Were all the sculpted, hot-bodied people on Instagram put on this earth solely to make us feel bad about ourselves? It can certainly feel like that, especially when you’re feeling insecure about your weight or fitness level. But there’s a way to control that pesky, self-critical voice in your head that keeps telling you you're inferior to everyone else.
This May, LIVESTRONG.COM’s Healthy Reads book club will be reading “Planking for Pizza: A Body Positive Guide to a Confident, Healthy, Happy You.” Pack’s funny and relatable memoir covers everything from building body confidence to working on your physical fitness and health. Join us on Goodreads.com to discuss your favorite moments from the book and to get the latest updates on author chats!
We caught up with Pack to learn more about her journey to Instagram stardom and how she keeps it real.
Here's why knowing "what I do" or "what she does" won't help you: . It won't remove shame . It won't take away regret . It won't release doubts or fears . It won't cultivate happiness . It won't motivate a drive to cause actionable change . It won't allow space for forgiveness . Following the same diet and workout plan as a girl that's your "fit-spo" might not give you the results you want and it certainly won't give you her body. Her body is hers just like your body belongs to YOU. Effective and lasting change comes by honoring your body and listening to your spirit and doing what movement you crave and what feels right withIN you! . Doing what she does or I do especially won't allow healing sacred spaces for self love and acceptance to grow . Here's what I suggest. Thank the girl you were or currently are. Give her grace, kindness and forgiveness and the knowing that she's enough yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Sit with yourself and ask the tough questions. Feel the pain and hurt. Be honest and vulnerable with yourself. Truly understand why it is you want to change. If it's to look better? Well I'd say dig a little deeper and question what it is about looking better that is the solution to what you want. Is that what you truly want? Something superficial, trivial, and just plain subjective. Looks are ephemeral. Search instead for the everlasting. If your heart is beating, mind is thinking, then my guess is your soul is yearning and craving for something much bigger and deeper than what's just surface level. Start there! Know that self love is messy, tricky, and never linear. But you are so worthy of your own love and acceptance and harboring your heart, mind, and souls truest desires 🤗 Cheers to 98 weeks of diligently choosing self love over loathe and I couldn't be healthier or happier 🌿✨💕
The Birth of an Awesome Instagram Name
LIVESTRONG.COM: Why did you decide to call your account, book and blog Planking for Pizza?
Jessica Pack: I thought the name was catchy! But also because I initially thought my Instagram account was going to be a space where I made fun of myself and how I wasn’t great at fitness. But as it has evolved, it has become so much more than that. I think it represents the balance I try to maintain between being active and healthy while still enjoying life and the foods I love!
LS: What were you hoping to accomplish when you originally started your Instagram account, @PlankingForPizza? Why did you decide to use social media to track your progress?
JP: It was
🎈🎉 GIVEAWAY 🎉🎈 Since February is the month of love, I wanted to do a #loveyourself giveaway! As important as it is to show love for others (friends, family, significant others, etc), it's important to not forget to love ourselves in return as well 🤗 For the next few days, I'll be giving away items that nourish the body, mind, heart, and soul! These are handmade or personally purchased items just as a little way for me to give back and show my love for you all ❤️ - Next up in the series is nourish your mind. Mental strength, to me, is the most important part of any fitness/ lifestyle journey and just an important part of life as well! Having a strong mind to break break down mental walls, relinquish perfectionism, plant seeds of positive affirmations, finding your worth in WHO you are, etc. sets up the foundations for success in many areas of life. So to nourish the mind, I'm giving away a signed copy of my book!!! 📚 I cannot guarantee my book will help you entirely, but my hope is that by sharing more of my story, it can give you a different perspective and help you to find the mental strength within to a body positive mindset and the confidence to embrace all that makes you, YOU 😘 Rules are simple: - -Follow me: @plankingforpizza - -Tag one friend! You can enter as many times as you like, but ONE friend per comment 🤗 - You have until the 13th to enter! All winners will be announced on Valentine's Day! Today's giveaway is for EVERYONE 😘 I'll ship this anywhere in the world 🌎Link to purchase my book is still in my bio! For international friends, purchasing the ebook from the Mangobz link is your best option ☺️ P.S. Pizza is NOT included 😏🍕😂
Behind the Scenes of Being 'Insta-Famous'
LS: When did you first notice that you were gaining a bunch of followers, and what was that like?
JP: My account first gained traction when Kayla Itsines featured me on her Instagram page. I had been following her guide, the Bikini Body Guide, and connecting with other girls in the BBG community. It was both exciting and unexpected; I never thought I would actually stick with the program, see progress or be featured by her.
LS: What’s the goal of your Instagram account now, and how has that changed from when you were first getting started?
JP: I have found an immense passion for mental health and how that ties into body image and how we use food as a crutch for emotions. I want to get a master’s degree in mental health and provide more content that helps to remove the stigma surrounding it.
Inside 'Planking for Pizza' and Body Acceptance
LS: Tell us a little bit about what you cover in your book.
JP: My book is about my journey. Some of it is from my childhood, and a lot of it is from these past two years and the self-discovery,
LS: In your book you talk about how your struggle with weight gain affected your self-worth. Can you tell us about how body positivity shifted your mindset?
JP: There wasn’t a specific occurrence. Somewhere along my journey, I stopped feeling defined by my body. I realized that my potential and worth weren’t in what I looked like, but in who I was becoming. I wasn’t becoming a better body; I was becoming a kinder, stronger and more caring and compassionate person.
LS: In your
JP: I think it started just like it starts for most girls — probably somewhere around seventh or eighth grade. I had quit gymnastics in seventh grade (I mention in my book how my coaches made me feel “bigger” in comparison to the other girls on my team) and became far less active. I wasn’t so much concerned with my weight, but I definitely did not feel pretty in comparison to my peers. I felt bigger and always wanted to be smaller like the more popular girls.
LS: At what point did you realize it was a problem? How did you find help?
JP: I never really thought it was a problem, as I never discussed how I felt about myself with anyone — except maybe my little sister. I was in and out of therapy my whole life, but I never talked about how my issues pertained to body image and self-acceptance.
I finally reached out for help a year after I started my fitness journey. I had been making changes and feeling good about the progress I was making, but I still felt unworthy, unattractive and undeserving of a lot of things. This was just a little over a year ago. I still see my therapist today and am working on some internal struggles.
This is a quote from the book I'm reading (The Book of Secrets by Deepak Chopra) and am really fond of this thought: "Break out of the mindset that your life consists of good and bad choices that set your destiny on an unswerving course. Your life is the product of your awareness. Every choice follows from that, and so does every step of growth." Deepak Chopra . My quick trip home this weekend was so needed!! Feeling good, positive, hopeful, and optimistic about the future. As I go through what's bound to be a turbulent and uncertain time, I'll remind myself with grace that growth is uncomfortable but both possible and necessary. Awareness must remain at the front of my thoughts as awareness is the restorative freedom to not just finding, but living your authentic truth 🌿✨💕
LS: For the people out there struggling with body image and/or eating disorders, how can they find body acceptance? Is it through therapy, frame of mind or simple daily exercises? What really works?
JP: I think that what “really works” is on a truly personal and individual basis. I think finding what works for you requires a deep exploration into your own soul. It’s something only you can figure out, whether it’s through mindful movement or talking with someone. No one can do that exploring for you.
For More, Join LIVESTRONG.COM’s Book Club
Join LS Healthy Reads for discussions, reading guides and giveaways. Every other month we’ll be choosing a new book about fitness, health and wellness to read. Get your own copy of “Planking for Pizza: A Body Positive Guide to a Confident, Healthy, Happy You” on Amazon now.
What Do YOU Think?
Will you be joining the LS Healthy Reads book club? Who are your favorite health and fitness Instagrammers? How has body positivity impacted your life? Share your experiences with the community in the comments section!