Some of you know her. Some of you don't, but Jen Cadman is an inspiration to me. Before I tell you the inspiring part, let me give you her back story.
Jen has been a customer of ours off and on throughout the last several years. When she came over to help us move into our new facility (thank you again Jen), I did a double take. This was not the same woman I had seen, overweight and struggling at Nina's boot camp. She was (and is) svelte, strong, confident and obviously smaller than I remembered her. I knew right then that I had to interview her. She had the kind of results trainers dream of for their clients, and I wanted to know how she did it!
When I asked her if I could interview her, I had no idea what kind of story I'd hear or what kind of answers I'd get to my questions. What I learned from her was some of the most affirming backstory I could have hoped for. It was affirming because, she lives what we try to teach--a whole life view of success with health. Let me tell you what she told me.
Jen is someone who you could say didn't grow up with the best diet. If it was a processed food, she ate it. She watched her father wrestle with diabetes. Her mom went through cancer. Her brothers suffered with health challenges as well. High blood press and high cholesterol were part of her family.
Jen graduated college a good thirty pounds overweight and for about 9 years tried all sorts of different ways to get the weight off. (If I just paused right there, you might start to see a reason to be inspired by her. Just to go nine years of working on the same goal is inspiring.) The number of things she tried to get the weight off is remarkable. Name the fad. She's done it. She picked up running and worked up to a half marathon. Her weight didn't budge. Yet for the last two years she has maintained a great, healthy body weight, and feels it is something she will be able to maintain for the rest of her life.
THE MOMENT THE REAL CHANGE WAS TRIGGERED
One of the coolest parts of Jen's story was to hear that a simple comment Nina made at boot camp was what started the change that would last. Nina, noticing Jens athletic ability improve dramatically as camp went on, simply encouraged Jen, telling her what a great job she was doing and that she was "killing it." That was it, Jen then asked herself, "then why doesn't my body reflect all my hard work?" The answer? She knew there was something missing about her overall approach.
She decided to first double down on her diet. She got a on a structured program that balanced her meals and got her portions under control. In about 4 months she had to buy all new clothes. But that was just the beginning. Countless people lose weight, but few of them are ever able to keep it off. Jen has. So what did she do? What did she learn? What philosophies did she develop?
THE REST OF THE ONGOING STORY
LESSON #1: Circle of Influence - Jen knew she needed accountability, so she set out to find a Facebook group that held her to her goals, and inspired her to keep going when she wanted to quit. When the Facebook group slowly disbanded, Jen decided to lead one herself. No way was she going to let herself off the hook. She needed others to help her keep going. Being the leader made it even more important that she stick to what she knew she needed to do. She found people who are also into fitness and hung out with them more. She even had to limit her associations with people who were not helping her goals.
LESSON #2: She made peace with food. Jen has a view of food I could only wish for so many people. Like so many women I've coached she used to have an unhealthy relationship with food. She used to view it all as numbers, and view her self worth as attached to how well she stayed in line with the numbers. She's free from that! She no longer knows or cares how many calories or grams something has. Once she learned how to balance her meals, what a healthy portion looks like on a plate, she stayed accountable to it and the number associated with food became irrelevant.
LESSON #3: She developed a daily rhythm to make healthy living normal. She bought herself a standing desk. She invested some time in finding a rhythm with cooking. Now she makes enough food, properly portioned, to last her 2-3 meals at a time, essentially cutting her time in the kitchen in half. She shops for food every 2-3 days so she's always eating fresh food (which saves her money each month from not eating out). She made it a point to eat two small breakfasts with taking her dog out a early morning metabolism boost.
She found she likes 30-minute workouts 5-6 days a week and is the kind of person who can workout at home, yet she likes to mix it up with friends, come to TRUE once in a while and also do outdoor activities. She exercises discipline at the grocery store, not at the end of the day when the ice cream calls from the fridge. There's no "crap" in her cupboards.
We talked through several other cool and surprising aspects of becoming a new type of person, like how others react to the new Jen, why they sometimes respond the way they do, a healthy philosophy on "cheating," and other new lessons she's currently learning.
But, one thing that sticks out to me the most is that for things to get better, she had to get better. For things to change, she had to change. So many people go into the change process and want to know what's the least amount of work they will have to do to see results. To me (and now I know, to Jen) that's like looking through the wrong end of the telescope. Instead of going for the minimum effective dose, Jen set out to methodically and incrementally do as many things right as possible. Guess what...a holistic lifestyle works, and change it possible when you plant your flag and decide once and for all you're done with excuses. Jen did...and has the results to show for it.
Bottom line, she's amazing, and I hope you're as inspired by her as I was. Thank you Jen for telling your story. If you want to know how you can write a story like Jen's we're here to help, and maybe we can even "phone a friend" once in a while to get Jen to give you a little pep talk.