Taking Shape for Life

We welcome Jennie Black to Hot as Health! Tell us about yourself.

Jennie - Ok, so my name’s Jennie Black, and I live out here in Paradise. Been here for almost 3 years. Before that we lived in Providence. I’ve lived in Cache Valley for, oh gosh, 21 years now. I grew up in Davis County but I kind of feel like, I don’t know, maybe I’m from here now, because I’ve lived here longer than where I grew up.

D - You’ve adopted it.
J - Yeah. I am a Certified Health Coach. I have about twenty clients all over US. My passion is a nutritionally based program, focused on balancing blood sugars through diet (i.e. consuming six small meals daily), known as Take Shape for Life. I’ve done this for a year and a half now.
D- Excellent. Looking forward to sharing this with our readers. What other passions do you have?
J - I am a cyclist, and have always been active. Take Shape for Life got the nutrition into the mix! You can’t exercise away your problems.
D – What is your design or vision?
J - Just keep helping people!
D – Simple and powerful.
J - I’m married, have 3 kids – 3 boys, they are 18, 16, and 13. We’re right in the thick of the teenage years and carrying them around and all their high school activities…they keep us pretty busy.
D - I bet. Are they pretty athletic?
J - Yep, they are swimmers. My older 2 are on the Mountain Crest High School swim team, and then my younger one is on a club team. And in the off season my other boys also swim club. We travel quite a bit for those, for swim meets. I love it, I love the community, I love getting to know all the other parents and kids. They’re just a great group of kids anyway, hard workers, very dedicated.
D - It’s nice to see that in the young people.
J - It is, it gives you great hope for the future, because you know, we all worry. That’s a little bit about me.
I’ve always been interested in health and exercise and nutrition and all of that good stuff. Definitely had the exercise part down. I’m an avid cyclist. I’ve done Lotoja. I love all aspects of cycling, a little bit of mountain biking. I also like weight lifting. That part I had all figured out, it’s just the nutrition component that I hadn’t really figured out, and so this definitely helped me get going in the right direction.
D - For sure. So what’s your background as far as experience in the health arena – have you been officially schooled? Have you done training courses? Have you just learned as you go? What’s your schooling or education for the health and wellness and exercise and what you’re doing now?
J - Education-wise just a lot of reading. One of my best friends is a dietician, I picked her brain a lot. She was into the exercise nutrition part of it. It’s just come over time with studying it out on my own and just figuring out what was gonna work for me. Asking a lot of questions. No official classroom study. With my health coaching now I am certified through the Villanova University – they have a program that you do and it’s certified through the company. That’s my education component.
D - Self-education, best way to do it. You’ve touched a little bit on your history, as far as where your passion kind of started and how it’s evolved and things like that. Is there anything else as far as your history that you’d like to share?
J - Maybe just a little bit about how I found the program.
D - Yeah that’d be great!
J - I was on Facebook and I saw a post from a friend of mine that I went to High School with. She lives in Colorado now. She kept posting things about getting healthier, losing weight, and kind of peaked my interest. So after a lot of thought and being nervous about that I reached out to her. She told me about the program, and I researched it a little bit more and it really appealed to me. A lot of different aspects of it appealed to me, mostly the fact that they had an endgame for it. It wasn’t just a weight loss or diet… it was a lifestyle change! So I decided to jump in with both feet and go for it.
D - Sweet. And that was how long ago?
J - I started the program in July of last year, and finished in October. I lost 32 lbs in 14 weeks. And I decided to start health coaching in August of last year. So almost a year and a half that I’ve been doing that part of it. So since October it’s an ongoing lifelong…challenge or whatever you want to call it. It never stops. You have to be mindful for the rest of your life. You have to make a decision – What do I want for myself?! And the program gives you small sustainable steps toward a permanent lifestyle change. If you can do all those little steps it adds up over time and you’re working towards better health all the time, instead of on the path to sickness…a path a lot of us are on because of society, traditions, culture…all those little things. We eat because we’re happy, we eat because we’re sad…Changing your mindset about why you’re fueling your body, and what to fuel your body with. Discovering WHY you want to do it in the first place – that’s what I talk with my clients about when we’re first starting the program with them. If you can figure out why you want to do it and not just because ‘I want to lose 10 lbs’.

D - Deeper, it needs to be emotional.

J - Yeah. I’ve watched relatives, get older and sicker, and be on high blood pressure medication, and experience type 2 diabetes. Relatives have struggled with their weight and have had illness after illness. I knew that I could be going down that same path and I wanted to stop that cycle... So helping people discover WHY they want to do it and then always focusing on that, when you’re faced with ‘should I eat this piece of cheesecake or not?’ or whatever it is.

D - Right, right. I love what you said about doing things one thing at a time, line upon line. I’m sure everybody who has changed their lifestyle over the course of their life, deliberately, has noticed that it’s got to be just one simple step at a time. I think a lot of people who want to change get overwhelmed. They see where you are now, and they see where they are, and they think “oh! It’s too hard, it’s too much…” But that’s awesome that you point out to them and help them do one step at a time. In my own evolution of health and wellness and all that, I’ve learned that lesson very much so. It’s pretty amazing if you look back – the huge change that’s come one tiny baby step at a time.

J - Right. In this program we talk about the “habits of health.” And that’s what it is – they’re habits. You have to make them a habit. Getting adequate sleep, making sure you’re getting enough water in every day, exercise, eating 6 times a day, making sure your meals are balanced… All those things, like you said, if you just say ‘hey do all these things starting right now’, it’s hard. So [we have] a program where, first off, you have support – you have a health coach. You have somebody that’s helping you. And every week we focus on a different habit of health. It’s your choice - which habits am I going to start working on? How can I implement this better in my life? And you just start building like you said, line upon line.

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