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The “F” Word

There was a time when I had put a lot of weight. About 30 pounds. I stopped “primping”. I stopped running and exercising. I just stopped caring.

What was going on in my life at that time?

My little girl (7 at the time) was fighting cancer. All energy went into helping her stay comfortable, giving her medicine and shots and trying to give her some semblance of a childhood. Plus, I had Matt and Mindy who were 5 and 3. I still needed to be Mommy to them.

This was a time that I felt I had nothing left to give. Not to my husband at the time. Not for myself.

After Kelley died (age 9), life slowly got into a different routine. Matt and Mindy were (and are) active children and that became a wonderful distraction. I put all my energies into becoming a super Mom. Trying to make up for not being around for them for the past 2 and a half years.

There comes a point when you’re “running” as fast and as hard as I was… without self-care or breaks… you will hit a wall. For me, it was when I saw a photo of myself on our friend’s boat. I saw how much weight I had put on. I didn’t like what I saw. Not necessarily because of the weight, although I’d be lying if that wasn’t a huge trigger for me, but that I just didn’t look like myself.

I felt frumpy. I felt sloppy and lumpy and unattractive. More importantly, I didn’t feel like myself.

By this time, it had been a few years. Mindy and Matt were about 7 and 9.

There are many moments in my life, so far, where I have felt this loss of self… but this moment is one of the top on my list.

So, what did I do?

I took action. I did what I always tend to do. I make lots of changes to “fix” the problem.

I went on Weight Watchers. I started running again. I lost 30 pounds. I shopped for new clothes. I went back to work in a corporate office. (I had been running my own company for 8 years).

I felt better. I can tell you, I didn’t feel transformed. In fact, even though I looked healthier and I had new clothes, I still felt frumpy. I still felt unattractive.

It was during this time that my marriage was falling apart. He didn’t like these changes. He accused me of having an affair. This killed me, because I was just trying to feel attractive again.

Fast forward, I’m divorced and now engaged to Joe. I’m happy. I’m not as thin as I was when I lost all that weight, but I don’t feel frumpy. I feel good about myself on most days. I still run and challenge myself to release those “5 pounds”. But I’m happy.

Frumpy is the “F” word. It’s a word we use to describe ourselves when we feel less than. It’s a word that says “I don’t look good. I don’t feel like myself. Nothing I do is going to make me look better. I’m kinda giving up.”

But we don’t give up, right? If you were giving up, you wouldn’t be reading this.

If I was reading this, 6 years ago, my next question would be… HOW? How did you go from pain and loss to feeling OK?

We want to feel amazing and we, also, need to feel OK, right?

And we want to feel like ourselves again… even if it’s a new version of yourself.

I did 2 things.

  1. I did a LOT of work on my mindset. How I think about things in general. How I think about my self. How I think about money. I made it a standard part of my life to constantly study and improve areas of my life. To become self aware to why I’m behaving a certain way.
  2. I started cleaning out my life.

For the first one, I read and listen to personal development books. I still do this today. I am a work in progress. Old mindset thinking creeps in all the time. In fact, every morning when I weigh myself and look in the mirror… the frumpy me shows up to make me feel bad about myself. It’s going to happen. I tell her “Thank you for your feedback. I’m not playing that game today.”

Exercise helps me feel better about myself. Just getting out and walking helps. So, when that frumpy monster is bullying me, I get outside and walk. Run. Move. Connect with nature. Listen to music. And just… be.

The second is where I’ve spent most of my time. I’ve removed people from life that I feel are negative poison. I gutted my garage leaving only what was necessary. I work daily on removing negative thinking. Doing these things releases energy that I can use for things I want to do in my life. It creates space for positive things, people and experiences.

When you tell me that you feel frumpy and you don’t know where to begin to transform your look…

Start with cleaning out your closet and drawers. It’s an exercise that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it is so freeing.

May I suggest the “How To Create A Capsule Wardrobe” course? The first part has you literally gutting your closet. It’s a huge part of self discovery. You have to start somewhere, right? This is an excellent first step.

If you feel frumpy… do something. Anything. Replace that thought with action. What can you focus to help move you toward the person you want to become?

I hope this helps you in some way.


Jen Thoden

4 thoughts on “The “F” Word

  1. Such a heartwrenching story, I am so sorry for your loss. You are very inspiring to those struggling with appearance and only trying to feel better, by improving the outward. But not only the outward, you have an amazing attitude toward life even with the sorrow you and your family faced! Thankyou for sharing your life with us!

  2. Jen, I was saddened to read about your heart-wrenching loss! However, it was also very inspiring to read about your response to this tragedy and your efforts to move forward and nurture all dimensions of your life. I have enjoyed listening to the “Capsule Wardrobe” course. I have learned a lot! As a result, I doubt I will ever look at neutrals in quite the same way. As I continue to lose weight (also on Weight Watchers, a program I am loving) and move forward in my own life, I will definitely return to your “Capsule Wardrobe” course again and again.

  3. Jen, it is fact that 50% of all marriages end in divorce after the loss of a child. My husband and I loss the oldest of our children in 2004. I can tell you to this day all the events leading to her death. My husband was suicidal and to this day, nothing will ever be the same. So my heart reaches out to you
    I struggle with finding clothes to accommodate the 20 lbs I gained and maintain. I have severe osteoarthritis. All four major joints are replaced with titanium steel. I have broken my left foot twice and now have spinal stenosis and other complications. So dressing in colors that flatter me and wearing the right shades of makeup help. Exercise (something I have done all my life) is very gentle. I am 55 and menopausal. The ole body is gonn stay chunky in the middle. I will watch your clothing capsules tonight.
    Love and Support,

  4. Hugs Jen. I am so glad I found your site. You are awesome and inspirational.

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