Today we’re profiling one of our Sweat Pink Ambassadors, Genevieve from Fitty Foodlicious. She’s an authentic, inspiring, and supportive voice in our community, and we were thrilled to sit down with her and chat about all things fitness, health, self-love, and and how she’s translating her online community into an in-person one.
There’s a pervasive cultural myth that dramatic weight loss achieved and maintained is an all-inclusive ticket to personal fulfillment and happiness. Yet finding yourself at the maintenance end of a weight loss journey is no guarantee that sunshine and rainbows await, as Genevieve Jerome discovered after significant and hard-won weight loss. By 2011, she had successfully lost 155 pounds, but “there were still two and a half years that I spent, thinking, why am I doing this, why do I feel so empty?” she admits.
Genevieve is the friendly, relatable voice behind Fitty Foodlicious and @fittyfoodlicious. She started her online platforms by sharing her weight loss journey, but admits, “I don’t even talk about that anymore. The weight loss was easy compared to the mental aspect. I had to find self-love and that is so much bigger than the weight loss.”
Discovering self-love was a process of uncovering habits she didn’t know she had, including near-constant negative self-talk that undermined her every step of the way. “I didn’t even realize how much negative self-talk I was doing until my husband said, ‘babe, every morning you look in the morning and say ‘yuck!’. I didn’t even know I was doing that.’”
Digging herself out of what she calls “the trench” is a still a work in progress. Even now, she says, “I have to check myself throughout the day, and when I get really stressed out I go back to my old triggers. It’s a lot of work.”
Getting to believe she deserved self-love and reversing those negative thoughts helped her change her perspective to “believing that I could love myself, and that I’m doing the best I can and that I’m awesome.”
For those who could use a boost into finding self-love, Genevieve shared a short list of how she found and keeps building her self-love:
See a therapist
Therapy has been really helpful. My therapist will say, ‘hey that sentence was full of negative self-talk,’ and I didn’t even hear it myself.” Genevieve says many people have privately messaged her saying they’ve started seeing a therapist, and she’s always proud of them for taking that step.
Practice self-love yoga
Genevieve regularly takes Kathryn Budig’s yoga classes, and integrates the mantras into her flows.
Pick a mantra or two to use in stressful situations
“I’m alright right now.”
“I’ll say this any time the anxiety pops up,” Genevieve says. “It works in any situation. I’ll use it while I’m boarding a plane. It helps to focus my mind and not let it go in all sorts of directions.”
“Keep going, you can do it!”
“When I’m running, I used to think, I can’t get through this mile, so I changed that to ‘keep going, Genevieve, you can do it!’ I say that over and over again while I run.”
Genevieve’s go-to mantras help her focus her mind on the present. An all-purpose mantra can be a helpful tool for getting out of a downward spiral of negative thoughts or anxiety.
Find a meditation practice that works
Genevieve’s daily runs with her dog Roxy are her active meditation, and help tremendously with her anxiety, she says.
Get out of the comparison game
She says when she shows up to a fitness class, it’s easy to fall into the comparison game, and see others are more fit, more confident, more whatever than you are. Now, she says, “Instead of looking at everyone and comparing, I say, hey, I’m pretty awesome, we’re all here for a reason.”
She says she was so anxious to show up to events, including the retreat in Sonoma and BlogFest, but she showed up anyway. “There’s so much good that comes out of showing up.”
Find your people
The first thing Genevieve did when she started her journey was to seek out other people who were on the same journey. “I followed a couple of accounts that were very body positive, and that really helped me. A lot of times we feel so alone. A lot of times the internet can be a very lonely place. I stopped reading fitness magazines. They will make you feel terrible about yourself. I started engaging with real people online.”
As she began—and continued—connecting, her platforms grew, and her confidence to share her journey publicly did as well. Her openness to sharing her experiences with everything from weight loss to anxiety, and negative self-talk to skin picking, has opened her up to unlikely connections with people who don’t want to talk about their struggles publicly, but find in her the inspiration to make changes and a sympathetic ear.
She’s found friends and a supportive community through her new lifestyle, and says the idea that she’s now pursuing her master’s in nutrition still sounds foreign. Foreign but right. From here, she plans to combine her upcoming degree in nutrition (plus an in-progress yoga certification) to bring women together in real life.
“So many women reach out and say, I don’t know where to go, I don’t know how to reach out,” she says, and she envisions transforming her internet community into an in-person one. “I would love to create a supportive, body positive women’s group in the Sacramento area where we can talk and interact with each other in person, meeting in real life. Where we can share our stories, talk about it, meet in person.”
This journey, she says, saved her life. “It changed everything,” she said, “and I want to help people with wellness, from nutrition to mental aspects of wellness. Women have so much pressure on them. We do everything. I want to do something amazing with my degree in nutrition to help other women.”
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