JenXJourney: Anti-Influencer

Me. And food. Our relationship is still “complicated” but we’ve made peace.

Are you about sick and tired of these fit people saying “Follow me for more tips?”

Beautiful people cooking beautiful food, saying how easy it is only to go to the recipe to find (after scrolling endlessly through their stupid stories) you need 8,000 ingredients that require trips to four specialty grocery stores.

Then there are the influencers who will die on their sword of a particular diet. Keto is the way! OK, time out, its intermittent fasting. Wait, no, just eat clean. Or paleo. Or vegan. Whole 30! Cleanse. Shakes. Bars. Meals.

Here’s me. JenXJourney anti-influencer to tell you – THIS SHIT IS HARD. Its not a pretty Insta picture. And if you struggle like me, well welcome to the club. You are a human being.

And yes, I spew shit on the internet too. Maybe I am no better, but I am not in a camp. A crowd. I am here to say all of these diets are actually great if they work for you! And they all can work because they help most people get in to a caloric deficit. And they can work even better if you love it and it makes you feel great because you will stick with it.

I’m talking to everyone else who is still searching, still yo-yo-ing. Aren’t you tired? Its exhausting.

What all of these influencers miss is YOU. What they missed for me for the 20-years I weighed between 235-265 pounds was helping me to find my power and confidence within. My Insta-feed is filled with real talk. I am not afraid to confront days where I’m “coming to” eyeball deep in powdered sugar donut residue on my face and Cheetos “cheetle” on my fingers while I’m trying to figure out what went wrong when I was reading that latest diet book. Yes, I say that to be funny, but I also say it with 100% sincerity too.

What they also miss is, what happened to just balanced freaking eating that is mostly nutrient dense, but leaving room for stuff we love on occasion. Or maybe even daily?

What happened to an exploration and pause on how so many of us use food as a sedative, friend and stress reliever. Food to celebrate. Food to grieve. Food when bored. Food ‘cuz we love food. If we don’t talk about this – what does any “diet” even mean? And how can we possibly sustain even the greatest of weight loss success?

After a few years, less than 5% of people maintain their weight loss.

What about balance? Who talks about that? Well, I guess its not sexy and provocative enough. Not Insta-influencer worthy.

What about thinking about something that works for you? For example a lower carb regimen for me was so key early in my journey. I was pre-diabetic and focusing on that balance for me helped clear so much of what I call the “food fog” that was in my way. Its what I needed at the time. I don’t think everyone needs to start there. Some do.

As I lost weight, what helped me lose my first 55-pounds was not what would work for me for my last 60+ pounds. I started working out, and plateaued for 18-months, I needed to rethink my strategy. Apparently carbs were no longer something to stay away from. Working out wasn’t bringing more results in it of itself. Carbs were something that my body now needed. But I was still too busy looking at all these “diets” – which camp I needed to join next. I didn’t know what I needed?

What happened to common sense? I guess I’m never really sure we’ve had it when it comes to food. Even our doctors don’t have the knowledge they need. I can tell you as someone who read every diet book from 1997 – 2017 , I just kept thinking it was me. If everyone else reading these books or people on Insta had their shit together…what was my freaking problem?

And by the way, what is the deal with these Insta ladies putting their asses in our face nonstop? Grrrrr. I just can’t even. Anyone else or just me? I don’t see myself in them. And NO I don’t want to follow you for more tips.

I just wanted to know why I couldn’t stop eating.

ANYWAY…the problem is:

  1. What works for one or is best for one is not necessarily what you need.
  2. We each need a person who understands. Sometimes its people, a community that understands. James Clear author of the book Atomic Habits Tweeted, “if you want to build habits that last, join a group where the desired behavior is the normal behavior.” I could finally ask people – how do YOU stop eating? What can I do to feel more in control?
  3. This smart James Clear guy also talking about our belief in what is possible. For so long I was the girl who failed diets, so what was I awesome at? Failing diets. Mr. Clear says, “Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.” Most of the stories we all have in our head are 100% working against us, not for us. We have to change that head talk.
  4. And, in order to do this, sometimes we need someone else who sees it in us first. And helps us learn how to change that reel of negativity to positive. Whether its a fitness coach, nutrition coach, etc. I had some cool people who believed in me even when I didn’t. I would chuckle when my CrossFit coach called me an athlete, or having my nutrition coach snap me back to reality when I want to overeat. They helped me see what I could become, even though I thought it was ridiculous at first. 
  5. I, for so long, was convinced I was so broken that I had no choice to do this alone. That was my biggest mistake of all. And while I needed coaches and support, it wasn’t by joining any particularly diet camp – they helped me find MY WAY.

Look what happened. WTF. (Notice, no butt picture. You’re welcome.)

What happened when I believed in myself, changed how I spoke to myself, listened to myself, confronted how I use food (this is still a work in progress) and found people who believed in me to help me find my own way.

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