Today We Remember And Honor Those Who Gave All

Today We Remember And Honor Those Who Gave All - Memorial Day 2017 - Jennifer Ledford

Today we honor the brave men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice to protect our lives and our freedom. I am always grateful for those that are called to our military and serve with such bravery. They are the true heroes. Let us celebrate them today, never forget, and never take their service for granted.

Whether you are enjoying a large gathering or spending the holiday quietly at home, the true meaning of this day is about honoring those that honor is due.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day and God bless you, your family, and America!

Shared with much love,
Jennifer

How To Feel Comfortable With Your Body And Enjoy Your Life

Jennifer Ledford - Hawaii Vacation - Be Comfortable With Your Body Enjoy Your Life - Broken FootLast week my husband and I joined some of our close family for an amazing beach vacation in Kauai.  I have never been to Hawaii and it was such a special treat!

Some of you know that I broke my foot back in September.  It’s not completely healed and I’m still wearing a boot, which means I haven’t been able to exercise the way I normally do for several weeks.  I’m also pasty white right now because I didn’t hang out in the sun as much as I normally do this time of year.   I decided a spray tan was out due to the fact that I can’t stand very long on my broken foot without the boot.  The tan is  not worth interrupting the healing process.

Did the fact that I was a bit less toned and neon white mean I was going to hide under a cover up?  Heck no!  It’s Hawaii and I like to wear bikinis.  I also stopped caring what other people think about my body a long time ago.  If someone is shallow and doesn’t like my cellulite then they don’t have to look at it.  I’m not wearing my bathing suit for them.  I’m wearing it so I can play on the beach, get some sun on my body, and create fun memories.  Plain and simple.

One of the reasons a person will hire a personal trainer is to help them get ready for a special event or trip.  Beach vacations tend to be some of the most common trips that motivate people to want to lose weight.  For many people getting into a bathing suit and heading out to the beach can stir up all kinds of comparison and body shaming.  If they don’t look like a fitness or swimsuit model the client feels they shouldn’t get in a suit.   Or, if they do decide to put on a suit they believe they should  cover it up with other clothing.

The reality is most of us DON’T look like traditional swimsuit models, myself included.  I’m not willing to deprive and torture myself to get anywhere close to looking like most swimsuit models.  That’s just not my natural body type.  I have to do things that are physically and mentally unhealthy for me to get even close and I’m not willing to treat myself that way.

Losing weight for a trip can be a slippery slope that can lead to unhealthy restrictive dieting that is unsustainable and will only harm you in the long run.  Dieting robs you of your joy and keeps you from living in the present.  When we restrict ourselves in hopes of obtaining the “perfect” body that we think is accepted by society, we are setting ourselves up for potential failure.  Your body does not like to be deprived and restricted.  It will rebel against suffering and that is when binging can occur.

Treating Your Body Right

When you focus on eating plenty of food that you know is good for you and exercising for all of the right reasons, you will settle into your natural body weight and it will no longer be a struggle to maintain it.  However, I can honestly and personally share with you that if you continue to try to force something unnatural on your body, it becomes a prison.  Will the scale go up and down from time to time?  Sure it will.  That’s NORMAL.  It’s called life.

One of my favorite plus size models, Ashley Graham, shares this awesome insight on body image and self acceptance, “I felt free once I realized I was never going to fit the narrow mold that society wanted me to fit in.”  I totally agree with her because I felt the same freedom when I gave up on being a size too small and decided to focus on being the healthiest me I can be.

You don’t have to lose weight to put on a bathing suit or any other item of clothing.  Don’t ever allow the pressures of the diet culture  to cause you to miss out on having fun.  Be a rebel.  Love yourself no matter what size your bathing suit is.

And most importantly,  go out and LIVE!

Shared with love,
Jennifer

 

Why I’m No Longer Interested In Being A Size Two

Jennifer Ledford Photo Shoot 2016 - Ledford0416-7591 - self image

We’ve recently been working on updating the photos for my website.  The photo above is a sneak peek of some of the lifestyle photos we’ll be sharing on it and on social media. It’s such an exciting time to be in fitness and I’m really enjoying the process of bringing personal training and coaching to the internet.

Life is interesting.  Sometimes new things can dredge up old things that you would rather leave behind.  Scheduling this recent photo shoot briefly dug up some old self image issues that I have worked hard to overcome.  I actually began to think about “dieting” for the photos.  I haven’t dieted in years!

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to look toned and in shape, I knew in my  heart that if I did anything other than what I teach, the photos would not have been authentic.  I would have joined the ranks of yet another fitness professional promoting one idea on the outside while secretly living a restrictive life behind the scenes.

How To Not Allow Self Image Issues To Win

Yes, it’s true.  The self image issues that  I work so hard to help others overcome tried to rear their ugly head and bite me in the butt!  Thankfully I didn’t allow them to win.

Rather than allow myself to fall for the diet trap I used this moment to get really solid on how I want my life to look when it comes to health and fitness.  Over the years I’ve allowed myself to gain a healthy amount of weight because there was a time in my life when I was “too skinny” for my body type.  On the outside people thought I looked healthy but in reality I was doing unhealthy things to remain a size two.  Thankfully, that’s no longer the case.

I’m forty six years old.  I have no interest in trying to be twenty five again.  What I want is to look great at forty six.   At this stage of my life I’m way more interested in creating a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle than I am in being unnaturally skinny.  I’m committed to things like eating well, exercising daily, strength training three times per week, drinking liquid calories in moderation, drinking plenty of water, getting  enough sleep, laughing a lot, and creating special memories.

Please understand, I will always pay attention to my weight and if I notice the scale is going in the wrong direction I will take a look at what might be the cause and make adjustments.  However, I have also decided that I’m not going to be a slave to that one pair of jeans from ten years ago that a part of society thinks I should still be able to fit into.  There is nothing wrong with setting goals to be able to fit into your old clothes without having to do an aerobic workout to get them on, but it should never be at the cost of your physical and emotional health.

The well-known phrase “bodies come in all shapes and sizes” is not a cliche.  It’s a true statement.  When you choose to maintain a weight that’s appropriate for you and you can sustain it without deprivation or emotional heartache you are walking in freedom.  The number on the scale is personal.  There is no one size fits all when it comes to health and fitness.

I’m not suggesting you give up on vigorous exercise or paying attention to things like portion sizes and fueling your body properly.  What I’m talking about is setting manageable goals that are appropriate for the season you are currently in, your physical capabilities, and how you want to live your life.

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to help clients achieve weight loss that is sustainable while contributing positively to their physical and emotional health.  The guidelines and formulas may be similar, however their personal eating plans and exercise routines are individually unique to them.

My desire for anyone reading this article is that you would be so comfortable and confident in your own skin that you would make health your primary focus and that weight loss would be one of the many benefits.  You’ll still have to work for it.  Our bodies were designed to move and it’s important to exercise.  It’s also important to practice self control when it comes to what we put in our bodies.

From time to time people of all shapes and sizes will experience self image issues.  That includes thin people.  Negative thoughts and relentless marketing can come at us from all directions.  The good news is just because you have a thought does not mean it’s your own.  If the negative voices start whispering “you’re not good enough” or “you’d be happier if you just looked like him or her on the cover of the magazine,” stay strong.  Remind yourself that you are in this for health, not just a photo shoot.

Maintaining a healthy self image for life is entirely doable.  In the beginning it takes practice.  Over time, the more you begin to love and accept yourself for who God designed you to be, the easier it becomes.  I encourage you to explore and discover exactly who that is.  It’s a lifelong process and it’s totally worth it.  I promise!

Here’s to a happy and healthy week!

Shared with love,
Jennifer