I have spent most of my life uncomfortable in my own skin. As far back as I can remember I was comparing myself to other girls. Wishing I was thinner, smaller. Because if I was smaller, than everyone would like me.
I grew up an athlete. Soccer, softball, basketball, and volleyball from the time I was 5 years old. One thing I did not like was running – I don’t think that is something I will ever enjoy! I hated being called big boned. In my head, that was just another term for fat. The reality was, my body was STRONG. But in the mind of a pre-teen/teenager obsessed with Beverly Hills 90210 and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I needed to shrink in order to truly be accepted.
My first “diet” was one I came up with myself. It was the beginning of a very LONG cycle of restriction, binge eating, and guilt. Breakfast – nope! Lunch during the week was always a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with mustard. Ever once in awhile I would have some Baked Lays, because they were healthy and maybe an apple. Usually it was just the sandwich. I ate dinner at home but kept portions small. If it was a night I happened to be working, I would either eat nothing or grab Zingers from 7-11. And this went with a side of diet pills. I must stress that my parents NEVER talked about me dieting or needing to lose weight. This was ALL ME.
On the weekends I would binge on Taco Bell and /or McDonalds. Never knowing what I weighed. I only knew that I was larger (fatter) than my friends. When I look back at my junior high and high school photos, I kick myself for ever thinking I was fat. Now I see a strong, muscular, healthy young women who needed to believe in herself more.
In 1997 I left for college. Saying goodbye to my hometown of Lomita, CA and hello to Arizona State University. I did not know a single person when I moved. I saw it as a chance to finally be myself, whoever that was. The friends I made accepted me for all my awkward goofiness. I joined a skiing and snowboarding club – let’s be real I went to school in the desert, it was a “drinking club with a skiing problem.” The people I met were amazing and I am still friends with many of them to this day; 1-2-3 SOCIAL! I was lucky enough to meet my husband in the group, we were married in 2002 and just celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary. We have to amazing boys, 12 & 8, and are living a life we love. His is my biggest supporter.
I’m going to fast forward a bit. In December of 2015 I was dress shopping for my brothers wedding. While I found a dress, it wasn’t before I had an emotional breakdown on the floor of a Dillard’s dressing room. I couldn’t BELIEVE that I had to try on a size 18/20! It was the biggest I had ever been, not counting my first pregnancy. I was completely broken and kept it to myself. Picked myself up, wiped away my tears and walked out with a dress. It wasn’t until recently that I have started sharing this story. But it was in that moment that I knew something had to change. I just didn’t know how…
Walk in my amazing sister-in-law. She saw in me what I had lost. Encouraged me to get moving again. I started doing an at-home DVD workout program with a meal plan and I found my love of movement again! After years of not intentional moving, no exercise, it felt so good to be back. It was like riding a back. But there was a problem. I became OBSESSED with shrinking my body and looking like the women on the DVDs. I ate from the smallest calorie bracket for each workout program I did and often doubled up workouts. I was severely restricted my calories and over exercising. And it was CELEBRATED! And I celebrated and encouraged others to do the same. How messed up is that? A couple of years in and my body just couldn’t do it anymore.
Looking back there were plenty of signs, but I was determined to get to an arbitrary goal weight, a weight that I don’t even think I was at in high school. Well I got there. Not long after, I suffered a shoulder injury. But I didn’t let that stop me, nope. I kept pushing and lifting, had to do whatever it took to maintain my goal weight of 135lbs. That injury turned into bicep tendinitis and rotator cuff tendinitis.
That was in August of 2017 and I am STILL in physical therapy and unable to do a full push-up. Not only was injured, I was extremely fatigued, forgetful, my hair started falling out like crazy, my appetite went away, my entire body ached, and eventually I came down with pneumonia. That knocked me on my butt for 6 months! At my lowest point I was sitting in my car with a dozen donuts meant for my son and his friends. I don’t remember eating them all, but I remember how I felt when I looked down at the empty box. Guilt, shame, worthless.
I knew that something had to change, and it had to start with me!
I slowed down on my workouts, only 3-4 days a week if that, focusing on strength training. Lifting weights is when I feel my best. And it was at this point that I discovered intuitive eating. It has been through this process that I have found my passion, my calling. I want to help other women who struggle with body image, who are entrenched in diet culture, and who want to find movement they enjoy.
I am here to help show you how all of this is possible! I am a certified personal trainer and anti-diet advocate. I am a wife and mom of two amazing boys who deserve me at my best. They are my biggest supporters. I am a loyal friend and great listener. I will tell you like it is and push you to be your best. You are capable of more than you can ever know. I will believe in you when you can’t believe in yourself. I need you to know you are strong, confident, and beautiful. My name is Jen and I am looking forward to working with you.