guest post thursday! jenny m.

by Janetha on July 15, 2010

in meals

Hi Meals & Moves readers! My name is Jenny and I am super excited to be guest-posting for you today!

A few of you may know me from my blog Closet365. I’m the crazy girl trying to wear 365 different outfits in 2010. I think I’m somewhere in the 190s right now and still going strong. At my blog you can usually find me looking something like this:


But what you may not know is that I’m also an avid fitness/food blog reader. And I spend about half of my time looking more like this.


Like Janetha, I have completed several Body-For-Life challenges and still pretty much adhere to the BFL Lifestyle. For my guest post, I thought I’d tell you a little bit about my experience with BFL and clean eating/working out.

I guess what we really need to do is jump back in time. (Time Warp! Wheee!) About 14 years ago, almost to the date, (Man, I’m old!) I entered my first hospitalization stint for severe anorexia. My eating disorder haunted me throughout my teen years and into my early twenties and took on just about every incarnation. I did every dangerous and awful thing you can do to you body in attempt to have control over my weight.

Repeatedly. I literally wasted a decade of my life being ruled by the drama and obsession that eating disorders create. I was miserable.

Eventually, in my early twenties, I got fed up with all of it, I made a deal that I would start treating my body with a little more respect and see where it landed me. I started working out regularly and adopted a healthier/more balanced diet. It was hard but in time, I started to feel better. More balanced. In reality, I still hadn’t happened upon the right equation. I was overtraining my body with long gym sessions and growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of results. I was exhausted. Eventually I gave up. My husband and I went through a major move from Texas to Colorado and in the process of that, all my good habits eventually fell to the wayside.

In late summer 2008, I was at my wits end. I wanted desperately to reclaim the fitness lifestyle that had enjoyed. Enter Body-For-Life. I’ll admit I was skeptical at first.

Here’s why:

  • Workouts lasting no longer than 45 minutes. And only 20 minutes of cardio, three times a week
  • 5-6 meals a day, and not low-carb?
  • Rest day?
  • FREE DAY?!?!

It all sounded too good to be true, but when I look at it now, the same things that seemed so unbelievable are what made the program so appealing in the first place. and why I still love it so much to this day! I decided I would give this Body-For-Life thing a whirl. I completed my first BFL challenge at the end of 2008. It wasn’t totally easy. There were many times when I wanted to give up. Plenty of times when I wasn’t seeing Instant Progress and felt jealous of people who had better results than me. Other times my eating disorder’s perfectionist tendencies creeped up on me. I obsessively tracked my macros and got frustrated if I didn’t hit a perfect 40/40/20. But you know what? For whatever reason, I felt like I was on to something and I didn’t give up.

Want to see some really embarrassing Before/After pictures? Here ya go:


Completing the challenge, was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. It completely changed the way I felt about food and my body, and the lessons I learned have stuck with me. I went from hating food and completely misusing it as an emotional tool, to relishing food as fuel. I value everything that I put into my body now and what I get from it in return. Ditto exercise. I shifted from using it as punishment. I now love my workouts for the strength and focus they give me. But most importantly, I finally. Finally. FINALLY learned to accept the body I live in. I learned to treat it as a valuable instrument – giving it proper care and challenging it to perform. I still have bad days now and then (who doesn’t) but I really couldn’t love it any more. That is by far the most valuable thing I gained from BFL, far beyond the visible results.

Okay now that I’ve written a book, here a few last thought for anyone who is considering trying Body-For-Life, or even just a new diet/fitness regime. A lot of people are not sure they have the time and energy. As someone who works 40+ hours a week, maintains a completely ridiculous and time-consuming blog I know a thing or two about being busy. Here are a few of the ways I make it work:

  • Make a plan: Even a loose plan is okay. I like to write everything down, even if it’s just in dry-erase marker and can be revamped. If for no other reason than it feels really good to cross things off, when you’re done!                            image
  • Do the prep-work: I’m not gonna lie. I’m not one of those people who has time to cook a bunch of stuff in advance. Some days it takes a monumental effort just to pack my lunch. BUT even just doing that is a lifesaver. It takes ten minutes to make a balanced lunch. Once the work is done, you don’t have any excuses. I also make sure to pack my gym bag and drag it along with my morning haul. It makes going straight to the gym fail-proof.                                  image
  • Do what works for you: So my water bottles are not BPA free. I can’t afford organic. Once I bought full-fat cottage cheese and ate it anyway. And sometimes I DIY my yogurt into a more protein-packed snack by dumping in a half-scoop of protein powder. (Just stir!) I eat at least one store-bought protein bar every single day. I begrudge myself a less-than perfect routine and I still get plenty good results. I’m a firm believer that good intentions go a long way.
  • Don’t give up! If I can do this, anyone can do this. Trust me. What I lack in super serious discipline, I make up for in perseverance. My first BFL challenge fixed my body woes, but changing my attitude is what has propelled me even further. Staying positive in subsequent challenges, and just following BFL day in and day out has continued to yield results. The key now, is that I trust my body and I trust that the system works. I no longer sweat my slip-ups. I just hop back on track.
  • Have fun! Seriously. Life is too dang short.                                                                                                                        image
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lisaou11 July 15, 2010 at 9:31 pm

First of all, great idea for a blog! I want to read just b/c of all your amazing outfits!

Secondly, I love reading success stories. I too have done BFL with great results! Good job! :)

Jenn July 15, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Jenny, you rock. You always put a smile on my face.

I did BFL a few years ago with good results too. It really is brilliant in it’s simplicity.

Nicole C July 15, 2010 at 10:38 pm

I think this was my favorite guess posting so far. It takes someone comfortable with who they are to be able to share tough times with strangers or not so unknown. Great inspiration to get out there and change the routine and stick to a plan. I did my first yoga class tonight and hope this is a beginning to a different mindset.

ps – your blog is super fun and creative!!

Tamizn July 16, 2010 at 12:18 am

Love this post your an inspiration girl! x x

hayleycepeda July 16, 2010 at 3:10 am

Great post!! I loved reading all about your experience with BFL…and I’m so glad you’ve gotten away from the anorexic days! I know from experience that is not an easy thing to do. Cute pics, too!!

fitnessandsunshine July 16, 2010 at 4:43 am

This is so inspirational, thanks so much for the post! I especially loved reading about your “less than perfect” routine… it’s so important to do what’s best for ourselves and not try to necessarily adhere to the strictest of plans, or what anyone else does.

Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) July 16, 2010 at 4:54 am

Great post! I loved BFL when I did it, I really need to keep up the principles more in my day-to-day life!


Emily July 16, 2010 at 5:38 am

Hey Jenny! This was an awesome and inspirational post. As if I didn’t love your fashion side enough, this glimpse into the food and fitness side was great! :)

Thanks for the post.

SassyRas July 16, 2010 at 5:55 am

great post! thanks for sharing.

Erika July 16, 2010 at 6:07 am

Wow. What a great post.
I found it very inspiring…thanks! :-)

Patricia Braithwaite July 16, 2010 at 6:48 am

This was just what I needed to jolt me back into the realization that being too busy is just an excuse! I had been going along just fine and then my mind starting playing with me and I lost my motivation. (I guess I’m human) Anyway, thanks for the great post. It helped me more than you’ll know!

bubblegumgymkat July 16, 2010 at 7:15 am

GREAT did such a good job. I took have been in the “overtraining” rut!! It’s so frustrating! I am reading Bill Phillips new book Transformation, have you picked it up yet?

Duly Quoted July 16, 2010 at 7:19 am

This story was SO inspiring–maybe i’ll look into BFL! Fave guest post yet!!! ;).
Happy Friday!

Duly Quoted July 16, 2010 at 7:21 am

(Maybe i’ll look into it as an even higher priority, i mean, ’cause after reading Janetha’s story and Mama Pea’s experience, it was already on my list :). But I loved reading about how it helped Jenny with her ED. Awesome! You should start your own blog, Jenny!).

Mary @ What's Cookin' with Mary July 16, 2010 at 8:03 am

Great guest post! :)

I like the idea of your blog ;) I’d be outta combo’s in a few short weeks!!

Hailey Strelich (Adventures in Health) July 16, 2010 at 8:18 am

Hey Janetha, what a great guest post. My sister in law said she did your pedi the other day! Small world huh? Anyway your friends post was awesome Body for Life sounds amazing. I’m just scared to eat that much food I guess I should get the book and check it out though. Good luck with the wedding I’m sure everything will be beautiful. Its a whirl wind day so stay focused so you can remember the details. I had a hard time it felt like a dream. I got a videographer which really helped me remember the little details. Good luck!!!! -Hailey- :)

nourishingnoshes July 16, 2010 at 9:46 am

What an inspiration! Congratulations on all your hard work, Jenny. You look fabulous!

Hallie July 16, 2010 at 10:10 am

This was a GREAT guest post. Totally inspiring! I think I’m going to give BFL a try one of these days…I like it for the reasons your listed (free day, not low-carb, and not spending hours in the gym).

themohdiaries July 16, 2010 at 10:57 am

Awesome guest post!! I might have to investigate BFL more thoroughly…

Faith July 16, 2010 at 12:29 pm

This was such an inspirational post! I love hearing how people journey to health and how they find happiness balancing their lives and keying into personal confidence!

nancyrunswild July 17, 2010 at 1:23 pm

This was a great post, Jenny. Thanks for sharing! Your after photo is so kick ass btw.

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