Joanne Encarnación-Health and Nutrition Coach + Founder of GOFITJO.com

This lovely health and nutrition enthusiast is an example of how live’s challenges and emotionally low moments, can be the silver lining of something beautiful, in this case, a wonderful life filled with joy and health.  Our 33-year old San Francisco Bay Area native is pure inspiration, her project GOFITJO started with a struggle that causes much pain to many, particularly women.  Now she has become a source of inspiration for her daughters and her more than 41K followers.  Meet Joanne…

You’ve mentioned how becoming a mother at 21 somehow made you feel “robbed” of your childhood and youth, due to the dramatic changes in your body, which affected your self-image.  Nowadays this is hard to believe, considering the beautiful life you’ve managed to create based on your body and health.  What triggered you to redirect this energy from hate and negativity towards your body into the beautiful journey you have embarked on?

This is such a touchy one for me because every time I have to answer it, I think about my daughters. Being a woman and raising young women is a tough job. You’re having to help them navigate around media and other messages in the world that are already telling them that they are not enough as they are. The moment I realized that the negativity I had about my body would begin to affect my kids is when I knew I needed to make a change. My eldest daughter was 9 at the time, she’s about to be 13, we were both getting ready in her room for a Sunday family brunch. I remember fixing my dress, adjusting my hair, and just staring at myself. She watched me carefully, as if in she was observing my every move, and noting it in her little beautiful mind. She said to me, “Mom you’re so beautiful.” I quickly turned at her and said to her, “No, I’m not I’m ugly and fat.” It was that moment when I realized “OH SHIT. I need to start making changes.” The words came out of my mouth in the same way it would’ve if I were trying on clothes with girlfriends at a department store. I fat shamed my self. She quickly left the room and the look on her face is one I’ll never forget. It was like I robbed the truth from her that I was the most amazing woman she’s ever met, I was her queen. It was that day that where the apathy needed to stop and I just needed to create a better life for me, my husband, and my daughters.

What recommendations would you give to women struggling with their self-image?

Learn to love yourself and I know that this sounds like such an easy concept, but it’s also a hard one. Loving yourself takes acceptance for what you cannot change and empower yourself to change the things you can. In my experience, I couldn’t change my stretch marks, the loose skin that still hangs over my belly. But what I could change was my perspective on health and exercise. I could use it as a self-love practice rather than a punishment.

What does a day in your life look like?

Currently, a day in my life varies. I workout first thing in the morning and then come back home, eat, and head to #mytinycorner to get some homework or work done. My kids come home at 2PM and I’m juggling work emails, blogging, my homework, and their homework. I try to head to bed by 10 PM so that I can repeat my day the following morning. Some evenings I’m in SF for events or heading out to SoulCycle with some girlfriends for a little sweat session.

If you could have dinner with one woman you admire, who would that be and why?

Oprah! I would love to have a meal with Oprah. Oprah is one of those women who is just so wise, so real, authentic, and unafraid of her own truth. I respect a woman who can stand up for what she believes in without fear of judgement. And when judgement does fall into play, she can look at it without overly analyzing the situation and accept the criticism she needs and walks away from the bullshit she doesn’t.

Twenty years down the line, what would you like the impact of your work to be?

In 20 years I would hope that my coaching business would mean that I would have other coaches working with me, alongside me in different ways and forms. I’d love to shape the world with other female thought-leaders who are empowering others to live their most relentlessly beautiful lives. Most importantly I want my daughters to grow up in a world where beauty standards have broken down just a little more and where women of all shapes and sizes can believe that they are beautiful and capable.

How would you title your autobiography?

Unleashed

What is your definition of a “dream life”? Are you living yours?

I think I’m currently living mine, however, if truth be told I would love to be more financially secure. Raising children at a very young age didn’t give me the opportunity to save, invest, and truly focus on laying that foundation down. It’s never too late to, but it’s a bit of a challenge since my husband and I both own our own businesses. I would also love to be traveling the world with my kids and share different cultures of the world with them.

What is your choice of each of the following:

  • A song: “Love on Top” by Beyonce
  • A place: Kauai
  • A moment in your life: Sunday mornings in bed with my family snuggling and making Snapchat stories with all the face filters. My youngest daughter gets a kick out of it.

Follow her: GOFITJO & Instagram @gofitjo

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