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.