Jeneen Haven – Another Inspiring Story of Transformation
Real people making real like changes and delivering strategies and tips. Jeneen found Fitlandia on Facebook as she was looking a support group that aligned with her beliefs of eating whole food, not a diet club, or anything fad-like. She joined the Fitlandia FB group and connected with Christa. Jeneen now works as a holistic health coach and shares her journey of weight loss and what she has discovered along the way about herself and her relationship with food.
Jeneen’s Transformation Journey
Over 10 years ago, Jeneen and her family moved from the San Francisco Bay area to Boise, ID to start a business. She encountered winter for the first time, the challenges of entrepreneurship and a life that felt out of control. She realized that the one thing she had control over was herself. She weighed 230 pounds, felt embarrassed and ashamed; like she didn’t belong or wasn’t good enough to be with the other moms at her children’s school or at church. It was at that moment she decided that she was done being fat. Jeneen took an honest look at herself and acknowledged that she was obese.
She bought a YMCA membership, made a green smoothie daily, dropped the older kids at school each day and went directly to the gym. She checked her younger ones into daycare and hit the treadmill daily. Jeneen didn’t like the treadmill, but she did like “Law and Order” – and would watch the hour-long show before exiting the machine to get her children from daycare. They would then eat a healthy lunch, vegetable snacks in the afternoon, and a plant-based, protein evening meal with the entire family. She repeated this routine for ten months and dropped 80 pounds. There was no magic – just positive, healthy changes.
Jeneen’s Beliefs Around Food
- Food is love
- We celebrate with food
- It’s a way to connect with her children
- Being a good mother by baking homemade goods
- Sweet rolls
- Sugar cookies
- Granola with honey, oats wheat flour and dried berries
- Calorie-dense foods
- Grain-based diet
Jeneen’s health transformation came when she let go of grains and began emphasizing veggies instead. Christa reminds us to, “Make every plate 50-75% vegetables, whether you are eating paleo, vegan or Whole 30.” And the importance of limiting fruits – it’s not the adage of “eat your fruits and vegetables,” its now, eat your vegetables and occasionally some fruit. The fructose in fruits can easily be stored as fat unless we are moving enough to actually burn the sugar.
Your Family Should be Your “Why” and Not Your “Why Not”
For years, Jeneen used her family and being a mom as an excuse not to take care of herself.
“How can I put my kids in daycare?”
“How can I not bake for my kids?”
“How can I not decorate cookies on Valentine’s Day?”
“How can I be so selfish?”
Using Weight as a Protective Shield
Jeneen’s feelings of not being as good, as pretty, or as organized as the other moms were the beliefs that kept her obese. The weight created a buffer to take herself out of the comparison with other women/moms who she felt she didn’t stack up against.
Jeneen’s mother is obese and growing up she felt a connection with her at a core level. She had fear that her mother wouldn’t love her if she lost weight and changed “tribes.”
Once Jeneen started to experience the increased confidence and freedom of releasing the weight, she could reap all the benefits of a healthy lifestyle; a few of them include:
- Shopping for clothes in regular stores
- Eating healthy and exercising to get off medications
- Endorphins kicking in
- Exercise increased from walking to weight lifting = feeling strong!
Christa gives a shout-out to resistance training, which supports the brain on so many levels. The benefit we women get with developing our strength and our muscles is so amazing.
Not Feeling Deprived
During Jeneen’s weight loss journey, she allowed herself a weekly treat of boneless buffalo wings. After eating healthy all week, she and a girlfriend would meet and share a basket of wings. This helped her to stay on track while enjoying the social connection with her good friend. She also had a weekly date night with her husband and she would choose a salad and protein. These activities were a testimony that she could still enjoy foods she loved, but in the right proportion.
There are general guidelines that create the highest level of success for most people, but then it’s about creating a lifestyle and an eating plan that works for life.
It’s important to understand what works for you and what your triggers are
Emotions Drive Specific Cravings
Angry = crave spicy
Stressed = crave salty
Sad = crave sweets
Happy = crave sweets
This discovery helped Jeneen realize that not only did she crave these types of foods at specific instances, but that she is now more mindful of using any type of food to numb emotions.
Become curious to when, what, why we are eating. What’s going on? What are the feelings?
Jeneen’s Take-away Tips
- Make your children your “why” and not your “why not”
- Change patterns learned from family of origin and model good behavior
- Set boundaries – don’t sacrifice peace, joy and confidence
- Do it for yourself – I’m worth it, I care how I look and how I feel
- Make fitness and health non-negotiable
- Investing in “me” does not take away from “them”
You can learn more about Jeneen and her work at: http://healmomfirst.blogspot.com/