Jennifer’s Philosophy

Hey You! Step AWAY From That Chicken Wing and Choose To KISS Yourself Every Day.

My Philosophy

Part I: Freeing Myself From a Lifetime of Weight Shackles and Choosing to Live,

There really is no mystery to losing weight:  you have to burn more calories than you consume. Period.

The mystery is how to make it happen.  And the “how” is different for every person. The “how” takes into account: who you are, your lifestyle, what motivates you, what stresses you.

Whether it’s trying to achieve weight loss or committing to living a healthy lifestyle, you need a wellness system that works for you.

Here’s how I was able to lose weight (fat), get over my eating disorder and weight issues, and get on with my life.

1)      I was tired of being tired. I was ready to change. The pain of staying trapped in crash diet hell and the pain of the eating disorder far outweighed the pain of changing. Enough was enough.

2)      I made exercise easily accessible. Fortunately there was a gym in my business school dorm and all I had to do was roll out of bed and into the gym. My perm looked a mess but I was there!

3)      I had a workout buddy. I had support. There was this seemingly crazy chick, my business school classmate, who was also in the gym every day. She was a beauty queen from Texas who was kinda like an Asian “Legally Blonde” Reese Witherspoon. She turned out to not be crazy at all and became a really good friend and a huge part of my support network. We were accountable to each other and supported each other. She played a huge role in me changing. Thank you!!! You know who you are J

4)      I was fanatically consistent. We worked out at the same time, 6 am, every single day. Come rain, shine, finals…whatever.  It was on. We were committed.

5)      I did not focus on losing weight and therefore lost weight.  For the first time in my life I stopped focusing on weight and counting calories, and focused on the process of changing my behavior to be active every day. My palette changed and I no longer was attracted to “yada yada Alfredo sauce” or Slim Jims, or those really awesome cinnabons with extra frosting I used to eat. You can’t run with that crap sloshing around in your gut. It sooo doesn’t work. I tried it. Once.  I stuck with it. I lost fat, felt in control, and free. Which led to

6)      Exercise became a daily habit, part of my life, deeply ingrained in me. The process of exercising became a source strength, stress relief, and happiness for me. As humans, we tend to do things that make us feel good. Exercise made me feel good both physically and emotionally. So I continued to do it.

And here I am. 14 years later.  I’ve changed jobs several times. I’ve been homeless and jobless. Had money. Lost money. Had money and lost it again. Moved half a dozen times.  Changed coasts. Had more bad than good relationships and through it all I NEVER waned from my commitment to being healthy.

So based on my experience and my training as a Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant, here’s what I believe you need in your system to improve your chances of losing weight, long-term and living a healthy lifestyle, long-term.

Part II: Assess Then KISS Yourself Every Day. Everything Starts With You!

1)      Assess where you are emotionally. Assess your willingness to change.  Ask yourself:

  1. Why do I want to change? Is it a short-term, long-term goal? Is the desire to change grounded in something significant (a real health issue or life changing event) or something less significant (I need to look awesome at my high school reunion because that Claire chick cannot look more awesome than me!) No judgments BTW J.
  2. What does my new life look like? How do I feel in it?
  3. What energy am I realistically able to devote to changing?

If you’re not ready to change, that’s okay, just recognize that you’re not  ready AND really assess the consequences of not changing – health consequences, lack of energy, dissatisfaction with how you look etc.

Once you’ve assessed that you are ready to change, let’s hit it! Let’s get into the “how”.

2)      KISS (Keep it Simple Sister). What does this mean?

  1. Make exercise easily accessible. Either workout at home, or find a gym close to your home, or close to your work, or on the route between the two. Don’t go off the beating path. Why? You may be able to keep it up for a while but if it rains, snows, or somebody steps on your baby-toe, you’ll bag it. It’s too difficult.
  2. Keep your exercises simple. In the beginning. Don’t blow yourself up with over exercising, or overanalyzing, overdoing. Don’t go for the craziest kettle bell exercise, standing on one leg touching your nose and then the floor and then your nose again –  the kind of exercise you must do under the watchful eye of a personal trainer or you will kill yourself. Don’t overdo, just DO, and do CONSISTENTLY. All you really need to do is sweat.
  3. Commit to a realistic period of time. Don’t go for the gold in a marathon three hour workout. In the beginning commit to a certain duration (even if it’s just 20 mins a day) for a certain frequency (3 times a week).  Be consistent and commit to something you can realistically do.
  4. Work out at the same time of day. My sister calls me “Rain Man”, because I do the same things at the same time every day. Highly scheduled but effective. Don’t play tick tack toe with your workouts. Why? Because you’ll bag it. Keep it simple. Make time in your schedule to work out and then communicate that to people – your friends, your kids, your colleagues – so they know that this particular time of day is your time. Personally, I’m a huge proponent of working out in the morning. It’s when you have the most energy and also, the time of day over which, in general, you have the most control. Too much stuff happens after work – business dinners, that presentation that you’re going to have to jam on to get ready for the morning, you had a crappy day and now don’t feel like going to the gym, your kid is sick and you have to pick them up from school so forget that evening spin class you wanted to take- you know, life stuff.

3)      Get Support. Everybody needs support. Invite a friend, a colleague you actually like, family member to join you on this health journey. Workout together. Talk to each other. It’s hard to do this healthy thing all by yourself. When the going gets rough, and it will, and you just want to bag this fitness thing, curl up in your PJs, eat a pint of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and watch “Waiting to Exhale” on DVD and you’re still waiting some 17 years later, who are you gonna call?

4)      Develop Positive Associations with Fitness.  This ties into KISS and keeping things simple and also means, don’t pick fitness activities you “hate”.  If you “hate” running, don’t run. Pick things you want to do vs. “should” do. Don’t “should” yourself into failure. It really is a four letter word.

5)      Laugh and Enjoy the Process. This health journey is one that doesn’t end until you punch out, and we don’t want that happening anytime soon. There will be ups and downs but you are always moving forward. You’re changing. Enjoy the ride! It’s gonna be a real trip.

3 thoughts on “Jennifer’s Philosophy

  1. Hello Ms. Jennifer, I saw you on Here and Now last Sunday and your advice was an epiphany…KISS is best! I am in the process of transitiioning my sedentary lifestyle into a healthy one. I have tried different forms of exercise classes; zumba and yoga seem to be the ones that I enjoy the most. I attend classes on Monday and Wednesday evenings and therefore cannot join your cardio workout. It looks like a great time! It would be great if you could consider adding an additional day of the week to your schedule. Keep up the great work! GOD Bless and be well.

    • Hi Sharon! Thank you so much for reaching out! I’m so glad KISS is helpful to you. I try to keep things simple. KISS is what helped me to develop a habit of being active and eating well everyday. Good for you that you are taking active steps to gain control of your health! Take it one day at a time, stay focused, keep it simple, do things you like to do, and get support. Learn to love the process of changing. It’s as important (if not more important) than where you actually end up because this healthy thing never actually ends. Your life changes, you change and it’s in the process of building healthy habits where you learn how to build a wellness system that is dynamic and can change when you change and your environment changes. We would love to have you in MAD COOL CARDIO class and have you join our CREW! If demand is great enough, will look at offering another class during the week. Please spread the word to your girlfriends. If we can get enough peeps together, we’ll see what we can do. Thanks so much for your support! STEP AWAY FROM THAT CHICKEN WING! 🙂 Jennifer

  2. Jennifer,

    I came across your website looking for black female fitness models(online) for inspiration. I jst lost 50 lbs on Weight watchers last year & have gained 10 of it back during holiday time…( still trying to get it off again) .I ran the Marine Corps Marathon (10K ) in DC last year & am generally now on this fitness kick. i’m 41….and was always very STRONG,( former gymnast) but not so fit. I was always the “big” girl, but not overly obese, still was the ‘popular’ one with friends, and boyfriends, all the latest fashions through h.s. , college, etc… I enjoyed fitness and activities, but after my son(who’s 6) –kinda just dind’t have it in , tried a few things & almost just resigned myself to being “fat” ….went to a Women’s conference and something the speaker said hit me like a ton of bricks…TO be successful, you need to do things you don’t like…If you want something, so everything you don’t like doing & you will get what it is you want. i.e. you want to lose weight, stop eating this or that, exercise , get up at 4a or 5a, before the family & fit it in, etc,etc…CHANGED MY LIFE…I was looking for a little inspiration and found your journey!..Keep it up!!, Congrats & kudos….it’s also a pleasure to see someone touting a healthful lifestyle who isn’t 23 years old, 5′ tall, size 0 and still wearing kids sizes from the gap:-) lol:-)

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