Relearning a healthy relationship with food and fitness

Jun 25, 2023 | Let's Hear From The Experts, Tips & Tricks for Recovery

Jenna Werner is a registered dietitian, nutritionist, and owner of Happy Strong Healthy, a weight-neutral, behavior-focused, health-first, mindful eating private practice that works to help clients heal their relationship with food, fitness, body, and self. Jenna is also the co-host of the What the Actual Fork podcast, a platform that uses research, experience, and fun to help all humans realize that they are made for so much more than chasing a smaller body. Jenna loves food and helping people bring back the true enjoyment of food in their lives.

In this Episode:

  • Hitting rock bottom with exercise addiction
  • Evaluating what you want fitness to mean to you
  • Calling out unhealthy trends on social media
  • Going from no period to pregnant…twice!
  • Tips for getting out of the pit of disordered eating

Connect with Jenna Werner:


Instagram: @happystronghealthy.rd

TikTok: @‌happystronghealthy.rd

Hear more of Jenna’s story on the WTAF episode on Obsessive Exercise vs Intuitive Movement


Lindsey Lusson  00:00

Welcome to the food freedom fertility podcast. Here we discuss the challenging, rewarding and life changing process of recovering your period and finding freedom with food and exercise. Whether you’re hoping to regain your cycle to get your health back on track or you’re ready to become a mama, this podcast is for you. While the recovery process isn’t always rainbows and butterflies, it’s my hope to bring you both information and inspiration during your own recovery journey. I’m your host, registered dietitian and fellow ha woman Lindsey Lawson. All right, welcome back to the Korean recovery and fertility podcast you guys I’m so excited to bring on this guests. We’ve been trying to reschedule a couple of times. Finally doing the episode so we have Jenna Jenna is a registered dietician nutritionist and owner of happy strong healthy a weight neutral behavior focused health verse mindful eating private practice that works to help clients heal the relationship with food fitness, body and cell Jenna is also the co host of the what the actual pork podcast, a platform that uses research, experience and fun to help all humans realize that they are made for so much more than chasing a smaller body. I love that tagline. Gentleman loves food and helping people bring back the true enjoyment of food in their lives. Love it. Welcome, Jenna.

Jenna Werner  01:24

Thank you so much. And thank you for dealing with an understanding the crazies of entrepreneurship and motherhood.

Lindsey Lusson  01:32

It just is and there’s so many things that have to get rescheduled. But you know, one of the cool things about being an entrepreneur is you get to kind of set your own schedule and I totally get it because I have three kids of my own and things come up but here

Jenna Werner  01:43

we tell everybody how we started I have done zoom scream last time and had to say I gotta go because the babysitter just came home and there’s a tick

Lindsey Lusson  01:54

that was literally how we started how we thought we were going to start the podcast and then we decided it was like,

Jenna Werner  01:59

I’m so sorry.

Lindsey Lusson  02:02

Well, and you had had just like the week from how because that was not the only thing that had happened to your poor son.

Jenna Werner  02:10

It was right after it was the Friday of the Monday that he sliced his lip open and had I think the number was like 60 stitches in a little two year olds upper lip. Like not even his mouth like upper lip. Like it’s

Lindsey Lusson  02:26

fit that many stitches in there were like the way that

Jenna Werner  02:29

it was described to me is that it was layers of stitches because he actually cut not just his lip but like the muscle so they actually had to sew the muscle back then I was such a mess that they didn’t even let me into like the operating room because that my mom went in my place because they were like you can’t come back here like like de la

Lindsey Lusson  02:50

but rightfully so that you were messing me that is some pretty severe mama heard like this for my god tiny little boy. But it sounds like we’re on the getting on the mend. Maybe

Jenna Werner  03:00

he is way more resilient than I’ve ever been in my entire life. That is for sure. That’s definitely a lesson that I’ve learned this week and also a lesson in patience. Because you have to like you have to layer like the anger and the behaviors and the frustration with like the trauma that he’s trying to process and like doesn’t know how to because like I’m an adult and I still don’t know how to process trauma like we expect to so there’s just so much going on. But yeah, that was the icing on the cake. Our interview was at the same time two weeks ago and I got the text I was like hey, so we’re on our way early. I found a tick I know his head I think it’s stuck. I was like what I live in New Jersey. So deer are everywhere so I was like if this deer tick on top of everything else like I’m gonna lose it but

Lindsey Lusson  03:52

and like all this stuff it wasn’t real rabbit hole really quick.

Jenna Werner  03:57

Oh I was Googling I was like I think it’s this kind and like zooming in we put it in a plastic bag I was like Do you think it could chew through this plastic anyway oh and it would came back negative like seven days later so few no disease on top of the trauma there but like

Lindsey Lusson  04:18

disgusting and good to know that you can send them off

Jenna Werner  04:21

Ifanybody listening has this experience. The website is called tick Knology T IC K Knology. And you basically like send you register a kit and you put it in the mail you have to speed deliver it so I think it was like 30 bucks to get the kit $30 to send it so it ends up being like 75 bucks. And in like four or five days they run the whole scan for you so came in handy. Oh no enough to use it. But if you do, that was definitely a helpful thing.

Lindsey Lusson  04:51

I’ve learned so much already and tell us a bit about happy strong healthy How did How did you you know, start your own practice? Who all are we serving here? And like How long have you been, you know, in practice working on your own as an entrepreneur.

Jenna Werner  05:09

So happy, strong healthy actually started when I was working full time, I was actually working for a large grocery chain in New Jersey at the time, and I was partnered with a gym that I was going to, and like people were just like asking me questions about nutrition, and I was like, I can make some money answering these questions like I shouldn’t do this. At the time. This was about seven ish years ago. At this point closer to eight, I was admittedly in a very disordered state myself. So happy strong healthy actually started as happy, slim healthy, we’ve had some evolutions of the brand over the years. And it started as something that is very different than what it is today. However, I’m grateful for the experience and the healing that I’ve gone through because it has brought me to this space today. So happy, strong, healthy today is a team of registered dieticians who work with individuals who are recovering from disordered eating, we have a leg of our business that works with specifically individuals who are recovering from eating disorders wherever you are in your treatment. And also working with people who are interested in just overall how to enjoy food again, how to eat in a way that makes them feel good. So they feel confident in the kitchen. And one of the things that has always been so important to me is making food more fun and pleasurable. And like I’m not a chef, I call myself an assembly line chef. Like I like to put things together and like mix them together. Everything I call it like my messy bowl cooking because everything goes in a bowl, it’s just easier for me in my brain. But I like to make that more enjoyable for clients too. And like show them how easy and fun cooking can actually be without the work and like this scary the scary what’s the right word stress that comes along with it on social media. So we’re really working with people who are overall want to improve their wellness make peace with food, and heal their relationship with food body also fitness, because it’s super important to me. And that was where my demise was body and self in that process. So I have three other dieticians on my team. So there’s four of us total. And it has been a really fun ride. And like I said, it started as something and it’s grown into something way better than I expected.

Lindsey Lusson  07:25

That is amazing. I have always wondered if I would have started my business sooner what it would look like. And it probably would have looked like something along the lines of happy, healthy. So I think we’re like very similar in our stories like that. And we’ll talk a little bit. I love like serving people in all different like stages of their relationship with food. Because, you know, it’s one thing to have, like, what we could identify a full blown eating disorder. But there’s this whole like spectrum and like gray area of disordered eating. And like when you really look at it, like most people, especially women do have disordered eating habits, whether it’s something that’s having a huge impact on their quality of life, or a small impact on their quality of life. Like so many people need supports love that.

Jenna Werner  08:12

And the mine was fitness. So like for me, yes, food was part of that. But when we start working with clients, it’s like, you know, and they tell us they have a great relationship with food. And then we start talking about like their rules around exercise. And I’m like, You’re exactly what I want to work with. Because you don’t realize like all the healing and like the messy rules that are involved there. And Life can be so much different and better and more fulfilling when we untangle that and start really making decisions based on our health and not our physical aesthetic, which I think is like what really like fuels my fire and is my passion. I feel

Lindsey Lusson  08:51

like there’s been more and more talk around how eating habits can be disordered. I feel like we I feel like the fitness side of it is a little more taboo. And I feel like there are people that will heal their relationship with food and never touch their relationship with exercise. Do you find that flat as well,

Jenna Werner  09:10

because it’s a control thing. And it’s scary, and it’s super normalized. And one of the things that we really love to uncover with people is like, a lot of people hold on to their community at the gym as their inner circle as their friendship, like that’s their social life, especially moms, right? Because you have very little time to yourself. So moms go to the gym and they find other moms and they find people and that’s their social life. And then the idea of missing a workout means missing your time with X, Y and Z. But these gyms when we really like look at the classes in the structure, it’s very and I don’t want to generalize because there are plenty of gyms that are not like this, but it can become very cult like yes and competitive. And that path then becomes like well what are you eating and what are you not? aren’t eating and it spirals and like that is very normalized just like with food and disordered eating. But when you ask people why they’re there, rarely are they saying for my health.

Lindsey Lusson  10:13

Yeah, yeah, my gym did. I haven’t been to the gym for the record in five months, because I had a baby and, you know, back up there, yeah, but I follow their Instagram. And they were doing this thing at the beginning of the year, where it was like, how many workouts? Can you log in? I don’t know, if it was like six weeks or a month or whatever. But it was like, you know, on the one hand, I get that they’re just trying to motivate people to get active, like, the challenge was probably truly meant for people who don’t go to the gym, you know, they’re just trying to, like, motivate people to get in there. But the winners of that contest are due in two days, and they probably shouldn’t be, you know, and so I think like, when you talk about like the gym culture, it can be it can get like unhealthy for some people. And I know that that’s part of my story and part of yours. Shared. Yeah, you’ve shared on your podcast, and I love this episode. And I’m gonna link it in our show notes. So listeners can listen to it too. But you shared about kind of your you shared about exercise addiction, you shared about, like, what it looks like for you. And I’m just curious, like, I mean, I think you’ve kind of already alluded to this, but like, how common Do you think exercise addiction is in the people that you work, but

Jenna Werner  11:30

I think it is something that 80 to 95%. Like, I’ll give it a range there, since we do work with like a wide variety of people have and don’t realize, and it’s because there are so many health benefits to movement and to fitness. But the gray area and that line that you tow between being health promoting, and negative for your health is so fine. And people tell it often. And for me personally, like I can only think about, you know, my own experience. It’s like when your workout routine becomes something that you’re so fearful of disrupting, like, how is this healthy. And I think at that point, we get into the bigger conversation of what is health and as health, physical and mental and emotional, and all of these things. And fitness can fill all of those buckets, and it can take away

Lindsey Lusson  12:28

those buckets.

Jenna Werner  12:30

Right at the same time, which is crazy. And you know, in my disordered moments, I was also the person and I hear this often that’s like, why I have to go to the gym because the gym is my therapy and the therapy is therapy gym is definitely good for your mental health. But they’re not the same. They can be productive and positive for both. But they’re not the same. And when we start to call them the same, that’s where it gets to be like a little bit of that line just continues to get crossed and maybe come back. It’s like we’re jump roping over it. Like whatever that’s called,

Lindsey Lusson  13:06

ya know, I always like to like describe to people I’m like, exercise is a great form of stress relief. But you’ve got to have more tools in your tool belt, because especially for the clientele that I work with, like we actually need to take a break from exercise. And so yes, we didn’t manage stress, but like how can we manage stress without spending two to three hours in the gym. And I think that exercise can feel addicting, right? Because it feels good. And we’re praised for it. And it might help us to control our bodies to look a certain way. And all of those things in and of itself can be addicting, right? That complements the control over your body and just the endorphins from the actual workout. And so where do you see people? Like how do you kind of define the line between somebody exercising for health and it being like a health promoting habit versus being more of an addiction and maybe unhealthy habit?

Jenna Werner  13:57

I think it comes down to number one, like the intention and like actually getting clear on what is your intention behind your choice to move and you know, how you justify the movement to right so like, if I miss like, for example, I have a toddler who’s going through a sleep regression, like I had to cancel my classes that I had signed up all week, right paying fees left and right, but whatever. Like in the past, if I went for a walk instead of going to that class, I would have told myself that that walk didn’t count because it wasn’t the exercise class that I had quote unquote like planned for and my disordered brain would also have made up for missing that workout with maybe more workouts in the next day less food that day. However, I was going to compensate for it and like trigger warning these were my own disordered habits. But that is no longer a health promoting activity when you are working out for the intention of moving blood around your body lifting your mood Food, you know, for your actual health, for your lungs, for your bones, for your heart health, all of these things for your digestive health, you know, you recognize that like, yeah, it’s super disappointing to have missed that class because it is my only time out of the house. But I can take the dog for a walk, and that quote, unquote, counts, and something that I’ve actually uncovered with my therapist this week. So perfect timing, is, you know, being that I’m pregnant again, now, I have less control in my life over a lot of things when you have, you know, your due date coming up, right? And she said to me, like, why are you working so much now, and I was like, I just think this is my pattern. And it’s like, this is what I did in the past with fitness was like, when I felt like things were out of control in my life, I and I think people can relate to this, I very much gear myself towards and focus on doing more of something I’m quote unquote good at, and I’ve been an athlete my whole life. And like, when I run in the gym and run fast, people cheer, let that felt good. When I show up on social media today, and I get likes like, that feeds that same disordered energy for me, which I’m recognizing, again, through real therapy that like a work addiction is just is not healthy. But I think that a lot of people can maybe relate to that, too, is like if you are exercising, because that are working out to an extreme, because that is a place where you receive a feeling that you’re not getting elsewhere. Like that’s something to unpack.

Lindsey Lusson  16:37

Definitely, I relate so much to all of that. And

Jenna Werner  16:42

my therapist was like, ah, ding ding.

Lindsey Lusson  16:46

Yeah, I’ve been in and out of therapy pretty much my whole life but need to still find any therapist to make it but I’m like, I go through the same thing because I’m like, Oh, like this is like a same issue repackaged in a different way to get validation.

Jenna Werner  17:07

And social media is such an easy way to do that. And an easy way to feel pretty the opposite as well, when like things aren’t, you know, going your way which the algorithm sometimes not cooperate?

Lindsey Lusson  17:20

I know. I know. It’s so crushing. But speaking of social media, you are like such a big deal on Tiktok and Instagram, but tick tock like a celebrity. And so what when we think about social media, since we’re on the topic, like tick tock, I’m so new and I feel like such like an old soul on Tik Tok, but there’s a lot of stuff going around. And there’s a lot of like, I feel like a lot of the things that I see like dietitians doing on Tik Tok is just debunking a ton of myths. What are some of the scariest things that you see going around? And like how do you see this impacting Gen Z.

Jenna Werner  17:57

So the most recent one that I saw was a girl who a beautiful blond, thin white woman with zero nutrition credentials. And I say that because of her aesthetic, people are being very drawn to this post. And she starts out her video saying everybody should do a five day water fast. And then underneath that, she says, if it’s medically okay for you, like first of all, what does that mean? And second of all, like, Who are you, and then she goes into talking about how if you’re feeling fatigued, and if you’re feeling mentally overwhelmed, and if you’re feeling digestive, ly backed up and restricting your food intake is the best thing you can do for yourself. And this video has millions of views, millions. So you think about like who is watching and and anytime I ever have boosted a post which I have a couple of times on social like I just want to see who the audience gets boosted to. Because it gives you a deeper look into like who’s flooding likes on posts, the audience is always 14 to 18. So you think about who’s getting that water fast post not saying she boosted it but saying who’s the one liking and being drawn to this audience? Yeah, it’s the majority audience on Tik Tok and 14 to 18 year olds, what is going to happen if a 1516 1714 Whatever human being goes on a five day water fast? What positive health benefits? Possibly. And on the flip side, like how dangerous is that? Right? So I think that’s just one example of something that literally stopped me in my tracks this past week of being like, how is this I reported it as like harmful content, which I do often on social media, but like there’s that then you have the whole entire carnivore population of human beings telling you to eat only organ meats, and how terrible vegetables are for you. And it’s just confusing because then the next post is a vegan telling you how bad meat is. Right? So at the end of the day, peace left with eating nothing. And then the other one that was like a very recent expos day was all about the Medical Medium. And you can kind of like deep dive into comment sections on these posts. Mine didn’t get a ton of comments, but you will be able to see, you know, the very just like we were talking about in gyms, but the very cult like following of these creators and these wellness people on social media, promoting unhealthy and harmful ideals about wellness and restriction and passing it off as health. Yeah, and if you don’t know me better, and if you don’t know anything about nutrition, but you’re looking just at aesthetics, which many people are, it’s easy to be faked and drawn into and confused by, you know, what is real and what is not. So it’s a really confusing and scary space. And we I’m so happy that you’re there because we need more dieticians out there, like so badly.

Lindsey Lusson  21:01

Okay, so I know that you are loving everything that you are learning about on this episode, but I want to invite you to take the next 30 seconds to leave us a review. This helps tremendously in reaching more people and empowering more women to take charge of their health and fertility through period recovery, head on over to Apple podcasts or right now and tell us what your favorite episode has been so far. And thanks for listening. I think the thing that’s most eye opening to me is like you bring up these trends, like the carnivore diet and the water fast, and I’m laughing, but I’m also like, in my late 30s. So I’m like a grandma

Jenna Werner  21:39

game, but like our elder millennial, right? Like we’re

Lindsey Lusson  21:42

adults, and so we can look at this stuff. And we can like recognize, alright, well this is a joke. But a 14 to 18 year old. I mean, they’re not even like full brain maturity, they’re just so susceptible to things like that. And so it’s scary. And it’s scary it and like social media is like the I always call it the wild wild west of like, you know, like, it’s not nobody patrols it. And so it’s kind of up to you to like sift through information. So it’s great to like, have people like you that are

Jenna Werner  22:11

you know, and to think though that like a 14 year old who to your point, like their brain is not fully developed, is allowed to be on this platform. And looking at other 14 year olds that look nothing like what a 14 year old, like, should look like, is crazy.

Lindsey Lusson  22:29

I do like look at these girls that are like, you know, 1617 them, like I want to nothing like that at that age. And like, you know, maybe maybe they’re better at the makeup, maybe they just look different, but also filters, right? Like, I’ll put filters on like my kids like for fun. And I’ll be like, That doesn’t even look like them.

Jenna Werner  22:49

It’s so scary. And it’s like, there was that one filter that was going around that like people were doing like the Expos a of like, this is the filter. This is what I look like and like, you know who’s using it and who’s not. And when you actually see these people like with that filter on and that’s the only way that you see them, your brain starts to believe like, this is how they show up. Like I need to show up like that,

Lindsey Lusson  23:14

did you? Yes, if you’re only showing up with a filter, how would you know that that’s not what somebody looked like in real life. So exactly. Tricky, tricky stuff. Well, back on exercise, because I want to get a little bit more into this because I know that and again, I’m gonna link this episode here. But when you talked a little bit about your like exercise addiction, you talked about how you went through a time when you were also having irregular cycles, maybe even lost your period, and you were diagnosed with PCOS. Do you feel like that was a misdiagnosis? Or was there maybe like some version of HA mixed in there too?

Jenna Werner  23:51

I think it was a misdiagnosis because it was definitely ha and the more that you know about Ha, the high cholesterol that’s connected to it. Like my cholesterol is fine. Now even though I have genetic predisposition, which I always thought that was why my cholesterol was high. But when I actually think back I’m like, no fault to all OBGYN But mine didn’t look into this. You know, my cholesterol was very high. And I had no period for a couple of years. So you think about that. But then I got the maybe I had a mixture of everything. So in this time period, it was when I was exercising heavily not fueling my body properly. During that time, all of my hair fell out. Like you can see me on here today like I have a decent amount of hair. Thank you. I made a ponytail that looked like this. Like I am not even kidding you. I have pictures of it. So all of my hair fell out of my head and I was incredibly broken out everywhere. I went to the doctor and I told him I wasn’t having my period. I had all of that going on physically, or visibly I should say and they gave me a an ultrasound and they did find cysts It’s on my ovaries and my lowest point. So they diagnosed me with that. And I’ve always had like the hairs on the chin. So like I have the symptoms, right. But my lowest point, and I share this on that podcast episode, and I’m happy to share it again today here, my lowest point was when the doctor looked at me and said, and I was probably, how old am I now? 3036, almost 36, that was probably 2728. And the doctor looked at me and he said, If you don’t change something, with all of these things going on and increase your body fat percentage, you’re never going to have children, you’re never going to be able to have children. And I remember leaving that conversation, I wasn’t even upset. Because I was so deep in my disordered space. I remember leaving that conversation and saying, Oh, this is like, it’s, like, traumatizing to go back to but I remember leaving that conversation and going right to the gym. It was I didn’t tell my husband, I was married. I didn’t tell my parents. That’s how the appointment went said I was like, it’s fine. You know, I have cysts on my ovaries. I don’t know what that means. I’m not ovulating. That was the other piece. Like, they don’t think that I’m ovulating. Like okay, I remember going right to the gym. Because the idea to me of changing what I loved and changing what was my quote unquote, happy space at the time was terrifying to me. And like that is I mean, I should have been thinking back like somebody should have hospital. Well, you know, I covered it up very well, I was a registered dietician, I was all of these things. And so long story short, they, quote unquote, took the diagnosis off my chart, when I had my bottom out moment, which came very soon after that. And I started nourishing my body more, I started working out less, and lo and behold, I haven’t missed a period since. And I have a baby who’s two, and I’m pregnant again. So like, my story had the happy ending, a lot of people don’t because of that eating disorder brain. And like, I’m confident that I had an eating disorder, undiagnosed forms of it. And like that eating disorder brain was talking to me so loud, and it took like a life altering, you know, scary bottom out moment with my husband, and myself and my family and myself, for me to come to and realize I can’t go on like this, like, I don’t actually have a life anymore. And I’m never going to have a future if something doesn’t change. So that was my experience that forced me out of, you know, the routine that I quote, unquote, loved. And after years, because this is a long time ago now, like, I’m back to doing some of those similar workouts again, just like not as seriously, right as I was right. And I think that’s like, I hope can give some people some hope that like, you don’t have to never do hit workouts again. But it’s going to be with a different intention. And I think that’s like, really the key is, you know, my intention had nothing to do with my health and having a doctor tell me like, to my face with this finger pointed at me. You’re never going to reproduce and have children like you just got married? Like, are you sure that that’s something you’re okay with? Because you want to maintain a certain percentage of body fat? Like, because I’m pretty sure that’s what I said back to him. And you know, in that moment, it literally didn’t impact me. So like, that is an extreme experience. But yeah, I mean, the recovery knock on wood has been wonderful how I did really struggle to get pregnant with the second baby. It was quite a few months of trying that were really, really hard. And I continued to go back to that experience in my mind, like during those negative test experiences, I was like, I wonder if this is you know, from that past like, has impacted my future. Like I always know it knew it could but stayed the course, continued to do the work. Continued fueling my body properly, and cutting back on fitness. really did help this time around, too.

Lindsey Lusson  29:06

Yeah, no, thanks for sharing all that. I think that everybody has a version of that moment. I have had multiple of those in my, you know, decade plus struggle of disordered eating and going through an actual eating disorder. And it is hard when you are a registered dietician, or really anybody who has any sort of clout behind your name in healthcare, because you can very, like easily hide an eating disorder and under the guise of health because you are the expert. And so I think that it makes I think that it almost takes like some sort of very real bottom out moment to kind of wake you up out of it because you’ve almost like built this identity around like no like, this is me like I am the person with the low body fat percentage and I exercise and who are you to tell me that I’m doing something wrong. I’m a registered dietician. I’m the expert so it’s hot. I heard it really is I remember after I had gotten married, hadn’t had a period for over a decade, but had, you know, kind of just hit this wall after visiting with numerous numerous doctors and specialists and everyone just being like, well, it’s like you’re doing fertility treatment. I was like, I guess I’m doing fertility treatment. But I found the book No period, Now what? And I was like, Oh, my God, this is it. Like, this is like, this is me. And I got like three or four chapters in laughter than talking about, like, you know, what we would need to do to get your period back and like, slam the book shut. And I was like, No, I do that. I literally did. I like slammed it shut and like, put it away. And I had it in the back of my mind. So I always knew what I needed to do. But like, I’m telling you, like, nine months, I’m like, I was like, no, like, you know, we’ve got like a Mexico trip coming up. I’m not, you know, like, so if you’re listening today, and you feel like that’s where you’re at, like, you’re like just absorbing information and feeling like there’s no way that you can ever give up your routine. You can. And I truly believe that people will come around if it’s something that’s really important to you tell us a little bit more about like your fertility journey, though, because you’ve been you were able to get your period back, it didn’t impact your fertility, you’re going to be a mom of two. How it has. Yeah, you shared a little bit about you know, getting pregnant this time. But like any like tips for people who are maybe in kind of this trying to conceive season, and they do have their period back, but they’re like kind of feeling frustrated, wondering of maybe it’s related to their lifestyle, like any big like takeaways for things that you change, or even just maybe like, mantras, things that you focused on that helped you kind of get through?

Jenna Werner  31:38

Something that I go back to when I was pregnant with Noah, who’s my two year old now is my husband. And I really like God, if I could have just taken advantage more of being pregnant that first time like what I would do differently. Something that was a mantra that we shared together, because I had a lot of anxiety, it was COVID like height of COVID My entire pregnancy, but something that I used to say was everything is going to be okay. And he stopped me and said I want you to reframe that. And I’ve held on to this like very tightly now and he said I want you to reframe that every time you want to say that to everything is okay. And that has helped me so much. It might just just be me that it like resonates with maybe somebody out there can hear that too. Because yes, everything is going to be okay is a positive statement. But what can we recognize today that already is okay, and bring that energy into your future decisions. And I think that is a mantra that has like, really, I’ve connected with deeply and I think the thing about mantras is like no two people have the same ones. But if anybody can relate to that one, please feel free to take it with me. But things that helped me a lot. Were prioritizing my sleep prioritizing where I could obviously currently going through sleep progression in our home, but like prioritizing it doesn’t mean getting eight hours every night it means that you are like for example, my son was up the other night from 1130 to to like or sleeping hours, right. And I had the plan the next morning to go to a 5am class right because that’s my time I did not go previous versions of me would have without sleeping but the version of me today that recognizes how important sleep is to overall health especially fertility health knows that going to an intense or not workout without sleep is not health promoting. So I really prioritize my sleep. I really focused on the foods that made my body feel good. And eating consistently and eating enough and that means something different for me that does most other people. But that is something that if you are struggling with that finding a registered dietician to help you figure out what that looks like for you is so important because there are books that can tell you like eat more avocado and eat more omega threes and all of these things and it’s like what if you don’t like those foods, how do I personalize this to myself? How do I know how much avocado it’s it’s confusing so figuring that out. And the third thing that really helped me was changing my workout routine. My fitness routine was it the pregnancy burps are horrific changing what fitness looked like to me yet again was really important and really slowing down and taking myself out of a lot of like the class setting while we were actively trying to get pregnant and moving more into lower intensity strength training, you know walking the dog or walking on a treadmill. It was just better for me and for my heart rate and for my mindset than being in any of those like more intense settings and it was the month that it was literally the month that I did go to like a specialist who to recommended those things to me. Could have been by accident. It could have been locked but I or it could have been that I nailed my ovulation window. Many things happened. But it was that month that I was eating an extra snack, I would eat right before bed because I was waking up in the middle of the night with anxiety. And the doctor had recommended like a snack before bed to help kind of like keep you asleep. So it was an extra snack and no intense classes like no like busy Class Settings. And that was the month that we got the positive tests. So the month leading up to that. So I really again, that’s my experience, but I cannot stress enough the importance of listening to your body, sleeping, and just slowing down. We all hustle in so many ways. Fitness is not the only way that we hustle and our bodies pay for that.

Lindsey Lusson  35:45

Yeah. And we talk about like to circle back to, you know, what we’re talking about originally about exercise and like, exercise is good, and it’s healthy. And it’s good to have endorphins, I always like to tell the people that I’m working with like if it’s truly about moving for help. And it’s truly about just like getting the blood flow and getting out of the house like that should be able to be satisfied by a bar class or yoga or a walk around the neighborhood. Like, why does it have to be at this level for this specific amount of time? Yes, at this frequency, you’re

Jenna Werner  36:22

Yes, at this frequency, you’re speaking to my soul, because I recently posted that it actually did very well on both platforms, because I think so many people can relate to it. Like, I recently started doing Pilates, and I freaking love it. I love how it makes me feel. I love that it’s like stretching my body in different ways. And I started thinking to myself, my mom used to teach Pilates like she’s always told me to do Pilates. And I always said no, like, and why is that? And when I really like got quiet and like thought about that answer. It’s because I’ve been conditioned my whole life like, you know, being an athlete into the disordered habits that persisted. After that. I’ve been conditioned that a workout didn’t again, heavy air quotes count unless you were like crawling out of the gym, like jelly legs, I can’t move. I’m drenched in sweat. I mean, take a shower. Like that was the culture that I was taught of what fitness meant. When you leave Pilates, you’re like, oh, I don’t even have to wash my hair.

Lindsey Lusson  37:30

Yeah, right.

Jenna Werner  37:32

It’s the best thing that I have found recently that like, makes my body feel good. It allows me to enjoy the rest of my day without exhaustion, you know, and it’s fulfilling strength training, you know, buckets, and just all of the things that fitness should be done for is accomplished in that lower intense setting. So if you can relate to that, you know, I share more insight in that in a post that I have on social media. But I think the reality is, it’s like really evaluating what fitness or movement or exercise has meant to you in the past and what you want it to mean for you and to you like today and forever. Because I think like the coolest thing to think about is like, if it’s not sustainable, you’re not going to do it forever. And do you want to be the 67 year old person that does nothing? Because they burnt themselves out in their 30s and 40s? or younger? Or do you want to be like I there’s these two ladies, they talked about it in that podcast like that walk around the neighborhood with like their water bottles on their belts. And like, I think they even have like little bollinger bands on their wrist at this point. And they’re like in their mid to late 70s. They walk every day and they talk and they chat and they look so happy. And like I bet you they’ve been doing that since they were in their 30s and like that’s sustainable movement and fitness. That is bringing health benefits to your life cycle versus this short like blip of time.

Lindsey Lusson  39:03

Yeah, yeah, the intensity is huge. And I think that that’s just something that you know, we’ve both been there but you know, really reflecting on your why and you talked about like being an athlete it was always about like it didn’t you know, it didn’t count unless you’re like really challenging your body. I know for me it was always about how can I burn as many calories as possible because my those rings My struggle. Yeah, close those rings. My struggle with exercise addiction was just so intertwined with my relationship with food, it was very, I burned x so I can eat x. And so having exercise out or scaling back on exercise is always scary for me, because in my mind, that meant I couldn’t eat as much. So I see that a lot too is that when people start to I actually see more often that people are willing to try to eat more, but then they start compensating more exercise but I also see just like those two relationships was working hands on quite often. Do you also find that to be the case?

Jenna Werner  40:03

100% percent, but everybody thinks like the fitness one is like, it’s okay. Right? Like, they don’t see that as the issue because again, because it’s celebrated. You know, one thing I forgot to add like before as part of like my bottom out moment, and I think nutrition professionals and health professionals can really relate to this most. But, you know, there was a point in time that I didn’t want to make a change to myself like, right, probably right before that doctor’s appointment, you know, experience. And I remember my husband saying to me, like, you know, why do you exercise so hard, or whatever the case may be. And I remember at one point, saying something along the lines of like, well, this is how I get clients. And I really believed that, you know, that was the reason why people wanted to work with me. And he said to me, and I remember it now, I didn’t take it seriously, then. But I remember him saying to me, you know, if your body is your business card, you don’t have a business. And I was like, Screw you. Because like, I don’t need to listen to you. And like, we probably had a massive fight, because that was very common during those times. And I definitely didn’t take it seriously. But that was eight or nine years ago now. And I’m still thinking about it. So it was very clearly a pivotal moment that, you know, you start to realize what you have to offer outside of your physical body is so much more powerful and important and meaningful, and can help so many people. And like, that’s like a huge point. So I’m sorry, this is like totally out of order with our conversation. But I didn’t want to forget to add that in.

Lindsey Lusson  41:41

And how much better can you help people when you aren’t so tied to your routine with fitness or eating a certain way? Or just under fueling? Right? Like just like thinking about how much brain space you can have. And you’re not having to plan every single meal to be perfect. So yeah, yeah, I think that that’s, I think that that’s, that’s a really important point to make, both from the side of there is some pressure as anybody who works in a health wellness or fitness related field to look a certain way there is like there is that pressure. And I think that that can be barrier barriers for people to maybe choose to get healthier, because they fear how their body might change, and they fear how people may perceive them. And it may even impact like their livelihood, like you mentioned, like feeling like this is how I got clients, how were you able to move away from that type of thinking,

Jenna Werner  42:38

You know, I think I started realizing that I should backtrack, my practice changed as I changed, and I stopped trying to help people get abs quote, unquote, because I realized, like, that was not, that was not a space where I was healthy. So how is helping somebody else do that? Making them healthy. And so I really started to change, like the way that I communicated with people and help them you know, understand how they can eat to feel their best, and nourish their body and fuel their fitness of their choice. Versus just like that quick, like, what’s the right phrase, like Eat to Live versus live to eat? Like, it was helping people learn how to enjoy food, and eat enough of it that made them feel their absolute best? Yeah. So it was a lot of messaging changing, it was a lot of self work, I did take some time off in between two because I needed to, I needed to really understand what my purpose was and what my intention was to. And there was lots of therapy involved because it wasn’t like I switched and was like, Oh, I’m happy, strong. From here that I’m working through that,

Lindsey Lusson  44:00

but also so encouraging, like thinking about like how successful you are like how you know if somebody’s at this point in their own health journey, and maybe they built a business around helping clients get as lean as possible. And maybe you are going through this like self discovery process of recognizing, like, hey, this doesn’t fulfill me anymore. I don’t feel like this is serving people. Well, long term, like you can always pivot in your business to have it align with what you know, to each other about how

Jenna Werner  44:32

and sustainable there’s a perfect example of this. And like, in my disorder days, I loved this account. There are these two GymShark models. There’s twin sisters K K underscore fit. I don’t know if you follow them, Kathryn and Kendall I think are their names. And they came up on my page like my scrolling recently and I was like, I didn’t know I’ve still followed these people. And it’s interesting the algorithm really did me well in this because one they were very You like gym shark models like very thin, very fit, very muscular. And the post that came up on my feed was one of the girls talking about how she took x amount of time off of social media, because she was really suffering from mental health crisis trauma, fitness related trauma, and realizing that trying to be a size, whatever was actually negatively impacting her life and her health. And I think there was, there could have been like some life threatening issues in there as well, like very deep depression, from trying to maintain what people wanted her to look like. And what she connected her happiness to, in her success to was helping people be as small as possible and as built or as strong as possible. And she realized how damaging that was to herself. And instead of just disappearing, like, I like love, she came back and she talked about it. And she was like, I don’t look the same as I looked back then. And you can choose to not follow me anymore OS anymore. But like, here’s what I was going through when I was telling you what I eat in a day was like nothing, right? And how much we were exercising and whatever else. And she was like really talking about how much her personal life suffered and how much her physical health suffered. And like there was all sorts of, you know, a lot of what I described to like skin, hair, everything just deteriorating, but on the outside, she looked like a gym shark model, right. And so I give her so much credit. And I think there’s a YouTube video as well, where she really like talks through this. And it’s like the people that you see that are putting on this show on social media about how much they work out and how much they love it and how they’re just motivated all the time. And all of this, like they’re not telling you the whole story. I think that

Lindsey Lusson  46:51

that is so important to remember, when you’re seeing those things, I always just assume that people that are making those videos have that going on. Right? While also while also deeply believing that they’re doing something healthy, because I think back to myself 10 years ago, if Instagram existed, and if I were on it, it would be what I eat in a day, it would be ABS selfies, it would be me being like I am this healthy person. But you’re seeing that at that point in time. But people don’t see that, thank God, they’re seeing 10 years in the future, all the things that I was doing wrong and disordered and what I would you know, if I could go back again and change, but I just always assume when I’m seeing stuff like that I’m like, you know, I feel for that person. Because like I said, I believe that they believe that what they’re doing is healthy. But I think that this is a snapshot of what their life looks like at one point in time. And it’s my hope that at one point, they will also go through a a different type of health journey and

Jenna Werner  47:58

circle. Yes, that like had that come to moment. Oh, yes. And I love that you said that because I too am like, Oh, they’re definitely disorder.

Lindsey Lusson  48:10

I know. But it’s hard because we have been there. So we know what that looks like. But people go back to that team to its audience talk. Yeah, there. They don’t know it or just fresh? Well, as a dietitian who works in the field with people who have disordered eating, what would be three tips that you would share with someone today, if they’re listening for the first time and kind of just starting there. Maybe they just had their bottom out moment, like you talked about? Like, what are three steps like what are the next steps for like getting out of the pit.

Jenna Werner  48:42

I think the first one really is and I know there’s privileged attached to this and not everybody can afford it, but finding some source of support. And if you can’t hire a professional, it is finding somebody that you trust that is not connected to your disordered space. I think that’s really important. So like not your friend from the gym that enabled you to hit those mile markers or whatever it was, it’s like somebody that you can trust and talk to, without guilt and shame attached to it. That’s also going to be a neutral voice for you because you really do need to talk to somebody. If you can find a therapist or registered dietician, definitely recommend those tools to help with that as well. But I think number two as far as things that you can do is really reevaluating what your why is like why do you want to heal or why do you what are you looking to achieve? And how do you want to feel so instead of it being a like a physical look, because we know that that is a fleeting not sustainable goal for future it’s like, reevaluating, like why I’m going to heal myself and how I want to feel so for me being strong is in my name still right? Like, I want to feel strong. But what does strong mean? What does happy mean? What does healthy mean? And how can that evolve throughout my my life. And I think another thing that’s like really cool to think about too is like when your definitions of these three words are super meaningful and deeply connected to you as a person and your life cycle, you’ll never need to be motivated. Because your habits and your behaviors and your your deep why to why you move your body and why you feel your body is for that long term health goal. And not the short term, like you’re always going to come back to, you know, like, I love to move. And like, I love to find different ways to move and like, it’s really fun for me, and it’s serving so many different purposes than it once did. And so I can never envision my life without it, but it’s not for the same reason. So really getting clear on what those are finding that support system. And I guess the third tip would be to slow down and rest really focus on your sleep, take a look at your sleep hygiene and your sleep habits and like recognize that most I don’t want to generalize, but most people that are dealing with some sort of fitness addiction are likely sacrificing sleep along the way. Because it’s early mornings, it’s late nights, you’re not eating enough, and you’re overworking yourself, so you’re probably not having like the best sleep quality as well. And starting with sleep can be like a huge success outcome that you can actually like feel immediately. Like wow, this is what it feels like to wake up and not be exhausted.

Lindsey Lusson  51:43

And what a wonderful, slightly simple thing to start with. Right? Like yes, just aim for the eight hours you know, bigger if that means you know, cutting your workout in half if that means skipping your workout if that means you know spending less time on social media so you can go to bed early like all of those things like set healthy habits, and sometimes that’s like the harder one to put in. Place to Start to Well, great. Well, Jenna, where can people connect with you? Like tell us about how they get in touch with you can work with you? What do you have to offer?

Jenna Werner  52:14

This is probably like an annoying thing to say but I’m the most responsive on email. So I hate to hang out. I hang out on Tiktok and Instagram a lot. And I get a lot of DMS and I do my best to answer them all but for whatever reason sometimes they get dis like they disappear. So I will never miss an email my email is Jenna at Happy strong healthy are and Instagram and Tiktok have a lot of similar content. It’s at Happy strong healthy.rd I am there I have a lot of my recipes on YouTube which is just happy strong healthy and I have a blog happy strong healthy So if you type in hungry show healthy rd that will so fun.

Lindsey Lusson  53:07

So glad we finally made this happen and again so much just for your time and sharing that story being vulnerable and sharing your wisdom of what you learned along the way. I know people are gonna love this episode. So thanks again Jenna. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for tuning in and listening if you found this episode to be inspiring or helpful, please share on social media and tag me @food.freedom.fertility. Also don’t forget to leave a rating and a review


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I’m a fertility nutritionist and registered dietitian who specializes in hypothalamic amenorrhea. My passion is helping women trying to conceive find freedom with food and exercise, so they can recover their period, and get pregnant naturally.

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Jan 19, 2022

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