn't enough. I was still playing tennis, dancing and living my life with a smile. I still had a boyfriend. But on the inside, I lived in a world of restriction.

At 15, I began to do what I saw most of the other girls around me do, I stopped eating. I had a small breakfast, skipped lunch and then somehow either skipped or barely ate dinner. I got thinner. I got very thin. I got attention. I thought I felt happy. But not truly happy because you see, I was still never good enough.

One day after eating just an apple for breakfast, my mom picked me up from school. She had stopped at my favorite bagel shop on the way and the car was filled with the blueberry and starchy aroma. It was an incredible smell! Without even controlling my hand, my body or my mind, I reached into that bag and inhaled a blueberry bagel. By the time we got home I had eaten nearly 3. I topped off that day with about 4 bowls of Special K, a huge plate of pasta and a pint of ice cream. That was my first binge. I was 16.

This became my life through high school, most of college, and then my first few years as a professional. Restrict, binge, restrict, binge. Repeat. I gained 50 pounds, I lost it the wrong way and gained another 60. At 28 I was unhappy, unhealthy and lost. I had tried every diet in the book at least 5 times. Something had to change.

It was a Sunday. I was watching the movie Serendipity (I'm a sappy romantic!). Something in that movie made me pause and sit up. I can't even tell you what it was but all I remember was this: "I am not living my life. I am existing. And I am tired of it. I want to change." So, I marched into my room and grabbed the book that had been sitting there for about a month, titled "Intuitive Eating." I sat on the couch and read every single page.

On June 1, 2008, I changed my life with very small, simple changes. I stopped dieting. I stopped restricting. I gave myself permission to eat. And to eat well. This step took weeks to truly live. I had to remove the forbidden label from food and relearn how to listen to my body, to eat when I was hungry and to stop when I was full. Such simple but such powerful concepts. This was no easy task for me. Every food in my world had a good or bad label. It had a calorie count, a carb count and a protein count attached to it. And I had a rule book that existed in my head. But now it was time for a new rule book. One that encouraged making peace with my body and making peace with food.

My thoughts on exercise changed. I decided that exercise should be nothing but fun. Fun that makes ya sweat and sometimes yell because it hurts but overall, I wanted to have a blast with my workouts! I found out that I love kickboxing, spinning, weight lifting and hiking. I began using a workout called "Turbo Jam." That was when I really started to enjoy fitness.

These changes were small. They were simple. No pressure was attached. No expectations or results demanded. I just began to choose healthy. I began to choose to feel good, to eat what felt good and to move in a way that felt good. And yes, that often included Oreos and ice cream! Since June of 2008 I have lost 60 pounds. I have started a new career in health and fitness as a wellness and fitness coach. I love, love, love my job! I love teaching group fitness classes and live for sharing everything I have learned with others. It's been quite the road since 2008. I grow, learn, hit all the bumps on the road and try again.

But the best part is that I now feel that I am living my life FULLY. I am present. I am having fun!

Thank you so much for allowing me to share this story. I hope you will come and say hi, maybe even stay a while at


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