Let’s be honest, sexy sells; but there’s a lot more to me than this bared body you see. Now that I have your attention though, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jenna Phillips. I’m the founder of I’m On A Mission, a Transformational Wellness company. I began this Mission in 2007 with the purpose of making optimal wellness off limits to no one.
I have passionately participated in the fitness world for close to seven years. The journey has been blessed with amazing clients and introduced me to like-minded individuals who are also on a Mission to impact the world. Some people have called me a trainer extraordinaire, others have called me a lifestyle expert, and still others have labeled me as a professional foodie. But I like to call myself a Life Transformation Coach. As a certified Holistic Lifestyle Expert, celebrity trainer and fitness personality, I’m a woman of many hats. I love what I do, and I cannot imagine myself doing anything else for a living.
What fueled my decision to dive into the health and fitness industry?
In short, when I was 17, I endured severe head trauma and woke up from a coma with brain damage. I was coincidentally diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes while in the ICU and had to relearn how to do simple things that most of us take for granted. Do I still have your attention? Good. ‘Cause this is where the meat of my story was made.
In February of 2000, friends from my senior class and I were decorating the hayloft in the barn on my parents’ property. We were getting ready to host what would have been the party of the year in a low-profile location. If I hadn’t lost my footing and fallen fourteen feet onto my head on concrete, that party would’ve been one of the best nights of our lives. Instead, I was knocked into a coma and my life changed forever.
The prognosis was vague. The doctors said they didn’t know when I was going to wake up or how severe the brain damage would be when I did. They also informed my parents that they’d discovered I was in the early stages of Type 1 Diabetes. BAM! Double-whammy.
When I miraculously woke up from my coma just a day later I had no short-term memory, no concept of time, and no sense of direction. My once-extensive vocabulary and passion for creative writing were now functioning at the level of a 5 year old. Trying to put my thoughts into words and communicate with anyone made me feel like I was playing chess against Bobby Fischer. Everyone else had what seemed like lightning-speed responses to my slow-poke gibberish.
One of my doctors said it would be impossible for me to graduate on time. I remember him saying that in front of me but directly to my mom. He didn’t even acknowledge me. That created a sensation that might be mistaken for anger, but I knew it as an inspirational fire inside me that instead fueled my desire to cross the finish line and make a full recovery. With extensive cognitive therapy, patience and daily positive affirmations I graduated on time. If I had, in that moment, decided to stay in the limiting box of impossibility I wouldn’t have walked with my class.
While retaining new information was a tall order, I also had to learn how to manage a new creature called Juvenile Diabetes. All of this shot-taking, finger-pricking, and insulin-bag-carrying wasn’t all that exciting to me. I innocently asked my diabetes “educator” how I could get off the insulin. He laughed at me and said, “There’s no cure for diabetes. You’ll be on synthetic insulin for the rest of your life.” Whoa. I immediately decided to begin my Mission of becoming synthetic-insulin free. Why not?
Moment by moment, we’re given the opportunity to either step into our greatness or not. If you don’t allow yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and explore something different, your current reality will never change.
Even though I chose nutrition and fitness as a career for myself, I haven’t always looked the way I do now. My weight has fluctuated greatly since I woke up from my coma. I gained 30 pounds after my diagnosis because the doctors told me to take more insulin than I really needed. Those geniuses also told me it was important to get more grains in my diet. At the time, I didn’t know any better so I followed suit. Thanks to their advice, I went from a size 2 to a 12 in a year and a half! Oops…
One day, I woke up and said to my 19 year old face in the mirror, “That’s IT! I have to go on a diet!” I said it with conviction and intention, but I did not feel empowered. I was frustrated and felt like I had no choice but to deprive myself of everything and anything that tasted like heaven.
I bought a diet book and saw that dinner was a sodium-free vegetable broth. Blehhh. I think I tried 5 other gimmicky diets, all which helped me lose weight only to gain it back, before I finally decided to major in Nutrition in college.
I was so over the ups-and-downs of crash diets because they don’t solve anything long-term. Anyone who has ever been on a diet knows all about the experience of deprivation. It’s not fun and it’s not realistic. It totally sucks! You can’t live like you’re on a diet forever. But instead, what you CAN do is make conscious lifestyle choices that will produce long-lasting results. At the time, I didn’t realize that I was fundamentally out-of-balance.
It wasn’t until I moved to Spain in 2004 that everything changed for me. I walked everywhere, ate fresh veggies and fruits everyday, consumed meat and fish like they were going out of style, and went dancing a few nights every week. The weight came off gradually, my blood sugar normalized, and I naturally took less and less insulin. I realized how important it is to MOVE my body everyday and eat food in its most natural state.
For the first time in my life – I was starting to listen to my own body.
I soon realized that my doctors back home didn’t teach me anything that would assist me in needing less medication. They weren’t helping me pursue the path of innate wellness, and I knew that I had to immerse myself in cutting-edge information if I wanted to change my health. When I moved back to California, I decided to make fitness my life.
I became a certified Pilates Plus and Spinning instructor and personal trainer. After a couple years of building up a loyal following, I took the brave leap away from working for anyone else and I founded I’m On A Mission. I started leading outdoor fitness classes and became successful right out of the gate. Months turned into years and I was consistently very, very busy; almost too busy. With my celebrity clients, press features, fitness DVD releases, company expansion, TV show appearances, hundreds of emails every week, and social media popularity – I had been running on overdrive and getting about 5-6 hours of sleep almost every night. Yep. It was death. My adrenals and hormones weren’t happy, and neither was I.
Slowly but surely, I became over-trained, under-slept, and malnourished. The lack of sleep made me crave things for instant energy like caffeine and sugar. I became less and less interested in cooking and ate things that were marketed as “healthy,” but were pre-made and convenient. Things like corn, soy, dairy, gluten, sugar and vegetable oils were present in my diet almost everyday. I knew better, and I told everyone else to avoid this stuff, but I was too addicted and unmotivated to do anything about it. Last year I even became certified as a Holistic Lifestyle Coach through C.H.E.K. Institute, but I wasn’t putting my knowledge into practice.
My mental focus, passion for my career, drive to stay committed to my own workouts, and zest for life started to disappear. I’d fallen off my wagon and I felt like a pile of rocks. My blood sugar was high on a regular basis, but I didn’t want to take more insulin per the fear of gaining weight again. Regardless of my fear I had to take more, and the weight came back on. Inflammation was clearly present in my body and my face was broken out. I was not coming from a place of absolute truth and I wasn’t feeling like the leader I was meant to be.
One day, my friend Ruben (who happens to be a life coach) said he’d had it with me not living my purpose. He said, “Jenna, you can change the world if you want, but you’re not gonna have a powerful impact by hiding out. You focus so much on everyone else. What about YOU?” I looked at him and my whole life flashed before my eyes. I’d let myself go. “You’re right. If I want to change the world, I get to heal and love myself first.”
It was in that moment that we crafted the idea for my 90 Day Mission of eating Paleo and moving my body every single day. The fuel to my vehicle was Self Love, and for me that meant getting adequate sleep, eating nourishing food, and exercising efficiently. The purpose was to be real with my friends and family, followers and fans, and most importantly – myself.
Taking pictures on Day 1 was excruciating, but it helped me see what I’d created in my body and life. The awesome part, however, is that I instantaneously felt better. I cut out coffee, processed dairy, gluten, all grains, sugar, and even fruit. I also created a bedtime for myself. I was creating a relationship with my food all over again and cooking everyday. By the third day I felt more energized. On the 21st day, I felt like I was glowing and, that day, five different people asked me what I’d been doing differently. After the 28th day, I was clearly over the hump and not craving my drugs (coffee and sugar) anymore.
What I once thought would be a challenging lifestyle shift (no chocolate or Peet’s coffee?!), became just as easy as brushing my teeth. Since I was with myself every single second of each and everyday, I wasn’t sure if I was seeing results or not. On Day 52, I randomly decided to take pictures to compare with Day 1…
That’s the very comparison that grabbed your attention. The proof was in the pudding. My mission was working. It dawned on me that maybe these pictures would light a fire for some people and motivate them to finally make some changes. I posted them online and the response has been pleasantly overwhelming. Needless to say, I’m thriving on all levels and have no desire to fall back into my old ways. My blood sugar has normalized again and I’m taking a little less insulin than before. My Mission continues, and will continue, until I find a way to get off synthetic insulin; and then I’ll keep going some more.
There is nothing we cannot be, do, have, or achieve. Impossibilities exist only in your noggin. Make the choice – RIGHT NOW – to be the leader of your own life. No one else can bring you to health, happiness & prosperity. It’s up to you, and only you. My Mission is to help you on Your Mission.
What Do You Choose?