Firefly Fitness with Ken & Jennifer Cornine

Building a Legacy of Health and Happiness


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#Endstigma

I woke up this morning and like any other morning scrolled my news feed while drinking my coffee.  I ran across a PLAYBUZZ.com quiz like so many others that are popular amongst my Facebook friends.  I have taken these as well

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and posted my results and giggled or rolled my eyes with the rest of them.  But today was different.

 

Today’s Quiz Du Jour was “How Bipolar Are You?”

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As you can imagine many people took the quiz and jokes ensued.  Except it isn’t funny.  Now my disclaimer belongs bolded here.

I was guilty of using the term in a derogatory manner myself…until I was diagnosed with Bipolar Type 2.  And then it wasn’t funny anymore.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health,

”Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out daily tasks. Symptoms of bipolar disorder can be severe. They are different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time. Bipolar disorder symptoms can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. But bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.

Bipolar disorder often appears in the late teens or early adult years. At least half of all cases start before age 25.1 Some people have their first symptoms during childhood, while others may develop symptoms late in life.

Bipolar disorder is not easy to spot when it starts. Some people suffer for years before they are properly diagnosed and treated. Like diabetes or heart disease, bipolar disorder is a long-term illness that must be carefully managed throughout your life.”

 

In other words, Bipolar is a serious, life-threatening disorder that is genetically linked, biologically based and while there is no cure, it is infinitely treatable.  And totally misunderstood.

The stigma that follows mood disorder is tragic.  It causes people to hide in the shadows and avoid treatment for fear of being “outed”.  I used that term recently myself.  Outed.  The fear is based in reality as evidenced in the comments on that quiz.  It is one of the largest barriers to treatment out there.  Like a huge elephant.

Having bipolar in 2015 reminds me of the time that cancer was scary and misunderstood.  Remember the movie “Terms of Endearment”?  The stigma that surrounded cancer in the era in which the story took place was real.  I saw the movie with my mother.  I didn’t know then that cancer would take her life 15 years later.  And I thank God that we were supported and loved through it all.  Yet today I wonder why we don’t support families dealing with mental illness in the same gentle manner.  The thing is, you would never have a quiz that spurred jokes about cancer or autism.  No pop quizzes asks “Are you Autistic?” or “Are You Diabetic?” and then generate hilarious responses.

I don’t point this out to judge; I misused the terms myself pre-diagnosis.  I point this out to start a conversation and ask you to think about how you can help end the stigma once and for all.  Treatment does exist.  Life does get better.  In fact, bipolar life, for me, is beautiful.life-is-beautiful


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21 Day Fix Extreme Day 1

I started the 21 Day Fix Extreme program yesterday and my first day impression is  LOVE!!!!

workout soulmate

I felt so incredibly strong doing Day 1 Plyo Extreme Fix.  I was able to complete it without modifying (thank you Shaun T and Insanity Max: 30) and had an incredible feeling of accomplishment when I was done.  For me, I needed that boost of confidence, because Insanity Max:30 wasn’t for me.  I did a month of it prior to the scheduled start of this Challenge and while it is an awesome workout, going for failure just made me sad.  I know that that is the purpose and to get a little better each time, but at this point in my life I need to feel successful on a daily basis.  Ken is totally rocking Max:30 and I can’t wait to share his after photos with you in two more weeks.  I will revisit it when I am mentally prepared.

Back to 21 Day Fix Extreme.  Kicking off with plyometrics was an awesome introduction for me.  I love this kind of training.  I am not a fan of cardio for cardio’s sake, so I appreciate this change up for Mondays.  It was intense and believe me, my booty was S-O-R-E afterwards all day!  What I wasn’t expecting was the soreness in my calves in the morning.  I have very strong legs and thought I could calf raise all day, but apparently I am not so well conditioned LOL!

Nutritionally- I am following the Countdown to Competition Plan and made it through Day 1 just fine.  Disclaimer:  I do splash a bit of cashew milk in my coffee and will be weaning to black but it is unsweetened and 25 calories for 8 oz, so I think that will do.  I did have 2 Shakeology shakes (chocolate, 1 tsp PB & water) since I am finding it challenging to get 6 reds in during the day.  I also have killer cravings, so this saves my butt!  I may correct course on that later if I am not seeing results.

Day 1 in the books and I am a happy girl!  See you tomorrow for Day 2

xoxo,

jennifer


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The Coach gets ready to be Coached

I joined a Challenge Group for the 21 Day Fix Extreme. Usually I am the person that facilitates a support group, but this time I am the Challenger. And it is way out of my comfort zone.

Doing this is great reminder for me about how it feels to put your hand up and say, “Ok, I’m in.” A little tentatively at first, then maybe you second guess it. “What if I can’t do it? What if I fail?” Those thoughts race through my mind. Then the justifications start. “I have this event happening on Tuesday… It is so cold in the mornings, I can coast until the weather is a little warmer. Then I’ll do a challenge, YES- that’s it, next month.”

I understand how it feels to stand half-naked in the bathroom to take those before pictures and wonder how I’m going to stick to it. But I will. You will too ONCE you have connected a big enough “why” to it. A why that makes you cry. So in the group that I joined I was asked about my why. After much thought, this was my reply:

“There are so many things in life that are out of our control, what people think of us, how they react to us, the economy, etc. Sometimes I feel like a small boat getting tossed about in rough seas. I believe that is a warning sign that it is time to take charge of the things that I can control in order to take my power back. When I succeed in a Challenge as intense as this one will surely be for me, I can only come out of it stronger, fiercer, more equipped to handle all that life can throw my way. It is really about self-preservation, self-confidence, at the end of the day it is about self-love for me.”

I am grateful for the opportunity to experience this from the other side. I know that it will make me a better coach. If you would like to join me and take back control of your life as well, please comment below, I would love to spend some time chatting with you.


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My Journey to Health Coach

HealthyLifeNextExit_3My health coach story actually began some time ago. Like many of our top coaches I was not a first time winner with the programs or coach opportunity. I did not plug-in to the culture right away. If I had “gotten it” back then, it would have saved a lot of people a lot of pain, but then again, I am certain I wouldn’t be sitting here today with the intention of offering my story as a beacon of hope for some and an invitation to a new way of life for others.

It all began about 5 or 6 years ago. I had two children; I was seriously overweight and firmly ensconced in “Mommy Defensiveness”. I was sleep deprived and while I was diligent about the food that I fed my family and committed to their health, I was making all of the wrong choices for my own. I embraced the term “Mom-shaped” and resigned myself to the fact that after 2 Cesarean births, I would never again get my body back. Truth be told, I had been overweight leading up to my first child 6 years prior. One of my older brothers gave Ken & me his copy of P90X. He had a friend that had amazing, life-changing results with it and thought it would help me. I was defensive and angry at any mention of my weight back then and quickly decided that the program was too extreme for me. I thought it was for athletes and that just wasn’t who I was anymore. I was Mom now (can you hear the whisper of an identity dissolving there?).

Fast-forward a few years. I was exhausted and sad all of the time. My husband bought me a copy of Insanity (the irony was lost on us at the time). He knew on some deep level that if I could just muster enough focus and energy to move my body on a daily basis that I could begin to feel better. Yet there it sat, untouched. Months passed and now I was held in the death grip of a major chemical imbalance and life was growing so bleak. I had crippling anxiety and bottomless fatigue. I was self-medicating and defeated and was quickly losing hope. I knew in my mind that exercise and nutrition could help me feel better but I had lost faith in myself and my judgment was so off the mark. We were searching desperately for a doctor that could tell us what was wrong and I suffered a series of misdiagnosis. The doctor prescribed antidepressants for my sadness and fatigue and another medication for my anxiety and even as I got worse, we were told to stay the course with these medications. But, my illness was spiraling out of control. I became desperate and my tentative grip on reality was loosening by the day. After several hospitalization and unimaginable turmoil in my family, we found a doctor who knew how to help me. Finally I had an accurate diagnosis of Bipolar 2 and my whole world changed.

My doctor believed 100% in a mind/body connection and encouraged me to do the things that I knew would help me feel better. That meant going back to basics which included proper nutrition and daily exercise. As I got better, I dusted off my copy of Insanity and fell in love. The endorphins and dopamine were vital to my recovery and I got my life back.

In August of 2013 I stumbled on the coach opportunity and Shakeology. I signed as a coach to get the discount for the Challenge Group I was joining. I was hooked! My body had suffered YEARS of abuse. At the height of my illness I had dangerously high blood pressure, a sick liver and kidneys and I was prediabetic. It is not an exaggeration to say that Shakeology and Insanity restored my body to health. I desperately needed every single adaptogen, pre and probiotic, digestive enzyme and superfood. The dense nutrition coupled with daily exercise and sunlight healed me.

My husband and I decided to tackle T25 in September of 2013. The program was challenging, yet so simple to follow, the nutrition program was nearly perfect and my daily Shakeology was working miracles in my body. I am proud to say that I completed T25 and lost 20 pounds in the process. My husband, who tackled T25 to support me, won the daily challenge for his transformation. I had learned that I could follow through with a goal. For the first time in a long time I did what I said I was going to do. My confidence soared. We were hooked and I found my calling to coach.

A requirement for being a successful coach is continually working on personal development and your own health and fitness. In my community we have the most amazing resources available to become better people; we have a culture that is supportive and uplifting. We don’t just talk about it; we walk the walk too- every day.

Beachbody helped save my life and now I feel that it is my obligation to share it with other people. It is scary to put yourself out there. You wonder what people will say about you, what they will think. We carefully construct a façade for the world to see, our highlights reel, to be honest. Unfortunately when all we see is someone else’s highlight reel, we never get to hear their back story or see their humanity, how they struggled or what it cost. We don’t see the sweat and the tears; we don’t always get to see the test that came before the testimony. So if there is just one person out there that has lost hope and can benefit from hearing my story, I honestly feel it is my duty to share it. This is it for me. This is “The why that made me cry.”

My life has changed in ways that I never thought possible and I am so thankful today. My mission is to help as many people as I can find their way back to health. I will meet you wherever you are on your road back to health and I will hold out my hand. But it is up to you to take it. I truly hope you do.

xoxo