Ten Questions with Jen McSorley

Where do you think your biggest transformation occurred- physically or mentally, or both, and why?

My biggest transformation happened when I realized I was more than my Eating Disorder. For over 20 years I let it define who I was.  My eating disorder has always been about control and being perfect…it is the one thing that I had complete control over.  I choose when to eat or not eat, how much to workout, etc. I always thought I was the one in control, but I was 100% wrong.  It controlled every aspect of my life.

What are some of the heaviest realizations you had in the past 1, 3, 5 years that have helped shape you into who you are now?

I think over the last few years I started to slowly realize that life is too short to let something dominate you.  I was never happy on the inside (and often on the outside) and that started to take a toll on my family, friends and myself.  I watched as family members battled illnesses and saw lives cut way too short.  I was tired and knew that I needed to make a change. If I didn’t I was going to be one of the lives cut too short.  I thank God every day that Matt and Gruntz came into my life.  He has truly allowed me to see who I am and push me to new levels I never thought I could achieve.

When did you realize you had to make a positive change?

Over the years, I have had good periods and bad periods, but none of them ever lasted.  I was in and out of treatment centers all throughout my twenties, but nothing ever really sunk in.  Over the last year, I hit what I will call my rock bottom.  I was living on ginger candies to settle my stomach and 1 to 2 protein shakes a day…not a good way to live.  My body was shutting down and I knew if I went on any longer I would not see the next year.  That is when I saw a flyer for a nutrition program and I thought, why not see what happens??? I had tried other treatments and nothing worked, so why not try one more. I am so thankful I did.  The first time I met Matt, I was scared to death…not just because of the size of his arms!  I thought he is going to take one look at me and say no way!  He didn’t!  It took a lot of hard work and meal planning, but I started to eat again!  After 20 years, I started eating chicken again and now I am training 4 times a week. My strength has increased as well as my mental well-being!

What do you think are the main obstacles people have when trying to make change?

I think we are our own worst enemies.  We tell ourselves we can’t do it or we are not good enough.  We have to look past those inner voices and find the ones that say, “Yes You Can!”  I also believe you have to have a team in your corner that supports you.  This can be family, friends, trainers, etc.  You have to surround yourself with positivity.  If you don’t, you are just setting yourself up for failure.

Describe your new lifestyle, and how it has transformed from what it was.

My new lifestyle is amazing. I actually smile and laugh!  I am a very organized and structured person, so I follow my meal plan every day. I eat 6 times a day and I no longer just have protein shakes!  My husband and I meal prep on the weekends, which makes the week’s eating much easier and less overwhelming. For me, if it is ready to go, then I will do it.  I also love to work out, so I train at Gruntz 4 times a week. I am getting stronger and stronger every day. When I started 6 months ago, I could not even lift a 5-pound weight!  Now, those are nothing!

Name 3 things that you find joy in.

I find joy in my family.  My husband and I have no children, but we do have 2 Great Danes (Phyllis & Jaxson) who in all senses really are our children!  They run our lives!  I also find joy in fitness.  It is something I am very passionate about it truly has helped me begin to live again.  I also love to shop! I think I should make that my profession!

When you’re feeling “not into it,” what do you do to pull yourself out of it?

When I am just not feeling it, I approach it in 2 ways:

  1. I ask myself if I truly need a break – sometimes our bodies are telling us something and we have to listen.  This doesn’t happen very often for me, but when it does I try to remember that I need to rest!  Otherwise, my workouts may suffer in the long run.
  2. I also ask myself if I am just being lazy – this doesn’t happen very often either! If I say yes, then I get go to my closet, find my best workout clothes and get moving!

What relationships do you think are crucial in supporting a person’s transformation?

I think you need to know when it is time to ask for help.  Whether you need to lose weight, gain weight or overcome any issue you are having, you need to find that support person or group you can confide in.  Once you are able to do that you are one step closer to achieving your dream.  For me it was my family, my husband, Matt and my Gruntz family.

What are some exciting things happening now or upcoming for you?

The last few months have been incredible!  The best thing that has happened is that I am happy and healthy!  I have had so many people message or tell me how happy and good I look!  It is such a great feeling.  Now, I just completed the NASM nutrition course and am designing meal plans for Gruntz! I am so happy to be able to help others, the way Matt helped me.  And…now I am planning on doing my first competition in April!

Any words of advice for those struggling to make a transformative change?

We all have something we are struggling with. The difference in those who continue to struggle and those who truly transform themselves is that they reach out and get the help they need.  You can’t do it alone.  Believe me, I tried over and over again.  I was always scared to talk about my eating disorder, even though everyone could see it.  I thought I was good at hiding it.  I now realize that talking about it has not only opened to many new doors for me, but other people have reached out to me about their struggles.  I was shocked by how many people are dealing with many of the same issues I have either with themselves or family members.  Think positive and be positive!  It is not easy and not every day is going to be great, but the great ones will start to overpower the bad ones!

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