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Motivation

Filtering by Tag: fitness coach

A Transformation Story

Jena Chopson

It's funny. When most women are getting ready for their wedding day, they do everything possible to get in the best physical shape for their big day. 

And me? The 3-sport high school athlete with what feels like a lifelong obsession with health & fitness? 

Nah.

In fact, the year of my engagement was probably one of the most UNhealthy years of my entire life. 

I was planning a wedding. While working stupid long hours as a nurse.  And then, as if wedding planning wasn't enough, we decided to put our house up for sale and start searching for our "forever" home. No big deal, right? 

I have never eaten so much fast food, takeout, and restaurant food in my entire life. I quickly ballooned to the heaviest weight I had ever been....ever. And as I spilled over into the "overweight" category on that beloved BMI scale, I earned myself a sit-down chat session with my doctor that I hadn't experienced since my overweight pre-teen years:

Doctor: You've gained weight.

Me: No shit. 

I was stressed to the max. Our financials were out of control. And what's more, I wasn't exactly used to being this uncomfortable in my own skin. I had dedicated myself to being healthy ever since I struggled with anorexia and binge eating in my early teens. You can read more about that here. And then I found myself overweight. Stressed out. Broke as a joke. And maybe homeless (seriously...who buys and sells a house while wedding planning?). 

To make a long story short---a few months after the chaos of buying & selling, the "I dos," the moving, and the new jobs wound down, someone introduced me to workouts I could do at home, in between my crazy nursing shifts. I could do these workouts without throwing on presentable gym clothes and hauling it to the gym. She also showed me how I could make extra income with this gig too. It was divine timing, and I jumped in 110%. 

I lost over 20 pounds and got in the best shape of my life. I would have kicked my own 17-year-old version of me's ass, and wore her prom dress better, too. I finally found ME again, and it felt amazing. 

Seems like the story should end here, right? 

There's one more really important piece to my story: My husband. 

He hates working out. He hates anything that makes him huff and puff. He's a hunter/fisherman type. Activities that get you outside to enjoy nature but don't necessarily get the heart racing. Well....until that trophy deer walks by. ;) 

He rolled his eyes a lot at first when I started my journey with at-home workouts. He was super skeptical about the whole thing. I have to give him credit though--despite his skepticism, his support for my journey was always unwavering. I'll never be able to thank him enough for that. 

I wanted him to go on this journey with me SO badly. After all, he, too had gained weight during our wedding/buying/selling/moving chaos. He ballooned to over 260lbs, officially gaining about 60 pounds since we had first met. We were both out of control. 

I wanted him to get his health back, too. But I couldn't do it for him. You can read more about that specific journey here

Long story short? He came around. And boy, he came around big time. Since deciding to make a change, Doug has lost approximately 75-80 pounds. He's lost a freaking 3rd grader! 

So when Doug posted this picture of us yesterday, it made my heart swell. 

Sometimes we can be so hard on ourselves. Sometimes it's so easy to forget how far we've come. We get so caught up in our daily, small battles that we forget about the war that we've already won. 

I'm sharing all this with you to say that there's a transformation story waiting inside all of us. We all have the power to make a change no matter what our situation, age, gender, finances, etc. All it takes is one decision and a steadfast, consistent commitment to make it happen. 

If we can do it, so can you. 

Do transformation stories like these inspire you? Let me know in the comments. I want to continue to give you stuff that inspires you to live your healthiest, best life. 

And as always, if you're struggling with your health & fitness goals and need help, I'm only an email/message/comment/social media handle away. You know where to find me. 

Cheers to you,

Jena 


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Four-ingredient squash parfait.

Jena Chopson

I love easy recipes. 

I love it even more when easy recipes taste this good. 

Sweet tooth, anyone? Read on....

It tastes better than it looks...if that's even possible. 

This recipe is super easy if you have everything on hand. I had leftover butternut squash that I cooked up yesterday, so this was literally as simple as mixing stuff in a bowl then scooping it out and layering it into this glass. 

But if you don't already have cooked squash on hand that's been hanging out in the fridge overnight (I mean, why wouldn't you?), then here's the recipe for this gem. 

Don't forget to let me know if this was appealing to your taste buds by sharing this out to your friends or commenting on this post on social.

What you'll need:

1 butternut squash
Liquid stevia (or packets work, too) 
1 serving of plain greek yogurt
Cinnamon
Carmel, Maple, or Vanilla extracts (optional) 
Honey or maple syrup (optional) 

To cook the squash: 

Cut off top 1/2". Cut lengthwise in half. Scoop out seeds. Place halves face down in a baking dish with 1/4" water. Bake at 350 for 90 minutes. When done, peel off the skin or scoop out the squash. Place squash in mixing bowl. Add 1-2 TBSP of cinnamon (or to taste), a 1/2 tsp liquid stevia (or 1-2 packets as desired), and 1 tsp caramel extract (or choose your flavor here, optional). Mix with electric hand mixer so it's like a fluff or mashed potato like.  

Side note: Butternut squash tastes amazingly sweet all on its own. Adding in extra stevia might be too much. Try it first by itself with a dash of cinnamon to see if you even need the stevia. If you're like me, you probably don't. This squash is the bomb dot com, baby.

You can, of course, eat the squash right away, but if you want to make the parfait, let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. 

For the greek yogurt: 

Place 1 serving (typically 2/3 cup) in a bowl. Add water while stirring to create desired consistency (I prefer a thinner consistency, greek yogurt is a little too thick for my liking. If you like it as is, then skip this step and carry on, you greek yogurt lovin' warrior). Add 1-2 stevia packets or liquid stevia to desired taste. Add in flavor extract of choice, if desired. I mixed in a few drops of maple extract. Blend well in the bowl. 

Side note: If you are new to plain greek yogurt, you may find that you need to add in a drizzle of honey or maple syrup to make it more desirable to your taste buds. I'll give you the green light here, but just don't get carried away, mmmkay? 

Once you have your refrigerated squash and greek yogurt mixture, simply layer them on top of each other at your heart's content. Voila! Heaven in your mouth. 

Now you can tell all your friends you eat dessert for breakfast AND stay on track with your goals.

Cheers,

Jena 

 

Special shoutout to Kevin Butz who showed me the squash ways and gave me several squash recipes. You da man, Kevin! 

If you're a 21-day fix meal plan follower, this recipe counts as 1 green (measured as 2/3 cup), and 1 red. Can we cheers again to that? 


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5 things I have learned in the first 2 weeks of Core De Force

Jena Chopson

1.) You need buddies to go on the journey with you.

I don’t care what you say. You can’t go through a lifestyle change alone, no matter what it is. You need at the very least a cheerleader or a friend who supports you 110% along your journey. Brownie points if that friend just happens to be in the trenches with you, walking right along side you. There’s power in linking arms with someone when you’re heading into battle!

Doing this program alongside some good friends has been a HUGE plus for me. It would be 100X more difficult without them.


2.) Accountability is everything.

See #1. A buddy system helps create accountability.  But aside from having others go on the journey with you, you need to shout on the rooftops what your goals are. You need to let everyone know. A silent journey helps no one, especially YOU! If you don’t tell anyone where you’re going, how will they know when you get off course? It’ll be easy to shy away from your goals if you’re the only one who knows about them.

The fact that we’ve had a group of others going on this journey with us, watching us, expecting us to show up, expecting us to check in with our measurements and milestones, creates SO much more accountability. This really is the secret sauce to sticking with something. You want motivation, inspiration, and dedication? Just grab yourself some accountability.

3.) It’s always tough in the beginning when you try something new.

You can’t expect a flawless journey when you decide to make a change. Change is always met with some resistance. It’s hard, especially in the beginning. You’re making a course disruption. We are creatures of habit by nature…..we like our routines and our habits. So when we decide to change it up…is it really any surprise that it’s just plain HARD?!

Week one of Core De Force tested me in every way possible. I knew it was going to be challenging, but I don’t think I was quite prepared for the kind of commitment I was making. But because I had #1 and #2 locked in, I stuck with it. Which lead me to #4…..

4.) …..but if you stick with it, you break through the wall.

Once I had week 1 under my belt, something exciting started to happen: I began to feel AMAZING. With a newfound sense of confidence and badassery, I felt like I could take on the world. I always tell my challengers that starting is the hardest part. And that couldn’t be a truer statement. We build up all these walls and excuses as to why we can’t do something, so we often never try. But if we can be bold enough to push past those fears and just START,  that’s when the magic happens. Piece by piece you begin to chip away at all those walls you build up until there’s nothing left standing but you.

5.)  You are SO much stronger than you think you are.

You know what? We tell ourselves a lot of bullshit stories about ourselves. It’s true. You have them, I have them, we ALL have them.

“I’ve never been strong enough to do ____.”

“I’ve never been able to do _____.”

“I’m just not cut out for _____.”

“I’m not as good as _____ so there’s no way I could _____.”

“I just don’t have that kind of motivation.”

“I’ll never be disciplined enough to do _____.”

We could be here for days. But you get the point, right?

But do you want to know the truth? Like the real truth and nothing but the truth? All of those stories you tell yourself about why you can’t do something are complete BS. All of them.

You are eleventy billion (that’s a lot ;) ) times stronger than you think you are. You are capable of doing so much more than you give yourself credit for. And if you just took that and BELIEVED in it……then whoa. You’d be unstoppable.

I had a lot of BS stories about myself before I started this program, too.  Some of them sounded ridiculous. But a lot of them even sounded noble. I had to be willing to recognize that the only person stopping me from achieving the results I wanted to achieve was ME. I had to believe I was stronger than I thought I was. And you know what? That belief turned out to be the REAL truth, after all.

Never doubt what you are capable of! We all have more potential inside of us to live up to.  

 

Fight for it. 

Jena

 


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My response to "I'm not really doing the meal plan."

Jena Chopson

As a coach, I hear this phrase more often than not. And if I had $1 for every time I heard it, I wouldn't need to go back to work tomorrow ;) 

Are you ready for a dose of honesty today? 

My response to that is: "Then you're really not going to get results." 

Okay, let me take a step back. If anyone gets the struggle, it's me. I am literally the poster child for the phrase "You can't out-exercise a bad diet." Over the years I have been downright loyal to my workouts, exercising consistently 5-7 days a week for years. Workouts I do NOT miss. My nutrition on the other hand? Let's just say consistency isn't quite the word I would use to describe it. 

I've successfully completed SEVERAL workout programs. With some I have gotten great results, and with others, I have gotten MINIMAL results. What gives? Was it the workout program? NO. Was it because I didn't go hard enough? HELL NO! So what was the game changer? Duh....FOOD. 

I have made excuse after excuse as to why I don't follow proper nutrition like I should. Do any of these sound familiar? 

"I don't like to meal prep."

"I don't have time to meal prep."

"I don't want to spend my weekends off in the kitchen cooking all day." 

"I am super active, so I don't really need to worry about what I eat." 

"I can just wing it."

"I hate being told what to eat." 

"I don't want to cook different things for me and my family." 

"Let's face it, I just really like food."

The list goes on and on and on and on......

But if I'm truly being honest, those are genuinely all excuses. The excuses we create can even sometimes sound noble. I'm sure some of my excuses have., too. But what it REALLY comes down to whether you want to admit it or not is this: It's just not that important to you. 

We make time for what is truly important to us. We will move mountains for what REALLY matters to us. If we aren't putting time and effort into our health & nutrition, it isn't because of ANY excuse. It is because it just doesn't rank that high on the totem pole of priorities.  

This past week I have made the DECISION that nutrition IS hella important to me. What has taken place since that simple decision has been nothing short of incredible:

I've made time to make healthy meals. 

I've meal prepped (and I didn't die). 

I've been cognizant of what I have shoved in my face. 

I've created dinner solutions that don't involve me making a separate meal for Doug. I make ONE meal that works for BOTH of us (it's very possible, people). 

And the RESULT? 

Well for starters, amazing food like this: 

Spicy burgers made with local, lean ground beef

Strawberries with Greek Yogurt

Taco salad with lean turkey burger

But more importantly than pretty food pictures, I just FEEL better. It's amazing how well your body responds to FUELING it with better stuff: 

You sleep better.

Your head feels clearer. 

The bloat goes away. 

Digestion improves. 

And if you have it, the excess weight falls off. 

It's day FOUR of committing to this new journey and the excess weight is already starting to fall off for me. I'm already feeling so much better, especially after eating nothing but junk last week. 

What's more is it REALLY ISN'T THAT HARD. Especially with the systems I have in place for me. These systems have made it so much easier than I imagined. I think we create these mountains in our heads about things when really, at the end of the day, that's all they are---made up things in our heads! 

So I am challenging YOU. If you have made the commitment to start MOVING more, then don't sabotage yourself and all your hard work by putting junk in your body every day. Go ALL IN and start treating the one and only body you have to live in with a little respect. Mmmmkay? 

And as always, if nutrition is something you need HELP with, then I have some tools for you that can help (they are certainly helping me!). I would love to mentor you and walk with you on this journey towards better health.  If you want to chat more, comment on this post or head on over to the CONTACT section and reach out. 

Cheers! 

Sparkling Water with Lime

 

XOXO,

Jena 

 


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