I used to eat cookie dough for a living.
Nah . . . but it sure felt that way!
Now, 15 years later, I hold multiple fitness, nutrition, & life coaching credentials, and I’ve completely changed the way I look, feel, & live my life. I also don’t hate myself anymore.
But these credentials are not what qualify me to coach you.
What qualifies me to coach you is the deep and real place I’ve come from that lead me to actually study what I’m so passionate about today:
Empowering you to Look, Feel, and Live your Best life ever — while doing the same with my own.
I used to hate the girl looking back at me in the mirror.
Yep, I used to hate myself. And I wasted about 13 years of my life living that story.
I think this happened because I knew what I was capable of. I knew my potential, and when I found myself at 25, 27, and all the sudden at age 30 not living that potential, I buried myself deeper with food and self-hate.
It actually went like this: eat crappy food, weight gain, self-hate, hiding out, and more food to cover all that up – to make me “feel” better.
A viscous cycle.
One that I’m sure you aren’t a stranger to if you’re still reading this.
We all have different journeys, but I would put my money on the fact that you can identify with part of mine.
In high school, I was a “normal” weight and size even though I didn’t feel like it. I wore my 125 pound body and size 9/10 Pepe jeans around feeling like a size 22 and that 125 was “fat.” When you’ve got girls in your class that are size zero, comparison really does suck.
Miraculously, I made it through high school and around age 19 became a group aerobics instructor which I found validating and fun not to mention, a strategy to annihilate my freshman 15 er…30. HaHa!
That was my first experience with gaining a bunch of weight and doing whatever it took to get it off. Teaching classes 6 days a week helped but at that age, I was willing to do whatever it took to get that weight off.
This included lots of Hydroxycut and driving across the border to Iowa where they still sold Super Diet Max pills with ephedrine.
Pills & Potions? I’ve done it all.
Things were going great; I got the freshman 30 off and enjoyed it for some time until…….I met the man I would eventually marry.
Have you ever been so giddy happy in your life that you didn’t care what you were eating and certainly weren’t concerned with exercising?
That was me.
We liked to drink and eat out. My weight ballooned again. I tried to get some off before the wedding with pills, shakes, starving myself to death, and crazy exercise and food plans, but mostly what I remember about my once-in-a-lifetime event is how I didn’t look good enough.
That’s NOT what we should remember from our wedding day.
Then, I started having babies, watching TV, and stuffing my mouth with food because I was “eating for two” and had nothing better to do.
After all, I still wasn’t living the “potential” I thought I had and probably never would so why did taking care of myself matter now?
Being married to a farmer can be lonely.
Food was my best friend.
My security blanket. It made me feel good.
Yes, I worked out. I had a treadmill in the house. I tried very book, program, workout DVD, food delivery service, potion weight loss pill and prescribed “diet” med you can EVER imagine.
Back then, no one every talked about habits or lifestyle change as a way to heal me from my nightmare.
It was all or nothing. And if you couldn’t do it you must not have any willpower to do so.
What I did not realize was that I wasn’t sleeping, I was eating like crap, my exercise was not consistent, and as a new mom with a husband who was gone a lot, I was stressed to the max.
These pictures below are only SOME of the things I tried. To be honest, some of them did work.
Except, nothing could forever mask hating myself, my body, and having a negative relationship with food. Or the fact that my lifestyle did not support solid habit changes.
It was always All or Nothing with me.
And if that wasn’t working, I told myself I was a failure. I couldn’t do it.
Nothing can mask hating yourself deep inside . . . even if it works for a little while
One day, in 2008, I woke up at 260 lbs.
I really, really hated myself and the person I had become.
I was an angry, irritated mother, not full of love, but full of hate for myself. And we all know, what’s on the inside is what shows on the outside.
It definitely did.
Here I had three beautiful, healthy children that I should have enjoyed much more than I did at the time.
I hated the person staring back at me when I would look in the mirror. I could hardly look at her.
A frumpy, sad, angry mom. I didn’t even recognize myself and only knew how to calm myself with more food.
Is this all there is? I’m 32 years old, is this it?
I would cry and cry because I had no clue how to get “me” back again.
I hated the clothes I had to wear. I didn’t feel good in them. I was hiding a body that I had no respect for.
In late 2008 and 2009, I started to wake up.
I began to find success again in treadmill intervals and resistance training. Even though I was still addicted to food and emotional eating, I did start to see my body change.
I lost some weight and starting feeling more confident, but something was still missing. I still couldn’t look in the mirror and say I liked myself or even liked what my life was about.
During this time, my husband and I were not getting along well.
Imagine that! It’s pretty hard to love someone when you hate yourself.
Lost, I began looking outside myself for acceptance, confidence, and emotional security. I highly do not recommend this.
Happiness resides within you. Nothing on the outside can trump that.
It was a rough time.
The bottom of the barrel. Literally.
I moved myself and my three kids out of our house for a short time. My body and self image issue was breaking up my family.
No clue what I was doing, I sat in an unfamiliar house, I started thinking again about what I was meant to do in life.
What was my purpose? What am I here for?
All my life I wanted to be a dancer, an actress, a performer, and it was clear that was not going to happen. But the pull was still there.
Now, I had to find another way to bring those feelings, those emotions back into my life.
It’s been quite a journey for me since realizing that in order to heal myself, I needed to feel like the girl I always wanted to be even if I wasn’t doing the things I always wanted to do.
First, ZUMBA, a form of dance and fitness you’ve probably heard of by now, caught my eye and seemed to fit with my passions.
I got licensed in every form of Zumba possible (I still had the All or Nothing philosophy ingrained in my brain ) and began teaching locally in 2010.
Unknowingly, I began healing myself on the inside.
Our family quickly reunited. The kids and I moved back home. Honestly, things were “edgy” for several years, but we were together. We were healing — I was healing.
You’ve heard the phrase “fake it till you make it.” That was my motto.
Some professionals will dispel this philosophy, but it worked for me in the long run, and it can for you, too. There’s even a book written about it, The As If Principle.
Still, there was fire burning inside of me. It was the personal training manual that had been sitting on my shelf for over 10 years.
I’d been a certified aerobics instructor, but the personal trainer course seemed way out of my league. A lot of studying. A lot of questioning myself. Am I too old for this — am I even good enough to do this?
I studied and got certified anyway. I was working my way back to who I really wanted to be.
In 2011, I opened a personal training facility, 180 Fitness Training, because I wanted to turn my life around. << notice how it was about “me” not anyone else’s life.
Sure, I was healing myself, but it turned into so much more.
The joy that came from helping and empowering other women to heal themselves and change their lives was something I could never have imagined or planned for.
TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING = EUSTRESS (GOOD STRESS)
Now, I found myself coaching Bootcamps on top of Zumba classes morning and night, experiencing crazy busyness.
I loved it all. However, suddenly, my family was taking a big hit not having me around much.
Another thing — I was running myself and my body into the ground and I didn’t know it. All or Nothing remember?
I found no time to take care of myself and began to plateau with my own body transformation and weight loss goals.
At that point, there were some missing components to my coaching philosophy and something I needed for myself, too. These components, I believed, were nutrition coaching, life coaching, and personal mastery work.
It was the “other stuff” outside of working out. The stuff that matters if we wanna change our lifestyle and our body for good.
Which is what we ultimately want right?
But I had no energy left. I didn’t know how I was going to do it all.
I want to LIVE THE LIFE I SPEAK OF
“How can I coach when I’m not even walking my own talk?”
Towards the end of my 180 Fitness Training days, I was doing the “fitness hustle.”
I’d go to bed as late as midnight and wake at 3:30 am making the 20 minute commute to my gym and train clients at 4:30 am.
Turns out sleep is one of the largest regulators of weight. Had I known this, I would not have been depriving myself of it.
But I loved the women I was working with, I loved what I was doing, and it was hard to say no because I wanted to help them so badly.
Plus, I was running a business; I had rent to pay!
After several years of doing the “fitness hustle,” a great opportunity presented. It included helping design and operate my business out of a brand new facility in a neighboring town.
They were asking for my expertise!
Knowing that I couldn’t do everything, I made the very difficult decision to close my own facility, become a mobile coach, and help with the new place.
Long story short, that venture didn’t work out as expected which was a blessing in disguise.
In the end, I began training out of my shop gym on the farm and in clients’ own facilities. To say I had less stress would be a complete understatement.
I became a better coach and a better person – to myself, my family, and my clients.
My clients were getting better results, and I was determined to start taking better care of myself. I wanted to live the life I speak of.
One of my friends, celebrity trainer Val Waters, always says
STRATEGY TRUMPS WILLPOWER
I began creating these strategies instead of relying on willpower (they were simple things!) and started seeing so many unexpected changes with my body.
Not only did I start looking better, I felt amazing!
My life changed on a much deeper level, which grounded the physical changes that were happening on the outside, too.
The healing of self-image and inner happiness were paving the way for removing stubborn areas of fat I could never get to before.
I was floored to see how it’s really all connected.
Ladies, we’re not solving weight struggles. And in many ways, we’re not even solving issues with food here.
We’re solving the issues that create them in the first place.
And when you find that, you find true change.
For the first time in many, many years, I think all my life, I’m can look in the mirror (at a slimmer face!) and LIKE who I’m looking at.
I’m able to take good care of myself because I love who I am, not because I hate the face looking back at me.
I’m fortunate to see from the inside what the pros are doing with their clients, how they get them results, and get to replicate that with you, my readers, my clients, and myself.
This journey is what makes me a great coach.
Not the credentials behind my name.
My real credentials come from a lifetime of living every moment of what I teach.
I love what I do because I’ve been there.
I help you and I don’t let you give up on yourself because I’ve been there.
And I know you can be here where I stand now, too.
Do I struggle? You ask . . .
Hell YES I do! All the time.
But the difference between then and now is that I know it’s OK to fall down. Falling is not the end. It’s the beginning of growth if you let it be.
Living a fit and healthy life is not a ‘destination.’
It’s a journey. It never ends.
It’s about falling down, learning, standing back up to brush the dust off, and doing all again only better.
Because of this journey, I’ve founded a coaching philosophy, The MECS Method, that I live by and that I teach every single one of my clients.
By sticking around, listening to me on my live broadcasts, reading my blogs, and hanging out in my Free, Private Facebook group, you’ll here about this philosophy often.
I’m seriously impressed you’re still with me all the way down here!
The MECS Method, which is just about simple lifestyle factors, is what allowed me to be here writing this article for you today.
If you’re still itching for more and want to know some of my strategies that got me to where I am today, then grab your copy of 10 Strategies that Trump Willpower.
Besides, it’s Free.
So it’s kind of a no-brainer.
The strategies are actionable and they’re real. Like, for Real Life.
Because that’s who I am.
This stuff works when you use it.
Jen Blau is a certified Nutrition Coach (PN-1), AFFA certified Personal Trainer, and founder of The MECS Method.
She has 20+ years’ experience working within the health and fitness industry starting in her early 20’s as a step and water aerobics instructor.
In 2011, Jen opened 180 Fitness Training, a private personal training facility. Due to her busy mom-of-three life and having the intention to take good care of her own self, she now writes, speaks, and video blogs about all that she has learned from working in the industry.
Her passion is Empowering women to Look, Feel, and Live their Best life ever — while doing the same with her own.