Meet Jenelle. I am going to let her tell her story from her perspective. Take it away, Jenelle.
I was married in 2005, failing marriage in 2010 and divorced in 2013 with 2 kids ages 6 and 5 at the time. Poor relationship history following divorce, financial struggles often leading to working 3 jobs made for poor nutrition choices out of ease of access and stress eating.
I have always been an active person, sports were my thing; fitness has been my stress release for a number years. There were times where I was spending 3 hours a day training; running on my lunch hours at work and then strength training at the gym in the evening and I was getting nowhere. Yo-yo dieting, weight gain and weight loss nothing ever sustainable which ended up leading me to trying a couple different cleanses/ fad diets which lead me down the road of calorie restriction resulting in weight gains left me feeling defeated and out of control of my life.
During those years, I faced a number of other health problems, which also contributed to hindered success. Over the past almost 3 years I have slowly regained control of my life; I furthered my education and now have a full time job as a Primary Care Paramedic in my hometown and have had a solid relationship for 2 of those years, my kids are now preteens who are happy and healthy and to top it off am also sharing my passion for fitness as a group fitness instructor and personal trainer.
I finally had enough of the yoyo dieting and putting in excessive hours at the gym with little to no results. I have always known that nutrition was the weak link in my regimen but I was lost on where to begin. I had it stuck in my head that carbs and fat were bad and that I needed to live off of meat and salad let alone a less is more mentality. Oh was I wrong, so very wrong!! When I decided to seek help from a coach I was looking for sustained guidance and assistance with how to make food work for me not against me. Part of me wanted a meal plan to follow, to take all the work out of it for me (I am so very grateful that my experience has not been like that; as working shift work adds a whole other level to nutrition).
I guess one could say my experience is not what I expected; I have been given many tools in how to attach my OWN planning, to navigate the challenges that my life presents. Things such as there really are no BAD foods, that we can eat whatever but within moderation. Yes we make sacrifices but those are based on my goals and ambitions. Nutrition does not have to be about allowing or restricting it is very much about living and NOT being perfect. After saying that, my experience has been EXCEEDED expectations as I have been provided with so much more.
I knew it would be tough in the beginning, but I underestimated how tough it would be. It was very time consuming to calculate macros, determine what I was eating from day to day. I wish in the beginning I had allocated more time to get organized with food and planning. As a person that was an under eater I was not prepared for the volume of food that I was to consume in a day. One of my other struggles was not knowing where macros came from, mainly carbohydrates.
For those thinking of getting started, here are my top tips:
- Ask lots of questions
- Small steps; don’t aim for perfection (although this is still a struggle for me)
- Be real with yourself and honest with your coach
- TRUST the process
- Make time to plan and prepare; way easier to stay on track trust me it can be done on the fly but I have made poor decisions more often because of this
- Set your goals long term, short term,
- Be REAL, life happens don’t kick yourself to a bloody pulp if you have an off day or bad week; that is NOT worth your time or effort
Throughout this process my greatest accomplishment has been the mindset shift; I use to beat myself up so bad (so bad that if these things were spoke out loud to another human being I’d be arrested for verbal/mental abuse) for eating certain foods or for not working. Now I’m like, “Yup I ate some less than ideal food but it was food and I needed energy for my body, oh well; sleep it off and on to the new day.”
Yes, the physical changes are noticeable but the mental thoughts/feeling of self-perception that’s the money shot; that’s the shit that affects me daily. Being able to walk with my head held high with confidence let alone be able to look in a mirror; every bit of all of this had been worth it.
The biggest value to having a coach for me has been the accountability. Not only for helping to keep me on track, but someone who genuinely cares about the betterment of others. Having someone to talk to, like I mean really talk to had a huge impact on my success.
I chose Shannon as my nutrition coach for a few reasons:
- Since I met her when I first started attending her Crossfit gym I knew she were real, with a no bullshit, driven personality and I trusted her from the beginning.
- Because of the previously stated I knew she would understand me, my life, my challenges and that she genuinely cared about my success.
- Her will and need for continuous learning speaks miles to me. Basically her credentials and personality were and are exactly what I needed.
People have judged me for having a nutrition coach as they automatically assumed it was a DIET coach as they did not listen to the physical words that came out of my mouth. I responded to a particular case (at a Tim Horton’s) that I in fact was not dieting; that I was eating more food that I have ever eaten before, I stated my caloric intake for the day and the tellers jaw hit the counter. I shared that with proper education food doesn’t have to be restrictive when eaten and calculated for the body’s needs. This use to bother me as well (being a people pleaser and all) but now this shit doesn’t bug me, I am doing this for me and no one else; I’m trying to instill healthy habits with my kids so they too can have happy, joy filled lives.
Without Shannon I would not have made the progress that I have; my journey and time with her is far from over. I cannot thank her enough for the knowledge, guidance, support and confidence she instilled in me; this is not only from a nutrition standpoint but life in general.