Jess, tell us a little bit about yourself and how your health & fitness journey began…
I was overweight half of my life and had zero self-confidence. I gained 60 lbs in middle school and all of my then “popular” friends stopped being friends with me and started making fun of me. That drove me to hanging out with the wrong crowd and making some bad decisions. I got in to drinking, smoking, and ate even more bad foods to cope with my pain.
My senior year of college I met a very attractive guy I was trying to impress and I finally decided I was ready to lose weight for real. I just cut my portions in half, added a fruit or veggie to each meal, and did workout DVDs at home. I eventually added in running and ended up losing 60 lbs.
What is your training philosophy and how do you like to move your body?
I like to do whatever makes me happy that I will be consistent with and stick to. I have gotten up in quick fixes and doing very extreme diets in the past and those do not deliver sustainable results. I believe in eating what your body is craving and listening to that. I don’t mean eating a whole cake, I mean eating what will make you feel good, but having a slice of cake if you want it.
I personally prefer low impact workouts and my favorite all time workout is called PiYo, it’s a combination of Pilates, Yoga, cardio, and core so you are moving the entire time and burning lots of calories. I also love walking and hiking, being in the outdoors. And even though running isn’t low impact I do love a good run as well.
What are your beliefs about nutrition? Can you give us an example of what your daily diet might looks like?
“I have learned variety is key to being consistent!”
As I mentioned in the last question, I believe we should listen to our bodies. We should eat when we are hungry and stop when we are full. We should think about how that food will make us feel and if the piece of chocolate cake is going to make you feel like crap because of a sugar rush and crash, then it’s probably not worth it. But sometimes it may be to you and that’s okay!
My daily diet is different every day because I have learned variety is key to being consistent and not getting bored. I have had many times in the past where I followed too restrictive diets, was too lazy to cook anything, and that led to binge eating.
- Yesterday for breakfast I had an omelet made with 3 organic cage free brown eggs and with sautéed spinach, portabella mushrooms, and onions seasoned with Himalayan salt, cracked black pepper, and garlic (all from Trader Joes).
- For a snack, I usually always have fruit before and after lunch and even at night. I get a wide variety of fresh fruits, but my favorites are strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, honeycrisp apples, and bananas.
- For lunch I had a Chocolate Vegan Shakeology (it has 70 super foods and gives me energy) mixed with half a banana and a tablespoon of PB.
- For another snack I had a yummy oatmeal concoction. I like to add my Shakeology to it for a little protein, some unsweetened vanilla almond milk, half a banana and a few dark chocolate chips.
- Then for dinner I had half of a hamburger (I like the 80/20 ground beef from Whole Foods, my body responds well to higher fat meats like this) cooked with raw cheese (also from Whole foods) with baked sweet potato fries and Brussel sprouts.
- Then for “dessert” I had one slice of cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread with a tablespoon of PB.
How do you stay focused, disciplined and committed to your healthy & empowering lifestyle?
“I like to take care of myself because I love myself and deserve it!”
I remind myself why I’m doing it because it’s more about looking good on the outside. That only motivates you for so long. On the days you don’t feel like it, that won’t get you far. I like to take care of myself because I love myself and deserve it, because my mindset was the exact opposite for so long.
“I used to view healthy eating and exercise as a punishment for my bad choices.”
Now I love to do it because it makes me feel healthy, happy, alive, and full of energy. I stay focused by eating foods I love and doing workouts I love. I stay disciplined by planning ahead an idea of what meals I’d like to make that week and grocery shopping and meal prepping for the week.
What is your biggest achievement when it comes to mind-body health so far?
Finally learning to love myself and workout and eat healthy because of that. It took me a LONG time, until very recently, to get to that point. I went through a cycle of restrictive eating and binging for a while, so it is so refreshing to have finally overcome that.
What are your current and future health & fitness related goals and projects?
“I really want to write a book to help women learn how to love themselves”
I really want to write a book to help women learn how to love themselves by taking care of themselves. I have many other ideas, but that is my #1 dream. Well, now that I said that, I’d also love to host conferences to teach people how to do that and have success in every area of life.
What advice would you give to people who are struggling in staying committed and reaching their health & fitness goals?
Find a buddy and someone that will hold you accountable and encourage you when you are struggling. And really think of WHY you want to reach your goals, bigger than the, “I want to be skinny,” or, “I want to be a size 4.”
What are your top 2 favorite exercises?
- PiYo #1 for sure!!! Do it every day!! Wake up and jump out of bed to do it and I HATE mornings!
- Second favorite is probably anything outside, whether that’s hiking, running, walking, bicycling, etc.
What’s your all-time favorite food?
This may take me a few paragraphs, haha. It honestly has changed over time. I have always had a big sweet tooth, but lately I am craving less sweets and more bacon cheeseburgers. I really do love any Asian inspired food, especially sushi and Thai.
Can you give us 3 Fun Facts about yourself?
- I went on a mission trip to Poland in 2012.
- I love wine and coffee.
- Jesus is my #1 homie.
Find out more about Jess’s Fitness Coaching services via Get Fit Jess!
Stay tuned for next week’s Food & Nutrition post by Jess!
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