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How She Does It -
Jenni from Styling Curvy

Posted on 06 July 2016

Every week we interview women about how they incorporate active and healthy habits into their lives. We believe there is no one-size-fits-all approach to health and fitness, so we aim to capture the variety of ways women choose to be active to give you ideas and inspiration on how to live your best active life. 

Tell us about yourself

I’m Adelaide based, a wife, mother and breast cancer thriver who is blessed to be forty-five and feeling fabulous. My boys are now men so I substitute unconditional love with a fur baby who makes me happy and is the best home security system ever.

Life dealt me a dud card when I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer at forty-one. Treatment and surgeries were bloody tough but I feel so grateful for the lessons and positive growth I gained.

I found my voice and made the choice to follow my passion and work for myself. I write, do public speaking, style women, advocate for cancer patients and so much more. Blogging is my full time gig and charity work is my jam.

I now have incredibly good body image and believe all women no matter her age, stage or size should know what it feels like to live a ridiculously fabulous life from the inside out. So, that’s my ‘why’, to help them where I can to achieve that.

From being a tomboy as a child, I now love makeup and pretty things and lipsticks invade all corners of my house and car. The ocean, coffee, cake and laughter make me happy, and after twenty-four years my husband is still my most favourite human to hangout with. 

What does active living mean to you?

For me active living means being ‘present’ in my life. When I’m present and not distracted or bogged down then I’m in tune with what my body, mind and spirit requires to flourish.

What do you like to do to stay active?

I’m not the most active person and to be honest exercise is intermittent in my life. What I do love and do regularly is ‘Dru Yoga’ and walking. Currently yoga is one weekly evening class and a morning or two on the mat at home. I’m excited that my gorgeous instructor has expanded into a day class and I have signed up for that too. Walking alongside the glorious ocean of Henley Beach is my absolute happy place. I also enjoy Pilates (on reformer beds) but the budget only stretches so far.

Have you always been active and healthy?

Nope, not really. I moved around a lot as a kid and lived in country areas so organised team sport was never an option. In my twenties and thirties I went through periods of gym, tennis, netball and even tried jogging.

What I now know is that my motivation for exercise was unbalanced so I was setting myself up to fail.

These days I exercise not for vanity or to lose weight but to keep everything moving and working. I exercise for my mental health, joints, heart, to release stress and negative energy and to stay generally healthy.

What is your daily or weekly routine (if you have one)?

I have consistently been doing weekly yoga for two and a half years and it’s been an absolute game changer for me. Yoga has connected me to my body, mind and spirit and I can now instantly feel when I’m off balance in my life. I walk three times a week but would like to do more.

What daily habits keep you fit and healthy?

Mindfulness and listening to my body. I very much honour myself on many levels from diffusing essential oils, burning candles, surrounding myself with fresh flowers and plants in my home and spending time with people who inspire me, tech me and make me laugh.

I use greener cleaning options in the kitchen, laundry and bathroom, it’s not about changing everything all at once but instead making changes when and where I can. Most of the time I eat very healthy and try to include organic produce where I can, I also try to add goodness to my diet with superfoods and drink plenty of water.

I’m no saint, I drink coffee daily, love cake and in winter I love an afternoon on the couch with a movie and hot chips. It’s about balance because life is for living.

What is your best active living hack?

Don’t let your age/size/health/income be a block for doing better. Oh, and move it or lose it, even incidental exercise matters, be mindful and tally it up.

What does a sample workout look like for you?

Well, it usually looks stylish LOL. I like to wear cool (and often colourful) workout gear, it helps me get out the door. A beach walk for around forty minutes possibly followed by a latte is something I enjoy most evenings with my husband. Yoga is an hour of moving, stretching and clearing blockages followed by twenty minutes of relaxation/meditation.

Favourite healthy meal?

Salmon, with the skin on! I love fresh salmon and the essential oils and omega oils are so good for us and our brains. I love salmon served with asparagus or beans, baby carrots tossed in garlic, and grilled baby tomatoes…sprinkled with toasted pine nuts. YUM!     

What challenges do you need to overcome in order to achieve healthy and active living?

So much, but not as much as some so I don’t use them as an excuse, instead I choose exercise I enjoy and tailor it to what my body can do.

My body has changed dramatically since cancer. Both of my breasts were removed and all my lymph nodes from my left armpit. I had a pulmonary embolisim (blood clot on lung) which meant hundreds of injections in my stomach and still have monthly hormone inhibiting injections in my stomach, this leads to pain and I bruise easily.

Medication has rapidly decreased my bone density, weakened my heart, weakened my eyes, affected my short term memory, attacks my joints and thrown me into early menopause. My weight ballooned to 136 kg and while I’ve managed to lose a chunk of that weight it’s hard going and medication will always impede weight loss.

I have scar tissue from nine surgeries associated to my cancer. A few of these surgeries were for a double Latissimus Dorsi breast reconstruction. Boobs made using skin, tissue and muscle from my back, which while amazing leaves me with daily pain and limitations.

Regular massage and yoga helps with the pain, but pain is something I have lived with since that first mammogram and needle biopsies. Sometimes pain has been so horrid that it had me bombed off my face or wanting to check out of life early, thankfully that was temporary. Managing pain with exercise, diet and a healthy mindset has helped.

When I’m off balance in any of these areas the pain is worse so it’s in my best interest to stay balanced.

What is the best ‘side-effect’ of staying healthy and active?

Bright eyes, glowing skin, clear mind and minimal pain in my ravaged body. I’m also just nicer and happier and attract happier people into my life when I’m healthy and active.

What (or who) inspires and motivates you?

Knowing what sick feels like and facing my mortality is a fantastic motivation. My yoga teacher is a nurturing force and the women I meet online in my Styling Curvy community and in everyday life constantly inspire me.

How do you overcome negative thoughts?

Since cancer I don’t sweat the small stuff, I let go faster and judge less. No one is perfect but knowing how negativity can change me on a cellular level and alter my health is a great motivator for not allowing negativity to linger.

How do you manage days or periods where you are not as motivated?  

I listen to my body, and honour it. If I’m just being a lazy cow then I remind myself that missing that yoga class or walk might feel good in the moment but I will pay for that lazy choice for the whole week. If I’m truly exhausted or run down then I cut myself some slack.

What do you do to treat yourself?

I treat myself constantly although I don’t consider it a treat. I just honour what my senses, body and heart desire. I indulge often in good candles, good cake and good flowers…all make me stupidly happy!

What is your active truth?

You can wake up and change your life every single day, but if you keep repeating the same actions that aren’t serving you well then you will keep receiving the same shitty results. It’s your choice.

Thanks Jenni! You can follow Jenni on Instagram at @stylingcurvy or visit the Styling Curvy blog.

Jenni has just started a new social media challenge that is inclusive and supportive. Use #stylingcurvyactivechange on social media when you actively implement any active change in your life. Your change can be anything from health, wellness, styling or lifestyle. Stop wishing for change and actively change.

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