Lean with it, roll with it.

We had Lila’s 15-month check up on Monday. Having missed and rescheduled it three times, there was NO WAY I was going to be late. We arrived 10 minutes early and I spent the next 15 minutes coaxing my child not to lick the waiting room doors and chairs. I dont care that it’s the well child room, pediatrician’s offices are the very reason hand sanitizer exists.

We finally got called back to a room, and it was an unusually long wait to see the doctor. We tried playing, and twirling around, and eating puffs, and reading…and then there was nothing that was going to appease this bored child any longer. Being a superstar mom I’d forgotten extra diapers, and even the most patient child would have gone batshit at this point of being confined and forbidden to lick strange surfaces while wearing a wet diaper.

So I started getting restless, and she picked up on it and started crying. And work was calling and texting and I’m like, please can you people let me be just a mom, and nothing else, for five minutes? Because that’s the rub in the motherhood/career thing. We’re needed in both, but each side has visibility into only its own stuff, so the overlap leaves us feeling a bit crazed.

Anyway, we kept waiting and waiting and at this point I’m sweating through my blazer and my hair is frizzing and ALL THE FRUSTRATIONS were happening.

But then I stopped to think about how absurd it was that I was upset over this. No one was going to die if I wasn’t at my meeting that morning. And a doctor running late, who had chosen to spend more time with another patient, is only doing her job. And seriously how many thousands of mommas around the world were praying at that very moment for what I was complaining about. How many would give anything, and are giving up everything, to find a safe country to live in with access to great healthcare. I felt like a really big jerk for finding anything to complain about in this situation.

I told my cortisol levels to take a chill pill and I took Lila on a walk around the office (she was wearing only a diaper – whoops!) and then 20 minutes later we were on our way, blessed with a perfect health report.

Perspective tends to flee when we’re stressed, but if we can step our of our drama and our own heads to look at what’s really going on, it’s so much to just roll with it.


Scales are stupid, and other musings

Eight months ago I began leading groups of women on their journeys toward better health, and for the past 20ish years — until very recently when that venture began — I’ve worried that I was fat.

I’ve been so unkind to my body for so many years, all as a slave to the almighty scale. And I’m kind of done.

I remember in first grade, looking at a girl next to me in class as we sat reading, feeling self-conscious that my legs were bigger than hers. I was six.

I remember in 8th grade, we had to get our height and weight measured twice a year, and I would FREAK OUT inside my head as the day approached. What if someone in line behind me overheard our gym teacher as she told me mine? If I knew what day it was coming I would fake sick to miss it. I was 13.

In high school, as I saw what made certain girls popular, I considered if I should try to starve myself. I was 16.

In college, when friends in my dorm made late-night pizza orders, I vowed that I would only ever eat the crust, so I could avoid the fat and oil in the cheese. I was 18.

These are actual thoughts — nothing I’m fabricating — that a straight-A student with engaged parents and a strong support system had. I think to some extent many of us share similar memories: we’ve all felt the excessive pressure to look a certain way, and so much of that is centered around our weight.

I’ve always loved exercising and paid attention to what I put in my body, but I admit now that for many years it was for the wrong reasons. It wasn’t to help my body run efficiently or to feel strong, it was always to lose weight. As if losing 5 pounds would magically change my entire world. I had no problem spending an entire Saturday at the gym in a desperate attempt to ‘burn off’ what I had eaten the previous day. Makes me cringe to think about this now.

So, what changed? 3 things:

  1. Pregnancy. Creating a life takes your body out of your control in a forcefully magical way, and the experience teaches you how amazing your body is and all it is capable of. After having Lila, sure part of me wanted to lose the ‘baby weight’ and feel good about my appearance, but I hated the pressure to completely and immediately revert to my ‘old body.’ It somehow dishonored the amazing shit my body had just done for a year by having to eradicate every trace of it.
  2. Raising a daughter. I’ve become so much more aware of the words I choose to speak about myself and my activities with a tiny little gal in our world. While she’s only just starting to form words, I know how much Lila can perceive through my words, actions and energy. I want to be a role model for her and not just another source of pressure. I do not have to work out, I get to workout. I do not work out to be skinny, I workout to be healthy and strong. This is as much an exercise for myself as it’s an example for her.
  3. Being introduced to Beachbody programs and Shakeology. These are things that are still funny for me to admit because I always scoffed at them, but using the 21 Day Fix and Shakeology changed my life. I finally realized, in my 30s, that being strong and healthy is what matters – not a number on a scale. I can look and feel my best without being chained to my weight. The way these products have influenced my life is truly profound, and as a coach, connecting other women to them is a privilege. You see, it’s not me selling a quick fix or promoting a certain physical ideal — it’s simply helping others find the tools and accountability to feel better.

But back to why I hate scales.

Since March, I’ve led more than 100 women through the 21 Day Fix, and it never fails that every week or two I’ll get this feedback in a text or an email when I check in with people: “Hi! I feel great and my clothes fit better, but the scale isn’t moving so I’m really frustrated.”

Think about that sentence for a second. You’re essentially saying that you feel better and your body has made positive changes, but because a simple measurement hasn’t shifted, it’s all in vain?

Scales are a single measurement tool, and one that is fairly one-dimensional. Is our performance at work defined by just one metric? “Well Jessica, you’re always on time, have a great attitude and meet your deadlines, but your PowerPoint presentations are pretty disorganized, so no raise for you this year!” Do we love our friends any less if they are always good listeners, generous hosts and babysit our kids on a moment’s notice, but forget a birthday card one year? No! That would be ridiculous, and that’s how I feel about people only focusing on the scale as an indicator of success. I’m not saying we need to disregard the scale completely and go all Office Space-copy-machine on it, but just take your weight with a grain of salt. Incorporate what you weigh no more than once a week, in conjunction with how you feel and how your clothes fit, and instead track how your overall measurements are changing.

Scales don’t factor in body composition changes, like muscle gains (which can make you weigh more while taking up less space). Scales don’t consider things like sodium and hormones and drinking 8 glasses of water a day that can falsely make you weigh more. Scales don’t know how your skinny jeans fit or if your face is thinning out or if you can lift heavier weights than you could last week.

So, my friends. My point here is to be gentle with yourselves. Work hard toward your goals, but know what’s driving them and if your heart is in the right place. The scale will move when it needs to, but what I really hope for you is that your mind feels lighter as you feel healthier.

If you’re ever interested in joining one of my private health accountability groups on Facebook, comment here or send me an email: jesstaylorfitness@gmail.com. Everyone is welcome and no purchase is required, ever. And if you want to know what the 21 Day Fix and Shakeology are all about while they’re on sale this month, here’s a link to the products on my site.



Lest You Think I Have My Sh*t Together

I feel like the theme of last week was the emotional version of what it feels like to walk on ice. You start out gingerly, slowly gaining a bit of speed…then BAM! Feet fly out from under you and you’re flat on your tush. Every time. Disoriented, you get up and start moving again – with a little more knowledge of the process – but still sore from the learning.

Last week wasn’t a bad week but it was a hard one. Lila switched daycare rooms, and while day one went off without a hitch (yes, she slept on the magical baby cots), days two through five were less good. Each day started with her losing her mind screaming as I tried to leave. The kind of screams where I furtively duck out of her room because the entire building can hear “that baby.” It’s a natural phase and it won’t last forever, but it kind of makes me feel like garbage to walk away from my screaming child. I choose to work, and I like to work. Some days I feel like Super Mom; others I want to cry under my desk and eat Rolos because it all feels terrible.

It was just a week of small struggles. Getting to daycare and realizing Lila has one shoe on. Getting to work and realizing my lunch is on the kichen counter and there’s somehow black grease all over my skirt. Driving across town for meetings before learning they were cancelled. Leaving extra early to get the baby’s medicine, only to realize your local Walgreen’s doesn’t open until 8, because of course. Small stuff, just stuff.


Sometimes I think about the different views people get into my life, based on the snippets that are visible to them. Not in the sense that I’m censoring things, but purely as a matter of timing. In the midst of last week I got a few messages from friends with unexpected compliments or kind words. And I kind of felt like a fraud accepting them. And wanted to respond, “Heyyyy if you saw what was actually happening in my life at this very moment, you’d eat those words.” Says the mom who just watched her child fingerpaint the kitchen floor with vomit.

I almost felt defensive about not wanting people to think I had my act together, or that it ever feels easy for me. Not in a self-deprecating way – I just don’t think it’s fair to let anyone else think that my life is easier or better. We all struggle with our own stuff everyday. No one’s doing it better than anyone else.

I was exchanging messages with a friend about some of this and the other things we struggle with as women. Little things and big things. Body image, messy houses, time management (there really aren’t enough hours in the day, we know this). Nothing extraordinary, but things I think a lot of us worry we’re battling alone. And it’s not that misery loves company, but there’s something amazing in knowing that whatever you’re struggling with has happened to others. It makes you realize that: a) you’re not alone, or unusual for what you’re experiencing, and b) it gets better.

I was wowed again at how often the most reassuring words in the world are some variation of “me too.”

My friend explained her son went through the exact same stage with daycare, and that he’s fine now. And that I’m doing ok. She also reminded me that behind every challenge we pass, there’s usually another waiting in the wings, but just knowing others are making it is so powerful.

If you’ve ever run a race and wanted to quit toward the end, but then saw the folks who finished before you on the sidelines cheering you on – it’s that kind of goosebump feeling. We’re all in this together.

focused fear

This weekend my yoga teacher spoke of fearlessness, and identifying where your fears are focused. It’s often not on the immediate or tangible things we might mention. Rather, it’s the much larger but harder-to-define impact that we blame, sometimes without even knowing it.

In this case, leaving a comfortable corporate job and paycheck created short-term fear about paying bills and measuring success among one’s peers. But the larger fear of not being truly happy is what spurred this person to act.

What if I leave this job and can’t make $xx and pay my rent?

What if I stay in this job and in 10 years realize I’ve wasted some of my best years in an unfulfilling role?

It made me think about how often I’ve stayed in situations or fled situations as a result of my short-term fears, without focusing enough on my long-term ones. Without identifying the underlying force, it’s hard to ever address it.


Can we talk about daycare for a minute?

Lila graduates from her current room at daycare this week, her first room, and it’s been an unexpectedly difficult transition.

For ME, not for her. I mean, sleeping on cots? WHAT?

It’s something to celebrate: hitting milestones and preparing for new adventures, but I am going to freak out for a little bit about the fact that A: my child is growing up, and B: she won’t spend every day with the loving teachers who have cared for her for almost a year. Waaaa.

If we travel back to Before Land — that far-off place before marriage, pregnancy, motherhood and such — there were lots of things I didn’t understand. At the center of this ignorance cloud was child care, and what that might look like for our family one day.

It’s funny because I don’t actually know what I thought was going to happen — that one day we’d magically have a baby, and then childcare options would fall from the sky? Perhaps Mary Poppins would show up in our recovery room at the hospital, bag in hand and ready to assist? I’m flabbergasted at how little I considered this, given what a tremendous decision it came to be.

Ultimately, daycare was the right option for our family.

I don’t feel like moms are conditioned to love daycare. I just don’t. Despite every bit of progress and equality in life and the workplace, we’re still often made to feel that we should want nothing more than to be home with our babies, and that any deviation from that ideal is a failure somehow, in ourselves or our situations.

While I knew it was the right option for us, and we loved the center we chose, I was still incredibly apprehensive. I felt guilty. I was waiting to hate it, constantly seeking out things that might be going awry.

But as each week went by, I was able to exhale a little further. I started to accept and appreciate this as our situation.

What I’ve learned the past year is that daycare — what I once feared would be a default option, and an agonizing place to leave my baby — has instead been one of our greatest blessings.

Our daycare is a remarkable place where Lila has been nurtured and loved, day in and day out.

When she was a teeny babe, her teachers wore her throughout the day to comfort her and make sure she got to know them. When she was colicky and refused to nap, the entire staff got a workout, taking turns bouncing her on an exercise ball. And everyone wore the badge of honor of her reflux.

The baby rooms at any daycare are a sweet space. This is where parents leaves babies, often for the first time, and entrust their most precious gift to others. Exhausted, confused new mommas get gentle guidance from baby teachers on everything from paci brands to napping strategies. An initially awkward balance is formed, wavering between wanting to give all the instructions, and not wanting to be that mom. Moms in suits and heels pass moms in yoga pants and messy buns making kind but fleeting eye contact while juggling bags and bottles. Dads proceed gingerly, equal parts confident and confused, often the minority in the drop off cycle. Everyone is fighting the good fight.

No one in a baby room judges you for having spit up on your shirt or bags under your eyes.

No one holds it against you if you freak out a little about work, or forget your sippy cup, or call or email to check in three times a day.

Baby rooms are a sacred place. Teachers may see your baby take a first step, or say a first word, but they won’t tell you until you ask, knowing you need to see it as the first time yourself. They may have a really, really rough day with your baby, but will still greet you with a smile.

Our life and routines aren’t perfect or exactly what I wish they were, in terms of work/family balance. But I’m so thankful for the innumerable ways daycare has helped and supported our whole family.

We don’t stare, but we must not look away.

“Only an accident of birth determines whether we find our way in a suburb in the United States or in Syria or Eritrea; we can’t pretend it was our excellent judgment and hard work at school that allows us to worry about holding our children’s hands as we cross the street rather than as we cross the ocean. When I read a story like that of the Kurdi family, all I can do is to find a way to respect their tragedy, to mark it and not let it pass unnoticed, but not to pretend it is in any way my own. Our collective outrage may make a difference; it is all we have to offer. We don’t stare, but we must not look away.” –KJ Dell’Antonia

read the full piece here


Three Day Refresh: Review and Results

I’ve always been extremely against the idea of “cleanses” or “juice fasts” or anything that restricts normal eating. The way I see it, I’m blessed with a healthy body and my organs take care of all of that for me by design. I’ve spent years watching eating disorders plague people I love and I’ve always thought the cleansing mentality was silly. Maybe instead of drinking lemon water and kale juice for a week, you could just stop eating crap full of toxins to begin with…?

I digress.

I try to make good food choices most of the time. Not all the time. I know what’s best for my body and I also know that life is short and a balance is required to fully enjoy it. Sometimes that means eating cupcakes and pizza and nachos without an ounce of remorse.

That being said, sometimes I struggle with that balance when things get really off track. After a vacation, for example, or when I have all kinds of work events in a week, with too many catered meals. I’ve learned that when I get too far off track, it’s challenging to get back on the clean eating train.

When this happens, I need a little kick in the pants to reset my mental and physical focus on my health, and the Three Day Refresh is the best way I’ve ever found to do this. It’s an easy three-day plan that guides you through eating fruits and veggies, healthy fats, protein and fiber drinks and Shakeology. Sounds weird, I know, but it truly wasn’t. I did this during the work week and it was easy. The hardest part was when my dear husband made quesadillas last night, but I stayed strong!

I resisted trying this program forever, because of the reasons stated above, but finally tried it this week. I just finished it and am wildly impressed. I feared I’d be starving and HANGRY and unable to focus, and that I wouldn’t lose any weight. The food servings seemed tiny and this girl LOVES to eat.

Lo and behold, I finished up yesterday and am blown away by this badboy. I followed the plan exactly as specified for three days and was never hungry. No dizziness or weakness and I still worked out. I liked all the food choices and I was amazed how good I felt just after day one. At the end of three days, I felt completely refreshed (no pun intended) and my cravings were gone. Best of all, I had a totally renewed focus on what I was putting into my body.

Following this plan really made me evaluate when I was eating out of boredom, or as an emotional response, and how much of my daughter’s food I ‘test’ everyday and share with her. It felt great to have spent three days with a completely clean and preservative-free diet, with no sodium or sugar added.


I lost three pounds, breaking past a long-standing plateau, but I’m honestly way happier about how I feel, and I’m definitely adding this into a monthly rotation.

If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to comment below, or email me questions [jesstaylor55@gmail.com]. This product is actually on sale for rest of the month when you purchase Shakeology, or by itself here (just click on shop on the top right and then select Three Day Refresh). And if you’re skeptical, fret not, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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