Friday, November 15, 2013


So I was a little hesitant to share this info yet, but hopefully it'll continue so here goes-This is week four that I have been doing a beta testing program for Jeremy Reid Fitness. The workouts have absolutely been the most physically challenging thing I've ever done in my life, and I have been losing weight consistently (about 7+lbs in 3 weeks) but the biggest and most important change is the fact that this is literally the first time in my entire life that I have felt free of my food addiction. Take a few minutes to process that. It's crazy. Even when I changed my lifestyle in 2009, I struggled DAILY to not overeat, with cravings, honestly in the past 4 years just thinking about food all the time, trying not to emotional eat, failing not quite as much as I started succeeding at not turning to food but just honestly a constant, epic, all-consuming battle. However since starting this nutritional program (no supplements, just a different way of eating than I have ever done, much more strict etc), after about the first week, I have had ZERO cravings. NONE. I got over my frapp withdrawal (seriously, when was the last time I whined about starbucks?!?!?!) and even though this week we were allowed to add in a "free" meal (anything we wanted for one meal!!), I didn't even want to do it!!!! Didn't want a frapp, to go off plan, nothing!! I am not hungry, I am not consumed with thinking about/wanting to eat my next thing on my plan, I don't go to bed at night just so I can get up in the morning and eat again b/c I am out of calories... I am, for the first time in over 4 years, NOT EVEN COUNTING CALORIES!!! I am not obsessively calorie counting, logging food, micro managing my intake...omg there is such freedom and I am listening to my body and I feel absolutely freaking fantastically amazing. The same is true for Keith, who is doing the same thing with me. This makes me want to cry, honestly, b/c I thought to maintain this new lifestyle, I would have to just battle this so hard every day for the rest of my life and that can get overwhelming if you look at the "forever" picture and don't take it day by day. I don't know how things will change after the 8 weeks are over, if I will stay this strict forever, or try to balance back out with what I was doing vs this, but honestly, at this point, I want to continue to see if this is maintainable for the long term for me b/c O.M.G. It's just absolutely stunning, to not feel like food is lurking in my thoughts 24/7. Somehow this combo of macronutrients has done something magically and I don't really get it, but I will research it more to find out why LOL because it's crazy. CRAZY!!! The end.

Friday, November 8, 2013

12 years

12 years ago on Sunday I married Keith. We had been dating for 13 months and known each other 17 months. Friends boycotted our wedding, family told us we were ruining each others lives. He wasn’t christian enough, I wasn’t christian enough. Or maybe we both weren't Christian enough. We were too young. We hadn’t dated long enough. He was my only boyfriend. The list of why we shouldn’t take this step was shared with us over and over and over.

We ignored everyone, listened to our hearts, put our hands together, and jumped forward together into life. I was 21, and he was 23. We were so young. Statistics said we’d be divorced far longer than we’d remain married. I grew up with no father figure, his parents divorced after 30 years of marriage. We had no examples to follow of a healthy relationship. We fought. We got counseling. We battled 3 years of infertility. We had a beautiful baby girl and I almost died. I laid in the ICU, in severe heart failure, and he held our newborn daughter to my breast so she could nurse. They slept in the lobby and never left my side. I got a blood clot and was in bed for months recovering. He worked and took care of us.

Doctors told us to never have more children or I would surely die. They told me to tie my tubes at 24. We believed God had a different plan, and stepped out in faith, and got pregnant again. Only I didn’t die, our baby did. But I did relapse back into heart failure.

We weathered the loss of our beloved daughter together and grieved and felt pain like no person ever should. Together.

They told us again-no more children. Again we knew God had a different plan, and that Mairi’s prayer for 2 years for a baby brother named Eli would be granted. We walked through post loss pregnancy-hope tainted with fear and desperation-together. We heard Eli cry, and saw him alive, and our hearts began to heal in a way they hadn’t before. Together.

We decided we weren’t the role models we wanted to be for our children, we wanted more for them and for our family. So we embarked on a lifelong journey to change our outsides so that we could begin to fix our broken insides. We lost almost 300lbs in a year together-sweating, crying, and realizing how much work we needed but we did it together.

We became professional hula hoopers. We appeared on multiple national and local media and print. We started traveling the world. We stepped out in faith again and walked the still harrowing journey of post loss pregnancy together again, and welcomed our 2nd sweet rainbow into our family.

Together. Always together. There is no Keith without Jen and no Jen without Keith.

To everyone that never believed in us, we made it anyway-against every single adversity that should ruin a relationship, we have never wavered, and have grown stronger together because of all we’ve faced. Sometimes things that don’t make sense to others, only make sense in our hearts. And I thank God every day of my life that for the first time in my life, I listened to myself and trusted my heart, even though it didn’t make sense to anyone else.

Happy 12 years of marriage, Keithy. We’ve lived 5 lifetimes together already, I can only begin to imagine the randomness that awaits us together in the next dozen years together. Thanks for loving me when no one else did. For believing in me when no one else did. Thanks for being worth the wait. Thanks for everything you do, every single day, for me and our children. I’ve never known a love on this earth like yours, and endeavour every day to return to you as much as you give to me.

Together, always. Keith+Jen=Love.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Another Job!!!

I decided recently that while I adore teaching and training hooping, the passion for me lies in HOOPING, not in being a FITNESS instructor, kwim? So I have been reevaluating what that means for me/our business etc. I decided I wanted to focus more on the nutrition component for the morbidly obese/those just changing their lifestyles to prioritize healthy eating for the long term. I have many things already in place, as this has been on my heart since I changed my lifestyle-I am in my junior year of completing my degree in Exercise Science with a specialty in nutrition. I am SafeServ certified. I am a certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. So on and so forth.

Once I decided this (literally last week, I finally just accepted this was on my heart, even though it feels scary, this "unknown"-I know how to be a fitness instructor after almost 4 years!!). It also feels scary because it means I will only teach hoop classes and not contribute towards our business with any of my other certifications, at least regularly (I need to teach Ballerobica to actually make sure I don't enjoy it as much as hoop but guessing probably not...) and again, that change when you are self-employed is scary, at least for me LOL. For someone who's life changes so much, I really fear change. Irony, no?

At any rate, last week I started looking online for any type of jobs that might fit where I want to go, and I don't even have a resume, which is sad (um anyone want to barter and make me an awesome professional one in exchange for a hoop lesson, party or hoop product? :D) but true.

I found an ad which didn't specify a location, and the past 10 times I've emailed anyone about generic vague ads, it's always some "hawk our supplement and make hundreds" kind of thing, which is fine if it worked for you and you believe in it and are passionate about it etc, but it's not for me, so I was like GRRR.

Finally after a few days I got a reply back and it was a REAL person, for a REAL job, a Nutrition Coach at a fitness studio here in ROC. A relatively new one, very thriving, very awesome, ALL the Les Mills classes in the WORLD (K and I are addicts, you know-and the Y only has like 2 types of LM classes, booo! :P)

I emailed back and forth with the manager, and he asked me to come in for an interview this morning. With him and the club owner. Or, what I thought was an interview, and I was so nervous b/c I don't have a ton of experience except my own, and I haven't been on an interview that wasn't of the media variety and never make me nervous LOL for a looooong time.

Sooooo turns out, I got the job. Just like that. It wasn't an interview as much as a brainstorming, session planning, let's get this off the ground meeting.

Um, what?

No, seriously-WHAT?

It was awesome, I absolutely adore this gym (and heck yeah, I get to take LM classes for freeeeee YAY!) and the fact that the owner and manager acknowledge that fitness is great but they have to support their members nutritionally or it's all for naught. They want to put a program and options in place, so their members are successful, and that means all pieces supported-food and exercise. FABULOUS!!!! Not enough fitness companies want to acknowledge that, sadly. Esp in ROC IMO.

So, I am going to support their Biggest Loser program that kicks off in the new year, with workshops, and offer A La Carte packages (like personal training, but personal nutrition!!) to any members that want it-I am going to customize it and make it affordable-differently levels for different prices, I don't want anyone held back b/c of cost, and I will even offer scholarship or some sort of sliding scale if possible. I am going to do food tastings (like I Make awesome healthy black bean brownies and garbanzo bean choc chip cookies and kale smoothies and make them try it-and then tell them what is in it, etc) and so much more.

I have to spend this week getting all my ducks in a row and customizing my package options, prices, services, etc and meet with them again next week to get it approved and move forward!!!

Oh hey, did I mention OMG?!?!?! I just walked in there and had this job?!?!?! That's so bananas and SO God!!! I stepped out in faith, even though it didn't make sense, even though I was nervous and unsure, but I followed my heart and my passion and INSTANTLY it fell into place just like it was supposed to. I am ridiculously excited to begin offering support to the members of this studio, and to round out their committment to a new healthy lifestyle!!

I've kind of had O_o face all day, honestly, like the whole-wait, WHAT?!?!!? over and over, hahaha.

I am very blessed, and I need to always remember to follow my dreams and my heart because it never fails. I believed in myself and what I can offer obese individuals or even those looking for just a little insight, or new recipes or general nutritional support for making healthier nutritional choices, and I am going to be AMAZING!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Week 1-Day 2

Back to typing's food and workout was tough but better than yesterday (er, at least the food since y'know, we were kinda stuck in the car all day and didn't actually workout LOL). Food is HARD, honestly eating so much protein is really hard, just figuring it all out, and finding recipes and such. Let's put it this way, my macros used to be like 60/20/20 for carbs/protein/fat and now it's like protein and carbs have switched spots AHHHH! I feel GOOD though, super full all day, made some awesome egg white oatmeal that I've never had before (creamy) and some yummy cheesy cauliflower soup for dinner. the workout was HARD. I am not a heavy sweaty person except when running hard but wow, this interval training for 40 minutes had me dripping. GROSS. But good. We will see what tomorrow brings!!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Keep going...

Just stopping by to give a quick update. Things are going well. Into almost week 4, and I am happy with what's been going on-SO HAPPY! I have lost 13lbs in 3 weeks so far, and I expect another pound or so this week too, although I won't be weighing for almost 2 weeks, until we get home from traveling. Which, quite honestly, is sort of freaking me out, HAHA but I look forward to it.

I have been amazingly on plan, I am loving what I am doing right now, it fits so perfectly with my lifestyle and makes my eating plan so not stressful or take more time out of my day, it's delicious and low-maintenance.

We were in Philly this past weekend, in Florida now, and then going back to Philly, then going home (we left our van in Philly and flew to FL). However K is flying to Nashville on Friday for a training and I am flying back to Philly with all 3 kids alone. Good times.

I had one little bit of off plan this past weekend, but it was controlled and I didn't give in to impulse or binge or anything-there is this AMAZING old-fashioned ice cream soda fountain place in Philly that has the most delicious ice cream and ambiance I have ever experienced. And Keith and my gram got sundaes, so I had some bites of their sundaes. I didn't get my own, I didn't overeat, I made the choice to enjoy a few bites of the most amazing ice cream everrrrr. It was worth the splurge. So I feel good about it, and no guilt, or and it didn't knock me off my game.

It is really hard to travel and manage my obesity. I love to eat. Traveling with 3 little kids is hard. It makes me want to take the easy way out, and not eat consistently and/or binge and eat easy, cheap, fast crap. But making the extra effort the past month has been amazing and had great results. I know 13lbs isn't a lot, and you probably can't even tell yet, but the great news is that I am really committed and back on my "A" game this time, and I am so glad.

Slacking a bit on my updates, but we have been traveling so much it's just been unreal. I feel so blessed that this is our life, we love it and are so fortunate...and yet it's absolutely a NIGHTMARE and so freaking hard for me to eat on plan when traveling.

Luckily my new meal plan makes it soooo much more manageable, and enjoyable really-not a lot of thought involved-but it's still such a temptation. I am a foodie. I love food. I love to try new foods and regional places. This is in no way conducive to losing weight for me, LOL. So I abstain from the food, and I'm a little sad, but I know it's for the greater good. When I am at my goal weight, and have more calories and a bit more leniency with my plan (this does NOT mean I eat whatever I want and go back to old habits-it just means I'll get around 500 more calories a day to indulge in for special occasions), then I will enjoy traveling even more.

So we've been on the road for a week now-first Philly, then we flew to Florida, spent most of the week in Orlando, and then came to Fort Lauderdale today for the weekend, then we fly back to Philly. *whew*

Overall I have stayed nearly 100% on my meal plan. And it's not about perfection, it's about progress, but it's been so incredibly progressive to me to be able to travel and not just be adrift. I love my vitamix, and I totally bring it everywhere we go.

I have had a couple off plan moments-but controlled-the entire fam got sick the other day, no idea if it was food poisoning or if we got a virus, but it knocked us all down for the count. nasty. so i didn't really eat anything, except saltines and some frozen yogurt. I wasn't really happy that I had to go off plan, but the thought of eating anything but those two things made me even sicker, so I listened to my body and ate what I felt it needed.

I like the little picture that I put above, because it's true. I am not on some diet, just for the short term, and my eating reflects this. Right now I am in the weight loss phase of things, and that means I need to eat according to those goals. I feel often unsupported by anyone other than Keith, in the sense of the whole "oh, one time won't matter". I feel that generally, people don't really understand or validate food addictions, because no one in the world would tell a recovering drug or alcohol addict "oh just one drink or hit won't  hurt!". Obviously addictions are a slippery slope, and mine must be managed with a firm, controlled hand, I do not currently in this phase of my recovery, if you will, have the ability to regulate the "just one" mentality. It's all or nothing, go big or go home, etc et al. So until I can continue to change my mental approach to food, my physical approach and the actual act of eating has to reflect my goals, and my firm management of my obesity condition. As annoying as it is :/

Saturday, February 9, 2013


I have been feeling so reticent about talking about, or even honestly THINKING about this new season of weight loss. I have so many thoughts, and regardless of who reads this, I want to maintain the rawness, and the reality of what this journey is about. It isn't pretty, it most CERTAINLY isn't perfect, but it's mine, and a huge part of accepting this condition of obesity is acknowledging and owning that it isn't linear, it isn't a destination or certain number on the scale, but the journey to health and wellness that is completely multi-faceted.

So here it is, continuing on, through my shame of not being able to have gained 10lbs during pregnancy and be back to my prepregnancy weight a month after birth. You laugh, but I had this locked down. I knew what I was doing, and I just thought that would be the way it was. I was ridiculously deceived :)

Enough about what wasn't, here is me, embracing what is, and doing what I need to do to be where I want to go.

This past week was so huge for me. I can't say enough how HARD it has been for me to make good choices and maintain a constant meal plan when traveling. I just have not been able to do it the past 9 months, it's been completely overwhelming-traveling with kids, a new baby, and then focusing on ME. I lost MY FOCUS ON ME, and that is what I needed, and what I've found. So 5 days in Florida, and I did not go off plan. Missing a flight, having our flight rescheduled, and then delayed-and I still stayed on plan. I ate at the airport (Burger King, of all disgusting places) but I did it in such a way that I stayed 100% on plan, even if the quality of the food wasn't my ideal. I used to, the past few months, say screw it all and make excuses and honestly feel helpless-I knew how to manage my lifestyle at HOME, when I was a SAHM and I didn't travel around the world and work and have jobs and all that. And now I am learning, and I did so well that I lost 2.2lbs even with all that went on :)

So now I am down a total of a little over 11lbs in 2 weeks, and I am thrilled with that. I have been 100% on plan for 2 weeks, and feeling great, and successful and in control. I am learning how to make good choices on the go, to bring my vitamix and hot plate and food is just fuel-even if I REALLY want so badly to eat things when I travel that I've never had, it's not worth it, Not right not. When I am done with weight loss, I will have a few more wiggle calories to indulge carefully in treats when traveling, but not in weight loss, I have to remain really strict for my sanity esp in the beginning of resuming my weight loss habits. I have maintenance down, I have been maintaining wonderfully the past few months, so I'm not worried about that phase, it's this stupid weight loss phase.

But at any rate, that is my success for this week! Wed is weigh in day, and I hope this week is as good to me as the past, I aim for 1% weight loss, so not a number per se as much as a percent. I have been enjoying getting creative with my limited calorie amount again, to make things as tasty as possible and as volumized. And I still have Starbucks every day, because that's my treat that makes me be able to stay on plan all day long :)

Here is to another week, again. Because managing this condition is something that I have to continually learn and process in all seasons of my life. And I think I finally am managing it successfully in this crazy phase of life. That feels better than any number on the scale!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Here we go again...

Trying something new. Hijacked my recipe blog to post my thoughts about round 5829 of weight loss. I feel like I wanted a new space, and I love LJ, and might cross-post or whatever, but I want to blog daily about my journey just in this. 

This is different this time, and yet it's the same old same old, at the same time. What? But it is. And it isn't. And I am frustrated, and annoyed, but finally to the point of moving forward, which is always good. 

Here's the thing. I gained a little over 50lbs with my pregnancy with Lachlan. 

Before that, I had gained about 20lbs, trying to figure out what I wanted to weigh, where I liked what I looked like, and basically just get my head not so effed up when it comes to food addiction. 

So really, ultimately, by the end of my pregnancy with Lachlan, in March 2012, I was up about 70lbs from my absolutely lowest ever of 145lbs. 

I had so many feelings surrounding all of this, and right after I had Lachs, I was down about 25lbs or so, the first few months, it was great and I didn't even really have to try very hard at all. 

But then I got stuck. And we had a lot going on-no excuses, ever, just explanations-traveling, tv shows, master trainings for Hoopnotica, so much stuff. 

And I didn't know how to lose weight, when I had to do more in my life, than just lose weight. 

Not only that, but I'd also finally realize that as per the graphic above, I had so much that was the cause of my weight issues, not that were the result of my weight issues. 

I've spent the past 10 months getting my head into a good place. Focusing on my family, on myself, on the demons inside me that drive me to turn to food, that are simply never going to go away-trying to fix myself on the inside, so that my outside can be fixed forever. And it's really hard and stressful sometimes and time consuming. But the great thing about all of this is that I've discovered this amazing self-love that has never existed before, in all 32 years of my life. I've discovered that somewhere along the way, I've become someone that I actually really like. I like me. I like who I am, who I am becoming. It's amazing. 

The flipside to that is, I don't currently like my outside, it's not reflective of me, and is still a symptom of my ongoing inner battle surrounding food, every day of my life. 

I feel ready, and in a place. to finish it. To get to where I need to go physically, because inside, I am ready. 

I have felt stuck in this place this past year, of feeling like people's expectations of me dictate what I can and can't do. I feel like I have this responsibility to do things a certain way or to be or even look a certain way, because I lost weight in the public eye, and now I have been in so much media for my weight loss. It messed me up, in the sense of regaining my rhythm, when before there was no pressure. I'd never been skinny, so no one really thought I could be, probably, and no one really cared if I just stayed morbidly obese for the rest of my life. 

This time, people care. People notice. People ask. They ask what I weigh. How much baby weight I've lost. They say things like "omg you were so skinny!" when looking at my videos from 2010 and 2011. People feel invested and allowed to have an opinion on my weight and my life. And it's added a dimension of stress surrounding my already messed-up relationship with food and weight. 

The good news is, I've worked through it. That's part of what I had to take time to deal with. Other's expectations versus myself. 

And here I am, ready to go. Ready to swallow my pride, admit my failures, my shortcomings, my addictions, and to move forward into a stronger version of me that I already adore-physically, mentally and emotionally. 

Last week I jumped back in, both feet at once. I debated about sharing the nitty gritty of the exact specifics of the plan I am following, but I've decided that's not important right now. I found out really quickly before that people felt very upset when they found out things I did-or didn't-do last time. It took the focus off of the big picture of lifestyle change and overall self-health and love, and I am not interested in that right now. 

What I am interested in, is sharing my thoughts and experiences, recipes, honesty, rawness and life with anyone that might be inspired or understand or find themselves-even years from now-in the place I am now. It's only worth it, it only matters, if it's all part of a bigger picture, and a bigger plan. 

So it's been one week, and I've been 100% on plan. I have lost 9lbs, which is actually more depressing than exciting, in a way, LOL-reason being, 9lbs means I was retaining a ridiculous amount of water, and probably ridiculously dehydrated as well (case in point, I think I lost only 4lbs my first week back in Sept 2009 of my original journey), and no one loses 9lbs of fat in a week, if I lost any fat at all, it was probably well under 2lbs, so that's a LOT of water weight. A LOT. *shudder*

I also debated about numbers. I don't want to be addicted to the scale. I don't want to be defined solely on the scale. On the other hand, I want to own my weight and not be ashamed of it because it just IS a number. 

I think for now, I'll just leave numbers with my exact food plan, and say it's not the point or the purpose of this blog-at least for today, and right now. 

Generically speaking, I'm eating 5 small meals, and 1 bigger meal, and a starbucks. Because I am just going to have Starbucks every day, so there. :) 

I wasn't sure I would or could like this new format/plan, but it's been an incredible week. We had a training and we were gone from Fri-Mon, and I stayed 100%, despite going out to a restaurant, not having a microwave or fridge in our room, etc.That has NEVER happened, frequent travel has been one of my biggest issues this past  year, not knowing how to or being able to or willing to stay on plan despite traveling. 

I am very happy with 9lbs, and happy to move forward. I will share more tomorrow, but for now, to bed because sleep is one of the most important parts of weight loss :)