Let's Get Real, Shall We?
I wasn’t always healthy and happy. I grew up eating sugar cereals with mini marshmallows, pizza, chicken nuggets and fries, mallomars, ice cream, and chicken parm. Veggies were gross. Eating fish was unheard of. I never even considered the fact that I was physically unhealthy. And if you add being a moody, confrontational, and closed-minded hot mess to the list of my less than stellar personality traits, one could say I wasn’t the healthiest mentally either.
The person I am today is a complete turn-around from where my health and mindset were just a few years ago. I attribute the shift to self-love. Before you give me an eye roll and say, Hey crazy lady, say what? I’m not talking about hearts and mushy gushy love, or the narcissistic type of self-love. I’m talking about self-care and personal development. By embracing self-care, I learned that the relationship we have with ourselves is directly related to how we take care of ourselves, including our relationship with food. I learned to literally love myself from the inside out - from the words I think and speak, to the food I eat, to the daily actions I take, in order to create the beautiful life I now enjoy. Many of us, especially busy Moms like me, are so focused on caring for everyone else around us that we often neglect to take care of ourselves. And the result? We suffer. We gain weight. We feel overwhelmed. We feel exhausted. We feel unbalanced. We feel helpless. Enter the concept for LoYo Wellness. Love yourself.
So Who Am I Now?
I’m Jessica. I’m a Mom of an energetic little toddler and a brand new little baby boy, as well as a wife of a fun-loving amazing hubby. I’m a marathon runner, a triathlete, an avid fan of the outdoors, and a world traveler. I’m a health food nut who also totally loves chocolate and froyo. I’m an entrepreneur of two businesses and simply put, I think I’m a pretty badass Renaissance woman. Being a Mom has been the most incredible job, hands down. Being a wife is totally awesome too. My sons and husband are my WHY, my motivation to be a positive role model, and my reason I get up every day and do what I do. To help others. I have found my passion, balance and love, and I’m ready to share it all with the entire world.
Overcoming Bullying & Self Image
In middle school, my life was pretty perfect with friends, sports, activities, you name it. Then, what felt like overnight, I became the target of serious bullying. I was picked on, abused, and a victim of prejudiced thinking. No one stood up for me. No one helped me. My friends became unrecognizable. My life had become a cruel existence that I had to endure every day. So, I zipped up my feelings and became very self-protective. A new high school was a relief from the abuse. However, when I first entered college, I battled serious weight gain and body image issues. It wasn’t a new challenge as I specifically remember being picked on at summer camp for having a belly that hung over my pants like a beer gut. It became worse in college. I used to grab onto my belly fat with my hands and named it my Buddha belly – you know, trying to deflect discomfort with humor. I was so unhappy in my skin. I also seriously struggled with my identity, often pretending to be someone I wasn’t, simply to fit in with a group of peers or garner friendships.
I almost quit college altogether after my freshman year. I never found my true calling academically and I changed majors so many times that I graduated absolutely lost and confused, with no real path to pursue. Somehow I ended up in law school for the simple reason that I had no idea what to do with my life. Three years later, I found a burning desire to make a huge difference in the world. Maybe deep down I wanted to protect and advocate for people who couldn’t help themselves, people who were just like me when I was younger, who didn’t have any support or tools to overcome pain and challenges. I’ve spent the last 10 years in public interest law as an attorney helping fight injustice, protecting victims of crime, and advocating for children’s well-being and education. But for me, the adversarial nature of the legal system had become more about animosity, deceit, arguing, and legal nuances and less about helping others. Luckily, through my personal development journey, getting really clear about my values, and focusing on self-care in all facets of my life, I’ve been able to let go of my past challenges, and my actions are no longer fueled by negative emotions. I also found my passion in health and wellness. I even took a big leap of faith and enrolled in the world’s largest nutrition school, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and I completed an intensive year-long health coach training program. I am now a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health and Lifestyle Coach dedicated to helping others reach their goals.
For Years I Tried Everything to Lose Weight.
So what happened to my buddha belly? You name it, I tried it. I yo-yo dieted. I tried running, too. I even trained for a few half marathons, but my weight wouldn’t budge. Even if the scale moved, the fat rolls and love handles were always there. I couldn’t look in the mirror without feeling ashamed and uncomfortable in my body. In my early 30s, the weight challenges became coupled with becoming an overworked, exhausted, coffee addict. I’m talking 4 to 6 cups of coffee per day addicted. Every morning my alarm would startle me awake from what felt like a coma. By 2pm, I was dragging. I would have to physically peel my eyes apart. I needed more coffee, which actually only made me feel jittery and awful inside. Something needed to change.
I started a nutritional rebalancing system and dove headfirst into clean, wholesome foods and high quality, all-natural products. I learned about organic foods. I learned about toxicity. I learned about portion control. It finally hit me that I was seriously toxic and I was simply not getting the right nutrition no matter how “healthy” I thought I was being or how many miles I was running. A light turned on in my body and I felt alive again! Bam! I kicked my coffee addiction, felt incredible, and the inches melted away from my belly for the first time in my life. I even saw ab muscles! What? Who was this new toned person SMILING at me in the mirror? Not only did the weight come off, but I achieved two personal records in running and I knocked a total of 17 minutes off of my next 2 half marathons because my body, my muscles, my everything felt THAT awesome. I went on to run 14 more half marathons, and the NYC Marathon! Speaking of awesome, I can actually enjoy coffee now rather than need it or feel addicted to it. I maintained my weight loss results for over a year and then had the healthiest pregnancy ever. And I melted away my baby weight because of these easy nutritional tools and my new mindset.
By overcoming my own struggles and focusing on self-care in my life, I finally found my passion to help people become the best versions of themselves. No matter what challenges you’re facing or what goals you want to achieve, positive change is entirely within your reach and the life you’ve always dreamed about is waiting for you.
So Here's My Message to You:
You have one life and there are infinite possibilities waiting for you. All you have to do is be open-minded and say yes.
To your health and happiness,
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