The numbers are bleak. 90% of dieters gain at least 1/2 the weight they lose back within one year. 22 million women in the US with the average age of 40 are cited to be carrying an extra 50 pounds or more of body weight. Obesity is an epidemic in this country, and the latest reports say 77% of people experience physical symptoms related to stress.
Another diet is clearly not the answer. While diet books provide insightful information on nutrition and food and often promote a “lifestyle change” over “going on a diet”, most provide very limited tools for the reader to actually change his or her life beyond giving guidelines on what to eat – until now. Balance Your Life, Balance the Scale recently hit the shelves, and Barnes & Noble’ Health & Diet editor chose it as a top favorite pick for must-read Health & Diet book.
The author, Jennifer Tuma-Young, has worked with thousands of women to get off the dieting “wheel of frustration” as she calls it, and actually change their lives, ultimately resulting in a lighter body mentally and physically, inside and out. She has spent the last 12 years studying the realtionships between food and life, stress and weight, self-love and self-care, and after teaching workshops around the country and working individually with clients, her B.A.L.A.N.C.E method is presented in her first non-fiction book, Balance Your Life, Balance the Scale, published by HarperOne (imprint of HarperCollins).
According to a review on Publisher’s Weekly, “Tuma-Young’s first book is not really about food; there are no calorie counts and few menus or recipes. Instead, she offers an intensive course in personal development where readers can assess their core values, bodies, definitions of success, deepest needs, and underlying causes of frustrations, the ultimate goal being to “release” weight by releasing unhealthy habits, energy-sapping obligations, limiting beliefs, and unproductive activities to bring this vision of balance within reach.”
Identifying the Need for More
Jennifer knew going beyond food would be the best way to assist herself and others live to our full potential as human beings. She, herself, once weighed one hundred pounds more than she does today, and she overcame the threat of diabetes. But, in order to not end up as another statistic, Jennifer chose to instead identify the real root of why she didn’t nurture her body in the first place. From depriving herself to the point of exhaustion to keep the weight down to abusing her body with food, Jennifer had to find balance, and one of the first things she realized was the correlation between the way she ate and the way she lived.
In 2001, Jennifer and her family opened franchises of the popular fitness center Curves. Jennifer quickly saw she was not alone in her struggles, and began her research and teaching as a way to assist members of her family’s facilities. Curves provided a wonderful workout and a solid nutritional plan, and Jennifer helped her members turn the plans into a way of life. Eventually, her teachings expanded beyond her facilities and into the community. Her tools could help anyone on any diet, because while nutrition and fitness are key, lifestyle factors and lack of a strong internal “anchor” (as she calls it) could easily throw even the most motivated person off balance.
Evidence Helping Dieters and Those Sick of Dieting
Her successful method is evidenced not only in the thousands of inches lost by her workshop participants over the years, but also with her clients who struggled with every kind of diet imaginable. Take Denise, for example. She had tried everything to lose weight, even gastric bypass surgery. While several of these methods worked for a while, something would knock her off course, and because she had the typical dieter’s mentality of all or nothing, her weight fluctuated along with her level of self-worth. And when the weight she lost from surgery came back on, Denise knew she had deeper issues to address and signed up for Jennifer’s 30-Day Challenge. Denise enjoys following the structured points system for eating that Weight Watchers offers, and worked on the techniques Jennifer teaches to ultimately change her lifestyle.
Not only did Denise release 47 pounds, she stopped using the scale as her only barometer of success. Whenever the scale was up even just a few pounds, Denise would give up and stop taking care of herself leading to more weight gain and internal discontent. She said “If it wasn’t for Jennifer’s method, I would have gained the weight back easily like I have done so many times before.”
Margie is the opposite of Denise, using a nutritional program or diet never felt right to her. Jennifer equips her clients with knowledge and tools to make decisions about food that are healthy, and not necessarily dependent on following a fixed “diet” or meal plan. Margie also released over 40 pounds, and accomplished a major goal of walking in a 60-mile weekend walk for breast cancer. Setting the goal actually triggered her to take Jennifer’s 30-Day Challenge and continue working with her thereafter.
But, the benefits of Jennifer’s method go far beyond just pounds lost and health goals. One client thanked Jennifer for saving her thousands of dollars due to becoming more patient after working with her! Another opened a storefront business that she spent years dreaming of, and Jennifer helped her clarify her vision, mission, and purpose for living.
“It’s never been about the weight,” say Tuma-Young. “We are so much more than a silly number on the scale. It’s about working through the stressors we all have, identifying and expressing our core anchors to keep us centered and guide us, and then “showing up” and “lighting up” in this miraculous gift of life.”