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Ann

Posted by on Oct 17, 2014

 

I’ve worked with Jenni for about 3 years now and am continually amazed at the changes that we’ve achieved together. I’ve been able to lose 30+ pounds with her steady support and unflagging optimism about my ability to achieve my goals; with never a judgment when I fall off the wagon and have the occasional éclair or that extra Mexican Martini!

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Her knowledge about exercise physiology and nutrition have created a well balanced program that positively impacts my health everyday. When I started working with Jenni 3 years ago I was motivated by  worsening arthritis in my knees, my weight and my overall out-of-shapeness.

 

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The Tuesday and Friday training sessions with her quickly became a touchstone for a more complete overhaul of my health habits that have included a much healthier diet, regular workouts on my own, weight control     (an on-going project!) and the less tangible but equally important belief in my power to imagine a change and work to create it.

 

IMG_5259It’s truly not an exaggeration to say that our work together has changed my life and I now view my health in light of manna-a blessing that is never finished and and that I participate in daily. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

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Mindy

Posted by on Oct 15, 2014

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Just before my father’s death from lung cancer on Sunday, January 15, 2012, I asked if he had any special advice for me. He looked me over head to toe and said, “Lose some weight.” Not the kind of advice I expected!

 Soon after, I ran into Jenni at Central Market, and she asked when I planned to come see her. She had donated a gift certificate to a silent auction I organized for Austin Animal Center, and a friend bought it and gave it to me. Remembering Dad’s “advice” for my life, I promised to come soon.  I finally made good on that promise in late February 2012.  Challenge accepted, old man.

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Before…

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I believe that I probably weighed over 140 pounds, but I refused to go near a scale. I told Jenni during our introductory session that I wanted to lose weight and get in shape. When Philip and I married in 1987, I weighed 108 and I had a 19” waist and stood 5’3”, so 110 seemed like a good goal. I have no idea what my measurements were; Jenni measured my waist and hips. (To this day I don’t know what those measurements were.)

She promised to guide me but she emphasized that the ball was now and always would be in my court. The very first thing she had me do was to start jotting down every single morsel that crossed my lips. Being ever so slightly OCD, I plunged in with a vengeance.At that point, I thought I ate pretty well. I tried to be mostly vegetarian, and I prefer chicken and eggs over other meats and proteins. I love beans, I enjoy salad – I thought I had it made. I told Jenni that there was one absolute: I would not give up tequila. She advised me that I would not need to give up anything except for processed food and refined sugar.

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Mindy with fellow client Merlin

Slowly, Jenni helped me shape my diet and trained my sense of portions and combinations. For instance, before, I would have toast with jelly for breakfast, a sandwich and chips for lunch, and chicken with potatoes, salad, and a roll for supper. Jenni simply pointed out that I needed some sort of protein with breakfast, and I could lose the jelly (organic nut butter – problem solved); I could have an open-face sandwich with no chips for lunch (celery is crunchy – problem solved), and chicken with just a couple of red potatoes and salad for dinner (no roll – problem solved). I learned what to eat when, too, and less of it. Apparently, the sound of my whining was music to Jenni’s ears.

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With fellow client Paula at yoga

Soon, I had lost five pounds, which motivated me immensely.  Then, on April 23, 2012, I Zumba’d onto my left foot and promptly tore my left peroneus longus tendon. I wore a boot for just over eight weeks, and went to physical therapy for three months. Still, by managing my diet with Jenni’s help, I continued to lose weight, although more slowly. I also discovered that I could stretch farther in yoga, and I could get into poses more fluidly. I slept better. The aches and pains that I attributed to being over 50 were vanishing as my strength and diet improved. Some work-outs were brutal and others plain fun but the weights were increasing and the movement patterns turned more complex.

I struggled often. That year was tough. I would think about Dad and get very sad. Dealing with his estate and our family business caused unimaginable stress. My leg and ankle hurt like crazy for months. I became irritable and snappy. But through it all, Jenni stood by, patient, tolerant, and very forgiving.  I improved my diet. I kept coming to see her. I talked with her about every problem, including personal situations that weren’t really diet or exercise related, and she helped me strategize ways to cope with everything and other potential issues, like holiday parties and family dinners (hint: eat a small salad with lots of veggies and some sort of protein before you go). Amazingly, after about six months I found that instead of devouring a whole basket of chips and Bob Armstrong dip, along with an entire entrée and two margaritas, I wanted only 3 or 4 chips, a couple of spoonfuls of Bob Armstrong dip, about half my entrée, and only one margarita. I became a cheap date again!

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Mindy inspired her mother and her daughters to start working out!

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From the first time I stepped on Jenni’s old-fashioned scale, I refused to watch as she fiddled with the weights. She teased me about it all the time, but she honored my request that she not announce my weight unless I made it to a five-pound interval. Sometimes, when I dreaded climbing on that scale, I would hear to my delight that I had lost well. Sometimes, when I thought I would impress Jenny, I would find that I had somehow gained back a pound. Finally, in April 2013, Jenni weighed me and said the magic words, “Turn around.” I had done it. The scale showed that I weighed just under 110 pounds!

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…and after.

My journey is best summed up in my January 2013 visit to my GP for my annual exam.  I strolled into the exam feeling pretty cocky.  While I had never gotten any caution from him about my weight in the past, I knew it had been steadily increasing for the 22 years I had been seeing him.  I sat in the exam and answered all the usual questions about my habits and health, and he did all the usual tapping, poking, and listening that goes with a check-up. As the session seemed to be winding to a close, I was about to jump through my skin because he had not made any mention of my weight loss (then about 20 pounds). I could stand it no longer, and I blurted out, “Stephen, say something about my weight!”  He blinked, peered at me over his reading glasses, and said very mildly, “Oh, yeah, you lost some weight.” I replied in a somewhat strangled tone, “WHAT?” He chuckled and said, “Yeah, that’s great, but here’s what’s really good: your cholesterol , which was fine before, is down by 75 points. That’s what’s really impressive.” Wow. And that was never even on my radar for improvement.

This whole endeavor has not been only about losing weight or building strength or improving my cholesterol, even though all those things happened. It’s been about making a permanent lifestyle change for the better. Some days the scale shows me I need to cut back; other times, it’s like a pat on the back. I still have carb-attacks; I still drool over doughnuts. I’ve learned tricks that work (staring at a doughnut or cookie or whatever for a while seems to alleviate my craving) and some that don’t (having just a spoonful never seems like enough; for me, it’s better to not have any).  I have most assuredly NOT given up tequila.  I have dragged Jenni into yoga. The journey continues and it’s a whole lot of FUN!

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Paula

Posted by on Oct 14, 2014

 

The 2007 Austin Marathon was my 7th marathon finish, all 26.2 miles.

Paula's 2014 Half Marathon Finish

 

That same year, Merlin and I married. Lucky #7!  Merlin had been training with Jenni for a few years prior, and he’ll write his story.

I was a runner, and gym workouts didn’t appeal to me. I met Jenni through Merlin, and she was interested in running. So we started off the New Year of 2009 as running partners. Waldo the gym dog always joined us on our runs on the Barton Creek Greenbelt and other trails.

 

For me, off-road running was the perfect activity for body, mind and soul: You depend on stabilizer muscles, gripping rocks. You engage your brain, calculating where to step next. And the feeling you get from being outside in nature feeds the spirit.

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Jenni and I even competed in a few races together, and also experimented with barefoot running (see her blog “the Barefoot Journal” )

Then my life changed. A bone density scan revealed “slight osteopenia.” To stave off osteoporosis, I became a paying customer of Jenni’s. To rebuild bone health, she designed a program of weight-bearing exercises. Now, 5 years later, I’m still outrunning osteoporosis!

My life changed again. After about 6 months on this new routine, I was pretty happy with my new toned body. But I asked Jenni why I didn’t have 6-pack abs! She suggested I see a gastroenterologist, it may be inflammation.

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I followed her advice, and I’ll be forever grateful. A simple blood test was positive for celiac disease. CD is an autoimmune response to gluten proteins in wheat, barley and rye. (www.celiac.com ) I was told the “gold standard” test for CD was an endoscopy, where a biopsy of the villi lining the wall of the small intestines is examined for damage. When gluten is in the gut, the immune system in a person with CD attacks the villi, damaging it so much as to cause all sorts of problems. One of those problems is nutritional deficiencies like lack of calcium for strong bones leading to osteoporosis!

With CD there is no such thing as moderation. One has to abstain from gluten forever. This came as a relief to me. I knew what I had to do. It wasn’t difficult. After 2 years off gluten, I had a second endoscopy which showed my villi were regenerating!

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Almost 5 years gluten free, and I don’t miss it. I’m grateful to know what was causing my problems, and I have Jenni to thank for the guidance.

My next life change? I’m working on my 6-pack abs!

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Jody

Posted by on Oct 7, 2014

Jody is a neighbor for whom I have done some consulting. After a recent discussion on nutrition, she sent me a lovely letter. Here is an excerpt:

Jenni, it is no wonder that you have such a faithful following of people who admire you personally and trust your wisdom.  Your consideration and kindness are a wonderful part of Who You Are! 

Your program covers all the areas of greatest concern to us– healthy heart, cancer prevention, diabetes prevention, to name only a few….

How grateful I am that you are at work in people’s lives!

Sincerely,

Jody

 

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Dick and Kathie

Posted by on Sep 29, 2014

 

When Kathie and I finally achieved Emeritus status in 2006 by selling our business, we had just moved to Austin, and knew that we wanted to get back to some sort of fitness routine. We were introduced by a friend to Jenni Westerfeld, and we rededicated our fitness program during that summer.

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I was 65, in good health, but needed some supervised fitness work. In the initial interview with Jenni regarding goals, she uncovered a couple of my hobbies which are done more easily/safely with better balance, more upper body strength, stronger legs and a much stronger core. One of the hobbies is ham radio, which in my case involves being able to climb 100’ towers. Once ‘at altitude’, work must be done which involves good balance and strong shoulders/arms. The other hobby is street rod cars. No climbing involved, thankfully, but still a lot of lifting and effort with one’s core.

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After about six months or so, I began to notice how much better I was negotiating treacherous paths thru all the radio and auto parts on the workshop floor. I had fallen in this garage just after we moved and managed to land with my hip on a blunt steel rod. It took several months to recoup from that, but fortunately, nothing was broken. After all the balance exercises and work on my core, no more falls and much more sure footing.

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 The other thing that I noticed was how much more easily I was able to lift relatively heavy objects over my head and then hold them for a spell. This made my tower work much more predictable and a whole lot safer. And as I began to do more work with the stability ball and on the Pilates Reformer, I noticed that my abs and back had become much stronger.

Jenni’s knowledge of anatomy and physiology has enabled her to ‘work around’ small injuries that Kathie and I have had in the past 8 years. In that way, we were able to continue at least with some limited (read safe) exercises and not have to lose ground thru dormancy.

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To sum up, Kathie and I are pleased with how much better we’re functioning, now in our early seventies!

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Jimmy

Posted by on Sep 27, 2014

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I came to Jenni about ten years ago at the recommendation of a friend. I was in my 60’s, and scheduled for a double knee replacement. My friend had advised me to do some “pre-hab” with Jenni as she had done, strengthening my legs and core as much as possible before surgery in order to accelerate recovery time.

The surgery went well, I made an excellent recovery, and was soon back to playing racquetball 5-6 days a week. I continued to train with Jenni. We had a couple of agendas: continue to stretch and mobilize the legs to maximize range of motion and proper joint mechanics, and improve strength and agility for racquetball.

Through this process, I have madeDSC03416 some discoveries. For one thing, even after 50 years of injuries (starting with a shoulder injury sustained in high school football), the body can learn to overcome limitations and actually perform better through training. Also, it is possible to make significant strength gains into one’s 70’s, and presumably, beyond.

 

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How do we achieve results?

We set goals. At the beginning of each year, we look back at what has been accomplished or overlooked in the previous year. We look at what we want to happen in the upcoming year and make a prioritized list. Then periodically we revisit and determine if we are meeting our goals, or if we need to adjust our course.

We work on fundamentals. After knee surgery, I had to relearn how to jump and run backwards. My center of balance had changed. I had to gain confidence in my “new” legs after my old ones had started to fail, making me fearful at times. Balance exercises, lots of single leg work, and footwork drills put me back in action. Core training has added speed and stability to my racquetball game. Specific upper body work has improved my backhand and made my forehand more powerful and more efficient.

We keep records. We have created spreadsheets that track the workouts chosen to best fulfill our goals, and log metrics on each exercise; weights, reps etc.

We do research. Whether it is nutrition, biomechanics, or the latest in heart or hormone studies, we investigate a variety of pertinent subjects. Together we explore how to translate these studies into better health choices.

All in all, I have learned to open my mind to a focussed workout, and to benefit from creative and intelligent exercise plans. I am stronger at 74 than I was in my 60’s, and more important, I still win racquetball tournaments against 20 year olds!

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