The Sweet Spot

When I was younger…in my 20’s (I swear that was just yesterday), I was so obsessive about my fitness that I would be a bear if I didn’t get my minimum number of workouts in per week and it had to be for a minimum amount of time as well. It’s as though I thought my body would puff up in one day if I missed a workout. I struggled hard with body image and weight in childhood & adolescence. It’s amazing how wide that pendulum swing can be. It took several years to settle. Thank you, God, that it did.The journey has been interesting and eye opening, however.

A few years ago I went to see a holistic doctor after struggling with my energy level and being confused by it. After all, health and fitness is my thing…I thought I was doing everything right. My diet was spot on, my exercise was spot on…what the heck? To my surprise, the doctor sat down in the office and started asking me about my life starting back in childhood. I was very impressed by this, given that I was in the midst of earning my masters degree in Health Psychology and really learning how tangled the web is that connects our physical, mental/emotional and spiritual selves. What a concept that a doctor would ask me about my mental/emotional health from childhood on. I had never had a doctor spend time fully listening to me about surface level issues let alone asking me all this stuff. This is when I first learned about Adrenal Fatigue.

Truly the man scared me. He talked about what chronic stress can do to a body and there I was thinking I was not part of that population. I have never smoked, drinking has amounted to one or two glasses of wine a few times a week (hello antioxidants). I never eat fast food. I exercise 5+ days a week. I have awesome friends and a solid network and my faith is integral to me. What’s the problem? What stress? If there’s any there I know how to deal with it…or did I? I was a single mom, working and earning my masters degree at the same time. Sleep was something I did not do much of.

So really, what does all of this mean? Since that appointment I have done a lot of research on Adrenal Fatigue and it has made a lot of sense looking back. I realize this has been something I’ve struggled with for years. Now, I know when I am dipping back into it. In fact, this past year has been the worst ever (you’d think a girl would learn, right?). I had so much transition in my life, a lot of it actually good, but change nonetheless, that my body just decided it had had enough. My energy levels plummeted, my immune system took a nose dive, my sleep suffered horribly…

What do you do when you hit bottom?

You breathe. You pray. You rest. You take care of your body by not overworking it.

This stuff is NOT easy for me! Thankfully I found PiYo a few years back and started teaching. It has been such a Godsend for my body. The strength and balance I get without the hard impact has been amazing. However, I stopped teaching classes at night for now. That was a huge step for me toward simplifying my life. I didn’t like leaving a dinner time and coming back when it was pretty much bedtime 3 times a week. Plus it made it hard for my body to settle down at night. I gave up running for several months to let my body heal as well. Running is such a love of mine, but it can also be so hard on the body. I’m back at it and thankfully it feels good again!

I have been practicing the art of saying “no” as well. Seriously not easy for me! And I say “practicing” because I have a ways to go yet. But, it’s amazing how freeing it feels to protect your little world by saying that. When I say no to something that doesn’t fit my own schedule or goals or that of my family, I am saying yes to the direction I am really trying to go in and I am saying yes to my family. That part feels amazing.

So now, I am enjoying exercise on my own terms rather than having it dictate me and how I feel about myself. I am being more purposeful in decisions I make and making sure they line up with what I want life to look like for my family and myself. I am embracing “no” as something that can can be such a gift. It’s always an adventure, life is. I love that I am operating less on caffeine and autopilot and more from intention. It’s kind of nice.

If you are caught up in the constant going, always busy, saying yes to everything cycle….I encourage you to sit back and breathe. Then pick something today to say no too and say yes to something better.

Lots of love…

~Becoming You~

Tonight was an emotional night for me.  It was an end and a beginning all wrapped up in one.  2.5 years ago I started my journey as a fitness instructor.  It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was in high school and was navigating my body image, my identity and my path in life.  I fought with all of these things hard as I struggled with some pretty deep family issues.  But that’s when I landed softly in God’s hands and realized, struggle I might…but He’s got me.

Life sure did not turn into a field of flowers after that, nor do I ever expect it too.  But, I found purpose.  I found purpose in the struggle, I found hope, I found grace, and I started to find my strength and my voice.

It might sound silly that being a fitness instructor is tied up with all of this, but it’s amazing how intensely true it is.  Although I dreamed, early in my adulthood, of being an instructor, life took me in many different directions until recently.  After I earned my masters in Health Psychology I naturally went for a certification in Health Coaching and also finally decided the time was right to dive in and get certified as a group exercise instructor.

I’ll never forget my first class!  OH man was I nervous.  It was Turbo Kick.  I remember teaching and then at the end turning around and telling the class, “that was my first class EVER!”  Um…I’m sure they knew that.  HAhaha!  Lord.  Thank you for grace!

I struggled and learned and grew and stretched and was challenged and I got certified in several other formats in the meantime. PiYo was where things changed though.  I fell IN LOVE.  I joke all the time that I don’t have the attention span for Yoga.  Well, there’s a lot of truth to that!  PiYo brought something to me that was different and more me and yet challenged me to do things I hadn’t done before.  I always walk away from class feeling STRONG, HEALTHY and just plain AWESOME!  There’s no better way to say it.  Awesome.  From the inside out.

Well, along the way these people were coming and challenging themselves and experiencing these things with me and for themselves.  Can I just say it is the COOLEST thing ever to watch someone come in, struggle, feel overwhelmed and COME BACK and do it again because they felt that, as much as it may have been “too much”, it was also some how SO good for them?!  Then to watch that person improve and get stronger and then fall in love with it just like I did?  Amazing.

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Tonight I received a message from Jenny who has been coming to my class for a couple of months.  She put into a message my why.  It means more to me that someone would share this with me than I can even express.  But really…it says it all and what a confirmation that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing as I taught my very last PiYo class at the Y and venture out on my own…

” Hey Jessica, I found you!! I just wanted to share some things as you begin your next journey! As someone who has always struggled with weight, poor food choices, and body image I feel like I found myself in your class with your teaching! You have a true gift of encouragement and make it seem easy that everyone and anyone is able to achieve even the smallest goals and of dream! I want to personally thank you! Having never heard of PiYo before your class I found something that works for me! But honestly the thing that kept me going was when I first heard Oceans and heard that you were a Christian! It is so encouraging to me to be in a class like that and not feel spiritual heaviness and the need to leave! I come into your classes and feel alive! Like I can breath fresh air. But that is because of what you carry! You are so genuine and I have felt very blessed these past 2 months to learn from you! While it is so sad to see you go, it’s so encouraging to see you chasing your dreams! Praying that God meets you in your new adventures and you feel the support you need! Hope this isn’t the end but only the beginning of learning from you! Hope this doesn’t come across as weird but rather encouraging. Thank you for being you and doing all you do! My husband is sick of hearing me talk about Piyo!! Thanks again, Stay blessed, Jenny

*Big sigh*  I messaged Jenny back and tried to eloquently tell her just what it meant to me that she shared that…but I’m not sure I could express it exactly.  This is why I do what I do.  Truly.

That God would give me this awesome thing to do and share with people is an incredible thing to me.  That I would come full circle and be able to be on this journey with others is a gift.  So.  Off I go and I am thrilled, a little scared but beyond excited to see how things unfold.  I’ve had affirmation after affirmation that I am doing the right thing.  These messages from God just have been continually showering down on me.  So much so that it’s almost a tangible feeling.  For those of you who have been a part of this chapter…thank you!  And for those who will continue on with me…I am so excited for more!

So, what’s the moral of the story?  Be you.  Find your strength.  Challenge yourself.  And always know that God’s got you <3

I love you, PiYo Peeps!!





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