I thought it would be fun to do Fitness Friday features from time to time to help enlighten, encourage, and motivate my fellow mommies and women (ok dads and men ya’ll can read too )that prioritizing our health and wellness is not only vital for our wellbeing, but that it can FINALLY BE SIMPLE! Allow me to introduce you to Jami Stephens, the phenomenal woman, wife, mother, and fitness coach that I had the pleasure of learning how to “eat clean” from just this past September! Now that I am 15lbs lighter, which has been a true struggle after carrying and pushing out them big head boys (hey, they made me eat cheese burgers while I was pregnant…everyday), I’d love to share her health & wellness journey and invite you to also connect with her so you too can learn the tools of being Fab & Fit!
So, lets meet Jami! First off, don’t let the pink hair fool you, she’s sweet as pie but she don’t play no games when it comes to nutrition and coaching people to their fitness goals. Just ask her about cookie butter and you will get a nutritional beat down faster than you can say “but its so good!” Married for 12 years to the love of her life and fellow Army veteran, Jeff, they parent two handsome boys together! #teamboys She’s fun, whimsical, easy going, and overall the loudest cheerleader in your corner, even when you just want to have a treat….like cookie butter…. she’s there explaining with L-O-V-E love the actual nutritional info on the back of the jar that so many of us don’t know how to or don’t take the time to read! Don’t get me wrong, she’s definitely pro have-a-treat, but its all in moderation! Don’t get caught in the garage, in the dark, in your robe at midnight…spooning the sugary goodness out of the jar. Now that’s when you know you need Jami to help you fix your life! #FFF (inside joke)
Here’s Jami’s Transformation Story below!
Stephanie: Tell me about your fitness journey. When did you begin getting uncomfortable in your skin when it came to your health? What triggered your action plan to get fit?
Jami: When it comes to fitness, I was a late bloomer. I was raised by my grandmother and we lived on her social security income. That didn’t leave much room for sports or other recreation. I had a love for music and was a part of a dance group to keep me in shape, but our group lost financial sponsorship, and that is when my weight gain began. Until that point, I’d been a size 5/6. By my second semester of college, I was a size 14, at a height of 5’2″! But I honestly thought nothing of my weight. It didn’t seem to hinder my primary mission at that time: getting boyfriends. However, when financial aid fell through and I wanted to join the Army to earn college money, everything changed. For the first time in my life, I NEEDED to lose weight. I started running and got down to a size 10. I still wasn’t a fan of exercise and I was completely oblivious about nutrition. Once in the Army, I learned that I was strong and capable of things I never dreamed of: like doing 100 pushups on command and running 2 miles in little over 16 minutes. During the latter part of my Army career, I was deployed to Uzbekistan. While I was there, my grandmother, who’d been overweight my entire life, passed away. When I came home for her funeral, I vowed that I would get educated on health and fitness and I would do everything in my power to keep people from dying from preventable ailments (much of her health issues stemmed from her obesity). When I got home from Uzbekistan I stayed true to my vow and studied for and obtained my personal training certification through the American Council on Exercise. I truly developed a love for fitness and even competed in two bodybuilding competitions AFTER the birth of my youngest son.
Stephanie: In the midst of your role as a wife, and working mother, how do you prioritize yourself?
Jami: Because I am the primary caregiver of everyone in the house, I MUST make my health a priority. You can’t efficiently take care of others if you’re lethargic and undernourished. Therefore, I make sure to get my fitness in first thing in the morning, before any unforeseen issues (ie. hubby, kids, and work) pop up. I’m extremely blessed to have access to great home workout programs to minimize my time away from my other commitments.
Stephanie: If someone is just beginning their fitness journey, what exercise regimen do you recommend?
Jami: If you’re not active at all, it may be overwhelming to try to immediately jump into a 6 day a week 30 minute + workout regimen. Everyone is different, but everyone can challenge themselves to go beyond what they do right now. For folks who are ready to accept the fitness lifestyle full steam ahead, I say aim for at least 20 minutes of an activity that will get increase your heart rate 6 days a week.
Stephanie: As mentioned, I met you via a Clean Eating Challenge group that you host on Facebook. Prior to joining the group, I was actively working out 3-5 days a week, and the weight was slowly coming off, I mean like ounces a week and I wanted to see pounds! It wasn’t until I joined your group that I saw significant weight loss…5lbs in one week for me! You couldn’t tell me NOTH-ING! I immediately thought I was a size 4 in my head. Explain what “clean eating” is for us.*
Jami: For me, clean eating is enjoying foods as close to how God made them and avoiding artificial colors, flavors, and other synthetic additives. I believe our overconsumption, as Americans, of processed, nutritionally void “foods” is leaving us undernourished and overweight.
*if you are ready to take a dive into “clean eating”, click here to join her free 5 Days with Jami-Clean Eating Challenge November Part 2 group. She provides the meal plan AND the grocery list… if you can read and follow directions, you can do this! Plus, you get to connect and be encouraged with tons of other people to stay accountable. Its FUN! Join us!
Stephanie: How can readers keep up with you and stalk you for health & fitness encouragement ?
Jami: The simplest way to stalk me is to go to www.beachbodycoach.com/JamiStephens and click “join”. That will get you access to my newsletter and my Facebook community, The Elevation Nation. I may be a little biased, but my peeps are amazing!
Stephanie: Lastly, what’s your motivation?
Jami: My motivation primarily is my grandmother and other women like her: caring, selfless, but without adequate access to the information and mental coaching they need to improve their lives. Of course I enjoy helping men as well, but the memory of my grandmother is what keeps me going.
I hope you have enjoyed getting to know Mrs. Jami Stephens! To show just how much she loves helping moms and women like us get healthy, she is giving away (1) 5 day supply of Beach Body’s Chocolate Vegan Shakeology (a $32 value), which is a yummy shake packed with nutrition that will help energize and sustain you as we get these bodies back!
To enter to win:
1. Simply “like” My Life With These Kids on Facebook by clicking here, AND like Jami’s FitCoach page by clicking here. Then, look out for Mylifewiththesekids.com Facebook post announcing the giveaway and comment “I want to win!” That’s it! One lucky winner will be chosen at random and notified by 5pm EST on Monday, November 17th, 2014.
2. If you are NOT on Facebook, simply comment on this blog post and you will be entered into the random drawing!
After this read, it is my prayer that if you feel a conviction about your health as it is right now (and I stress health over weight because all skinny people ain’t healthy…okaaayyy?!), then I urge you to connect with Jami, join the clean eating challenge, and with prayer, dedication, and commitment, allow the Lord to transform your mind so that you can truly treat your body as the temple of the Holy Spirit. Let’s join together and honor God with our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) and be examples for our children. After all, we can’t be tired, overweight, and sluggish trying to keep up with these kids!