About

Hey! I’m Jen and I am a NYC gal who has lost over 100 pounds. My story goes from 21 years of being overweight… to losing 100 pounds in a year… to becoming underweight and developing a very disordered relationship with food and exercising… to binge eating and re-gaining 30 pounds… to somewhere in semi-balanced land. Here’s my whole story if you’re interested! I hope you’ll stick around and read about my love for food, running, teaching Spin, and being really lazy all in NYC.

In my former life, I was addicted to chicken wings, chinese food, and basically anything that wasn’t nailed down. Exercise? Uhh.. if walking up the stairs to my apartment counted… I did next to NOTHING active for the first 21 years of my life.

photo 1

photo 2

At the end of the summer of 2009, I could no longer stand being in my own skin and started to make extremely small changes. It was literally as small as removing half of the bun from my Mcdonald’s cheeseburger at lunch, or drinking a diet soda instead of a regular. I also started to walk just 15-20 minutes a day, building it up slowly to an hour a day. I built this in to my day by walking to and from work, which at the time was feasible for me to do. Within a few months, I had lost 40 pounds.

Shopping was fun!!

Shopping was fun!!

Just looking at that picture makes me remember how PROUD I felt!

Over the next few weeks I went away to my first semester at college (I had been taking online classes but decided to do a semester away) and slacked off on the diet changes a bit. I was still eating MUCH less than my old days, but I only lost about 10 pounds over those few months. I was still walking every day and did a short 20 minute circuit as part of my gym credit 3 times a week. I knew I wasn’t giving it my all over those months but once that semester was over, I buckled down and set out to lose the last 50 pounds. I started tracking my calories on MyFitnessPal and took it VERY seriously. Up until then I had not counted calories before, but this showed me results right away. Not knowing anything about calories themselves, I kept my calorie goal at 1,200 a day as that was what MyFitnessPal’s setting was for losing 2 pounds per week. 20 more pounds more or less fell off of me in a matter of a month and a half, and my motivation was through the roof!

June 2010

June 2010

I walked SO much that summer. Most days I was walking a minimum of 5 miles, up to 10! I definitely was addicted to how it made me feel, and I continued to remain very strict with not eating more than 1,200 calories… and at that time it seemed to be fine for my body.

august

I had lost 90 pounds… why not go to the beach to celebrate?!

beach

vaca

Looking back, this is where I should have stopped. I looked amazing, right?! I hadn’t started running yet, and when I did that knocked those other 10 pounds off. And then I just kept going, still eating a measly 1,200 calories. For reference, at this size I weighed 165 pounds. Just goes to show you that you really never know someones weight!

October 2010, 100 pounds gone!!

October 2010, 100 pounds gone!!

This is about the time I started to feel a little trapped. I should have sought out some guidance about maintenance, but I still thought I needed to lose more. Looking back, I know that this time period was when my weight and counting calories/exercising obsessively became an addiction and took over my life.

December 2010

December 2010

hair2

That silly picture above is to show you my hair. I have always had thick wavy hair and when I started to get this thin it became thin along with it; along with balding at the top which you can see in this picture. But everyone I saw told me how amazing I looked, and no one but my family told me I was getting too thin. The scale showed 150 pounds, that isn’t skinny! Or so I thought.

My boyfriend and I moved to NYC in March of 2011, when I was deeply immersed in my eating disorder that I didn’t know I even had, and things started to get better. I was around people who loved fitness for being FIT, not just to be as skinny as possible. I was running a lot because I really loved it, and started to incorporate some weight training to build some muscle. I quickly went from skinny to muscles in just a few short weeks thanks to Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred!

June 2011

June 2011

jacked

Right? I felt confident and great for about a month until the obsession with exercising more and more came over me. I was walking close to 5 miles a day just to work and back (I would purposely walk there) plus a 5 mile run before work, and either a Zumba class or Jillian Michaels at night. Still eating no more than 1,300-1,500 calories a day, my body wasn’t changing any longer but I hadn’t had my period in months. I had no idea this was abnormal and actually felt excited about it. It was a constant struggle every day to be so strict and it put a serious damper on my relationships with my boyfriend, friends and family. EVERYTHING was about my diet and workouts. I remember being so upset, wondering how I could possibly sustain that forever. I felt I had no other choice to continue though, because gaining weight was not in the cards for me.

The night it all changed for me was what was supposed to be a very exciting night for me. It was my first time being in NYC for fashion week, and my friends and I were going to scope out Rachel Zoe who I love! We got all dressed up and for once I wasn’t worried about working it around my diet. We had an amazing time, met my idol PLUS Kelly Cutrone (I died) and then stopped to get some food a little late on the way home. This was so out of my strict regimen of not eating out during the week that I didn’t know what to do. We went to a small little mexican place where I could have easily eaten a healthy salad OR a burrito and been fine, but I chose the burrito and from that night on I lost control. I wish that it just made me open my eyes to the fact that I COULD loosen up and relax about what I ate so that I could enjoy life and be healthy at the same time. I started to binge eat multiple times a week at night, feeling SO scared and out of control. It started out just once or twice a week, and then my workouts started to suffer. Within a month I had put on at LEAST 10 pounds, but I stopped weighing myself so I was never sure. My clothes were so uncomfortable, the weight came on fast and it went directly to the areas that it still clings to these days πŸ˜‰ Inner thighs, stomach, and backs of my arms.

September 2011

September 2011

Just 3 months later, December 2011

Just 3 months later, December 2011

Don’t get me wrong; I know I still look healthy and fabulous in the 2nd picture! My hair was fuller and I started my period again. I was still working out a lot but the binge eating was really scary and made me feel sick all the time. This was around the time I started to get that under control, but the too-often overeating lasted.

2012 and 2013 were extremely rough years for me. I lost my grandma in February 2012 and I have been struggling with depression since. So many things have happened in my personal and family life over these last 2 years that would make ANYONE depressed and question everything. The strength I have to get through all of this is thanks to exercise. 2013 was an amazing year of running for me. It’s not JUST something to stay in shape or to eat a ton (but let’s be real, that’s the biggest perk) but I have learned more about myself and what kind of strength I have through exercise. Through pushing past the pain of mile 10 in a half marathon. Through giving my all on 30 second sprints on the last song of teaching a spin class, for the 2nd time that day. Through busting out 10 real push-ups in a row.

JEN

run

I know that I can be more toned and thinner if I would cut out my cheese-less pizza obsession, almond croissants or chocolate, but I am an athlete regardless of how jiggly my triceps are at the moment. I am MORE than that. I am also (still) learning how to really live life while being as healthy as I can be, and that changes every day! Some days all I want are vegetables and all things healthy, and other days I want an almond croissant for breakfast and french fries for lunch… and dinner. The most important thing for me is to stay active and learn to listen to myself, and to be a role model of progress not perfection.

Contact me: artificiallybalanced@gmail.com

45 thoughts on “About

  1. Love this page on your blog! I think a lot of people struggle with counting calories (i know i do…) because after doing it so long you think that a few days of too many calories will add to weight gain. I completely understand!! I love that you lost the weight in a healthy way, BUT most importantly that you realize it is a total lifestyle change. Great work!! And i’m glad you’re enjoying my blog as well πŸ™‚

  2. Wow! That’s an awesome transformation! Congrats to you! My husband lost about 110lbs a couple of years ago and I know what kind of hard work and dedication that takes. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you! That is so amazing about your husband! Lots of hard work and dedication for sure! But well worth it πŸ™‚

    • YOU ARE SO CUTE. I’m so happy to have stalked your Instagram!! haha We gotta get to know each other! ❀ ❀

  3. Just read your story in Women’s Health Magazine – amazing!! I’m now following your blog; is there somewhere I can see what you are eating? I am also on myfitnesspal – not sure if you are still l;ogging food or if your diary is public? I’m very interested in seeing what your meal plan looked like when you were losing the weight. I’m 5’5″ and 154lbs – really need at least 15lbs gone so I can feel good….I work out and eat healthy (I think) but nothing is budging. Thanks!

    • Kinda disappointed that I haven’t gotten a response – I was hoping for some advice. If anyone else has advice, would love to hear it…thanks

    • Hi Lisa- Sorry for the delayed response! Thanks so much for reading. I do still track my food every day on MFP but my diary isn’t private because it’s not good to compare what YOUR body needs vs. anyone elses. I am 5’7 and have a lot of muscle so my calorie count is going to be bigger than yours. I would suggest figuring out your “TDEE” using http://iifym.com/tdee-calculator/ which is the amount of calories (estimated) your specific body burns in a 24 hour period. From there, you can create a deficit of about 20-30% (no more) to lose the 15 you want to lose. If you want to email me I can give you some more info! artificiallybalanced at gmail.com πŸ™‚

  4. Your story is an inspiration and you look amazing! I read about you in Women’s Health and was excited to see that you are on WordPress. I lost 75ish pounds a few times and also love Jillian Michaels! Her No More Trouble Zones DVD has always been my favorite. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you so much!! Congratulations on your weight loss! Jillian Michaels dvd’s are my favorites, she is amazing!! πŸ™‚

  5. Hey Jen! I read your article in Women’s Health magazine and I must say that you are such an inspiration! I just started working out recently and stories like yours give me hope for a happier, healthier future! Thank you so much(:

    • Thank you so much for reading Julie!! I love to hear that you are starting to work out, your body will thank you for it AND your mind even if it takes a little bit of time! You will find what works for you and what you enjoy πŸ™‚

  6. Thank you so much for sharing! My name is also Jen, I’m 5’4″, 230 lbs & just beginning to commit myself to living healthy. (If I call it dieting then I’ll panic & quit) I also have never been athletic and I’ve been just flirting with MFP. I feel like I can relate to the “before you” & find your blog very inspiring. Thank you so much, look forward to reading more πŸ™‚

    • Hi JEN! This makes me so happy. NEVER use the word diet, its such a bad 4 letter word. Make the plunge to start using MFP, it is a life changer. Please let me know if you have any questions or anything with it, I’d be happy to help! You totally got this πŸ™‚

  7. How did you stay motivated in the beginning? I HATE working out and just love eating (not so healthy foods). I went running last night but hated every second of it. I have trouble staying motivated. I know if I keep doing it, my body will eventually want to workout but I can’t ever seem to get to that point. Any advice would be awesome!

  8. hi – I seen a post with banana chia oats…..what all goes into those besides the obvous πŸ™‚ I didn’t see any recipes on your page unless I missed it πŸ˜‰

    Thanks!!! LOVE reading your posts…..just recently found you from MFP.

    • Hi Shelley! My recipe for it is:

      1/3 cup old fashioned oats
      2 tsp chia seeds
      1 large banana cut in slices
      tons of cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, etc

      I cover that with enough water to stir it all up then microwave for 2 mins, checking it after 1 min to see if I need more water which just depends on how thick you like it! After it’s done cooking I put a TBSP of peanut butter or any nut butter on top to let it melt all over and bam- there ya have it πŸ™‚

  9. Hey, I read about you from Women’s Health, you are such an inspriation! So excited to follow your blog! I have one too at afireworkinprogress.com. I’ve still got 30 pounds to go and am working hard to get there. It’s always helpful to see people achieve their goals!

  10. Wow! I have the same Mizuno shoes. Mizuno shoes and my feet are BFF’s. My favorite Mizuno running shoe is the Wave Rider 13 and of course I can not find it anymore in colors I like. I got the Wave Elixir 7 for Christmas last year. Then I had to try out the Wave Asceno 7 and Wave Rider 15. Just ordered the new Wave Prophecy 3 tonight. Can’t wait to try them on! :)Besides my love for running and shoes I need some help with my eating plan. I currently do not know how many calories I eat per day. I will use your link for the calculator to see what I need and start tracking. I usually run every day 3-4 miles. I lost 80lbs in 2007 and gradually gained it back. Started running again last April and lost the 80lbs again. I would like to lose 15-20 more pounds and tone up a little more. I need some help with food ideas and what I need daily. I have Hashimoto’s Disease (Thyroid) so I take synthroid and lots of vitamins. Both times I have lost weight my hair seems to not like the idea of weight loss. My DR says that my lab work looks good. If every thing is good the only other thing I can think of would be what I am eating or not eating. I can so relate with your comments about the blah’s. I get them too, I was thinking it happens to me every year around the same time. Maybe seasonal affective disorder (SAD) Winter blues! 😦 Anyway if you have any information you could pass along I would sure appreciate it. Thanks!

    • Hi there! I would DEFINITELY recommend tracking your food in MyFitnessPal and have a goal for what you should be eating to lose. You can figure out a good place to start using the calculator on IIFYM.com which promotes eating healthy stuff first but letting the foods you love (treats and such) be a part of your calorie count so you can eat them regularly! It helps you figure out your basil metabolic rate (what you burn at rest/just breathing) which is the minimum amount of cals your body needs, and then you figure in your activity level on top of it. Adjust those numbers on MFP because it will probably give you too low of a number to start since it doesn’t base it on anything other than trying to lose 2 lbs per week. If you have any other q’s email me! artificiallybalanced (at) gmail.com πŸ™‚

  11. What an inspiring story!! Congratulations on your incredible progress! I moved to NYC back in June and one of the first things I noticed was the amount of runners here. It’s definitely a fitness-obsessed city…in the best way possible!

  12. Congratulations on all your amazing accomplishments! I loved your story…you are so real and I can relate to so much!! Sooo happy I found this blog on IG!! I was at the NYC half too – my first half!

  13. I just found your blog and you are such an inspiration! It seems we have similar stories in terms of disordered eating turning to binge-eating. I am now trying to find that healthy balance, glad I came across this page!

  14. OMG I just started taking spin class. Does your butt EVER get used to it? So sore. Also, why cheeseless pizza? Are you lactose intolerant or have I just been doing it wrong my whole life? My weakness is BBQ chicken pizza. I wish I hadn’t just said that, because now that’s what I’m craving.

    • Hi Jory! Yes, you do get used to it. You have to be consistent but I will tell you you will always be at least a little uncomfortable down there haha but I sometimes teach 3 classes in a day, on the bike the whole time, and its not TOO terrible! I am really lactose intolerant to cheese, milk and ice cream (i can have greek yogurt) so I have been cheese-less for over a year now and I don’t miss it at ALL! I can eat a whole pizza for 700 calories compared to 1400+ with the cheese and I am a big eater πŸ™‚

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