There are some people among us who are truly special. When you meet them, you feel more inspired and motivated. As if they give you a piece of their uniqueness so you could use it in your own life and live up to your own expectations. Jenny Grothe is exactly this kind of person! Even though I’ve never met her in real life, I’ve been “stalking” her on her page for a long time, and I can’t explain the peace, happiness and inner drive I feel, after I read her encouraging words and posts! Jenny Grothe is a wonderful person inside and out! She has been on both sides of the lane- overweight and really fit. She knows the struggles, and she has tasted the victories! She knows what it takes to become great and she is trying to help thousands of people all over the world, take their life back and live their dreams!
Whatever I say about Jenny, wouldn’t be enough to describe the wonderful person she is, so I will let her do the talking…
Ines Subashka: Thank you for accepting the offer for an interview. I really like what you do, and it is a pleasure for me, to introduce you to my readers! Would you tell us a little bit more about yourself.
Jenny Grothe: I’m a happy 41 year old stay-at-home mother of two beautiful adopted kiddos. I worked in a corporate setting for 17 years before retiring home to pursue motherhood and my other passions full-time. September 28th my husband and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary. I live a full and happy life.
IS: I am familiar with your fitness and fat loss journey, but could you share your experience. Have you always tried to get fit the right and healthy way, or have you gone to some extremes?
JG: I never did anything extreme, but I did try most of the popular diets before finding good old fashioned clean eating and exercise worked the best.
I tried Atkins, Body for Life, Weight Watchers, and Jenny Craig along the way. All worked for short periods of time, and while I know they work really well for others, they were too constraining for me. I felt I was bound by rules. I needed to find a solution that provided me general guidelines with every day foods. When I did, the weight dropped and stayed off. It’s been 5 years now.
IS: What was your defining moment? The moment when you decided that you don’t wanna bury your beautiful personality, under layers of fat and self insecurity?
JG: If you read my “transformation story” found on www.jen-fits-playground.com, you’ll find I had many “a-ha” moments that lead up to the final straw. Shopping incidents out with my “fit” friends, whisperings I wasn’t meant to hear, approaching 40 and knowing that when my mom was 40, she was a lightweight bodybuilder. I had all these hauntings in my head, and they continued to build and build. Finally something snapped and I refused to lead my glutenous life anymore.
IS: Have you ever had problems with disordered eating and how did you manage to fight it? A lot of women are struggling with body image issues and I feel that sharing our own experience could really help them find the right path!
JG: I didn’t have real food issues until after my first figure competition. Once my body had experienced that level of fitness it was really difficult to allow myself to “soften” back up. I honestly don’t think I will ever look at food quite the same way as I used to pre-competition which is why I really try and share that message with would-be competitors.
While I think it’s a beautiful and amazing sport, I also know the aftermath it can have on many. I’m in a much better place now but I attribute that mostly to the fact I feel stronger than ever. I feel healthy, full or life, and happy. That’s because I am eating a lot more and I am allowing myself to hover around 14-15% rather than 12%. I think we each need to find what works for us. It’s give and take, and we need to determine what’s most important. I love being ‘ripped’ as some say, but I love feeling strong and healthy even more.
IS: People who follow you are aware about the problems you had with Hashimoto’s disease. I really admire you for the strength you had, how you dealed with it and how you came out stronger. What was the hardest part about being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease and what would be your advice to other people suffering from it?
JG: I am still learning to live and deal with Hypo and Hashis. I don’t think it will ever get easy, but my doctor told me had I not started eating clean a few years ago the changes I am having to make now would have been that much more difficult.
There are certain foods I’m supposed to avoid now (i.e. gluten) which for anyone who knows me knows how much I loved loved loved oats. Small changes going from regular oats to gluten free oats were big in my life. It’s the fine tuning I am having to do in order to feel better. Rest has been instrumental too. I’m learning to live with the new me and refuse to give up on anything less than what I feel is healthy. I won’t let my disease take me. I won’t live with no energy. I won’t give up on diet and exercise. Too many people throw in the towel. Not me.
IS: Would you tell us what your strength training program looks like now? What about your nutrition?
JG:I hesitate to share my nutrition and diet schedule because I completely believe it should be individualized. I will say that we each need to find what motivates us. Don’t like running? Don’t then! Walk. Jog. Swim. Rollerskate. Don’t like lifting weights? Try Zumba or some kind of boot camp.
If we find options that inspire and motivate us to get out of our beds each morning we will more likely stick with it. However, don’t write something off until you’ve given it a fair chance. I used to hate running. Hated it. Skipped it in school. Panted out of breath at track meets. Running was NOT my thing. But as I got in to shape and forced myself to stick with it, somewhere along the line my love for running grew, and last year I ran the Boston Marathon.
As for diet, don’t “diet”. Eat. Eat to be healthy. Eat to lose weight. Eat to keep your hormones in check. Eat in order to have energy. Eat well balanced meals every few hours throughout the day from the moment you get up til the moment you go to bed. Keep your metabolism humming.
IS: You have some great recipes on your website. How did everything start?
JG: My mom is an amazing cook. I grew up seeing her love for cooking and would oftentimes help her in the kitchen. When I first started cooking it made me feel closer to my mom – as if she was right there with me. That hasn’t changed. Now I focus more on re-creating cleaner versions of old favorites so that I can enjoy foods without feeling deprived. It’s a release for me in the kitchen, and I love trying new recipes on my friends and family. They aren’t always a complete hit, but they are more times than they are not.
IS: How would you finish the sentence “I work out because…”?
JG: I work out because I truly love it. I love the feeling of pushing myself. I love feeling my body out of breath. I love the mental aspect of knowing I’ve overcome something I didn’t think I could do. I love the gym atmosphere and lifting heavy. I love knowing when I am there that I belong there. They are my people, and it’s a hobby I am incredibly proud of.
I think I love it more now than I would have had I always been in shape. I had to earn it. I had to work towards it. I love to workout because I didn’t use to be in shape but through persistence and determination and a lot of hard work I achieved my goals and continue to work towards new goals every single day.
IS: Great inspiration! What do you think? 🙂
P.S. If you liked the interview with Jenny, please share it with your friends! I’d greatly appreciate it! 🙂
One of my new achievements 🙂
I can’t wait to share with you a project I’ve been working on. It’s called IFS Journal- my FREE online magazine. Go ahead and subscribe for it HERE.