why i quit the gym

by jenna on December 21, 2010

In case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t really talked much about fitness lately. Actually, I haven’t talked about it at all. Oops.

I know some of you are very interested in exercise and began reading my blog years ago because I gave you so much information about my daily workouts and health advice, so I want to address it now.

Recently I’ve gotten a bunch of questions asking I quit the gym and why I no longer discuss fitness on the blog. I’ve been debating writing this post for about a month now, but finally gave in!

I used to really be into fitness and exercise. You all know this. I worked out about six times a week and kept a detailed exercise journal on the blog. I watched what I ate and enjoyed my gym sessions thoroughly. I loved exercise classes and ran races for fun.

But then,  it wasn’t fun anymore. To be perfectly honest with you, I started to hate it.

You see, last summer I worked out a bunch at the gym and followed a detailed training plan. I drank protein shakes, ate egg whites and toned my muscles. I was hungry all the time and never felt satisfied. I got cranky. Food started to become purely “fuel” and I would sit and drool over cookies and brownies in my spare time. My body started to work against me and cardio sessions became painful. When I decided to go a new direction last August with the blog, making it more of a food blog than a “healthy living blog”, I also decided to go a new direction with my fitness life. I realized the gym made me miserable and I really didn’t like running, cycling or the elliptical. Fitness and exercise just weren’t my passions anymore. Food was. Writing recipes was. Taking beautiful photographs of cookies was.

So I quit the gym and really, quit working out all together. My appetite died down and I stopped being perpetually cranky. Now, my exercise comes purely in the form of walking (hiking in the summer) and yoga. Sometimes days go by and I’m too busy to do either…and I’m totally cool with that.

You may love working out and that’s great. Everyone is different and we are allowed to change our minds a million times while we grow up. If your next question is how do I make all these fattening treats and not gain weight, the answer is that I just watch my portion size. I’m really not scared of gaining a few pounds because of something extremely delicious. I’d gladly gain five pounds if it means I get to indulge in a daily sweet and bacon every once and a while. I honestly can’t imagine life any other way.

Another perk of not going to the gym? Taking less showers.

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{ 228 comments… read them below or add one }

eliza December 21, 2010 at 11:35 am

Jenna, I think I have read all of your blog posts- all of them. I love the fact that your blog has changed. It is so funny/awkward/interesting. Ya look good.

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Melinda December 21, 2010 at 11:39 am

Bravo!!! I support you 100% girl! You gotta follow your heart or you’ll never be truly happy…

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Amalfi Girl (EatRunHaveFun!) December 21, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Yes–it is so inspiring to see someone follow their own path and be proud of it! Hoo-rah to gaining 5 lbs. for delicious cookies :)

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Mary December 21, 2010 at 11:45 am

Whatever works for each of us! But quick fact check. You say you were heavily working out LAST August in the post – I think you mean 2009 there. But the blog’s direction actually only changed THIS August, i.e. a few months ago, which you also refer to as LAST August. As a long-time reader, just confused. Maybe you were chugging egg whites this summer and not telling anyone. ;)

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jenna December 21, 2010 at 11:50 am

hahaha no I mean I really WAS working out heavily last summer (june and july to be exact)! And then I changed my mind in August…so all this is recent!

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Jessica @ How Sweet It Is December 21, 2010 at 11:46 am

Props to you. Staying healthy should be FUN and something that we LOVE to do! Not sense in doing something we don’t love. Since quitting my job I get a million questions on why I won’t be going back to training clients. I did it for 6 years but it just wasn’t fun anymore. Passions change and that is okay!

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Stacy @ Every Little Thing December 21, 2010 at 11:47 am

Thanks for your honesty. I sometimes wonder how some of the health bloggers with full-time jobs get it all done, between the time they work, spend at the gym, and blog! I hate going to the gym, honestly, but feel pressured to do so. I think getting back into yoga could help, especially since I can do some at home. I also plan to bike (outside) again, because I love it, and Girls on the Run will keep me exercising as well.

Basically, that was a long-winded way to see “I feel you, girl.”

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Sahar December 21, 2010 at 11:48 am

I love your honesty – I’ve noticed you have such a balanced approach to life since changing your blog and I really admire it.

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Sandy December 21, 2010 at 11:48 am

It is obviously working for you because you seem happier than ever and that hiking photo is evidence that you are still looking great.

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Jen December 21, 2010 at 11:49 am

Thanks for addressing this! Not that you “owed” it to your readers, but as a long-time follower I love following your thought processes about life in addition to your recipes. It must be difficult to grow and change in such a public forum, but I do think it’s normal to go through phases or complete evolutions regarding anything in life, including exercise. It would be so sad and boring if bloggers felt the need to NOT change so their blog titles were more accurate, haha. You are so mature, wise and grounded and such an inspiration for healthy living in mind, spirit, and body, not just one.

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Caitlin December 21, 2010 at 11:50 am

A big hurray for you writing this! I must admit, I could never imagine being able to do the egg white & workout craziness without being cranky, so it’s reassuring that that happens to others as well. I’m also coming out of the woodwork to say that I’ve enjoyed the shift in focus of your blog immensely – to me, it seems more well-rounded and you just *sound* happier. So again, hurray for you, hurray for cookies, and hurray for fewer showers!

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jenna December 21, 2010 at 11:51 am

thank you :)

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Amanda December 21, 2010 at 11:50 am

Jenna – thank you so much for sharing this story! I haven’t “burned out” as much as you, but this time of year I have no desire whatsoever to go to the gym when I could be catching up with old friends, baking something delicious or just cuddling up and drinking hot cocoa while watching a Christmas movie. I read all these posts about putting on five layers of clothing to go for a run, and how awesome it feels to have snot running down your nose while you can’t feel your toes – and I can’t help but think – that does not sound like any life I would like to have. Kudos to all of you who keep it up, but I am content with my month long (or maybe longer) break from hardcore workouts and its lovely to see that other people feel the same way!

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Joyce December 21, 2010 at 5:15 pm

OH! I SO get this! Despite all the motivation/discipline in the world, I cannot make myself go to the gym when the days are short and cold and the nights longer and colder! Yeah! for cozy pants and woolly socks, a good book, and a hot chocolate. In no time, the sun and warmth will return and I will hit the pavement with joy.

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Ellen December 21, 2010 at 11:50 am

I want to print this out and show it to my friends when they ask why I stopped going to the gym. You said it perfectly!

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Raewyn December 21, 2010 at 11:54 am

Thanks for being so honest, Jenna! That’s awesome that you have a happy balance…you get eat food you love AND you look beautiful and strong! :)

I’m 17 and started reading your blog (the first real food blog I started reading!) when you had just moved to California…. you made me fall in love all over again with food and cooking. You inspired me to be more adventurous and venture out on my own + go for my dreams, so thank you! And you introduced me to oats, ab, puffins, and omelets. For that I will be forever grateful. :)

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Beth December 21, 2010 at 11:55 am

Life is so much better for me when I eat what I love and workout when I feel like it, doing something I enjoy. Life is too short to live on egg whites and oatmeal and kill myself in the gym 6 days a week.

I love your blog and look forward to every post.

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Lola December 21, 2010 at 11:56 am

I’ve recently undergone the same change. It took moving to Spain for me to break out of my comfort zone of “healthy” food and scheduled exercise 5 or 6 times a week. Actually, the first year here, I clung on to those old habits. Then, little by little I began to realize that I wanted to live freely. Not according to a pre-set plan of what I should eat and when I should exercise. I haven’t gained weight. I’m not as toned or tight but I don’t care at all. I feel more feminine, beautiful, free, happy, and healthy than ever.

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Baking 'n' Books December 21, 2010 at 3:58 pm

I love your last sentence. “…beautiful, free, happy…” . I hope I can feel that way one day in life. Not said in a negative way! I’ll work towards it – hard for it. Only I can realize anything I want and make it happen.

Jenna, you remind me of HEAB in this post! She went to walking/hiking/yoga as well.

If only I could come to love yoga ;)

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AshleyH December 21, 2010 at 8:58 pm

I think you made a good point in adding that you’re not as toned or tight and that its okay with you. I think a lot of women are really scared of this. There is too much pressure to look perfect.
Living freely is the only way to live.

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Sarah December 21, 2010 at 11:57 am

I think the only thing that matters is that YOU are happy. I agree, sometimes that extra 5 pounds is worth all the great treats! I have also enjoyed watching your blog live and grow. It wouldn’t be honest unless it changed with you. Can’t wait to read more about your recipes.

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat December 21, 2010 at 11:58 am

Jenna, I love your perspective and positive outlook, that you’ve found what makes you happy, and you’re pursuing it to the fullest. You’re such an inspiration! :)

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Tamar December 21, 2010 at 11:59 am

I love this post Jenna! I live in LA where it seems silly to join a gym. That didn’t stop me, however, because I thought I needed it for a while.

I quit the gym about a year ago because I realized I really enjoyed walking, hiking and yoga more. I am lucky enough to be near a great hiking trail and have great yoga studios close by. I also do my own home booty shaking when the mood strikes. Also, I think you can be perfectly fit without formal workouts and by just paying a bit of attention to what you eat – you are right that portion sizes are what matter!

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Ella December 21, 2010 at 11:59 am

Everyone has to find what works for them – I was bored out of my mind with my routine and I’ve picked up ballet again (after a 2 year hiatus) and yoga and I run a couple of times a week and now I enjoy working out again.
Good for you for doing what makes me happy. Your blog really inspires me!

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Ella December 21, 2010 at 12:00 pm

oops the last sentence was supposed to day good for you for doing what makes you happy hahaha

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kerry December 21, 2010 at 10:21 pm

LOL!!!!

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Leslie December 21, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Good for you for being honest with yourself and having a realistic perspective of what matters to you. Life is too short to be miserable.

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Amy December 21, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Thanks for sharing Jenna. I feel the same way about the gym. I am so over it! I was lifting weights two times a week and doing cardio 3-4 times. Now, all i want to do is hot yoga…because what a great way to spend 1.5 hours of your day. How often are you practicing yoga?

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Laura December 21, 2010 at 12:02 pm

This post is so refreshing and helpful. I’m at a point in my life where I’m trying to find the right balance of mindful and healthy living and the way that you find balance is really inspiring to me. There is a part of me that can get really crazy and gung-ho about health and fitness and learning to shut off that noise and just ENJOY can be hard. Rock on, lady :)

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Anne December 21, 2010 at 12:02 pm

I also prefer 3x yoga + walking every day, be active instead of training hard and… I can eat and have fun cause staying active is the key ! Like your blog, my favorite in fact, you’re funny and natural. I have quit a lot of blogs when I realised some girls were too maniac with food and sport. Here, we can breathe a bit !

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Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday December 21, 2010 at 12:02 pm

I’m definitely a gym junkie.

I don’t think I would ever want to quit the gym. I love weight training!

.

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Allison K. December 22, 2010 at 10:41 am

I am with you! I looooooove weight training so much. Actually…to be specific..I love Kettlebells. They are my yoga. :)

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Lisa December 21, 2010 at 12:03 pm

That’s a very interesting perspective on the healthy living blog world. I go through phases where I feel like you did–where running was a chore, food was solely for fuel and not enjoyment. Getting injured and having to quit running ended up being kind of a blessing. It opened me up to doing other things. My appetite has calmed down–I’m no longer cranky and hungry too!

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Gillian Young December 21, 2010 at 12:04 pm

I sometimes feel a little lost in the health/food blog world where walking isn’t considered a workout. For me, stairs, walking, living life is the best form of exercise! The occasional gym workout and yoga are great too, but I hate feeling like I have to be at the gym- or like I should feel guilty for not going. It has never felt like me. I love your attitude towards food, fitness and life and can definitely relate. Thank you for sharing!

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Mary (A Merry Life) December 21, 2010 at 12:34 pm

I’ve never understood that. Walking can be an awesome workout!

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Caitlin December 21, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Walking is one of my favorite workouts!!

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Michele @ Healthy Cultivations December 21, 2010 at 12:05 pm

I don’t mean to make light of a very serious subject, but I love your comment that less gyming means less showering.

You’ve gotta do your own thing!!

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Kailey (SnackFace) December 21, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Thank you for this post. I get exhausted reading about so many bloggers’ extreme (OK, extreme to me is 5 to 6 days a week) exercise routines. I’m like, that’s just not what I’m meant to do.

Working out vigorously seems so American, you know? Like, I don’t see Italians being obsessed with daily exercise. Daily exercise CAN just be walking or yoga or not sitting on your duff all day. I think we all forget that sometimes. Or at least I do!

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Lorin December 21, 2010 at 10:52 pm

I agree, I feel like running 12 miles isn’t very fun. Don’t get me wrong, I love running, but short distances. However, the majority of America doesn’t seem very workout-oriented to me or else this country wouldn’t be so obese. I do get what you are saying though , like the french don’t obsess about it but they do have smaller portions of the “bad” stuff and walk around a lot so I think that helps.

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Kristin December 22, 2010 at 2:57 am

Um, Europeans get in LOTS of exercise in their daily activities. Unlike lazy Americans, they don’t feel the need to drive everywhere (nor is it always practical). They also don’t stuff their faces constantly the way we do. The point is being active and not eating to excess. This seems impossible to the majority of Americans.

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Katie December 9, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Uh, Kristin? A majority of the Americans I know seem to have no trouble with not eating in excess and not being lazy.

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Theresa @ This is my Hungry Face December 21, 2010 at 12:05 pm

I LOVE this post and I really appreciate how honest you are.

I’ve been reading for a few years now, and I have really enjoyed the way your blog has evolved and changed over time with you. You have such a fun and positive perspective that I can’t help but smile when I read.

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Shutupandrun December 21, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Jenna,
What a breath of fresh air!! Finally, someone who is not obsessed be what they eat, every calorie they consume and how much time they spend at the gym. Sounds like you have found a lot of happiness in your life as you have moved away from obligation and into what truly brings you pleausre. Cheers to you!

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Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun December 21, 2010 at 12:07 pm

While I am definitely more of a fitness nut than a food/cooking nut, I love your approach. Its all about enjoying life and doing what we are passionate about. And yes, I would rather carry an extra few lbs and still be healthy AND happy!

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Julie December 21, 2010 at 12:09 pm

You’re so RIGHT to give yourself the RIGHT to not be in such a physical/exercise phase right now. Just like you, I blogged about fitness when I launched my blog 1 year ago and at the time, I was teaching Aerobics and Pilates and I really was passionate about fitness and health. I read Self magazine religiously for more than 7 years and even thought about changing career to go in Nutrition. But all of a sudden : Poof! I grew tired of teaching my classes. I wasn’t FEELING it anymore. I didn’t even open my new copy of Self when it came into the mail. I just wanted to enjoy life and that includes exercise (yoga, pilates, lots of walking and cycling in the summer) but not in an athletic way – just in a enjoy-life-and-exercise-when-you-feel-like-it way. Just like you, exercise and fitness aren’t as much as a passion of mine now – I’m more into self-growth, meditation, writing and entrepreneurship as I just launched my new Business! I realize that wanting to do everything right all the time and set a rigid plan to follow is a mistake – ’cause life has many chapters and phases and who wants a story that always revolve around the same topics anyway? Thanks for sharing!

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Janna December 21, 2010 at 12:11 pm

I think you’re onto something… showering totally sucks ;)

I am still in love with fitness in all forms, but I know if I ever got tried of it I would never push myself to do it.

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Kate December 21, 2010 at 12:12 pm

I think it’s great that you’ve recognized this and had the strength to admit it. It was really hard for me to admit that I wasn’t much of a “workout” person, after running cross-country for four years and having it drilled into me by my mom that I needed to deliberately get exercise and burn calories and watch what I ate every day.

Now my exercise comes from commuting by bike to and from work, from lifting weights (at home, which I’ve always absolutely loved), and from going for an outdoor jog–when I feel like it. I haven’t gained any weight (and in fact may have lost some), I feel better, I don’t spend hours of my day “getting my workout”, and I don’t feel guilty about food and exercise all of the time. I talked about it here, and about the “fitness” blogs that are a little too obsessive for me: http://withlit.wordpress.com/2010/12/17/updike/

Good for you!

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Katy December 21, 2010 at 12:13 pm

You sound like where I am right now. Up until October, I was heavily training for a half marathon and I was hungry and lethargic all the time. I have a four year old daughter and falling asleep all over the house just wasn’t helping me! Apart from cycling to college three times a week and walking, I don’t do any other exercise and I do feel better than I did back then. I’m definitely not as healthy but right now this works for me.

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Amber from Girl with the Red Hair December 21, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Love this post :) I also recently quit the gym but I do yoga + run 5-6 times a week. But I LOVE doing it – I did not love going to the gym and that’s why I quit.

I think somebody up above made a super interesting comment about how working out every day is such a North American thing. Really interesting perspective!

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Heather (Heather's Dish) December 21, 2010 at 12:16 pm

i think you’re right in that you have to do what’s right for you. i still love working out, but would definitely stop if it became hell for me and do something else!

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Traci(faithfulfoodiefashionista) December 21, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Exercise should always be fun. I used to be so religious about it that it made me crazy and I too hated it. I always encourage people to do what is fun for you. I like your attitude :)

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Ann @ Day by Day December 21, 2010 at 12:18 pm

I love your honesty in this post! I enjoy going to the gym a lot still but if it does get to be a drag, I won’t hesitate to do the same thing you’re doing. I really like the direction your blog has taken. To be honest, I always skim over mile splits and work-out times and such.

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Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow December 21, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Here is what I love most about this post:

you are TRULY embracing YOU. You are honest, real and open with who you are, where you are and what brings you the happiness you desire and deserve.

A few years ago I made a decision about exercise/fitness/health/etc: it had to INSPIRE me. Nothing less. No matter what I do it must be inspiring and exciting and wonderful. If it isn’t…well, time to move on.

Brilliant!

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Jessie December 21, 2010 at 12:21 pm

I hate working out too. It is nice to see someone say they feel the same way.

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Amy @ What Jew Wanna Eat December 21, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Great post- you blog just keeps getting better and better. I used to be obsessed too, but find I am happier with bacon. I think I’ll have some now.

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Chicago Cuisine Critique December 21, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Thanks for sharing. I think you are absolutely right in doing what you need to do for you. If exercising isn’t fun for you anymore than you shouldn’t do it. Maybe someday you will get back to wanting to do it again, but until then no one should judge you for your changes. They are afterall, YOUR changes. :)

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Laura December 21, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Between 2007 and 2009, I read the healthy living blogs like they were going out of style, ate an overly restrictive “healthy” diet, and forced myself to work out five times a week at the gym – despite the fact that for the first twenty years of my life, I was far more interested in curling up with a book than hitting the treadmill! :) I don’t think I realised how much I hated it until illness forced me to stop working out. I used to *dread* my workouts; now, I can just get up and enjoy the day without worrying about. While I understand the importance of physical activity, I really don’t believe that people have to *work out* for health. A lot of the times it just places extra stress on your body. I now just walk the dog, do a bit of yoga and stretching and go about my everyday life. I’m a lot happier for it, and it’s pretty obvious that you’re much happier these days too, which is reflected in your blog. Always a joy to read!

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Katie December 21, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Portion control is the key I agree – and you’ve done a great job! Sometimes though when you say things like I’ve already eaten 39 oreo cookies (in the post from yesterday) – its a little misleading dont you think? And after a point it makes me think twice about what to believe – and that kind of kills the experience of reading/drooling over your creations uninterrupted :)

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Danni December 21, 2010 at 4:56 pm

I TOTALLY agree with this! I too find that it kills the experience when some things seem a little contradictory. I get that the blog has a different direction than when it started, but I don’t understand (I don’t mean this negatively – I genuinely don’t understand!) how someone goes from a health nut to talking about how nothing is better after a greasy meal than more butter (I’m paraphrasing from a post the other day, and I understand it’s to contribute to a blog “story”, but it’s definitely meant to convey a very carefree attitude). And yes, is it 39 cookies or is it portion control?!

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jenna December 21, 2010 at 5:00 pm

I know it might seem odd, but I strive to maintain a very light/humorous attitude on the blog. Take what I say with a grain of salt! A lot of what I say are meant to be taken pretty tongue-and-cheek.

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Tlove December 21, 2010 at 8:54 pm

She’s a writer, it’s funny. She does not claim to be anyones doctor, trainer, anything. People don’t need to read this as some plan to follow, it’s just a peek into a part of her life. It’s so funny to me how seriously people take bloggers. If they are truely writers- they leave stuff out, add stuff in.

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Karen December 22, 2010 at 6:23 am

Agreed. Clearly, Jenna is intentionally dramatic and her writing writing tone is sardonic. She’s not literally prescribing that we all eat 39 cookies. Unlike some of the blogs of the healthy living, eat-like-me genre, Jenna’s blog is a forum for her creative writing and baking talents…she intends to inspire us to share her love of food. She’s being playful. Don’t overanalyze her proclamations.

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Julie December 22, 2010 at 6:18 am

I believe it’s called sarcasm.

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Julia December 23, 2010 at 11:20 am

hahahaha! I know, right? I’m smiling just thinking about someone sitting by the computer scratching their heads wondering why she ate 39 oreos. Plus, after 25, I would just lose count…. haha

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Liz December 21, 2010 at 12:25 pm

THANK YOU for writing this! ! It’s so nice and refreshing to hear that not everyone in the blog world is an exercise-for-an-hour-everyday kind of person. Because that is SO not me. I’m with you – yoga and a walk (mine with a dog which includes lots of stopping for sniffs). I appreciate your honesty also as I think it really speaks to who you are and what your blog is about. It continues to stand out among other blogs because of its unique-ness and honesty. Keep being awesome!

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Alison (Fueling for Fitness) December 21, 2010 at 12:27 pm

I really love your blog posts – all of them. :)

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Chelsey December 21, 2010 at 12:28 pm

I love this cookbook….pretty please?!

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Rose December 21, 2010 at 12:30 pm

I’m right there with you! I can’t stand the gym. Plus it’s super expensive. Right now I get my exercise through the same things, and I prefer it that way. I just wish the weather was nicer here in PA.

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shannon (the daily balance) December 21, 2010 at 12:30 pm

love this post.

It’s funny because, for me, it took me getting pregnant to realize just how much time I “wasted” at the gym. With being forced to scale back, I find myself spending time doing things I never had time for before — reading, taking time with a new recipe, spening quality time just TALKING and laughing with the Mister without running from place to place. And, since I’m not exercisiong as much, I’m more cognizant of my food choices — thus I ENJOY them more ;)

I’m a firm beleiver in never passing on buttercream or pizza ;)

In the end, mental fitness is just as (if not more) than physical fitness and balance is essential — kudos to you for finding your perfect ratio and hoping others might be able to do the same!

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Elizabeth December 21, 2010 at 12:31 pm

I really appreciate this Jenna — I had a similar realization while on an egg white/protein shake/ fitness regimen. Food wasn’t fun, it wasn’t satisfying and I just couldn’t get enough. I love to dance and I’m starting to concentrate on that instead of all the other stuff I “should” do. I hope, in time, my appetite will calm down when I give my body and mind the stimulation it really wants.

I had pared down my blog reading a bit and hadn’t been to visit you in awhile (maybe around the time you moved to Cali?) and when I came back I really love the voice you’ve found. Keep at it, it stands out from the other foodie fitness blogs.

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molly l. December 21, 2010 at 12:31 pm

it’s so refreshing to read stories when you can just tell that the writer is obviously at the right place in their life- the honestly and passion and energy really shines through in your writing and your photography. if anything, you’ve inspired me to STOP being obsessive about the gym and rather be more tuned into overall health- emotional, physical, etc.

it’s pouring down rain here in southern california and spending the evening attempting your funfetti cupcakes for my mom’s birthday is overall much more fulfilling and satisfying for me than running outside in the miserable rain when i don’t even want to.

bravo for finding yourself and inspiring others!

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Sharron Clemons December 21, 2010 at 12:35 pm

I’ve never understood that. Walking can be an awesome workout!

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Mary (A Merry Life) December 21, 2010 at 12:39 pm

I love this post so much. I’m glad you’ve found what works for you and are encouraging others to do the same. I can’t imagine being happy on the egg white/protein shake/fitness regimen, and I even like going to the gym! If you are doing something like that and it makes you miserable it’s best to give it up. Great job Jenna!

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Karen December 21, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Jenna – I love that you are embracing what feels right to you, rather than blindly following the in-vogue or what you think is expected of you. Personally, I truly love working out in the great outdoors because it’s an opportunity to for me to spend time in nature (no matter the weather )and sort out the wandering thoughts in my head. Yoga is also immensely therapeutic for me as well. I’m one of those folks who has always just “needed” near-daily sweat to feel in balance mentally (and I’ve done some experimenting, as I am a decade older than you.) I know many people who loathe fitness activity, engaging in exercise at the gym in a punishing way (similar to your perception of your experience this summer) to achieve weight loss goals which pains me as that mentality is so harmful to one’s psyche. Weight goals or “buffness” are not motivators for me in the least.

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Sonja December 21, 2010 at 12:49 pm

I’ve been following you for a while now and I’ll be honest I stopped really reeeally reading all of my favorite healthy living/runner blogs after I got pregnant because I realized there was more to life than working out and watching every bite.
Thank you so much for posting this. I loved everything you did before but I enjoy your cooking/recipes/pics of cookies more :) I think you’re setting a wonderful example! Especially in a community where you can really start to question things and wonder if things are really “that healthy”.

& I love anyone who loves buttercream as much as I do! :)

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Annie@stronghealthyfit December 21, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Thank you so much for this post! I just sat down to my computer after getting home from work (8 hours on my feet at a cafe!), was planning on going to the gym today but I really don’t feel like it. I feel the same way, I’m just losing my will to do it. Thanks for being an example that it is OK to not go to the gym 5-6 days a week, and eat mindfully. I’m kind of scared to scale back my workouts after starting them 7 years ago.

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Maura December 21, 2010 at 12:52 pm

This post was so refreshing! I really enjoy your outlook on life Jenna! Thanks for being such an inspiration :)

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Amanda (Eating Up) December 21, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Haha yes on the less showers part. I totally agree with you there.

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Nicole December 21, 2010 at 12:55 pm

You gotta do what makes you happy in life, not what you feel obligated to do based on those around you or your readers. Good job for standing firm on who you know yourself to be!

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Ann December 21, 2010 at 12:56 pm

“Taking less showers” You crack me up. You certainly have grown over the last two years. Especially as a writer. You are AWESOME! Thanks for being you!

Ann

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Megan @ The Oatmeal Diaries December 21, 2010 at 12:57 pm

I never comment but I just had to on this one! Everything you wrote was so perfect and just what I needed to hear. Yet another example of why you are on my reader :)

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Jen December 21, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Hi Jenna – this is your friend Jen from Canada! hehe. I just wanted to say I truly appreciate your blog and for you being ‘real’. I am getting tired of looking at people’s oatmeal and even though I am in decent shape (from walking and yoga too), most healthy living blogs end up making me feel bad that I ate 3 cookies (or more). Keep up the great work – your recipes and stories are so fun to read! – Jen

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J. December 21, 2010 at 1:01 pm

I LOVE you for writing this.

My confession: 2 years ago (May 2009) , I had to stop all jogging, cardio, gym , everything. Health and physical issues. Basically a body burnt out. Completely, absolutely exhausted like beyond imagination.
It’s been mentally (and physically) hard to deal with.

What I have done and what I do: A daily stroll (LEISURE) short walk (the freezing cold reduces this even).
I TRY to do 10 minutes of yoga poses 3x a week. Pathetic. But its an accomplishment for me…

I still feel sad when I see people running, etc…big time.

But, MORE than anything…I want my energy and funciton better. My exhaustion is pretty severe…so concentration, focus, energy to even wash the dishes…its all a big chore. Recently, it was recommended to me to even cut down and take one month completely off….

I do nothing now. I have did nothing for almost 2 years. But this recommendation was an effort to help my body out. One month….very , very little walking. Some meditation. Basic meditation.
It is scary…my HOPE was that in January 2011, I could start some structured thing (I can’t jog or anything anyway though..physical reasons)…
But nope…it looks like this is a LONG HAUL. So, while everyone gears up with New Years Resolutions to start a “plan” or “get better”…I’m Still Stuck in sedentary mode (my Job is heavily sitting….like sitting 24-7 literally).
But , I don’t even CARE about getting back to stupid “exercise” anymore…
I just want to be happy, I want to walk to my car without feeling like my legs are going to crumple…I want to feel NORMAL…

So, a daily walk + simple meditative stretching …may be my lifetime prescription. Honestly. Right now I have to be okay with it and NOT compare….and hopefully someday I can stop “pretending” it is okay…and that it will truly be OKAY..cause when I’m 80 years old…just having lived will mean so so much more.

I don’t restrict food. I don’t deprive food. I don’t want to obsess over food either.
So I don’t.
I eat too much. I eat the wrong things. I overindulge. I eat (gasp) less than stellar ingredients. I eat animal meats every day, multiple times….so apparently I’m all “wrong”..but, I try and deal.

And I love that you treasure life. I respect that in you.
I think if I could actually live LIFE more…I might be more inspired IN life…more productive and focused. I hope I can figure it out somehow. For now, its one day at a time (while plugging my ears and shutting my eyes to those around me…and hopefully one day, being absolutely okay with it, …to each their own).

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J. December 21, 2010 at 1:06 pm

I just want to add that its so great that you are a WALKER also.
Because that is ultimately me.
I am even having now to CUT down on the walk (and its short and slow as is). But cardio and anything “exercise” like…it is not in my cards…not in 2011, maybe not 2012,…maybe not ever again. And that is OKAY.
Thanks for reminding me of that..
Seriously.

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Kim December 23, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Hi J.

Just wanted to say I was in your shoes once too, and I know how difficult it is. Hang in there and keep your head up. It took me a long, long time to feel as good as I do today, and I still can’t push myself physically as much as others can. But you’re right – it’s OKAY that you can’t do all the exercise and physical activities you want to do right now. One of the best things I ever learned was to give myself permission to heal at my own pace, however long that took, and to praise God for the small things I could do, even if it was just the ability to move my fingers some days.

Anyway, I hope you don’t mind me replying to your comment. Just wanted to say I know how it feels, and don’t let anyone – even your own mind – tell you 10 mins of yoga 3 x a week is pathetic. That’s way more than I do these days. ;)

Best wishes!

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BLOG is the New BLACK December 21, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Less showers is the BEST perk!

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Kara December 21, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Totally agree with you and I love your blog just as it is–I’m a “new” reader!
As my Aunt Renie says, “Running just isn’t natural.” I highly recommend the book “Why French Women Don’t Get Fat”…she makes the point that French women aren’t running to the gym everyday and yet they look great, drink wine, and enjoy great food! It’s all about portion control.

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Amy December 21, 2010 at 1:07 pm

BRAVO! I love your blog and I’ve read you from close to the beginning. Yours is the very first one I read every day. I love your food, fitness and LIFE philosophy and I strive for that same balance every day. Keep it up, Jenna! :)

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Denise December 21, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Hi Jenna! You got many comments on this post and I’m happy to see that. I believe it’s really important to have another point of view in this world of a little obsessed healthy-eating-blogs.
No, I really don’t wanna be rude and everyone has to do what she or he believes is best. BUT going to the gym because you have to, eating egg whites and strange powders instead of normal food…it’s just not really living. I had an eating disorder and it started with ‘just healthy eating’. It can become extreme in no time…I’m totally the opposite now. When the weather is just a little tiny bit off, I don’t take the bike (and riding bikes is so common here in the Netherlands!) but the car or tram;) I like pilates now and then, but that’s it. I have made many of your recipes (I can’t count the times I made the enchiladas…love them!, Your mom does know best:p) and I LOVE the change in your blog. Keep on going girl, you rule!

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Ella December 21, 2010 at 1:08 pm

AMEN sister to fewer showers!!

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Susan December 21, 2010 at 1:10 pm

“we are allowed to change our minds a million times while we grow up”

Love this. Only I say we can change our minds a million times once we’re grown up too. As if we ever really grow up.

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Karen December 22, 2010 at 10:45 am

Indeed! Hopefully, we’ll continually evolve, grow, tweak…

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Jackie December 21, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Good for you! I am almost 60 years old. When I was in my 20’s, my friends and I did not “exercise” – we were active and fit and lean by living life. We did not know our heart rate or measure our miles. We hiked and danced and picked apples and played tennis and went rafting. The purpose of being fit is to enjoy life.

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Christa December 21, 2010 at 2:42 pm

I LOVE this comment Jackie! Such a beautiful expression, I need to put this up on my wall to remind me to just relax and not take exercise so seriously.

I do love to exercise, but it has to be varied. I run, practise yoga, lift free weights, use the elliptical. I basically do what I feel like doing, no regimen. I find that if I focus too much on one thing, it takes over my every day life, and going crazy over exercise, counting miles, watching my heart rate, is just not worth it to me.

My husband is a competitive runner… he truly LOVES it. He seriously was born to run. I love the fact that being married for almost 10 years, I finally started running and can relate to him in that aspect. To me, that’s what it’s all about. Everything points back to relationship, and living life like Jackie and so many others have said, and I love that I can share this passion of his with him. I’m not as passionate, that’s for sure, but I enjoy every minute when I run with him.

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MadisonM December 21, 2010 at 1:16 pm

While I do appreciate your passion and commitment to finding balance, and I LOVE all the yummy recipes you post, I would have to agree with a previous commenter who said they felt it was a bit misleading to read you talk about portion control in one post, and then talk about eating 39 chocolate covered Oreos in another post. I think it sets unrealistic expectations for readers who think they can look as fit and beautiful as you do while eating desserts in huge quantities.

As someone who has struggled with portion control and balance between my love of food and my desire to be fit and healthy, it’s just something worth considering for your readers’ sake.

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Danielle December 22, 2010 at 7:03 am

It’s sarcasm! Jenna is a writer and her posts are clever and tongue-in-cheek…obviously she is not eating 39 chocolate covered Oreos everyday. Sentences like that are to make the reader chuckle (and they always work for me :))

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Christina December 22, 2010 at 7:21 am

With all due respect, you can’t hold Jenna accountable for your portion control. I also struggle with this, but we are all responsible for knowing our own bodily limitations. We can’t eat what the person next to us eats and expect our bodies to react the same way. A 14 year old boy can eat an entire pizza, chase it with ice cream and not gain a lb, but that’s not the green light for everyone else to do the same. I truly do sympathize with your struggle, but seriously, the 39 cookie comment was funny. Who doesn’t want to eat 39 cookies?!?! I think the most appealing thing about this blog is Jenna’s sense of humor and it’s safe to say she did not sit down and eat 39 cookies. Come on, people, laugh a little. It’s the best ab exercise and requires no gym. ;-)

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Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) December 21, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Awesome, honest, very REAL post about REAL life. About your life! Thank you for keeping it real, Jenna!

Not everyone loves working out and most people don’t love working out at each twist and turn of their life cycle. You are in a life cycle where you’re not lovin’ it. And so you’re not doing it. The hardcore in the gym working out.

Doing your own dishes, standing on your feet all day in the kitchen, that’s definitely WORK. I know after a day in the kitch, I’m beat!

Seriously though, walking and yoga, fantastic. And just listening to your body, your mind and spirit…fabulous!

Thank you for being bold, brave, and unapologetic and in posting this post. Thank you. So.Much.

:)

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Miranda December 21, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Thank you Jenna! It is so refreshing to read this, and as always, I appreciate and enjoy the honesty in your blog, how real it is. That is part of what makes it so enjoyable-it’s so easy to relate to, especially on the things that everyone thinks they are alone in, and finally someone comes out and says, hey! we all feel this way! we all like showering less and it’s okay to not feel guilty about baking a cake instead of going on a run! And we are all the healthier for it, mentally and even physically. I very often feel the same about the gym and enjoy long walks so much more, and go through stages about what feels right for my workouts. It’s great to hear that you do too! I’m happy you’re following what feels good!
P.S. I’m making these funfetti cupcakes for my boyfriends birthday. It would be the last thing I’d think to make, but you made them sound so delicious!

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Katie @ www.princessofpavement.com December 21, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Good for you for realizing what was making you cranky, and if it was the gym so be it – more time to indulge in the drool-worthy treats :D Thanks for sharing … and giving everyone a little more perspective in our own active/non-active lives.

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Kara December 21, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Jenna,

As someone who is also in her mid-twenties (though I think I’m a bit older than you), I love how your blog has evolved and changed. This is a time in life where we are growing and reinventing ourselves and figuring out who we want to be. It seems very “real” of you to change your mind about exercise – or whatever, frankly. Keep it up!

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Rochel December 21, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Love the post. I’ve been reading your blog almost from the beginning. The reason I keep coming back is neither the fitness nor the food (although I routinely drool my way into the kitchen to start baking after reading). I keep reading because I love how happy, adventurous, and brave you appear to be. Kudos on living your life the way that makes you happy. If only everyone else did the same…

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Erin @ small things December 22, 2010 at 6:22 am

This was my thought as well. I keep coming back because I admire how present in your own life you seem. You are living every moment – good, bad, ugly and delicious. thanks for sharing all of it

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erin December 21, 2010 at 1:30 pm

It looks like a lot of people can relate to this and I can, too! I worked out a bunch and felt like I *had* to go to the gym for a couple of years. But I didn’t love it and it was a vicious cycle of making me crazy hungry. Now I really don’t do anything but live life as I enjoy it and move during the day. Stairs and walks and yoga are great. As is whipping cream by hand :)
Anyway, this is a great post and a great point. Moderation in all aspects is pretty great and gives you lots more time to just enjoy the world around you.

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Kelly December 21, 2010 at 1:32 pm

I too have stopped obsessing over working out 6 days a week and I am less hungry like you! It is awesome actually! Now I just do pilates and run/walk when I feel like it. “Exercise” is fun now!

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Kat December 21, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Just came across your blog! SO REFRESHING!

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Annie December 21, 2010 at 1:36 pm

I think this may be one of my fav blog posts by you EVER and ive been reading since the very first one…. I used to be the exact same way, obsessed, with food diet exercise low calories and no treats. Since I moved past my obsessive stage of life I have been enjoying things so much more, and ya gained a few pounds, but Im okay with it because Im finally happy! thank you for backing me up and not making me feel crazy!

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Susan December 21, 2010 at 1:39 pm

I did a 1/2 iron tri this summer and then was training for a December marathon. I injured myself in October, haven’t run or exercised (other than hiking or walking) in over two months and am really liking it! I do enjoy running, though. I’m reluctant to start again because I feel like I’ll be starting all over again and I was in a really good running place when I stopped.

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Debbie December 21, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Oh Jenna, you just knocked it out of the park for me today. I’ve been a dedicated follower well over a year. I’ve enjoyed your life, watching you grow and embrace new changes. But most of all, I love watching you follow your heart. You are a beautiful soul and I like you for being you. And that’s what makes you beautiful, thank you.

Signing off as your local friend down in San Diego…

Blessings – Debbie

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Danielle December 21, 2010 at 1:49 pm

I just started reading your blog about 8 months ago but I love it! I am glad you are writing more about what is important to you as time goes on, that’s really important! I love your writing and thanks for being so honest and genuine!

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Debbie B. December 21, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Such a great attitude about life and working out! :) You have to do what makes you happy and mental health is just as important as physical health!! They can be best in balance :).

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Mama Pea December 21, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Refreshing and honest, and my approach as well. Minus the bacon.

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Julia December 21, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Amen!

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Sarah December 21, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Jenna! Oh my goodness, I must say that I do love this post. I also need to admit that I took quite a hiatus from your blog this past year. In my defense I was deployed and it took me a while to figure out that I can view blogs on government computers. Even then the photos never pixalated (is that the right word), so the posts were never the same. I am back and man does it feel great! Your post is so inspiring as is the rest of your blog. I love the transition that you made and how you incorporated those changes into your blog. It truly says a lot about your character, it also shows that you continue to be committed to your readers and to yourself!

Before I left for Afghanistan I made sure to read your blog and a few others, I couldn’t help but think that we connected in some way. We both followed strict regimens, a detailed diet and we both enjoy helping others find their way through healthy lifestyles. Often times people forget that a healthy lifestyle is what makes us happy, it’s not a defined, hardlined plan to get us through. Life is about enjoyment, if you enjoy running, yoga, walking, cycling, swimming, hiking or whatever your preference may be than do it! It’s not a surprise that those of us who enjoy fitness so much and make it part of our daily lives make it a chore, it’s not supposed to be like that! We lose satisfaction in monotony and all too often people forget that!

So, where am I going with this?! I realized during my tour in AFG that I needed changes. I needed something in my life that made me happy, someone once told me that “we are creators of our own destinies” and it’s so true! I loved how you moved out to California, I love how you enrolled in patisserie school to write about food, I love your self-manifesto to be happy in your skin, and I love your blog. All of those things, paired with a few books I read this past year inspired me to take the chance and check some things off of my “List”. I booked a trip to Spain for two weeks and I am doing an internship in Switzerland for 10! Life throws us curves sometimes, but it’s how we handle those curves that make us stronger or weaker. I’m on the positive side so all of my choices have made me a stronger person. Jenna, I cannot thank you enough for documenting your life and putting it under the microscope!

Please continue to inspire and awe your readers, we ALL appreciate it! Oh, don’t forget the cookie goodies and delicious meals too!

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Cassie December 21, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Jenna, I love reading your blog! I read it every day, and I LOVE seeing pics of Back in the Day on here! I lived in Savannah for a year, and just recently moved. I still miss it, especially Back in the Day’s rosemary bread! I think it’s awesome you are allowing your self the freedom to be who you choose to be. People are always changing, tastes & interests evolving…keep following your heart and your talents, and you won’t go wrong. You just have this one life to live…there might as well be sprinkles involved : )

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Taylor December 21, 2010 at 2:24 pm

This post is awesome! Just what I needed to read. I quit my gym back in August due to financial reasons and have had a feeling of guilt ever since. The other blogs I follow, going to the gym is such a big part of their day and I never understood how they could do it. I work 12 hour shifts at a hospital and there’s no way I have energy to work out before or after those crazy shifts. Even when I went to the gym, it wasn’t really what I wanted to do, it just felt like something I was SUPPOSED to do. I never really enjoyed it and would constantly watch the clock to see when I could finally go home without looking like a complete lazy butt.

I’m still in good shape and I seem to be more satisfied with my body now than I was when I was going to the gym…a little weird but I’ll take it! I now do activities based on how I feel and not on what I think I’m SUPPOSED to do. so Thanks again! This was so great to read!

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Sarah December 21, 2010 at 2:26 pm

I certainly feel like each person needs to figure out what works best for them….
However, a lot of the comments are one sided and seem to make exercise something to be avoided/dreaded. I am a runner and LOVE LOVE LOVE it. There is no feeling in the world to me like the high you get from running. I wish everyone could share this feeling… whether it is from walking, yoga, sitting on the couch…
I made me very sad to read the comment about someone pitying a runner as she passed by… some people run for the PURE JOY of it… not for calorie burn or any disordered reason!

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Abby December 21, 2010 at 2:39 pm

I agree with Sarah, in that extreme swings either way aren’t healthy. It’s almost as if because one person doesn’t go to the gym, everyone else has permission to not feel “guitly” for not liking it either. If it becomes and unhealthy obsession and something to dread, then it’s obviously not for you.

However, some people find just as much joy in a run or a yoga class as others find in a homemade Oreo or vanilla buttercream. It’s all about balance and knowing what works best for you, not basing your own needs on what other people do.

I’m glad you found what works for you, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only “right” way to go (not that you were saying that, but others make it seem that way.) The gym is not any more evil than butter–both are lovely and healthy in moderation ;)

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Danni December 21, 2010 at 5:01 pm

I agree with this comment too! It’s like all of a sudden everyone else feels like they have to hate the gym now. I’m a runner too, but you know what, as much as I enjoy being outdoors while running, I actually LOVE the gym! I will happily get up at 5am and walk to the gym so I can run on the treadmill, then maybe do some free weights or take a class after. It doesn’t make me obsessed or crazy or whatever…like you said, people shouldn’t be put down or pitied because they find joy in something that other people don’t understand

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Ellie December 22, 2010 at 7:18 pm

I agree with you Danni – I love the gym. When I was in college there were few things I enjoyed more than going to the gym, seeing all the other regulars and sports teams practicing, feeling like I belonged there, feeling “hardcore,” getting drenched in sweat etc. I agree that there are plenty of people who seem to be unhappy exercising in gyms (or deliberately exercising, period) but not everyone who is a gym rat is miserable! I’m a happy rat!

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elise December 21, 2010 at 2:35 pm

i love that you mention how we are allowed to change a million times growing up. its true and so many times – as bloggers – others expect us to stick with the same lifestyle. but humans arent static beings, we are meant to change and adapt and go along with whatever is happening in our lives at the time. props for sharing your views. im still a fan of running (outside) many times a week, but i know thats not for everyone, and if i dont feel like doing it, i dont. who knows if ill always feel this way, but for now, its what im into, so thats that.

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Tammy December 21, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Hi Jenna! It’s been a long time since I’ve left you a comment, but I still read your blog and love keeping up with you. Just wanted to say this is a great and honest post, and it’s a wonderful thing for girls and women to read. Thanks for this!

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Jordan December 21, 2010 at 2:42 pm

I know exactly how you feel! When I started exercising it was fun an exciting because it was new and I was making all of these awesome improvements to my body fairly quickly. I finally plateaued in my progress and started to hate it so much that I was resenting the strangers I passed on the street when I ran. It’s definitely worth looking “normal” as opposed to “ripped” if it means I’m out of the exercise spiral of hate and death!

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Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} December 21, 2010 at 2:44 pm

I love your honest post. I am much more into living an active life through functional fitness than spending hours at the gym, so I can totally relate. I am a new-ish reader, so I didn’t read your blog before the change, but it sounds like your life is much more balanced and healthy now.

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Court December 21, 2010 at 2:45 pm

This is a really wonderful post! I’ve actually read your blog for awhile now and never commented, but I wanted to tell you that it’s posts like this that give me some perspective and make me feel normal! I read other food blogs and wonder how some people are able to keep up their workout routine so well! I can’t handle intense workouts as much as I used to either and I’m sick of counting calories to feel healthy. Anyways thanks so much for this post. I’m from norcal but live in australia, and I love waking up and reading your blog every morning!

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Rachel @ Bloomingbuzz December 21, 2010 at 2:52 pm

I recently came to the same decision and have been enjoying an entirely new lifestyle for the past few weeks. I am already so much happier, and it is really nice to see other people living the same way. I love blog reading but sometimes it’s hard with all the focus they have on fitness…yours has been one of my all-time favorites and this is just one more reason why! Thank you for this!

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carmen December 21, 2010 at 2:53 pm

GOOD FOR YOU! I’m currently at that stage where I feel like a slave to diet and fitness even though I am in great shape/healthy weight (actually a little underweight) and miserable all the time (drooling over cookies/brownies, finding it hard to get up and work out). You’ve inspired me to re-evaluate..

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Michelle December 29, 2010 at 10:46 pm

baby…eat a damn brownie. enjoy the chocolate out of it. remember it’s all about balance…and enjoyment.

you’ll regret more about life that you starved and slaved through it…then those blissful moments of living and balance.

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M December 21, 2010 at 3:00 pm

I think it’s great you are true to your own heart.

Perhaps you may suddenly crave going for a swim ,bike, or run.That doesn’t mean you are “flip flopping” if these desires change in the future,it just means that we all fluctuate and change what we crave to feel good.

I find it impossible to motivate myself to run…but I do remember the high I used to often get from it years ago.I do have a craving for that high, but just am too lazy right now I confess! I am loving hot yoga and always will,but secretly a part of me wants to be able to run outside in the wind and feel free as a bird(I always seemed to have knee issues though with running).

Best wished to you in the changes of seasons and likes/dislikes to evolve over the years to come.What you may hate today,you may love in a year?Who knows…and no matter what is is your perogative! ;)

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Lauren December 21, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Wow, Jenna! Thank you for this! I always love hearing your balanced perspective! I am living your old life right now, and yes, it is exhausting trying to be “perfect.” I just don’t know how to change anything…:/ It’s a scary change to make, but I salute you!

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A December 21, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Amazing post! I have been a closet follower of your blog for about a year now, and although I have enjoyed it from the beginning, your new approach seems much more real and approachable to me. Many other “healthy” living blogs nowadays almost border on unhealthy in my opinion. Their meals are so strict and tiny, and having treats is almost looked like as an offense that must be payed back with a 10 mile jog.
In my opinion egg white “pancakes” are just egg whites shaped like a circle, and protein powder + water doesn’t make a cupcake.

keep up the good work!

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Paige @ Running Around Normal December 21, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Good for you girl! It’s cool you can honor your body and know your self well enough to do that.
I envy you for living in California, too. I’m sure you get a lot of exercise just from walking more places than, say, I do here in Illinois.

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Heidi - Apples Under My Bed December 21, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Great post. Listening to my body and what it wants is the best move I have made in the last few months. While I still do workout classes (such as dance aerobics), I do them as I LOVE them. and I love yoga and hikes too, so they make up a large portion of my “workouts”. workouts should be fun. Your body should be happy. and happiness involves cookies. this post cemented the way I feel too, so thanks :)
Heidi xo

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Sara December 21, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Excellent post! I love the new direction you’ve taken since August – it’s really encouraged me to just live life. After participating in team sports throughout high school, going to the gym for exercise in college was such a drag! I felt so obligated to run or something five times a week, though. I’m finally starting to realize that hiking up and down hills on campus for an hour each day is exercise enough! I’m also getting into pilates and hopefully I’ll find some rec league sport to take part in…I love being a part of a team.

Anyways, your blog is the bomb and I love all of your hilarious stories. :D

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Dee December 21, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Great post. I am a 52 year old woman(wonder how many people my age read your blog?). I am former serious athlete and a now a coach. I have paid a proice for all my running (bad knees) but I still push myself to go for runs; but now I just head out the door and move my body for 30-60 minutes. If I walk I walk, if I run abit that is great. I take time to look around and enjoy the fresh air-I hate gyms except for the odd aerobics class. You can do weight bearing stuff at home-pushups are the best weight exercise ever!

I have always believed in balance and could never be one of those people that followed a strict diet. If I worked out for three to four hours then I was damn well going to eat cake…I still eat the cake etc. Good food is oneof life’s greatest pleasures and while I am willingto cut back (abit) I am not willing to cut out!
I wonder how you feel as your body changes, because it will. Frankly it is pretty easy to stay slim in your 20 and 30’s…40’s ain’t too bad but you do need to work at it. By 50 …well it is just not fair. We are suppose to workout even harder and cut back on calotries-right when hormonal changes and aches and pains urge us to do the exact opposite.
Anyway I am sure you will grow and change too as you age….life is an adventure that’s for sure!

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Laura December 21, 2010 at 3:28 pm

This makes a lot of sense. You only live once. If working out intensely just wasn’t fun anymore, no reason to continue. No one should live life without bacon or cupcakes just to prevent gaining a couple pounds.

I feel like your blog has taken a more clear direction since you decided to focus on cooking/baking, rather than healthy living. And you really just seem to be loving life. I’m sure you did before, but it’s just seemed that much more obvious in the last several months.

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sarah December 21, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Love your honesty.

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Lydia DePue December 21, 2010 at 3:44 pm

I am a personal trainer but I have no gym membership either! Yoga and walking or running can still keep you in incredible shape. Not every woman needs to strength train in a traditional gym setting to reap the benefits of exercise. That can be stifling and cause burnout. Glad you realized that and can enjoy life and still be in shape!

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Kelli H December 21, 2010 at 4:11 pm

hahaha, I totally agree. When I quit the gym a couple years ago I loved saying “I QUIT THE GYM!”. It reminded me of that FRIENDS episode. I felt the same way, for a while I loved it but then I started to HATE it. Why would I do something I hate when I can do something like jogging around my neighborhood, walking around spring lake, etc for free and I find it more satisfying?

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Kelly December 21, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Thanks for being so honest with us. If anything it makes you more real and more human. I will be honest when I first discovered healthy living blogs I was hooked by now my opinion and interest has waned. I see way too many unhealthy things. I am a nutritionist and it makes cringe when I read some of the things these so called “healthy living blogs” are posting. Cringe. I love your blog because I think it teaches that food should and can taste good. I also love what you say about exercise and portion control. We, as a society, are not fat because we don’t have gym memberships but rather because we eat too much. Thank you Jenna for being the one blog that I can read and find to be very very real.

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sofia December 21, 2010 at 4:24 pm

i love this post and i love your honesty about your lifestyle. if you don’t enjoy working out/ eating super healthy foods all the time, why the heck should you? maybe one day you’ll enjoy it again and feel like blogging about it – or you won’t! do what you love, and share the things you love with your readers – we’ll know your being genuine, and genuine writing is the best kind. keep it up, lady.

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sofia December 21, 2010 at 4:24 pm

and that last your was supposed to be a you’re. oops!

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Megan December 21, 2010 at 4:26 pm

It’s post like this one that keep my coming back here. I love that the content is fresh, honest, and real. I look forward to your posts each day because they are not all about fitness, working out, and fretting about what you have eaten during the day. I absolutely love the direction you have taken your blog and enjoy reading so much more now that you have quit the gym. :)

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Jess-The SemiAbnormal Gal December 21, 2010 at 4:27 pm

“Another perk of not going to the gym? Taking less showers.”

Jenna, if things don’t work out with you and Adam, will you marry me? I don’t usually swing that way, but I think we could make it work! :D

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Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef December 21, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Hi Jenna, I love your honesty. I am a competitive runner, and have been since I was 12 (now I’m 25). I absolutely love running; it is what makes me come alive. It’s my time to think or pray or listen to music or talk with friends/my husband. I love racing, I love being on a training schedule–in January I’ll be training for my 2nd marathon. But I don’t count calories and I didn’t start running because a blogger told me to do so (though I do think some healthy habits can be gleaned from blogs… but so can unhealthy ones). I do run six days a week most of the time but I don’t beat myself up if I miss a day to hang out with friends or bake a cake. However, if I found running wasn’t fun anymore I’d give it a rest and look for enjoyment and health elsewhere. If I tried to make myself go to the gym six days a week I wouldn’t be having any fun at all… no thanks! I do realize that everyone isn’t like me. Not everyone loves to run or workout in the same way. And that’s okay. I’m so happy that you’re making the decision that is best for you and your health and happiness. :)

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Alice December 21, 2010 at 4:47 pm

I love the decisive tone and natural feel of this post. You can totally tell this is what you are finally at peace with, and what feels most organic (pun, ha ha) to you! I admire when anyone finds their real passion and opens up to the world about it. Thanks for your inspiration!

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Marisol Perry December 21, 2010 at 5:04 pm

I agree with this comment too! It’s like all of a sudden everyone else feels like they have to hate the gym now. I’m a runner too, but you know what, as much as I enjoy being outdoors while running, I actually LOVE the gym! I will happily get up at 5am and walk to the gym so I can run on the treadmill, then maybe do some free weights or take a class after. It doesn’t make me obsessed or crazy or whatever…like you said, people shouldn’t be put down or pitied because they find joy in something that other people don’t understand

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Shayla December 21, 2010 at 5:24 pm

I love this post Jenna and I love the direction your blog has taken. You sound so very happy and I’m happy for you. It’s so refreshing to hear what you wrote. Sometimes I get caught up in all the hoopla of working out a certain amount of days, eating a strict diet, toning my muscles, etc. But it starts to get so overwhelming and I just want to quit! It’ll take me time to get there, but it’s so nice to know I’m not alone and that you were able to pave that path successfully, giving me hope for myself! Thanks Jenna, and keep on keepin’ on ;)

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Viviane December 21, 2010 at 5:31 pm

The blog world need more of you! You brings refreshing and well-needed balance.
Merci beaucoup!

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Heather R. December 21, 2010 at 5:37 pm

You. are. awesome. I love the new direction your blog has taken, and I adore your passion for baking! Don’t ever stop being you!

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Chelsea December 21, 2010 at 5:42 pm

I have to say that this is a really inspiring post. Props to you. I love how honest you are about it. If something isn’t fun anymore for someone, I agree 100% it’s simply not worth doing it/your time. You are really awesome and my favorite blogger. Keep up the amazing work and writing fantastic posts like these :D

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Runeatrepeat December 21, 2010 at 5:54 pm

I’m glad you’re doing your own thing. Own it :)

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Kathy December 21, 2010 at 5:59 pm

I love the direction your blog has taken. Not being all that interested in learning about healthy living from others, I wasn’t exactly sure why, a year or two ago, I kept reading everyday and scrolling through your many photos of oatmeal and spinach salad with tofu and hot sauce (I exaggerate–but those are the images burned in my brain). I knew it had something to do with your engaging voice and upbeat personality. I have been so impressed to see your blog blossom in recent months from a detailed document of daily life into a true work of art, with gorgeous photography, beautiful writing, and that same refreshing, unique voice. It is much more economical and selective, and that is a plus (many bloggers could learn from you). I can only assume that the blog has evolved as you have matured yourself. It doesn’t matter to me that you’re mostly writing about baking sweets; I’d be just as engaged if you had begun writing about spinach salad with tofu and hot sauce in a whole new way. All that matters is that your passion for life and for food continues to shine through. I am really looking forward to reading your book. I think you have bloomed into a wonderful writer.

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chelsey @ clean eating chelsey December 21, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Totally loved this post -thanks for writing it Jenna!

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Detroit Runner December 21, 2010 at 6:13 pm

If that’s what makes you happy, then that is great!

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Becky December 21, 2010 at 6:24 pm

It’s been said many times now, but thank you for this.

I discovered health blogs as I was coming to “health.” I thought I was doing the best thing by exercising 6-7 days a week and restricting my diet to healthy things. Only after last summer–which I spent sweating and uncomfortable–did I stop to re-evaluate things. Why had I spent so much time doing things I hated? For what? Why was I “not allowed” to eat certain things? Whose life is this anyway?

Thanks for being a voice that tells everyone…hey…live your freakin life! Stop obsessing and counting and making yourself unhappy. That’s awesome.

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Felicia (a taste of health with balance) December 21, 2010 at 6:24 pm

this is a great post! thanks for being so real and honest, i love it

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Marie @ peoniesncupcakes.wordpress.com December 21, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Jenna, we all have to find our passion & stop wasting time doing stuff people think we should be doing! It’s all about loving what you do :) Keep up the fabulous recipes that make us all drool! I could definitely use some more of your French pastry inspired creations. Thx!

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Christine (The Raw Project) December 21, 2010 at 6:27 pm

It’s great that you’ve evolved and admitted it and it’s a perfectly healthy thing for bloggers to do. Nothing wrong with quitting the gym, especially if that makes you happy. I can relate to hating the gym and exercise becoming a painful task we force ourselves to do, I’ve struggled with that too.

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Camille December 21, 2010 at 6:31 pm

Jenna, I always love your approach to food and fitness. I used to be obsessive about working out too and now I do as much as I find fun. I am a few pounds heavier, but so, so much happier!

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Anna December 21, 2010 at 6:35 pm

Great points. I battled various illnesses and an unexpected surgery in the past 4/5 months and had to seriously cut down my exercise frequency and intensity. The result? I lost about 6 pounds. Seriously. I love movement, sweating, and exercise, but without those constant spikes in appetite caused by high levels of activity my appetite was much, much smaller. I didn’t blow up like a balloon when I cut down on my exercise, I just ended up eating less and actually lost some weight.

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Kelsi December 21, 2010 at 6:41 pm

I loved this blog when it was a healthy living blog and I love it now as a food blog. Mostly, I love your wit and honesty.

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Maria (RealFitMama) December 21, 2010 at 6:43 pm

I’ve been reading your blog off and on for over a year now. I love your recipes, you made me interested in yoga and I even thought of cutting my hair short because you rock it so well (and because this mess I got goin on makes me crazy sometimes)! As a wife, a mother of two daughters and a full time deli owner (with said husband) I totally feel you in the “I really don’t like running, cycling or elliptical” and “it just isn’t my passion” because I really don’t like running. I really hate the elliptical and I never ride a bike. I get a ton of exercise in my everyday life, but still make time (30 minutes every morning) to get in a real circuit work out or a yoga DVD or a brisk walk in my neighborhood. This is a really wordy comment that basically is saying: “I’m with ya girl and with that attitude you will make a great mother one day” (if you want to be one)! :)
Enjoy life and don’t ever spend time doing anything you don’t really love!

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meagan December 21, 2010 at 6:45 pm

bacon > gym.

as a math idiot, i’m trying to say: bacon is greater than the gym. did i get that right? :D

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jody December 21, 2010 at 6:50 pm

You are awesome, Jenna! I totally agree. Life is too short to slave away at the gym for hours and count every calorie. Thanks for being such a great inspiration. I love your blog and have been following it for a few years. Love the new direction and your honesty!

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Natalia - a side of simple December 21, 2010 at 6:54 pm

I hate taking showers. I only shower if I work out. Or if it becomes extremely necessary. Maybe I shouldn’t make this public? Laura would understand. She would understand. She would also understand chocolate covered bacon. Love :)

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april December 21, 2010 at 7:00 pm

pick meeee!

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Pam (Holistic Health Coach) December 21, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Jenna,
Thank you for this post. You don’t owe us an explanation by any means, but it helps us to understand you better and appreciate moreso what you are doing right now and see that you are doing exactly what you desire and are passionate about. It’s good to know that you really did enjoy all of that working out and made a change when it was no longer your passion.
Thank you for sharing your story and continuing to allow us in your kitchen!
Is that a picture of your kitchen, it’s so beautiful!!
Warmly,
Pam

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LesleyG December 21, 2010 at 7:06 pm

It seems to have come about naturally, and I think that’s the way it should be. I much prefer running and walking and going to yoga when I want to rather than “having” to.

Amen to less showers, for real.

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Nessy December 21, 2010 at 7:09 pm

You are an inspiration.

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Kate December 21, 2010 at 7:11 pm

OMG !
In your last post you stated how you ate 39 oreo cookies and in the is recent post you explain it’s all about portion control! Yeah right LOL…..portion control.

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Christena December 22, 2010 at 3:41 am

I *think* she was just joking about 39 cookies. At least that’s how I read it….and mostly because it is clear from the pictures that she doesn’t regularly eat excessive amounts of baked goods….

Jenna – love this post & the blog! Thanks!

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Harmony December 22, 2010 at 6:44 am

What normal female HASN’T, at some point in her life, eaten 39 Oreo cookies in one sitting? I mean … come on. Most people are just too afraid to admit it.

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Lorin December 23, 2010 at 8:40 pm

She’s joking, if you look above at other comments that she replied too, it’s supposed to be tongue and cheek.

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CarrieBeth December 21, 2010 at 7:12 pm

love this post! love the honesty! i needed to hear that part that said, “we are allowed to change our minds a million times while we grow up”, cause i seem to do that a lot. but each time i do change my mind, it seems to make my life better. so there :)

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Jessica @ Jessica Balances December 21, 2010 at 7:21 pm

I enjoyed this post and respect you for owning your choices. :) I definitely enjoy twerkin’ it out, but don’t follow any sort of special training plan or regimen. I just do what I want, when I want to do it… lately, that means lots and lots of hot yoga. I’m glad you are doing what feels right for you!

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The Healthy Apple December 21, 2010 at 7:27 pm

Beautifully written; so happy to see you are enjoying your beautiful life!
xo
Merry Christmas!

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Gloria December 21, 2010 at 7:30 pm

I could not agree with you more about that feeling of constant hunger. I was exercising 6x per week (which seems normal when you read all these fitness blogs and magazines) but was never satisfied no matter how much I ate and found myself making up in the middle of the night starving. Then I was constantly tired because I couldn’t get a good night’s sleep! Now I exercise 3 times a week, maybe a short walk or yoga class here and there, and I never stop myself from eating dessert. In fact I just downed a bowl of chocolate peanut butter ice cream with a mocha chip cookie. (take THAT you sweets haters!!) Have I gained 5, 6, 7 pounds? maybe, I don’t weigh myself, but I feel AWESOME, sleep better, have loads of energy, and fit back into my favorite pair of Joe’s jeans from college that I shrunk out of. So there – I’m right behind ya Jenna, cookie in hand!

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Lacey @ Lake Life December 21, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Amen! It’s awesome how you’re so comfortable in your own skin. It’s definitely something we all should strive for :-)

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Alina @ Duty Free Foodie December 21, 2010 at 7:39 pm

I loved this post! There isn’t one perfect way of living that works for everyone all the time. You are going with what you and your body want and need and I think that’s pretty awesome!

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zoe (and the beatles) December 21, 2010 at 7:44 pm

you. are. AWESOME.

love this post. seriously, i feel the same way! screw the gym. i feel like i wasted a year of my life in there. i much prefer hiking and yoga. anything outside. oh, and being in the kitchen kind of rules, too :)

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Stephanie P December 21, 2010 at 7:58 pm

I am a new reader… I found your blog a few weeks ago. I have thoroughly enjoyed going through the archives and learning about the type of wonderful person you are! I am so glad you talked about this… as I was just wondering the other day how come working out doesn’t come up much anymore and here is my answer. And i’m so happy with this answer it’s not even funny! I totally agree with you and we each have do to do what is good for us individually. And I’ve already made several of your scrumptious desserts, so more power to ya! Looking forward to spending more time in the kitchen with my laptop and your recipe pulled up :)

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Heather December 21, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Thank you for writing this, Jenna.

I hope I can one day attain your care free, beautiful, and healthy attitude. I’ve been a reader since early 2009, and you glow now. Seriously glow. And I think of you as a FANTASTIC example. I too am transitioning from being a treadmill addict (guilty of 90 minutes yesterday — 90 minutes of misery) to becoming a happy walker, yoga doer… for when I FEEL like walking or practicing yoga. It’s hard to switch the mindset, but I’ll get there.

Thank you for being real. For being honest. For being TRUE to *yourself*.

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Mackenzie @ Whatever, Gatsby December 21, 2010 at 8:39 pm

amen, sister! i hear you on the showers part. i’m soooooo over two a day showers. but i loves me my 30 minutes of ellyptical as i watch my baby-boo, stephen colbert.

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AshleyH December 21, 2010 at 8:54 pm

I think you just summarized the last four years of my life. I am at the same point as you now and I feel much better. I was actually getting really bloated all the time too and since I stopped exercising so much I look better too. Glad to have a blog like yours to read.

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Jaclyn December 21, 2010 at 8:56 pm

Jenna, great post. You hit home on so many things, I think so many people want/need to say. Like a) not wanting to work out or push yourself to extremes – why do we think we need to do this??! and b) quitting the gym does not = weight gain! *like the previous commentor said!*

Good for you for addressing this. while i was one of those who started reading your blog for the fitness/food/health er eat/live/run aspect.. I find your humor (and baked goods) still keep me around ;) SO keep on doin what you are doin and take care girl!! :)

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ingrid December 21, 2010 at 9:04 pm

i love the new direction of your blog :o) and the fact that you don’t work out all the time makes me feel so much less inferior when i read you! muah! p.s. i haven’t “worked out” in about 3 months now. i chase my son and puppy and clean my house and work in the yard and i am as happy as ever.

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Tina December 21, 2010 at 9:27 pm

I appreciate your honesty. I have been reading your blog for years and I enjoy how you always keep things real. I have always enjoyed your blog but I really do like the direction the blog has taken. It’s actually inspired me more!

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Ashley December 21, 2010 at 10:02 pm

Great post – I feel I am in the same place as you. I always have been “the fit” girl that does everything. Now I’m not so sure. Haven’t gained weight actually lost weight. I still work out but now I realize what keeps you thin is what you put in your mouth. NOT saying I’m starving myself FAIR from it. Just getting WAY better at trying little bits of dessert and stopping. Okay now this post is unrelated. Moral of the story you are awesome. :)

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Coco December 21, 2010 at 10:05 pm

YES YES YES YES YES!!!

As someone who is in recovery for an eating disorder, I know firsthand how caught up women can get in the quest for fitness. It honestly isn’t worth it. You can be healthy and active without slaving at the gym for hours each day. Our ancestors didn’t “work out”–they simply moved their bodies out of necessity. We need to spend our time doing things we enjoy. For me, yoga and walking give me joy. Yes, I love to run when the weather’s nice, but when I live in Baltimore and the thermometer reads 25 degrees some winter days, I would much rather pull on my slipper socks and do some stretching by the fire…and by stretching I mean reaching from the couch to the coffee table to grab another peanut butter cookie…

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Shelby December 22, 2010 at 12:19 am

I have never commented before, but I have been a reader for the past few months and I just wanted to say this post made me smile from ear to ear :) During my freshman year of college last year, my roommate and I became obsessed with going to the student rec center, it was almost like a competition to see who could spend the most time there. Fast forward to my sophomore year, and all of my gym rat friends don’t understand how I never go to the rec, yet still look healthier and feel happier than ever! Life is movement! Yoga, pilates, ballet and walking are my favorite forms of movement, but every once in a while I still enjoy a short and simple run or bike ride OUTSIDE because it makes me feel good! And actually, I have been loving skiing at the moment! I am going to Paris to study abroad this summer and I can’t wait to compare how French women live, move and eat to what we do in America.

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Sarah December 22, 2010 at 1:40 am

Great post!

I have to say, I have a similar approach to exercise as you do. Sometimes I love it so I do it, other times (like now, in the depths of winter) I’m not bothered so I don’t do it. To be honest, I’ve stopped reading health and fitness blogs because they just make me feel bad about my lack of exercise and that I’m not manically exercising daily. I prefer to sit on my butt eating and reading… I’ve always been more bookish than sporty. Who is it that said ” know thyself”? :)

If I don’t say it beforehand, merry christmas! xxx

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Kristin December 22, 2010 at 3:09 am

I enjoyed your blog in it’s former style. Now it’s strictly food and pretty impersonal. Most entries are just posted recipes. If I wanted to read recipes, I’m much happier w/ my cookbooks (and believe me, I love to cook). And for the fitness, I just see this as another phase for you. Excessive or nothing. I think it’s a shame when people consider daily exercise excessive. By the time your older, it’s necessary to keep your body working well. You’re young and seem to ping from one thing to another. It might be interesting to see where your life goes, but I don’t think it’s interesting enough for me to follow.

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Erin @ small things December 22, 2010 at 6:26 am

Kristin – I assume you won’t be back to read this, but I think you’re missing a lot from this blog and from the stories Jenna tells through food.
That being said if it’s not for you, it’s not for you. I think by looking through the rest of the comments she’s hit a chord with a lot of readers, but no blogger can please them all!

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Ivy December 22, 2010 at 7:06 am

I think she is saying that she still exercises, but doesn’t do it in excess, where she is injuring herself and not enjoying it, and she is appreciating food and living to eat (since that is her choose career field), not just eating to live.

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Nan December 22, 2010 at 5:01 am

awesome post—- you seem to such a healthy mindset and approach to life! it is inspiring and since you have gone this route, I have enjoyed reading your blog so much more.

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Crystal December 22, 2010 at 5:14 am

This is a wonderful post. I think that your honesty and your willingness to allow life-changes make this blag so wonderful. I’m not a baker–I tell myself each day that I’m going to try a recipe, but I dont. I simply love to hear how happy your food experiences are. It’s refreshing to read the thoughts of a woman who has a healthy relationship with food and with herself, and I think this post is a great example of what makes you a great writer.

Keep doing what you’re doing!

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Julia @ Brides Up North December 22, 2010 at 5:37 am

Jenna – I stopped going to the gym too. I still go for the odd run (or will in the Summer!) and walk on my lunch hour, and I haven’t gained a pound. Life is for living, live it how you like. Still love the blog.

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Mo@MommyRD December 22, 2010 at 6:13 am

Great post and great blog! I think your philosophy and approach really makes you one of the “healthiest” living blogs out there. So many people think that “healthy” means exercise and watching what you eat. But, there is so much more to being healthy, and being happy is the biggest. (Not to mention, sleep, reduced stress, balance, etc.) Good for you!!!!

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Jil @ Big, City, Lil Kitchen December 22, 2010 at 6:16 am

Amen, sistah!! Love this! Happiness is the key to life…and personally, I don’t think you can find that happiness on a treadmill – obvs that is just my opinion. I do work out…but I’d rather have a cookie. ;-)

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Ivy December 22, 2010 at 7:03 am

Before I had my baby I was obsessed with exercise too. 6 days a week, hours and hours of grueling workouts, sometimes injuring my knees so bad I could barely walk. and eating a maximum of 1600 a day, stomach growling when I went to bed. then I gave birth and everything changed. i couldn’t go to the gym and most of my workouts consisted of walking/jogging outside, yoga/pilates at home. i’ve lost most of my baby weight (7 lbs to go), but that came from breastfeeding and enjoyable exercise, not grueling. and my old clothes fit, which is the important thing. i think of my former routine as boot camp for giving birth, preparing my body for the hardest thing it ever had to do. but, now I allow myself more indulgence items and am less strict and I am happy with my body, even if it isn’t rock hard, I’d rather have fun with my son then bounce quarters off my stomach. daily exercise doesn’t have to hurt to be affective, mostly if you are already in good shape.

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Rachel @ The Avid Appetite December 22, 2010 at 8:16 am

Love this rundown. Agreed that working out and eating healthy doesn’t have to be so cut and dry – different things work for different people!

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Katie G. December 22, 2010 at 2:32 pm

You said it perfectly, Rachel. Great post, Jenna.

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ElizabethMDS December 22, 2010 at 8:17 am

Loved both directions! Keep on cooking and baking…your writing and photos are gorgeous!

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Betty December 22, 2010 at 8:44 am

Great post. I think we can all relate to feeling this way sometimes. I have taken breaks from the gym before because I’ve gotten tired of it. I usually stick to running and hiking because I always enjoy it. I mean whats the point of working out if you can’t enjoy it. ;)

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Mabelle @ Dance, Live, Dine December 22, 2010 at 8:52 am

Jenna—I have to say I absolutely love your perception regarding food and exercise and I like the way in which you are honest with your readers and straightforward about the different changes you go through in your “life journey”—Although I love the feeling of adrenaline working out brings me; Ive also felt really bored lately so Im brainstorming different ways in which I can making working out fun again (ie: dance lessons, actual classes at the gym rather than just machines, etc).

I still feel working out and some form of exercise is very important as part of a healthy lifestyle. But I also agree that its not meant to be boring or counterproductive. =) Thanks for sharing this with us!

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Sophia December 22, 2010 at 9:13 am

Great post! If you don’t enjoy something anymore, I totally agree that you shouldn’t do it. Plus, it’s not like you’re lifestyle is unhealthy. You go girl! :)

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carolyn December 22, 2010 at 9:29 am

thank you jenna! i’m a new-ish reader so i haven’t really experienced the changes your blog has gone through, but i just love your honesty, integrity, and sense of self. what you said about being allowed to change your mind a million times while you grow up resonated with me especially. life’s all about balance and finding what works for you and that’s going to change constantly! you seem to understand that and live with integrity (as i said before) and a sense of humor! keep it up, girl ;o)

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Sarah December 22, 2010 at 9:33 am

Good for you!!

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Tori @ FIToriBLOG.com December 22, 2010 at 9:39 am

I totally understand where you’re coming from!!! I’m in a bit of a phase like that myself!

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Deanna (PRetty in Pittsburgh) December 22, 2010 at 10:26 am

You’re a girl after my own heart with the less showering!! I feel you on that.

Thanks for being honest. Last night, I skipped the gym to eat Chick fil a and I’d say it was a fantastic decision. :D

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Amber K December 22, 2010 at 10:52 am

Different things work for different people. I love that you do what makes you happy, because really, that’s what life is about. There’s no sense in “punishing” yourself by doing things you truly hate.

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Kerri December 22, 2010 at 11:45 am

Jenna,

Do you feel the way your blog has evolved has changed your relationships with the other original HLS bloggers?

Just currious :-)

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jenna December 22, 2010 at 11:50 am

Nope—I’m still great friends with all the girls and think what they do is great!

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Andrea December 22, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Thank you for writing this- I think it’s important that people realize that exercise should not be a chore- it should be something one enjoys. “Working out” in an extreme way is not necessary to maintain one’s weight and have a fabulous life! Kudos for doing what works for you :)

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sara December 22, 2010 at 3:27 pm

As far as I am concerned walking and yoga are exercise and it is unrealistic to believe that a person is going to work out intensely for years on end. It ebbs and flows with the seasons for me, running lots when the weather is great. The last thing exercise should be is going through the motions because you think you “should.” I have to admit that I would rather run 5 miles on a treadmill than do an intense yoga class. It’s all individual and thanks for going against the grain and making the point that you are an individual :-)

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Charise December 23, 2010 at 5:21 am

I am a big summer hiker, yoga newbie, and a couple-times-a-week gym girl because it I live in the freezing midwest. I could stand to lost 20 lbs but it is not that important to me, as long as I am eating healthy and tasty food with small indulgences and getting some excericse when I can/want to without feeling guilty about it.
I love the new food-focused blog! I think it is great that you are listening to your body when it comes to what to eat and how to excerise and making the best choices for the lifestyle that works for you!

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Brenna December 23, 2010 at 5:27 am

I love this post Jenna! And I love not taking showers every day as well :) I just moved to France and the gym is too expensive, but I walk lots more and try to run twice a week outside. I am much, much, happier as well. YAYY!!!

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Amy December 23, 2010 at 5:53 am

I love this post–I really miss your posts like this, they really seem to come from your heart. I really loved a lot of your “old” posts where you were just being yourself. I love a lot of your recipes, but I feel like they lack the genuine, personal sentiments from Jenna “the person” rather than Jenna “the food blogger.”

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Kristina December 26, 2010 at 11:33 am

I do think that it’s kind of funny that your picture for the “Why I quit the gym” is a road bike. I don’t consider cycling to be at all a part of the gym-rat experience, but that’s just my take on the matter!

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t December 27, 2010 at 2:22 pm

About a third of the way through you post, I thought, “What?!? is she insane?! not working out at all?” and then it hit me, I’m so glad you decided to go with your gut and changed the direction of your blog. You see, I find these blogs put WAAAYYY too much emphasis on exercise! Not everyone needs to run 10 miles a day everyday of the week before sunrise! Good for you!

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Liz December 27, 2010 at 6:18 pm

I found your blog not all that long before you changed focus. I thought your old way of writing was entertaining, but I have to say, bravo to you for the change. There’s a definite evolution, and an increase in maturity which is evident here. Your writing is great, your pictures are amazing – the professional level of the blog has gone up. It’s less “this is all about me and here’s what I did today” and more like a professional food site, but it still shows off your quirky personality.

As for the gym thing – there’s nothing wrong with working out heavily and watching what you eat, but if it starts to make you miserable, or you veer into the unhealthy obsession realm, where you heavily restrict your diet, then it’s not a good thing. You seem so happy and healthy now, like you’re fully experiencing life. Portion control and exercise through enjoyable activities which come naturally… walking, hiking, biking, whatever, are a great way to truly enjoy food and still stay in shape. I think it’s really the balance that most people strive to attain.

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Michelle December 29, 2010 at 10:43 pm

I am late on responding to this…I was eating sugar cookies with my family.

I have followed you for about 3 years and the change that you’ve one through is so awesome..and I can identify with it. I remember after your brother’s death you were hitting cardio like no ones business and then you moved to N.CA and I think that is where your soul started to live for what it was meant to do.

Life is about balance. When you’re chugging egg whites and working out ‘because you have to’ it’s not fun. What I have begun to realise is that if and when I workout as punishment i 1. hate it and usually don’t do it 2. over-eat ‘because tomorrow I’ll work it off’ or ‘I can have more because I worked out’

What is amazing, is that when we do things that are just simply HEALTHY for us (which we have discovered is defined so broadly) we begin to live the life that many times slaving away at dieting and exercise was the focus of.

The irony of life, is that when we step back, breathe, balance and live…we enjoy it so much more.

Thank you for this.

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Katherina @ Zephyr Runs June 26, 2011 at 5:53 am

Thank you for this post! I’m all for food acting as fuel and using it for its purpose, but simply refueling because chronic cardio is telling you to refuel isn’t my cup of tea anymore. I think yoga (and hiking once I dedicate more trips to the mountains!) will be my best friend. Just discovered your blog and I think I’m in love.

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Elise September 17, 2011 at 7:37 pm

oh my gosh, i am SO late in the game for reading this. I have been religiously reading your blog since 2009 and I guess I missed this post. I can totally relate. I lost 60 pounds in a year- but it meant eating 1200 calories of mostly “fuel” food and working out like a maniac 6 days a week. I have gained about 10 pounds back, but I truly am a happier and healthier person. I hate the gym now, but I love the outdoors. I don’t sit around all day, but there is something to be said about just enjoying life and enjoying the food that you put into your body and just making sure you don’t over due it everyday. THANK YOU for being such an inspiration Jenna. Hoorah!

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Lia February 17, 2012 at 5:56 pm

I can totally relate. I’ve been having one chronic injury after another from overdoing my gym workouts and am finally tired and sore enough to consider quitting the gym (because $50/mth is a waste if you aren’t going) and just doing yoga, and once I’m better, just walking outside or at home somehow… I don’t like the gym atmosphere and I tend to push myself too much because of the other people around which isn’t always good..

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Amber February 29, 2012 at 11:15 am

Thumbs up. You should love the life you live!

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Erin April 12, 2014 at 5:55 am

Hmmm..I stumbled across your blog when googling “1st trimester fatigue is killing my workouts.” I read your 1st trimester post and really enjoyed it. Then I read this post and felt I could relate to it a lot. I’ve been killing myself in the gym and/or doing high intensity training at home for about 6 years now. I’ve really liked it….and I really do still love exercise…but I’m feeling all of the negative things you listed in this post. Plus, I’m getting knee pain and joint pain in legs. After reading this I’m thinking of taking spring and summers off and just using gym and HIIT during fall and winter.

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