A Few Thoughts After What Happened In Las Vegas

Last week, our nation experienced a tragedy that shocked people around the world.  We are grieving the loss of fellow Americans and others that were visiting our nation.  I am having a difficult time holding back the tears while I write this.  My heart hurts.

The tragedy that took place was a harsh reminder that none of us really know when we will leave this world.  A reminder that it’s really important to focus on what matters most and living life to the fullest.

What comes to mind when you think of a life lived to the fullest?  I think that’s a really important question for all of us to ponder.  What do you really want in this life?

The lovely actress Sophia Loren was once quoted saying “I’d rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size zero.”  So simple, yet so profound.  To me that quote means she would rather live her life enjoying each day than be a slave to a scale or to a clothing size.  In other words, she is allowing herself to be free to LIVE.

When I was smaller than a size two I was criticized by photographers.  No matter how hard I exercised or restricted the food I ate, I still wasn’t perfect enough for them.  Constantly restricting myself to gain approval from others ended up being a prison and led me into depression.  When I decided  to stop caring about what others thought and shifted my focus to living a full life I got my joy back.

Allowing yourself to be free to live your life doesn’t mean that you stop exercising and eating well.  It simply means that you won’t restrict yourself in an attempt to manipulate your body into a size that it wasn’t naturally designed to be.  If your goal weight doesn’t allow you to enjoy the things you like in a way thats moderate and healthy, then you could end up being pretty miserable.  Or, in the worst case, you could harm your health.

Life is way too short to allow superficial things and ideas to control you and cause you to miss out on living life to the fullest.  Which is why I passionately recommend you design a life that is well balanced and brings you joy.  In other words, just be you.

When you allow yourself to “just be you” and live authentically, you are giving yourself permission to be free.  And with that freedom, comes peace.  Being at peace with who you are and what you are capable of at any give time, gives you the freedom to focus on the things that matter most and are most precious to you.

Make it a great week.  Spend quality time with the ones you love and doing the things you love.  Time and experiences are two things we can never get back so it’s good to invest our time wisely.

Shared with love,




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,


Why I Stopped Comparing Myself To Others

It’s pretty normal to have experienced comparison to others at some point or time in your life.  For example, that moment you see someone on the street, in a magazine, or in your neighborhood that seems so put together and successful that you are tempted to be just a tad bit jealous. You know what I mean, from appearances it looks like they have the perfect hair, body, home, job, family, pet, etc.

And then, you start thinking “if only I had what they have I’d be happy.”

I’ve even heard personal growth gurus say “if you see someone that has what you want then do what they do. “

Um, yes and no.

I agree it’s a great idea to pick the brain of a successful person to learn proven principles that produce positive results. However, if you don’t know the person well or their history all you get to see and hear is the finished product. Behind every successful image lies a story of personal dreams, hard work, and failures.

And once you see the sacrifices they make, or they daily schedule they keep, you could decide their path is not for you.

If you find yourself wanting what someone else has, the best thing to ask yourself is are you willing to do what they did to get there? And, do you really want their life or is it the outward appearance you desire?

Years ago, I was sure that I wanted the exact life of a certain mentor I was learning from. I thought she was just like me. Funny thing, the more I coached with her and became more comfortable with who God designed me to be, I realized how different we were.  I really didn’t want her life at all. Not because there is anything wrong with her life, but it’s not who I am.

This set me free to be confident in my own skin. I no longer desired to be just like her, I wanted to become the best me I could be and fulfill my own dreams.

Friend, whether you are pursuing weight loss, health, fitness, relationship, business, or even philanthropic goals, it’s important that they mimic the desire of your heart and they serve the life you want to live long term. Whenever we try to copy someone else’s life it can turn out to be unfulfilling and unsustainable. In the end, this can lead to depression. No one wants that!

I truly believe that God has a path for each and every one of us. And, when you choose to listen to your heart and walk down that path, you will experience success in every area of your life beyond your wildest dreams!

That, I can promise.

With much love,

Jennifer Ledford