It was seven years ago and I was sitting in my first ever university lecture. As students of Communications we were being told about all the wonderful forms of media that we could use to spread our message to the world. Print, television, podcast. Wait. Pod…cast? I turned to my friend, bewildered. What is this thing and how do I do it? Never mind webinars, social media and blogging, I was still using a walkman. Horrifying but true.
Considering my inauspicious start to technological communication, I never imagined that I would be creating an online wedding wellness guide; with the desire to champion stress free and sustainable healthy living to brides around the world. But the wonderful thing about life is that we get to learn, grow and evolve.
So, what inspired me to start mindbodybride.com?
Here’s my story:
I’m Jennifer Dene: a certified expert in fitness, women’s lifestyle and whole-foods nutrition. I’m an internationally trained Pilates instructor, Elite Personal Trainer, and health & nutrition coach. My passions are good food, fun exercise, healthy body image and being head over heels in love with my husband, Nate.
But it wasn’t always that way. Two and a half years before my wedding, I moved from Sydney, Australia to North Carolina, USA. As a self proclaimed fitness junkie and clean eating Aussie girl, the land of fried chicken and drive through ATMs really threw me for a loop. Especially when I realized that I had gained over 30 pounds within in my first year!
For a while I lived with a hefty dose of denial, but soon the pressure of needing to be the “perfect” bride sent me head-first into the billion dollar crash diet industry. Of course I knew better, I’m a trained health and fitness professional, but I was also a bride who was afraid of being in my own wedding photos.
Not surprisingly, a string of yo-yo / protein / elimination / starvation diets didn’t see me budge an ounce. If anything I gained more weight and became something of a drag to be around. The wedding was close and these “quick fixes” weren’t fixing a thing.
In case it’s not stressful enough to plan a wedding, let’s add some failed dieting to the mix!
Fortunately, common sense prevailed. I decided to break the “rules” of the diet and fitness industry and designed a program that allowed me to find my ideal weight without diets and deprivation.
This meant decreasing my workouts, both in duration and intensity, eating foods that suited my body, and (most importantly) letting go of the physical and emotional stress that I had been carrying around.
For the first time in a long time I stopped obsessing about a number or size that I thought I should be and learned to love the person that I am, with the body that I’m in.
Being healthy was no longer an either/or (either be delicious or healthy, either be social or healthy), it just became a fun, easy and yummy way to live.
I drive past Carriage dry cleaners on my way to work and each week they display a quote on their sign, like a fortune cookie on a billboard. Yesterday it said: “Do something today that your future self will thank you for”. I love this idea because it reflects my inspiration for mindbodybride. Your future self will never thank for the crash diets, the unhealthy habits, the needless fights and the lack of fitness. But she will be forever grateful for your healthy, happy, love-filled life.
Looking back seven years at those first days of university, I thank myself for learning this technology because it will allow me to share with others the healthy passions that fuel my life. I also thank myself for developing such a keen interest in health, happiness and fitness because it has been a lighthouse for me whenever life has gotten a little rocky.
I think that today we all have a choice to nourish or neglect our future selves. It is my hope that we will choose to nourish, more than we neglect. It is my wish for you on your wedding day to be filled with love and gratitude and respect – not only for your partner, but for yourself.
Today I take my seven years of learning, growth, understanding, exploration, education and change and I begin mindbodybride. Thank you for being a part of this new journey, I know I will thank myself for it in the future.