Jennifer’s story is unique in that it is not traditional “before and after” story but one about deep rooted fears and her relationship with food. Jennifer came to CSF in great shape physically. But mentally, she struggled with eating to fuel her body. She avoided certain foods and certain food groups fearing what they might do to her physique. If she slipped up, she would add in extra exercise to make up for the mistake.
Just when Jennifer was building momentum and learning to look at foods in new ways, she faced one of the biggest turning points of her life. It was through this struggle that she relied on some very basic nutritional strategies to keep her from sliding back to a place she thought she’d never be again.
If you struggle with the way you look at foods, you’ll want to read what Jennifer had to say:
Like most women and girls, I have always struggled with body issues and my relationship with food. I grew up in a happy home but in a metropolitan city where there is a heightened focus on appearance and body size. During my childhood, my mom followed various fad diets (hello Slim-Fast!) and even very regimented diets. The seed was planted at an early age that there are bad foods and good foods. It is only now, at almost 40, that I’ve come to realize this environment shaped my unhealthy relationship with food and my body. I would sabotage my weight loss efforts. I would punish myself when I ate poorly by either over-exercising the following days or severely cutting my caloric intake for a couple days.
As the mom of two daughters, I began to realize that my intense desire to be perfect – perfect food, perfect body, perfect appearance – was going to trickle down to my daughters if I wasn’t careful. The cycle that had been created in my childhood and adult years would continue. One day I was scrolling through Instagram and stumbled on Heidi Powell’s post about her friend Kacey Luvi. Kacey’s story was my story – from her relationship with food to her sabotaging behavior to wanting to fix that relationship for her children. More importantly, she talked about how her nutrition coach Adam Petropolis and Copper State Fit (CSF) broke her free from those chains.
Three years ago, I timidly had my first call with Adam and we started working together. I was completely terrified even though I knew I wanted to change. I was scared to death to track my foods – to eat fats – to consume a certain number of calories. I still vividly remember a check-in call with Adam where he lovingly but very firmly told me that my fear of consuming the right number of calories for my body was harming me physically. That was my light bulb moment – my Oprah moment – it was only then that I was able to start transforming.
With CSF, I was able to hit my goal weight and all while eating more calories than I thought I could. But more importantly, I learned how to look at food as fuel for my body. I was nourishing my body. I was able to not punish myself and I was able to love my body and myself…..that was until I went through my divorce.
While I won’t go into the details of my divorce, I will share that it was one of the most traumatic times of my life. I was torn down and had to emerge from the ashes. I put one foot in front of the other for seven months, and I was able to do that in no small part because of CSF. Adam has created something truly unique in CSF. While it’s all virtual and we’ve never met, it’s a community – a family.
During that time, Adam, his wife, Rene, and some of the other women I met through CSF became my lifelines – my support system – my family. Suddenly my weekly check-in calls shifted from talking about food, macros, workouts and scales to checking in on me and my children. The CSF system was put on hold as I survived and navigated the implosion that was my marriage. That community – that family – carried me through my darkest time and I’m eternally grateful for that.
After my divorce was finalized in July 2018, I started to slip back into some old behaviors. My truth was I was in my best shape of my life during the last part of my marriage and if that couldn’t keep my marriage intact what was the point. Stress caused me to gain weight, but sabotage and my brain kept me from losing it. This time with Adam (and also with Rene) I forced myself to not only look at my body image issues but also at how I truly view food.
I wrote myself letters that I read to myself each morning. Letters that told me I was strong, beautiful and a warrior. Instead of focusing on macros and tracking, I focused on eating mindfully. On making myself a balanced plate of food without using a scale and looking at portion sizes. On working out when I could fit it into my schedule but not being a maniac about it. On practicing gratitude. These steps have released me from that bondage – have broken that cycle – have made me realize I’m perfectly imperfect and I’m good the way I am.