Many people experience the realization that something in their life has got to change. Whether it’s your eating habits, lack of exercise, or overall body image, there comes a time when a commitment has to be made.
This moment happened for Jen Grothe of Jen-Fit.com as she was nearing her 40’s. Read more to see what she did to change her life, and what you can do to change yours!
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Tell us about Jen-Fit.com and How You Got Where You are Today
Oh, my goodness, where to start? I’ll keep it really brief or at least try to. That’s part of my problem. Long story short in 2007, I was 170 lbs., middle-aged, and extremely unhappy with my weight and the person I’d turned in to.
I’ll save the how I did it, but if you are interested in reading more about my transformation and how it finally clicked, I journaled it here.
Jen-Fit started during my first contest prep. It was August 2008. I started a little page on Facebook called “Recipes for Gals in Figure & Bodybuilding.”
The intent was to solicit ideas from other competitors because I was so tired of my plain comp diet food. But being so new to Facebook, I really didn’t know the power of it, and left it alone for three months. When I returned to my page three months later it had more than 3,000 fans. I was in utter shock.
With more than 17 years of marketing, sales, and advertising experience in my background, I knew there had to be something to it, and wondered what would happen if I took a more active role in my page (you know, rather than abandoning it again for another 3 months).
The page grew and evolved from that point, and now nearly four and a half years later its well over 100k. I pinch myself daily because I love the atmosphere that breeds from my page. It’s honest, real, encouraging, and ALL-inclusive – not something you typically see in the majority of fitness pages.
I have women from all over the world, in all different sports, or no sports, IFBB pros, and women just starting their journeys facing at 300 lbs all actively involved on the page – encouraging one another. It’s beautiful.
Of all the different certifications you hold, which one do you value the most, and why?
If I had to pick I’d probably choose CrossFit Level-1 and that’s mostly because it was such a fun experience rather than dry lecture.
With everything I do, I find the best training has been through hands-on experience. I still have a number of courses on my bucket-list I’d like to take, but it comes down to time.
Tell us your inspiration behind creating “75 Ways to Love Your Oatmeal.”
My love for oatmeal started with competing. Every meal plan I received pre-comp included oatmeal. I wanted to spruce it up.
Before I knew it I had dozens and dozens of recipes on oatmeal alone. It was through the encouragement of some of the gals on my page I pursued getting my first cookbook published.
Was one of the best decisions I made. One of my goals this year is to publish several e-books.
Heaven knows I have the recipes. It just all takes time. “75 Ways to Love Your Oatmeal” will always be near and dear to my heart though because it was the first and was something I never even dreamed of doing.
It was one of those milestones that helped me realize that we are all capable of so much more than what we give ourselves credit for.
What is your favorite meal?
Food. And lots of it.
How has figure competing changed your view on nutrition?
It’s made me a lot more aware of both extremes – too little food and deprivation as well as too much food, bulking, and rebounding.
It’s something I’ve personally experienced but have also worked with hundreds of women who have undergone the same experiences. It’s a very difficult subject for women to address and admit to.
I am a first believer now that more is better – not less. Too few carbs and too few fats, in particular, can not only mess with your mind but your long-term sustainable health as well.
It’s no surprise that so many women later find out their hormones are out of whack and have a much more difficult time leaning out as they did in the beginning.
Train Anyone, Anywhere in the World.
There are many trainers out there who are so focused on the end result that they will put their subjects (women) through crazy extreme diets and regimens in order to get the results they want.
And then when they don’t, rather than addressing the underlying issues, many of them will continue to push harder, make them train harder, do more cardio, and restrict their calories and carbs even more thinking it will help.
It doesn’t, and it’s a very ugly cycle. I try to make women aware of the potential and very likely aftermath that comes with competing. Women should know what they are getting in to. Now, don’t get me wrong.
I love the sport, and I plan to compete again too, but I’m a lot more aware now than I was in the beginning, so I know what to watch for and definitely what not to do.
Your blog often touches on sensitive matters such as different eating disorders. What do you think is the main cause of these issues in people today, and what do you think is the first step to rectifying this?
I think the first step is identifying you might have a problem. Sounds so cliché, I know, but I really feel it’s the first step.
Most women with eating disorders or hits of eating disorders write it off thinking their behavior is normal. What’s scary is they’re partly right. More and more women are flirting with eating disorders – especially in this industry.
Any time you count calories, focus on macros, know your body fat, watch your physique in the mirror, let your self-esteem be valued by how others see you and rate you, you are flirting with disaster. It’s a very slippery slope.
Women in this industry, as well as others, forget how to eat normal. They forget how to be normal – what it feels like to enjoy a slice of pizza and not feel bad about or not feel like they have to kick up their cardio a notch in order to burn off the calories.
Women forget how to plan for themselves – using their trainers and meal-planners as a crutch to know what to eat, how much, and when.
I know many women who hyperventilate when their carbs go above a certain point, and they’ll email me regularly for support – just like a patient and a therapist. It’s no different. Food is consuming. The larger part you place on it, the more it becomes the center of your life.
Everything else is secondary. It’s scary, and I see it all the time. I even have male friends who have approached me with their “food issues.” I’ve shared my story as well as others to let women know they are not alone. This is real. It is happening.
They do have support, and they can take steps to address their food issues. I think ultimately that’s what my page and my blog is all about. Yes, it’s food and recipe-based, but it’s the overwhelming support that the women share with each other that brings them back. I truly believe that.
Exercise.com would like to thank Jen for her insights and advice. To learn more and get more fitness tips from pros like Jen, be sure to sign up for our PRO membership!