Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Forgiveness & Weight Loss

I wanted to make a post about forgiveness because it is something that truly helped me throughout my weight loss journey. In fact, it is something that still helps me more than anything.

But, why forgiveness? Well... to put it lightly: because forgiveness is a fucking bitch. It is hard to forgive ourselves for our mistakes, or forgive those who have wronged us. I'm not talking about forgiving your husband for leaving dirty clothes beside the hamper instead of moving them one more foot into the hamper (but seriously, how annoying is that!?). I'm talking about finding the strength to forgive someone who has truly betrayed you. Maybe you were cheated on, maybe you were sexually or physically abused, or maybe a "friend" you had turned out to be not so great of a friend. There are many ways people can betray us, and it is easy to get consumed in that betrayal, thinking about what caused it: "was it something I did?", "how could they do that to me?", etc. I'm sure anyone who's reading this knows exactly what I mean.

One of my favorite quotes by my favorite author reads:

"Forgiveness doesn't sit there like a pretty boy in a bar. Forgiveness is the old fat guy you have to haul up a hill."
- Cheryl Strayed

Why do I love this quote to my core? Because it is 100% true. If forgiveness was easy, we would all be able to move on from terrible events of betrayal in our lives with ease. But, forgiveness is not easy. That's why we continue to feel pain days, months, even years after the betrayal has occurred. Forgiveness takes work, it takes strength. It means having to ACCEPT what has happened, forgive, and move on- even if you never got an apology. True forgiveness is learning to accept the apology you never got.

It's one thing if someone wrongs us and they apologize, but what about those who never apologize for their betrayal? Learning to forgive that person... that my friends takes true strength and it will help you in life more than you could ever imagine.

So, how did forgiving those who betrayed me help me during my weight loss journey?

First and foremost, my head began to feel lighter. My mind finally began to feel more clear and more positive. That positivity led to me feeling much better about myself than I had prior, when I was constantly thinking "what did I do to deserve this?". Once I began to feel more positive in my day to day life, I started to fuel my body with exercise and clean eating. It is much more easy to make good choices for ourselves when we're feeling positive.

Secondly, I began to feel more confident in myself. This kind of piggy backed off the positivity, but I started to feel much more confident in my day to day life. I knew I didn't deserve to be betrayed, and I stopped blaming myself for it. I had to accept what happened and move on.

Lastly, I became more in control. One of the biggest things I did when I began my weight loss journey was cut out negative influences in my life which included those who had betrayed me. I don't mean I cut people out completely, although some I did, but I set up very strong boundaries with those who were bringing negative influences to my life. It was very difficult to do this at first, but over time became much easier. In time I realized I had absolutely no control over how people treated me, I could only control how I responded to it. So simply, if someone was bringing negative influence to my life, I would not tolerate it and I set up boundaries if I chose to continue the relationship.

Eliminating those negative, unhealthy influences gave me strength and more positivity. Taking control of my life and who I let in it gave me confidence. Strength, positivity, and confidence were SO helpful and essential for my weight loss journey. I felt more empowered and confident in myself that I could lose weight. I knew the reason I had gained so much weight was because I was always doubting my self worth. I didn't feed myself based on hunger, I fed myself based on how I was feeling or the events going on around me. I didn't exercise or meditate to relieve stress, I partied and binge drank to forget. When the feelings and events in our lives are mostly negative, it can be disastrous for your body.

It took me a long time to realize the power of forgiving others and myself in my weight loss journey. In fact, for a while I didn't even realize I was obsessing over negative thoughts and emotions. But once I did, I developed a strength and self love for myself that I have never known.

In Health & Happiness,

Friday, August 7, 2015

Flashback Friday.

Exactly 7 months ago, I was significantly overweight- weighing the most I ever had at 221.5 pounds.

Exactly 7 months ago, I cried almost every single day. I was depressed. I was constantly anxious. I was a mess.

Exactly 7 months ago, I decided to write a blog.

Exactly 7 months ago, I was reborn into the person I was meant to be.

If you would have told me 7 months ago that I would be a Fitness Coach, I would have laughed in your face. If you would have told me I would be on my way to becoming a certified Nutritional Therapist, I would have had to lift my face out of the pizza box long enough to tell you that you were crazy. If you would have told me I would be making steps towards becoming a certified Personal Trainer, I never, ever would have believed you.

Yet here I am, 7 months later, completely taking control of my health, fitness, relationship with food, and HELPING OTHERS do the same.

On January 6, 2015 when I released my blog documenting my progress through Insanity Max 30, I never, EVER thought it would gain as much popularity as it did. I was mainly keeping the blog as a way to hold myself accountable for working out everyday. I never thought I would inspire anyone. The only thing I really ever thought was, "I bet so many people are making fun of me right now".

But I was vulnerable. I was scared for my life and my future, so I decided to air out my laundry for the world to see in a blog. I talked about my health problems, my ongoing problems with anxiety and panic disorder, and my weight. By the grace of God, it worked. I was able to lose a ton of weight and completely reshape my relationship with food. I had countless people liking/commenting on my social media posts. Countless people private messaging me, calling me, texting me- It was unbelievable. Ever single one of those links, comments, messages, etc. motivated me every single day.

I remember on January 6, 2015 when I shared that first blog post. I was laying in my bed crying, afraid to click "publish". I was afraid for the world to see how bad my life turned. Here I sit on August 7, 2015, 7 months later, crying as I write this- so happy and so thankful.

I can't begin to tell you how rewarding, fulfilling, and amazing this journey has been so far for me. As I sit here 7 months later, I feel as though I have FINALLY found my passion. I had been consumed for so many years in bad relationships, negativity, alcohol, and overeating. I woke up every day just trying to make it through the day. Now, I wake up with a purpose and with a smile on my face.

I can only hope that my journey will inspire others, anyone, to take back control of their life. It's amazing what you can accomplish with the right support in your life.

If anyone who is reading this feels they aren't getting the support they need, or needs assistance in jump starting their own journey, please email me. I would be so happy to help you.

In Health & Happiness,

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Hey guys!

It sure has been a while since I made a blog post, I have really been slacking. I'm going to try and improve this over the course of the next couple weeks :)

Anyway, as many of you who follow me on Facebook and Instagram may have seen, my husband (Tim) and I "unplugged" this past weekend.

What does "unplugged" mean?

Well, it basically means we detached ourselves from our phones, tablets, computers, and television. I had brought this idea up to Tim months ago, thinking it may improve our marriage and overall well being. Not that our devices were having a "negative" impact on our relationship, but there were definitely moments where we both would be lost in social media on Facebook and I would think, "how much time did we just waste nosing around other peoples lives rather than focusing on us?"

Since Tim's job is very demanding and the majority of my work demand comes in the evenings, I really felt like we were becoming disconnected with each other. Early last week I came downstairs to find a flyer Tim had taken out of his Cabela's catalog which was a pledge to disconnect. The flyer encouraged you to take a day to disconnect, but Tim and I decided we would do the entire weekend.

Disconnecting wasn't as nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. In fact, it was pretty relieving. I wasn't worried about checking in with a challenge group, messaging someone back, or curious about the latest posts on Facebook or Instagram. My body was relieved to give my eyes a rest from the screens and my head was at ease from the chaos of drama on social media.

One thing that was somewhat difficult was not being able to "look stuff up". Whenever Tim or I have a wondering or questioning about anything we ALWAYS look it up, typically on our phones. This was honestly somewhat challenging. However, we figured that whatever needed "looked up" would wait until Monday.

I remember when I was a young child and I did not have a cell phone. I rarely used the computer, and the television was hardly ever on. I spent the majority of my time outside, or with my friends. It's crazy to think about how dependent we've become on our devices and how little actual connection we have with people.

It's easy to shoot someone a text or message, but it takes real work to go spend time with someone. Tim and I are normally so busy during the week and even the weekends that it's difficult to find that connection sometimes. It was truly refreshing to just spend time together, just the two of us with the world turned off.

Tim and I spent the day Sunday hiking at a trail near our home. I made us a nice healthy breakfast prior, then we were off for the day. We spent the day together in nature, which was so relaxing. We hiked a little over 7 miles and then made our way home. We got cleaned up, played a few games of bananagrams, then went to bed early. It was truly an amazing day.

Although our devices and social media are great tools, it is important to focus on the bigger picture and what's really important in our lives. Is it more important that I check what this person said (who I haven't spoken to since high school) on Facebook, or should I kiss my husband and/or ask him about his day instead? I challenge anyone who's reading this to find time to disconnect yourself from the craziness of devices and social media. Spend time with someone who you really care about. Look at them when you talk to them instead of at your phone. Eat at the dinner table instead of the television. Go outside and just sit, leave your phone inside. You'll be glad you did.

I'll end with a quote I found the day after we decided to unplug which really spoke volumes to both Tim and I. Also, below are a few photo's from our hike :)

"There is no Wi-Fi in the forest, but I promise you will find a better connection."

In Health & Happiness,

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Learning to Walk Again

If you follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram you probably saw Tim & I attended the 20th anniversary Foo Fighters concert in D.C. this weekend. I have always connected strongly to the Foo Fighters music, but this concert was absolutely fucking amazing. I apologize for my potty mouth, but there’s really no other fucking way to talk about rock and roll.

Dave Grohl at the Foo Fighters 20th Anniversary July 4th Festival. The broken leg tour. Absolutely amazing.

Without music, our lives would surely be very dull. Music is there to get us dancing, to help us fall in love, or get us through hard times. The Foo Fighters music is music I have connected with very strongly, especially during some of the more difficult points of my life. In honor of the Foo Fighters and an amazing weekend, I want to reflect on a few of the Foo Fighters songs that really speak to me, get me dancing, and make me want to scream the lyrics at the top of my lungs.

The Best of You

Let me say very bluntly, the majority of my life I have let people get the best of me. I let people that I thought were friends and/or family constantly push me down and make me feel like I was not worthy of happiness. The song Best of You by Foo Fighters is one of my absolute favorite songs, ever. The lyrics speak to me on so many deep levels I cannot even put it into words. These words in particular hit me like a lighting bolt into my soul:

Has someone taken your faith?
It’s real, the pain you feel
The life, the love
You die to heal
The hope that starts
The broken hearts
You trust, you must confess
Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?

It’s extremely difficult to break away from negative people. They’re kind of like a vicious cancer that just spreads into our lives. It’s damn near impossible to be happy when your life consists of these people, especially if they’re a close friend or family member. Their negative attitudes and comments towards you have such a strong impact on your own attitude and self worth. These people get the best of us. I know this feeling all to well.


The song Walk by Foo Fighters reminds me of my journey since January 2015. Before then, I was in a bad place in my life. I had a list of health problems and felt absolutely terrible on the inside and out due to the choices I made that damaged my body tremendously. I let the people who got the best of me take control of my own self worth. My heart ached everyday. I let the people who hurt me get the best of me, and I lost control of myself.

To whom it may concern
I think I lost my way
Getting good at starting over
Everytime that I return

I’m learning to walk again
I believe I waited long enough
Where do I begin?
I’m learning to talk again
Can’t you see I’ve waited long enough?
Where do I begin?

Every line above is a complete reflection of how I felt in January. At the time, I really felt like no body cared about me. The problem was, I never told anyone how badly I was hurting. I kept everything a secret for many years. I had also tried “starting over” with losing weight countless times and failed.

In many ways which I won’t get into here, I feel like I’ve been fighting for happiness my entire life. The things I had been through made me think “why me?” for many years. It took me a long time to realize I could either let the bad things control me, or push through them to better myself. In January, I decided I waited long enough to take control of my life. I learned to TALK to people close to me, mainly my husband.

Times Like These

This is a very popular Foo Fighters song I think most people love, and if you don’t then get off my blog. I’m kidding. But this song definitely serves as a way for us all to reflect on our lives.

Typically we always seem more obligated to live, give, and love more during times of sorrow. A death of a loved one is great example. You want to live your life to it’s fullest potential, you want to give to others, and you pay more attention to those you love.

I’ve been trying to live my life more like this on a day to day basis. Living, giving, loving. What better way to live your life?

It’s times like these you learn to live again
It’s times like these you give and give again
It’s time’s like these you learn to love again
It’s time’s like these time and time again

After Dave sang this at the concert Saturday, he gave a little speech about the meaning of the song but the words he said that stuck out to me most were: It could ALWAYS be worse.

I challenge you all to live your life according to those words- for a day, for a week, for a month, FOREVER. Always remember, no matter how bad you think you’re life is or how shitty a situation is, there is ALWAYS someone out there who is going through something much worse.

I love music. I love how it speaks to me. I love how it makes me feel less alone and more understood. This weekend was one of the most fun memories I have in my life to date, and I got to share it with the human I love the most. I woke up this morning feeling so incredibly sore from dancing my ass off, jumping, and having an amazing time. I also woke up feeling so happy, so alive, and so ready to keep walking, talking, living, giving, and loving.

In Health & Happiness,

Monday, June 22, 2015

Whole 30

I started my first Whole 30 on February 16, 2015. When most of my family and friends found out about this "diet" I was doing, they thought I was absolutely CRAZY. Yes, many people did call me crazy.

"How can you go 30 days without cheese or tequila?!" (two of my most favorite things) people would ask me.

Not only did I give up cheese and tequila for 30 days, I gave up ALL dairy, sugar, grains, beans, and alcohol.

"What do you eat then?" Was commonly the next question I got from folks.

I ate vegetables, fruit, good quality meat, and healthy fats such as nuts, olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, etc.

When I told people this, most people just looked at me like I had 5 heads.

"So... we can't go to happy hour this week?"

To be honest, it was very difficult for most people to understand what I was doing and that I couldn't just "have one cheat meal" or "just one drink".

You may even think I was crazy as you're reading this. So why did I do the Whole 30?

The first and most important thing that swayed me to attempt the Whole 30 was that IT MADE SENSE. Every word in the book It Starts with Food made complete and total sense to me. The entire concept of the Whole 30- removing the foods that cause an unhealthy effect on our bodies completely for 30 days, then reintroducing them slowly to see the effects they have on us. As It Starts with Food explains, many people have food allergies without even knowing it. It isn't until we remove the food and reintroduce it that we can see how that particular food really effects us. For example, many people have an intolerance to dairy without knowing. We don't know because our body is so used to feeling poorly from the food that it becomes "normal". It isn't until we remove the food that we realize how great we can actually feel.

Now, I KNEW that food was the reason to many of my ongoing health issues. My problem was fighting cravings and emotional eating. But after reading It Starts with Food, everything really clicked for me. I was able to deal with the cravings much better than I ever had before.

And as I had with Insanity Max 30, I told EVERYONE I knew what I was doing to help me stay accountable. Tim (hubby) even offered to do the Whole 30 with me for support.

In 30 days I lost 13.4 pounds and 11 inches off my body by doing the Whole 30. I felt AMAZING on the inside and out. Most of my health issues either went away all together or decreased significantly. More importantly I felt happy and sexy. It was like a total reset for my body.

Left: Day 1, Right: Day 31

In exactly two weeks from today I will be starting a Whole 30 challenge group on Facebook offering advice, tips, recipes, and motivation. If you are interested in completing the Whole 30, please email me at jessicaozimok@gmail.com so I can add you to our group!!

In Health & Happiness,
Coach Jessica

Monday, June 15, 2015

The first time I cried during a workout...

The date was January 6, 2015. It was my second day on the program Insanity Max 30. I was so incredibly sore from the previous days workout, Cardio Challenge. I literally came home from work that day telling Tim I was thinking about skipping the workout- ON MY SECOND DAY.

I had told Tim the week before- do NOT let me miss these work outs and do NOT let me go off my eating plan, no questions asked. I told him no matter how mad, sad, bitchy, or whatever mood I got in, he HAD to make me do it- and like the wonderful husband he is, he did despite my displeasure with it. I know it is really difficult for Tim to “make” me do something or tell me “no”, just as it is for me to him. I had asked his help with this numerous times over the years, but he never liked seeing me upset or angry, especially when I couldn’t have pizza (I know, I’m a pathetic baby). However, as my last post indicated, I was dealing with some significant health problems and had become significantly overweight. This was no longer a question. I needed his help, and he knew it.

Before I jump into why I cried during this workout, let me give you a little history about my previous athleticism. I was very active growing up. I played a variety of sports including field hockey, track and field, and even basketball for a short period. I loved going to our high schools gym and lifting weights (especially squatting) and running. Whenever I was upset or mad about anything, I laced up my sneakers and went running. It was time for myself, and time to think. I never really ate very healthy, but I was also active which helped keep me thin (although at the time I thought I was fat).

Anyway- to make my point here, I am no stranger to working out. In fact, I used to love it. However I had come to the point where I had damaged my body so much that I absolutely hated it. It was no longer easy for me to run or even walk a mile. I couldn’t really jump. Everything left me extremely sore, exhausted, and feeling defeated. Working out no longer had the relief that it used to. Instead it was replaced with dread and a lot of pain.

On January 6 I did something I typically did not do- I pushed through the negative thoughts and made myself work out (well, Tim made me do it). So why did I cry during this work out?

It wasn’t because it hurt, or that I was tired, or even that I was so pissed that Tim made me do it, it was because of something Shaun T said during the work out.

The workout was Tabata Power. It was near the end of the work out and Shaun T said something that brought me to tears right then and there: “It’s more than just exercise, it’s your life”. I remember that moment very specifically. First, it lit a fire under my ass and I finished the work out strong- if you’ve ever done Tabata Power you know how damn hard it is. Second, I went upstairs and looked at myself in the mirror and started bawling.

As silly as it may sound and despite all the health problems I was going through at the time, I truly never looked at exercise that way. I was viewing exercise as a burden when I should have been really been viewing it as medicine. Those words completely reshaped how I view exercise and I continue to carry that with me, especially on the days I don’t want to work out.

Let’s face it- looking sexy and losing weight are obviously two big perks to exercise, but the biggest is what it does for your HEALTH. It’s always great to fit in that dress, or to get that compliment, but the real success is what you get long term- a long, happy life with the ones you love.
I never shared this moment with anyone, even Tim. I think it’s important to show that vulnerability, because it truly gave me a lot of strength. Eating clean and exercising is all about how you view it. If you view it as a burden, it is going to be miserable. If you view it as your LIFE, it is going to motivate you. Change your mind set, change your life.

In Health & Happiness,
Coach Jessica

Sunday, June 7, 2015

New Beginning, Part 2

On January 2, 2015 I wrote my first post in my first blog, http://jessicainsanitymax30.blogspot.com/. When I look back at that first post, I cannot believe the person I used to be. More importantly, I cannot believe the physical and mental changes I have experienced in the past 6 months.

To recap, from around October 2014-January 2015 I was battling severe anxiety and depression. I had been struggling with anxiety for over 6 years, but it had gotten to be at it’s worst in late 2014. To try and describe just how bad my issues with anxiety had gotten- I was experiencing regular heart palpitations that absolutely terrified me, I had tachycardia which is a fancy term for saying my resting heart rate was way too fast, and I constantly worried that my health and life were in danger. All of these problems made it very difficult for me to focus on my “regular” life. I was panicking about having panic attacks, which caused me to have more panic attacks. I was living in a constant state of fear, just hoping to make it to the next day. When Tim and I realized just how bad things had gotten and how it was effecting my health, we decided I would take a medical leave from work. Now, I had been dealing with anxiety for a LONG time. In my mind I thought taking a few weeks off work would “fix me”.

Unfortunately, that was not the case. It took me months to begin showing any improvement. It was extremely discouraging, and left me feeling very depressed. I was upset I wasn’t contributing financially to our household, although Tim always assured me we were fine. After a month of being on medical leave, Tim and I made the decision for me to permanently leave my job so I could “get healthy”. Leaving my job was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I had really come to love my job, and they were willing to keep working with me, but I knew I needed to focus on myself in order for this to ever improve long term.

Obviously these problems didn’t occur overnight. There was an underlying reason I was struggling with anxiety, my health, my weight, and my happiness.

I have always been a strong believer in the power of exercise and food, although I didn't always know how to implement their power. When I was younger I used to be very fit and physically active, but never really paid much attention to what i fueled my body with.

When I went to college and after losing someone very close to me, I fell completely off the deep end. I became very aware and paranoid of death. I started eating a lot to distract and comfort my mind. I also started drinking alcohol more than I ever had to numb my pain that I could not deal with.

Within a few months of that unhealthy lifestyle, I had my first panic attack. I had no idea at the time food and alcohol could be contributing to the panic. Hell I didn't even know what was wrong with me or what a panic attack was. My lack of knowledge led me to continue my new unhealthy habits. I ate horrible food at all hours of the day, consumed too much alcohol, and even took up smoking cigarettes. These habits were my way of “dealing” with the pain and grief I was going through.

To be quite honest, I don’t know how my current husband, Tim, stayed with me at that time. Our relationship was still somewhat new, and I was turning into a train wreck (although I think I hid it pretty well). I don’t think he even realized that I was doing these things because I was in pain because quite frankly, I didn’t either. By the grace of God, Tim has stood by my side through everything. He has been there by my side to comfort me from the very first time it happened.

I realized soon that “fixing” myself was going to take much more than a couple weeks off work. I really needed to deal with the terrible things I went through and also nurse my body back to health. I saw a therapist, I did meditation and yoga, practiced deep breathing, read self improvement books, completely changed my diet, and exercised myself into the ground.

I had tried to lose weight countless times, always failing. I always felt deprived, miserable, and unhappy when I was “dieting”. In December 2014, I began doing the work out program T25 and made a New Years resolution to lose weight, become healthier, and be happier by my wedding in May. At the time I honestly kind of thought I was just bull shitting myself like any other time I said I wanted to lose weight. But starting January 1st, I hit the ground running and never looked back.

I had been extremely secretive about my issues with anxiety. Tim and my mom knew from the get go, because I was scared I didn't know what was happening to me. Other than that, I tried to hide it from anyone I came in contact with. I couldn’t even bring myself to tell my best friends what was going on with me until years after it began happening. I was extremely embarrassed by it and slowly began to isolate myself from a lot of people.

I say this because if you understand how secretive I had been about this and how embarrassing it has been for me, you will know how difficult it has been for me to share it. However, right before the new year I saw one of my friends from high school began a blog. I was inspired by it and love writing, so I had the idea to “share my story”. I thought to myself numerous times, “if this doesn’t work, I don’t know what will”. The next day on January 2, I wrote my first post and I haven't looked back.

The amount of support and love I received after sharing my story astounded me. As scary as a anxiety disorder is, I didn’t feel as alone anymore. The blog and support from others helped push me and kept me accountable. I ended up completing Insanity Max 30 (the hardest workouts I’ve ever done), started running again, switched my diet to a mostly paleo lifestyle, and I completed the Whole 30. I also lost a lot of weight and inches off my body.

I still struggle with anxiety, but not nearly as bad. I have really bad attacks when my diet is off. It’s still scary, but it’s easier to deal with. One of the biggest things I struggle with now is driving. I have had A LOT of panic attacks in the car, and it has kind of just become a trigger for me. Even being in the car stresses me out. I was certain the plane ride (my FIRST plane ride) to our honeymoon was going to be sheer panic, but I was actually fine- which goes to show how far I’ve come.

Ever since I started seeing results in my weight loss and health goals, I have been wanting to do something more with it. I have always loved sports since I was young, and being healthy is something I am now truly passionate about. I have educated myself tremendously on food and how it effects our mind and bodies. I have grown to absolutely love the paleo lifestyle. While I continue on my journey to health and happiness, I am hoping to help others do the same. I know that the majority of overweight and obese people out there have deep reasons as to how they ended up that way. The journey starts with exercise and food, but it goes way beyond that. That’s why in this blog, The Plate and Beyond, I hope to inspire others to dig deep in their minds and truly transform their lives. Exercise and food will only get you so far on this journey, but it takes a strong mind to maintain it and love your body enough to take care of it.

In addition to the blog I have decided with the help of a good friend to become a Beachbody Coach to help others attain their fitness and nutrition goals. I also recently enrolled in a program to receive a Nutritional Therapist certification.

My hope is to help others with the tools that helped me reach my goals. If you are interested in speaking to me more about your goals, my story, or whatever- please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you for reading.

In Health & Happiness,
Jessica Ozimok