December 13, 2016

NUTRITION IS KEY

 

As much as I would like to believe other wise, one of the most important, if not the most important keys to getting healthy is controlling what you put in your body. I hate the word “diet” and I refuse to use it…. I only refer to what I eat as nutrition! Diet sounds restricting and just plain mean. One of the reasons I’m so passionate about it is because I’ve tried it all.  The skinny teas, the juice cleanses, the meal plans, the celebrity diets, the body wraps/treatments, the weight loss pills. I was desperate to try anything to make me lose weight fast. But after much trial and error, I sadly learned it’s all unrealistic!!!!! It works for a limited amount of time but in the long run, is it really going to be a stable lifestyle for years and years to come? No.

I had this whole nutrition thing backwards. For starters, I have the worlds BIGGEST sweet tooth!!!  I could eat chocolate for every meal and be completely happy! And I used to. I couldn’t go a meal without eating some sort of sugary treat. For years I would work out for 2+ hours a day (on top of my dance rehearsals) and thought I could then justify eating whatever I wanted and an excessive amount of sugar at that. I would wake up and eat cookie dough straight out of the container, my portion sizes were doubled what they should have been, and I had absolutely no self control or understanding of what I was doing/putting into my body. Slowly but surely I ended up gaining a ton of weight. I was the heaviest I had ever been, my mood swings were insane, my acne was uncontrollable and my self-esteem was at an ultimate low. I was so confused and upset with what my body was doing that I started to punish it by starving myself of meals. I could go until nighttime without eating but would be so hungry that I would end up binge eating really late at night. I know this is a very sensitive subject for most people so I don’t want you to think that I thought I was “fat” by any means, but I think we all are aware our individual bodies and know when we feel our very best. At this stage in my life I felt at my worst. This caused a whole bunch of body image issues and for about 2 years I would only buy extra baggy clothes because all I wanted to do was hide behind fabric. I didn’t feel confident and comfortable in my own skin.

In August of 2015, I had a bit of a health scare and ended up having surgery. When I woke up after surgery I had an overwhelming feeling that I needed to make a change and this was my opportunity to do so. I was sick of feeling insecure and ashamed of my body and I knew that the only person that could take control and change how I felt was ultimately, me! This is what I decided to do…. Somebody once told me that you can do anything for a month if you put your mind to it. So for 30 days I challenged myself to no sugar (because I knew that it was/is my biggest weakness). To make it more motivating I promised myself that if I succeeded I was going to reward myself with something I had wanted for a very long time…. black tinted rims!! LOL. I am such a dork. During this time period I also decided that I was going to try to eliminate most processed foods. I stuck to a lot of protein, vegetables (tons of leafy greens), fruits, healthy grains and a lot of water. Knowing myself, if I didn’t have these meals prepared for the week I would never keep to eating healthy and would be tempted to cheat. So I would go to the grocery store at the beginning of each week and stock up for 5 healthy meals a day (three meals and two large snacks). Because I’m very O.C.D. and I like consistency, I would eat the same meals everyday for the whole week. It would make preparing them much easier too. The first 5 days were the worst. I thought there was definitely no way I could finish this month out. But once I hit a week it became easier and easier. Each day and week that went by I felt more amazing and didn’t have the cravings for the junk food I usually relied on. I felt like I had more natural energy, my skin started to clear up, I wasn’t having crazy emotional breakdowns, and I was dropping in weight. I ended up completing a month with absolutely no sugar!!! I truly felt like it reset my whole system by cleansing itself of what I craved most. I then didn’t have to workout nearly as hard because I was giving my engine the right foods to breakdown easily and I didn’t have to overcompensate by working out and practically killing myself of any energy.

This is what I’ve learned through this whole internal food battle. MODERATION IN EVERYTHING!! I promise you it works because that’s what I’m doing now to maintain my nutrition. Obviously I’ve incorporated sugar back into my everyday life but I am more aware of how much I intake and what I really don’t need. If I’m being truly honest, I am currently sitting here with a pint of Talenti Gelato in my hand and a spoon in the other…. which is fine. Treat yourself when you deserve it! But when I used to be able to finish the pint to myself in one sitting, I am slowly enjoying ginormous spoonfuls and then I will put the lid back on and call it a day! My main point is that I personally don’t think you need an extreme diet regiment that is raw, gluten free, vegan, dairy-free, or only a cup full of almonds a day. Now don’t get me wrong, some people do and that is great! But I think that the biggest battle is understanding what your body craves and what your bad eating habits are and finding moderation in all things. In my upcoming posts I will breakdown my daily food routine and be more specific but for now I challenge you to try the following:

  1. Make a list of foods your body craves and what you excessively eat
  2. Try to eliminate it for 30 days…. give yourself a reward to work towards 🙂
  3. Prep your meals for the week to help not eat out as much
  4. Eat every 3 to 4 hours – snacking on good healthy foods in between meals
  5. Drink a lot of water!!!!

My mom has a saying she would tell us growing up, “Eat to live, don’t live to eat.” I believe that to be true. You can do anything you put your mind to. Take control of your body and life starting today! And remember, I’m here with you every step of the way.

 

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30 thoughts on “NUTRITION IS KEY

  1. AH! Lovvvve this Jenna!

    I’m with you on the sweet tooth kick! It’s definitely hard to stop once you get going, but I’m definitely going to challenge myself to go through the process. The year is about to end and this is the exact time to start making a healthier impact on my life. Thanks for the encouragement and raw realness! Love youuuu.

  2. I love this post! My biggest struggle is chocolate too. Starting January (because Christmas is coming up) I’ll try the 30 day Challenge. Thank you for inspiring us all.

  3. I definitely get those late night cravings! This was a great outline for me personally because I know I can eat better. It’s just getting started that is the hard part. Thank you for this.

  4. I really love this! I’m starting to train in martial arts and this is really motivating me to eat better and look after my body more. I’ve had many health issues growing up so I really love that listening to your body is the key – I am very anti dieting so making healthy meals but keeping cravings to moderation something I will work on! Xx

  5. Thank you for your words! Sometimes I look at people like you, so talented, successful, beautiful and fit, and I think they must have it all figured out! Thank you for your vulnerability! I’m right there with you with the sweet tooth, but it’s always encouraging that when you eliminate sugar for a while, you really don’t crave it any more! Praying you have a happy and healthy holiday season! Can’t wait to see what you do next! Glad I discovered your blog!

  6. I usually try doing this every Lenten Season, let’s see if I can stick to it this coming year! I want to better myself for my daughter!

  7. Honestly, one of my fav posts till now!
    I just took out a pen and a paper and Imma start making the list! I’m up for this challenge, by all means i’m giving myself one or two days to prep and then i’m going to start the 30 day challenge! This is a perfect time like i’ve previously mentioned i have free time since i just graduated from Uni! Time for change. Thank you Jennnna! Lovvvve you.

  8. Needed this! I just started my fitness journey few weeks ago to live a healthier lifestyle and to gain confidence back. If you get a chance I would love to see your staple/daily meal prep menu. Loving the blog xx.

  9. You are so inspiring! You don’t know how it is a sensitive subject for me and I’m still learning everyday.. One day at the time! You change my vision of life Jen thank you so much, you are an important person in my life❤

  10. I can truly relate to everything you said in this post. Thank you for this motivation and support! I’m going to do what you suggested. Have a great night!

  11. Hi Jenna!!! Thank you so much for that post. I am realizing that we have a few things in common; not just with this post but with your previous posts. I am too a chocolate person, and I do eat it a lot. I am definitely going to try what you suggested. It will be a good way to start with 2017. Thank you so much for helping us and giving us advice. I am glad we have your support. Thanks Jenna!!!!!!!<3

  12. Love this Jenna and I love you for being so honest and straightforward with your struggles in living a healthy lifestyle and sharing your wisdom with us in turning everything around. I can relate to pretty much everything that you have shared so far from the low self esteem, the struggle in finding your balance, and the whole “sweet tooth” thing. Thank you for being real. I will forever be your fan.💕💕💕

  13. thank you for sharing! I love ypur post, I can relate to everything you are saying. I am currently struggling with alot of what you mentioned above. Thanks for being open and honest! im so encouraged by you! Love you!

  14. I am in my 60s and this is the time for me to do what you are saying, Jenna. Thank you for being inspirational. I work full time at a high stress job and get exhausted and do not always care for myself. Your words will help me.

  15. I am sitting here with a stomach ache from all the crap I ate last night while reading your post. I am now going to challenge myself for 30 days to stick to a healthy diet. I desperately need to boost my energy and start being kind to my body. Thank you for the inspiration.

  16. Love love love this Jen!! So motivating and puts things into perspective, because being a teenage girl I do have quite a sweet tooth. But, the new year is coming so i’m going to try this!

  17. I know for a fact that this works!! I did exactly this last year and it was definitely hard, but it was well worth it! Unfortunately, I went to college and lost all my motivation to eat well (dorm food will get ya) but you have truly inspired me to get back into a healthy lifestyle!! Much love for you and this blog!!

  18. I completely relate to and agree with everything you said in this post. Growing up, I was very active as a swimmer and spent a lot of my free time running around playing sports with my brother and friends, so in combination with a child’s metabolism, I was able to eat anything I wanted and got away with it. As a result, I had very poor eating habits as a teenager/young adult, gained a decent amount of weight, and went through a lot of the struggles you alluded to trying to figure out what went wrong and more importantly, how to correctly fix it. I went through that years-long phase of low self-esteem, issues with poor body image, and hiding my body behind baggy clothing. I did the “starve all day, binge late at night” thing, incorrectly thought I could eat bad foods if I worked out to counter it, and tried out many extreme diet/exercise regimes that I never had a chance of sticking to. It wasn’t until this past year that it finally all came together for me and I understood what I really needed to do and how I needed to think in order to live healthier and feel better about myself, and it was pretty much exactly what you said here. I think the biggest take away I had from my entire experience was the importance of setting manageable goals for myself, and ensuring that my mind truly wanted to eat clean/exercise, so my body would naturally follow suit. I’ve also worked hard to clean up my diet and like you, I’ve found that since doing so, I don’t even /want/ to binge eat junk or skip an embarrassing number of workouts in a row. And because this change was one I naturally instilled into my lifestyle, it’s one that I think (hope) will last.

    Anyways, a huge congrats to you for everything you went through. Believe me, while I know every person’s journey is different, I can still understand some of the emotional, physical, and mental things you went through before reaching the place you’re at now having been through my own version of it myself. That road is long and it is hard, but the lessons learned are truly invaluable. Keep it up, and know that there are so many girls (and guys!) out there that can relate to you, and as a result, can also now look up to you. So thank you for this 🙂

  19. I’d love to hear how the days were when you first started incorporating sugar back into your eating plan. I know someone who eliminated sugar for 30 days and loved how she felt (energy, appearance, etc.). Realistically, once she started intaking sugar again, she said it was fairly hard; a piece of fruit tasted uncomfortably sweet. I would love to hear your experience on this so I can be prepared for when I decide to take on the 30 Day No-Sugar challenge!

  20. This is so great and inspiring! I had a health scared myself in December 2015 and had to to have survery. I changed my diet to exactly what you did. I could not agree more that it’s a life changer. If you set your mind to it, you can do anything and stick to it. Once you eliminate sugar and then reintroduce it, you will find sweets to be very sweet and you will only eat them in moderation. Great blog!

  21. I feel inspirated to try the 30 day Challenge. I have never embarked on no sugar that long but I know it’s neccessary to make changes. I’m giving up cookies (sweets) fries, and fried rice. Now that the new year is here can you or anyone else who has done something similar
    -Give some example meals you ate in the month and also some snacks.
    -how did you deal with intense sugar craving ?

    Thank you!!

  22. I feel inspirated to try the 30 day Challenge. Started to eat healthy after New Year actually! First day was tough, but it’s slowly becoming easier now and on top of that I started to workout more too! I feel pretty amazing so far. 🙂
    Jenna, I just wanted to say thank you! for making a blog like this. and I Love you!
    Love Em
    xoxoxo

  23. I would love to know what meals you ate and continue to eat. I’m trying really hard to eat healthy but it’s seems that everything I eat seems to have something in it that I shouldn’t have!

  24. Like everyone else I thought this was terrific! Only thing I would take issue with is the all things in moderation and treat yourself when you deserve it. I feel it is the mindset that we get as little children that sweet things are treats and rewards that lead us to have life long problems with it. Who teaches us this? Grandma’s, parents, teachers, kindly strangers even. It is hard for the adults to resist as you can turn any child’s face into one of joy by offering them sweets.

    Thus we don’t even think of chocolate, candy, cake, ice cream, pastry, etc. as food. It is above and beyond that. No nutrition here, just jumbled emotions, desire for love and attention and the feeling that life is tough so don’t we all deserve a reward? This my friends is a drug, not a food group. Which brings us to the all things in moderation. Since a great many of us are addicted to this substance it is hard to just take a little and then stop. I, and from much reading, many other people , take that first little bite and then go on a binge. Jenna if you can put the top back on and leave the rest for another day, then you truly are a woman of great will power and I have found another reason to admire you besides your beauty, dancing skills, and good hearted nature.

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