Body Transformation by Jersey City Boss Women


It was a typical late October day as I stood in the dressing room of Victoria’s Secret. What was meant to be a quick trip to find a new bra for an upcoming dance competition quickly became a pivotal turning point in my adult life. Do you ever have those moments where everything that exists inside of that period of time vortexes into sharp focus? Those times when you can remember every single second of what happens?  What was supposed to be a mundane everyday task quickly turned into a life changing decision for me.

When the bra fitter who was helping me informed me that my cup and band size had gone up dramatically, a pit formed in my stomach. I knew I had been gaining weight in the 4 years since moving to Jersey City. However, I’d let myself stay in denial by not stepping on a scale. I knew, but I didn’t know. Yet there it was. My measurements and reality. But it gets better, as I was bending over to pick up my top and old (ill-fitting) bra from the floor, my freaking pants ripped. They ripped. It was like a scene in a bad romantic comedy. I was mortified. Not because anyone was around. Trust me, it was a very isolating and alone moment. I was embarrassed because I had knowingly let myself get to this point. However, I needed this moment. I needed this horrible moment of humility to snap myself out of complacency and get to work.

Body transformation
Jen’s transformation. Photo courtesy of Jen Belcher


Better Life Choices

Embarking on this journey, I knew my goal wasn’t just to lose weight. Yes, that was a necessity for me, but my primary concern was healing myself from within. Aside from not liking the way I looked on the outside, I HATED how I was FEELING on the inside. In 2003, after about 6 months of unrelenting stomach pain, problems, and countless tests, I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (a relatively unhelpful diagnosis). I’ve had my ups and downs with this condition, but lately my gut health was at an all time low. I was always feeling sick, bloated, not digesting food well, etc. To be honest, it was making me extremely depressed.

Making better life choices so that I could feel better and then look better had to become my priority. I knew I had to cut down my food delivery and restaurant trips. Alcohol also had to take a backseat for a second. Both of these things were extremely difficult because so much of  socializing and culture in Jersey City and New York revolves around going out with friends. Yet, I knew it was a necessary scale back. I vowed to eat better, workout more, get outside more, relax, rest, and read.

I also knew there was no way I could go at this alone. I had tried for the last several years and it only backfired. So I scanned Jersey City for businesses that could possibly help me along the way and what I found were some traditional and non-traditional amazing boss ladies to make this goal of mine come to fruition.


Doody Free Girl

Last winter, in research for an article about The Brunswick Center businesses, I signed up for my first colonics treatment ever with Doody Free Girl. To say I was a bit nervous would be an understatement. If you’re interested in an in-depth recount, you can read the blog on the whole experience from start to finish here.  Owner and hydrotherapist Jen Gonzalez is someone you should definitely try to meet at some point. She’s a calm, yet energetic presence who has the gift of making a rather uncomfortable procedure feel totally normal!

Body transformation
Doody Free Girl, Jen Gonzalez. Photo by

For the purpose of this blog, let me sum it up for you: it did wonders for my irritable bowel syndrome and left me with lasting relief while I continued to avoid dairy and gluten. Therefore, I felt like it would be the perfect start to my journey towards better health and transformation. I wanted a clean slate and an “empty” gut to start me on the right track. Having a colonic would not only reset my insides, but also give me a fresh start mentally. With a body that had pushed the “reset” button thanks to Jen, I was ready to get at it.


Busy Bees Organics

I tried and LOVED Busy Bee Organics food delivery awhile back for our article on their storefront opening. During my first week of transformation I wanted to keep up with my colonics post-treatment benefits and offer my gut some time to take it easy and heal. So after starting my journey with a treatment from Doody Free Girl, I spent a week eating vegan and gluten free with the help from the wonderful ladies at this JC Heights establishment. I had no intention of eating vegan and gluten free for an extended period of time. I knew that wouldn’t be realistic for me to maintain that. I did, however, want a week to focus on being mindful about what I was eating for a week as a way to jumpstart my mindshift. Thanks to Busy Bee Organics, I was definitely able to do that.

Busy Bee Organics owner, Michelle Berckes


Acupuncture with Acuworx

I hate needles. HATE. Despite hearing over and over again how beneficial acupuncture can be in relieving chronic pain, inflammation, and other health issues as well as providing relaxation and stress-relief, I have continued to avoid trying it out. I was basically just being a big baby about the needles.

Committed to having real change throughout this journey and having heard about all the amazing relief acupuncture can bring to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, I decided to go for it. I definitely wanted to stay true to my word to myself with taking care of my whole self and not just lose weight. I knew acupuncture was one way I could focus on internal healing.

As soon as I met Rebecca from Acuworx, I knew I was in good hands. She had a calming presence that put me right at ease. We spent the first part of our appointment going over my medical history and discussing my concerns and goals. We talked a lot about my IBS and how much it had tormented my life since 2003. Rebecca let me know that it would take several sessions before I saw any results, but she made me feel confident that it would work.

Rebecca from Acuworx. Photo courtesy of @acuworx

After about 15-20 minutes we got ready for the scary needle part. Guess what…it wasn’t bad or painful at all. Most of the tiny needles I never even felt. Some would have a slight pinch when she placed them or would tingle a bit afterwards. Rebecca explained it was things releasing, energy flow, or that something had been triggered. Despite having needles all over my body, it was actually a very relaxing experience. I left the appointment feeling satisfied with my courage and resolved to try several appointments and try to really reap the benefits.

After several weeks of once a week treatment there was definitely a noticeable difference in my IBS symptoms. To be fully candid, my bowel movements were super regular and frequent and I had far less gas and discomfort after eating through the day. As an added bonus, my bloating decreased which gave me a leaner looking stomach. In addition to all the IBS perks, my sessions become a once a week relaxing getaway from the everyday clamor of life.


Salvation Wellness

For the longest time I refrained from the CBD trend that has swept this world. I didn’t really feel like it was something for me. Yet, I continued to do my research on IBS relief and CBD oil kept popping up. I read a lot of articles and blogs from people with chronic IBS issues like mine who had tried everything under the sun, as had I, and finally found relief with CBD drops. SO, I decided to give it a go.

I headed over to Salvation Wellness, owned and operated by Jersey City power female Cea Pender and picked up a tincture made through Salvation Wellness’ own in-house product line. Given my need for mental clarity throughout the day, I felt like the best thing would be for me to use the drops before bed. I will never know if it worked in isolation to help ease my IBS because I was also simultaneously doing acupuncture treatments. What I can say, however, is it totally relaxed me and helped me with more fulfilling sleep. I also know my IBS did get so much better and since there is such a strong connection between stress and anxiety and gut health, I’m pretty positive the CBD drops helped.

Body transformation
Salvation Wellness owner, Cea Pender. Photo courtesy of @salvationwellness


Personal Training and Nutrition Coaching

I would be remiss if I didn’t spend the better portion of this blog talking about the most significant reason I was able to make such significant changes to my inner and outer health. I had come across Kausar Rasul on Instagram and seen her work months before I started this journey. To be truly successful, I needed someone who could help shift my thinking and then hold me accountable.

Kausar Rasul. Photo by sohe

What I loved about Kausar was that she offered both nutrition and fitness coaching. I decided to make an investment in my health and sign up for both services. In terms of nutrition, she didn’t put me on a restrictive diet plan and tell me a bunch of foods I couldn’t eat. Instead Kausar helped me learn about macronutrients, set a realistic daily calorie goal and develop a healthier relationship with food. The knowledge and accountability she gave me became ingrained in me and left me with the tools necessary to navigate on my own.

In terms of food choices, I worked hard. Developing habits and changing a lifestyle is not easy work. Kausar worked with me to calculate how many calories and macros (proteins, fats, and carbs) I should be eating each day. I didn’t eliminate anything. I allowed myself one day out a week. It wasn’t easy at first. I was very frustrated a lot of the time. As time went on, however, the habits became my way of life and were ingrained in me.

When you look at my dramatic before and after pictures, you’re really seeing the result of our hard work TOGETHER. What I did wasn’t easy. It wasn’t a magic pill, fad diet, starvation, or anything like that. I worked my ass off…literally. In addition to the nutrition coaching, twice a week Kausar came to my building’s gym and put me through an hour worth of torture (personal training). She helped me build lean muscle, engage in HIIT cardio exercises, and feel stronger and healthier.

Body transformation
Jen’s transformation over 4 1/2 months. Photo courtesy of Jen Belcher.


Now What?

Although I feel fantastic and am no longer embarrassed in my clothes, this process isn’t over for me. I want to become even stronger and healthier. I’ve stopped stepping on the scale and taking my measurements like I was doing at the beginning to ensure I was making progress. I’ve let myself be okay with where I am and continue to work towards health. I’m paying attention to how my clothes look, how strong I feel when working out, and the energy I’m putting out into the universe.

I’m so thankful for all the amazing Jersey City business women who shared their services and expertise with me. There was no way I was going to make lasting, lifelong changes on my own. The best part is, because they’re all just incredible, not only did I make health connections, I made lasting friendships.