CW: Mentions weight, body size change, and desire for change. Feature Image photo credit: Jon Flobrant via Unsplash.
I’ve been a fan of Jen and Annie for a while now. Jennifer Campbell and Annie Brees host the Balance 365 Life Radio Podcast, where they discuss all things women’s nutrition, health and wellness. The podcast is clearly a vehicle for bringing women into their sphere of influence and to introduce us to the philosophy behind their coaching program. And while it’s obvious that is what it is, they do not hold back the “juicy bits” of info, dangling them to tempt you to join up. It may be a hook, but they’re up front about who they are and what they have to offer, and it’s the clear moral compass behind these sorts of business decisions that finally convinced me to trust them enough and join in November.
Balance 365 is a program designed for women to find a balanced, healthy lifestyle that works for them. It is not a diet and it does not assume that you have fat loss goals, although it is ok if you do, and it is ok if you don’t. The program is about creating a genuinely healthy relationship with food, bodies, and movement, with a big emphasis on “Diet Deprogramming,” changing mindset out of a scarcity/restriction place with food and to find that place where healthy, balanced food choices are less of a big deal. It is a habit-based program, encouraging small steps at your own pace, building over time to a more significant lifestyle shift.
For me, the appeal of the program was maybe to get some new information, but mostly to find a community in which I can share my process, to get feedback, and to find support. I’ve written here a few times since the pandemic that I’ve been struggling with my healthy habits. As my size has increased over the last year, my mindset has struggled, too. My goals for this program at this time is to work on shifting my mindset into a more neutral place about my food choices, to give less salience to my decisions, and to continue to rebuild habits that are supportive of my longer-term goals. For me, that does include a desire to be a smaller size again, but I don’t want to do it in a way that is fragile or temporary. I want to find the best, healthiest lifestyle I can habitually maintain, and I suspect that will mean a smaller size than I currently am. Even if it doesn’t, reduced stress around food would be a big win. Jen referred to this as having a “goal life, not a goal weight,” and I’m onboard with that.
What I’ve purchased is access to the self-guided program. This includes three e-books (Diet Deprogramming, Nutrition Habits, and Movement), lots of online “handouts” and worksheets, and access to the private Facebook group. There is a group coaching option, and I’ve decided not to take that on at this time. I don’t really want the added project of a coaching session to attend, and I feel pretty good about being able to instill habits for myself. I’d like to check in here with the FIFI community from time to time as I explore these resources, reflect upon them, and participate in the work. This community shares the value of leaving behind dieting mindsets, but we rarely explicitly address what that process involves. I am especially interested in sharing that work with you, and I hope you will grant me the grace to be imperfect, to do the work, and to share that process. If you have questions as I go along, your comments are always welcome!
Marjorie Hundtoft is a middle school science and health teacher. She can be found journaling on her core values, lifting up heavy things and putting them back down again in Portland, Oregon. You can now read her at Progressive-Strength.com .
12 thoughts on “Marjorie Joins Balance 365”
What is it that most drives your core “dieting mindset,” do you think? What do you need to get underneath to shift that? For you is it simple practice (i,e do a thing until it’s natural) or is it about how you see yourself, what you value? That’s what I’m always curious about when people (or I) want to make this kind of mindset shift.
I’m also curious about what makes this program focused on “women” specifically — is it about how women are presumed to be in the world, or is it focused on women’s (cis?) bodies? How does that relate to why it appeals to you, and how might that serve the process?
Hi Cate, yup there’s definitely a lot to unpack around dieting mindset!
As far as being focused on “women,” it is my understanding that the group started as a place for new moms, and then they expanded it to people who didn’t have children. They have some resources for people who identify as men, but it is definitely a community for female-identified folk. There are other open, queer folk in the group, but I would love to see the coaches address that element of the work more explicitly.
I’ve been a B365er for close to 4 years now and I LOVE the community. My reason for joining was weight loss. Full disclosure, I’ve got a net weight gain but have managed to lose 10 lbs this past year. There is so much about this program that has nothing to do with weight. It’s about your mind. There are explanations about why diets don’t work, science based explanations.
What have I gained? I’ve grown a lot, as a person. I’ve learned a lot about myself. I started therapy. I’ve tweaked my antidepressants till they are effective. I’ve stopped beating myself up about my weight. I accept my body and don’t hate it any more. I don’t love it either, but I’m at acceptance. I’ve also learned to appreciate some things. An example, I believe my healthy weight is about 100lbs less than what I currently am, however, I am appreciating how well my body moves, regardless. I walk my dog daily and it’s easy most of the time.
I did join the small group coaching, I’m going to start my 3rd round. The first time was 3 years ago and I wasn’t ready, that’s when I promptly added weight. The second time was last year and I liked it a lot. The next session starts right away and I’m looking forward to making more progress in improving my habits and mind set.
I think you are wise to do the self directed program for a while first, I’d suggest a year for sure. There’s a lot to go through.
Thanks, Janna! In the two months since I’ve joined, I’ve been so happy to have the support of community so far! It really is an amazing group of people.
I love the idea of leaving the diet mentality behind. I love the idea of cultivating a “genuinely healthy relationship with food, bodies, and movement.” But my worry is that often these non-diet approaches are described as another route to the same outcome, weight loss, with a side, peaceful attitude towards eating. I get that it’s kinder and gentler and less judgemental but I wish some of these alternative non-diet approaches to wellness would embrace larger bodies as success stories. If it’s really about making peace, can we also be at peace with being a larger size?
So, reading between the lines, I actually suspect the ladies at B365 agree with you that we need to define success based on nondieting goals, and they absolutely do raise up voices that have nothing to do with weight loss. If you listen to their podcast, they have many success stories that address other definitions of “success.” In the community, the coaches are always supporting non-weightloss related successes, and honestly seem to prefer to celebrate them.
The focus is really on living well. A lot of people go in to the program with weight loss goals, some turf those goals as they realize that they are actually ok with the weight they currently are. There is a lot of focus on society’s expectations and how that causes us grief. How we are immersed in diet culture and that smaller bodies aren’t necessarily healthier ones. In fact, you (generic you) may be healthier in a larger body! Lots of focus on movement and improving habits, such as getting enough sleep.
I’m in a bariatric program in my province, looking to have weight loss surgery. I have some health concerns that are exacerbated by my weight. The program at the clinic leading up to the surgery is very, very similar to B365. Everything is evidence based. Weight loss, if it happens, is a result of habits and mindsets changing.
Marjorie, I’m really intrigued by this program and look forward to following your journey.
Feel free to post questions; it will inform what I write about. 🙂
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