It has become a major focus in the United States because frankly, it has to be.
In a critically unhealthy world, people like the Fit Bottomed Girls are striving to help those who aspire to #healthandfitness, who are interested in taking a responsibility for their own lives. The "FBGs" are here to help and while motivation and encouragement is certainly part of the mission, they don't advocate drill-sergeant-like misery in order to get results, nor do they expect you to be anything less than happy while improving your health.
Jennipher Walters, co-author of The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet and Editor-in-Chief at Fit Bottomed Girls, wants you to enjoy the burn, so to speak. An ACE-certified personal trainer, health coach, advanced health and fitness specialist, and AFAA-certified group exercise instructor, Jennipher loves to get people active and in speaking to her, it's clear she also likes to see smiles on the faces of those who have made personal health a priority. As she holds a journalism degree and has penned articles for various publications including Shape magazine, Diets in Review, SparkPeople and The Huffington Post, she's also skilled at inspiring people with the written word, as are the rest of the FBGs.
So, ready to get fit? Ready to smile at life again?
GaG: What would you say to someone who says, “I just don’t have time to work out”?
Jennipher: “I would say, and I say this with a lot of love: Do you have time for Facebook? Do you have time for Snapchat? Do you have time to watch your favorite TV shows? We all make time for things we want to do and we just naturally do them.
I think we all do have time; it’s just a matter of prioritizing that time.
Secondly, it’s important to choose things you like, such as healthy foods you actually enjoy eating and workouts you enjoy doing. If you can make the workout fun and incorporate it into your social life, for example, this is part of the secret to having a healthy lifestyle. You have to get into the habit of doing it. So say you like dancing. Okay, have a random dance party in your living room for ten minutes; start out small. If you like it, make the party longer or take a Zumba class, and then maybe go with a friend, and make it a routine (go on a Saturday morning or whatever).
Then, once you get hooked on exercise you really crave it. It can take some time for this to happen but the bottom line is you have to like it. You have to enjoy getting healthy and it has to become a habit.”
GaG: What do you think is the biggest myth surrounding diet and nutrition these days?
Jennipher: “The biggest one is that you need to follow a certain diet to be healthy and lose weight.
There are a million diets out there for a reason: They don’t work. None of them work. So instead of this magic unicorn diet, you have to develop a healthy life that works well for you and your body.
You should see your nutrition choices as an experiment; find the foods that make you feel good and avoid the foods that make you feel like crap.
Then just be really curious about your body and check in with yourself. Use your intuition; we’re really into paying attention to things like your hunger and fullness cues. How much do I eat and how do I feel when I eat when I’m starving, as opposed to eating when I’m only a little hungry? Things like that.
Instead of looking for the magic diet or magic pill, put it all aside and begin to trust yourself and see what works.”
GaG: What’s the #1 thing we need to do to continue to battle the obesity epidemic in the country?
Jennipher: “That’s a really good question and I wish I had the answer to it. It’s such a multifaceted issue because there are so many different causes. There’s a lack of education, a lack of safe places to get outside and be active in, lack of access to quality fruits and vegetables, etc. If you live somewhere where your only access is a 7/11 and you have to walk there, and it’s not even very safe to walk, that’s a huge issue. Thankfully, there are lots of programs out there now that are trying to bring fruits and veggies into neighborhoods, which I think is great.
But also, fast food and snack companies spend a ton of money on creating the perfect taste that becomes very addictive.
High fat and high salt foods trigger a response in the brain that is actually similar to cocaine. I think we have a huge population that is addicted to those foods because your brain thinks it’s like crack.
Breaking that addiction is really hard and furthermore, we’ve got a huge diet industry that’s telling you to spend this much money on a treadmill, eliminate these foods, and you’ll be fixed. That’s not the case, of course.
I think it’s all of these things wrapped up into one.”
GaG: What advice would you give someone who says they can’t get motivated to exercise?
Jennipher: “Here’s a really fun exercise: Sit down with a piece of paper and a pen and ask yourself, ‘Why do I want to be healthier?’ As you’re writing the answers down, keep asking why. So if you say, ‘because I want to look good in a swimsuit,’ ask “why do I want to look good in a swimsuit?’ Keep drilling that down and finding your ‘why’ until it eventually gets you in your soul and twists a little.
For most people, it will come down to things like ‘I want to be seen, I want to feel valued, I want to be more confident.’ There is usually a deeper emotional need that needs to be fulfilled. So always try to remind yourself of your ‘why’ as much as you can, and satisfying it might not even involve working out. There are other ways to feel more valued or more confident, like speaking your mind more, for instance, or taking five minutes in the morning to connect more with your partner.
So in the end, instead of outside motivators, look for the inside motivators.”
GaG: Eating well and being active isn’t just about making your body healthy; there’s a mental aspect to it, too, isn’t there?
Jennipher: “I think it all comes back to this—
You can’t hate yourself healthy. You have to love and respect your body and make decisions that help in the long run.
If you did a killer workout one day, and then the next day you planned to do another workout but your body is screaming at you, listen. Take the day off, or go for a walk, or meditate, or something like that. It’s really about showing yourself love, as corny as it sounds.
I know if I sit down to have dinner and it’s healthy and I took time to make it, and it’s full of fiber and vegetables, I’m happy with that plate. I feel good when I’m eating it, as opposed to eating unhealthy because it might make me feel guilty or ashamed. Shame and guilt should never be on your plate. And then, on the other hand, if you’re craving a burger and fries, don’t deny the craving. It’s about 80/20; eating well 80 percent of the time and eating what you want 20 percent of the time, rather than just cutting things out entirely.”
GaG: Why should those interested in living healthier lives visit Fit Bottomed Girls? What makes you unique?
Jennipher: “Our sites are very unique because they promote an extremely positive body image and we’ve been doing it since 2008 (that’s like 100 years old in Internet years). We were really a body image pioneer. And now, it has become a living breathing organism, more than a site: It’s a community of like-minded women who want to be about more than the scale, who don’t want to diet, who want to be healthy by showing themselves love. So we provide various workout ideas, motivational tips and playlists, and we do everything with a lighthearted attitude.
The best compliment we ever got from a reader is, ‘It’s like talking to your best fit friend you never knew you had.’
We call ourselves FGBs and we call our readers FBGs; it immediately disarms people because the name is funny (it’s not about the size of your butt) but also, everyone is welcome here. We’re very inclusive and everyone feels heard and understood. We have a dozen writers aside from myself who all have a similar tone but different experiences. So, no matter who you are or what you’re into, one of us is going to deeply understand you, and I think that really shines through.”
We'd like to thank Jennipher for taking the time to speak to us, and we hope you'll continue the follow the Fit Bottomed Girls on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Also, don't forget about their associated websites, Fit Bottomed Mamas, Fit Bottomed Eats, and Fit Bottomed Zen. When it comes to health, nutrition and fitness, it always helps to have great advice, but it's even better to communicate with like-minded individuals who are familiar with just about every aspect of the health pursuit, from struggles to triumph.
And in the end, never forget to get out there and MOVE! :)