Jessica Baumgardner, Health Coach Philly: Certified Holistic Health Coach
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I had to fix myself before I could help others.
For many years, I thought that the path to health was filled with calorie counting, cutting out carbs, and eating fat-free and sugar-free (processed) foods. Ugh. While these beliefs helped me keep a small frame - lack of energy, problem-skin and most importantly - persistent digestive issues led me to instead explore the world of holistic health. While preparing for my wedding, I began making small adjustments to my life that made a huge difference in how I felt. Crowding out the processed foods with whole foods has resolved all of my digestive distress and keeps me ready for beach season year round, to boot.
"After years of dealing with terrible digestion issues, I reached out to Jess after trying what felt like everything. My primary goals were to improve my digestion and to stop my reliance on my daily acid blocker or PPI. I had always looked at food as the problem, not the answer. By working with Jess to better understand the relationship between food and my body, I started to see things in a different way. Over 6 months, we worked on developing new habits while slowly weening off my PPI. She made everything work for me in a real life, practical way that didn’t feel restrictive or unattainable. Today, not only has my digestion improved dramatically, but I have a much healthier understanding of how my body works!"
"Being a Type 1 Diabetic, I have been exposed to more nutritionists than the average person. They all spoke in terms of numbers and counting which has been my way of thinking since I was diagnosed as a teenager. However, this did not register with me. For some reason, the numbers did not "add up" andI continued to gain weight. As a 23 year old recent college graduate, I had a lot on my plate. Literally. I was accustomed to the college lifestyle of binge drinking along with eating exuberant amounts of food. After a night (or day) of gluttony, I felt so horrible I would then find myself searching for the next fix to shed my excess weight. This lifestyle was a downward spiral.
I moved to a new city with a new job and decided I needed a new lifestyle. I found Jess through Instagram and after reading the other testimonials and about her program, I decided to reach out as a final plea for help. After speaking to Jess during the consultation, I knew my spiral would come to an end. Jess understood my life stressors and related through her own experience which was fundamental for my success. It is so reassuring to know I am not the only one who has experienced this battle. I am at a time in my life where I crave change and guidance, and I found that through this program.
Jess helped me understand how to be more mindful with not only food, but in everything I do. What I put in my body for energy was definitely the main topic of discussion but I found myself changing other aspects of my life as well. I did not realize the source of my "college lifestyle" was stress which led me to put on excess weight and feel like crap overall. Speaking with Jess biweekly allowed me to understand the connection between my food choices and stress and how to simplify it all. She taught me how to begin my day more mindfully so the rest of my day would be set up for success.
I highly recommend this program for all! Jess was so helpful in regards to understanding our food choices and how those choices effect the balance within our body and our life! Jess offered simple and seamless suggestions through her guide book and recipes that I could easily adapt to my life as a thriving young adult. I have lost weight (and continue to!), stabilized my blood sugars and stabilized my life through this program with Jess. I truly value the time, respect and empathy Jess was able to relate through our conversations and will continue this simple stress-free way of eating and lifestyle!"
"When I first started my journey to better health with Jess, a.k.a. Health Coach Philly, I had a few goals in mind. I was the heaviest – and unhappiest – I’d ever been in my life. A downward trajectory of feeling sorry for myself after a few years of unsuccessfully trying to have a child and consequently being diagnosed with unexplained infertility led to weight gain, bad skin and just general malaise. I was not in a good place.
So when I started working with Jess, I had an overarching goal of using nutrition to balance my hormones – in hopes that would maybe, possibly, eventually help me overcome my fertility struggles. I also wanted to feel better, look better and lose some weight. I set a goal of 20 pounds and a less measurable goal of regulating my hormones and gaining some psychological peace.
At first, I’m sure I was somewhat resistant to change, not willing to give up my bad behaviors – and this is where Jess’s abilities as a coach really shined. She told me not to worry, not to beat myself up about doing everything perfectly and not to tell myself “no” right away, but instead to start incorporating more good behaviors. In time, she said, the good will “crowd out” the bad. And she was right – those bad behaviors were indeed “crowded out”, very quickly, in fact! I soon found myself craving all of the recipes she gave me and running to the grocery store after our calls to grab the ingredients to make new meals. Along the way, my husband even got into the routine with me – we’d cook together most nights and he loved almost all of the meals we made, which was such a win for me, being a terrible cook and all.
Over time, I started to feel so much better physically. While my emotions were still running a little wild – Jess was there as a support system, inherently knowing when we would need to switch gears to focus on my mental health as opposed to my physical health. She became not just a nutritional guru, but an ally and even more so, a friend that I looked forward to speaking with every other week. It was so easy to chat with her during the lessons – to admit when I messed up and to receive encouragement rather than scolding. The weight was falling off, my skin was clearing up, and one day towards the end of our time working together, I magically became pregnant! (Well, OK, it wasn’t really “magically”, I know how biology works. But it was completely unexpected as we had given up trying. These six months had been all about me bettering myself in preparation to try again later.)
When it was all said and done, I lost 25 pounds, found a new perspective on health & wellness, and gained a child! I learned tips to living a healthy life that I’ll carry forward with me, tips that are common-sense and easy to implement. As cliché as it sounds, this is not a diet; it’s a lifestyle, and it’s one that I will carry forward with me through this pregnancy and beyond. I really can’t thank Jess enough for her tireless work and championing of someone like me – someone who’s got a lot of flaws and cracks beneath the surface. If I can find success and finally live a healthy life through this program, anyone can. While I can’t say that my results would happen to everyone, they happened to me, and it’s made all the difference in the world."
"I asked for Jess's help when I was tired of feeling exhausted, unmotivated, and overall unhealthy. Jess was able to pinpoint the areas where I needed to enhance my diet and overall health routine. In order to consistently progress, she made sure none of my goals were drastic and in no time I noticed changes in my energy and focus, not to mention I lost 12 pounds!"
"I loved working with Jess! She was able to take my basic understanding of healthy eating to the next level. I looked forward to our sessions, and felt like I had someone in my corner, even when we weren't meeting! Loved that I could reach out and ask about certain foods, teas, and spices. Best thing was somehow she got me off my cheese addiction! I highly recommend Jess for anyone looking to get started, get smarter about the foods we eat and/or to get a handle on your relationship with food. Thanks for everything!!"
"Since working with Jessica, I feel better on the inside and the outside! We worked together to make changes to my diet that I could maintain (such as green drinks for breakfast during the work week - which are actually very convenient in the morning). With the modifications and accountability, I find that I have more energy throughout the day and even have glowing skin!"
"After just completing my three month program with Jessica, I feel healthier than I ever have been. When Jessica and I started working together, I was frustrated, depressed and fat. As a former dancer, I was used to eating whatever I wanted and burning all the calories at the studio. Fast forward several years later, I stopped dancing, and it seemed my metabolism stopped working as well. I thought I was doing everything right; eating yogurt for snacks, limiting the pastas and breads, always selecting the ‘diet’ version of anything, cooking veggies and protein, but still I never saw any progress. I had tried diets and quickly got frustrated and gave up. I would tell myself ‘no, you can’t eat that!’ constantly, so whenever I would allow myself a little treat, I would binge and go crazy.
Working with Jessica has taught me so much about nutrition, the food industry, as well as what I am capable of. I feel like I have a whole new outlook on life. Every lesson we had was easy to follow and understand, and every recipe she suggested was delicious. I never thought I could live without dairy and tons of cheese on my “healthy” salads, but I now know that I can! It’s empowering to be equipped with this information and I know that I can continue on this track. Jessica’s teachings are not a diet; it is a lifestyle change. I enjoyed that her program incorporates ‘non-food’ lessons on spirituality, meditation and connecting your mind, body and spirit.
I have lost weight and I will continue to lose weight following this path. I never feel like I want to ‘cheat’ because I feel so much better than I did before. My clothes are definitely looser and my stomach is flatter. I see more muscle tone in my arms and legs, as a results of losing fat. Additionally, I have more energy and I drink less coffee to get me through the day! I am more motivated to work out. I am a believer now that everything that enters your body is visible on your skin and your outward appearance. My skin is brighter and firmer, and my hair is stronger and shinier! And it never hurts to hear your boyfriend tell you, (unprovoked) ‘you look skinny!’ I will continue to follow Jessica’s plan, and I know that I can always turn to her for support."
"My top three goals when starting the program were to assess my eating patterns and make necessary changes to those habits, have my existing clothes fit like they did just over a year ago, and learn about sustainable ways to live a healthy and fulfilled lifestyle.
Jess was able to help me work towards these goals by assessing my habits when the program started and creating goals that would fit with my lifestyle, job, etc. She took everything that I said into account and truly made the program around my personal goals. She also included subjects that weren't about food in order to make me a more we'll rounded person.
The biggest tangible thing that I have noticed is my eating habits and the way that I combine different foods, what kind of snacks I eat, how much caffeine I drink, and how I do my grocery shopping. I now know how to make much healthier choices and find myself having Jess' lessons in the back of my head at all times.
The most significant change I have noticed is that I feel generally healthier and more energetic. My clothes are also fitting better which is awesome!
I would describe Jess as down to earth and nurturing. She is genuine and knows how to make you feel good. Her enthusiasm about health coaching is infectious.
I would recommend Jess' program to anyone who is ready to make healthy and positive changes in their life. I would also recommend her to anyone who feels like they need a confidant and friend to make those changes - Jess can truly provide that.
This program taught me that weight is just a number and a healthy lifestyle is more important than looking perfect in a bikini. It taught me that even though healthy habits take time to make, they are worth it. I feel healthy and refreshed."