creating a meaningful home

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If you recall from last year, my word was “balance”. I will be sharing my thoughts on that tomorrow, but I thought I would take today to share the next part of my journey. My word for 2017:


a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to go too far into butterfly cliches. However, I chose this word because it did strike me that I have cocooned myself in a very unhealthy chrysalis of poor eating, being sedentary, and low self-confidence.

I touched on my struggles with weight and body image in a post earlier this year. Before I begin, let me be clear that I truly believe that people can be happy, beautiful, confident, and healthy at any size. However, my health is not ideal at my current size, and my frame, mind, and heart are not made to be handling the extra weight I’m carrying. I have struggled with hypertension, exhaustion, depression, and anxiety for the past eight years. As I also mentioned in the other post, I have struggled with body image, low self-confidence, and my relationship with food for almost my entire life. It’s well past time for a change.

I’ve been doing a lot of research and reading of weight loss success stories to gain inspiration. Most people speak of an “Aha!” moment. Mine was stepping on the scale just before Christmas (in the words of the good friend I texted during the resulting meltdown, “Nina! Why would you do that now?”) and seeing that I had gained back almost all of the weight I worked so hard to lose earlier in the year. I had put my blinders on, fallen back into the habits of eating poorly and being sedentary, and intentionally avoided the scale for three months. I realized that the yo-yo dieting had to stop forever and that I needed to make a big change.

My Health Strategy:

  • I went way out of my comfort zone and signed up for a 12-week fitness challenge at a local gym with a friend. It mostly focuses on strength training and teaching good form to prevent injury. I am in week two and already starting to get an inkling about why people love strength training so much. It’s hard but rewarding and empowering. It isn’t as redundant as I find cardio to be, and the feeling of accomplishment is swifter and more frequent. Everyone is cheering each other on, which creates a motivating environment. I find that the time passes more quickly during these workouts, as we are doing something different to keep it interesting.
  • To supplement all of the hard work of building strength, I also began Couch to 5K to add some cardio to my plan. I’m in week three of this, and I can’t believe the progress I’ve made already. I’m far from a runner still, but I can feel my body changing and adapting to jogging at increasing intervals. As I just mentioned above- I don’t love it, but I do love the way I feel after. To keep myself motivated, I have resolved to only watch Outlander while I’m on the treadmill. It’s the perfect incentive (I’m moving on to The Crown next!). When it gets warmer out, Lyla and I are going to hit the local running trails. (Sidenote: if you are a runner and have a stroller recommendation, I’d love to hear it!)
  • I’m embarking on a healthy & clean Paleo eating lifestyle change based on the Whole30/Whole9. I have completed the Whole30 program in the past and learned what my personal food triggers are, so I’m eliminating those triggers for at least a straight month, and then for the majority of the time following. I was actually able to stay with this same lifestyle change for more than 90 days last year (I ended up losing count), and lost 30 pounds, so I know it’s a program that can work for me. I’ve evaluated where I “fell off the wagon” last time, and I know what I need to keep in check this time around. For me, that means avoiding the big ones: added sugars, grains, and dairy. The first two cause me to overeat, the third is an actual intolerance. My main focus is eating clean and in smaller portions.
  • I also use the MyFitnessPal app. Counting calories is a no-no on Whole30, which is why I used the term “based on” above. Personally, calorie counting works well for me and keeps me in check, and it is one of my greatest rewards of the day to see my “estimated weight” go down five weeks from now after a day of hard work and healthy eating.

I have set some mini goals using my planner, but my major goal is to lower my blood pressure to a normal baseline and also be well within the “normal” BMI range by my birthday, which is September 29 (so 9 full months from start to finish). I’m not quite ready to talk my actual numbers so publicly, but perhaps as it becomes a thing of my past and not quite so painfully present, I won’t feel quite as vulnerable.

The major weight loss and the strength-building portion of the journey are currently time-consuming, and the “balance” in my life is skewed toward exercising and preparing healthy food. However, I’m consciously prioritizing my health over everything else and putting in the extremely hard work now, in order to hopefully be able to make it part of my routine (maintenance) and be able to put more focus on the other important things later. I hope and suspect from developing other good habits in the past that the further that I get in the process, the less time consuming it will be, and simply a part of my life.

Another way that I’m going out of my comfort zone? Sharing this post. I usually tend to keep my personal life fairly separate, but I know that I need accountability if I’m going to succeed. One way I’m staying accountable is by attending the fitness challenge with a friend. It makes canceling a matter of letting down someone else rather than just myself.

Another strategy is going to be monthly updates here on the blog. Since this is such a major part of my life, I want to record my wins and fails in hopes that it will help someone else. If you aren’t interested in this journey, that’s perfectly fine- there will be plenty of organizing, home improvement, and decor posts mixed in and you can just skip over the once monthly updates.

Tomorrow I will touch on the rest of my goals for this year, and share some of our home and organization plans. I’m confident that 2017 is going to be a great year!

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About Nina

Nina is the owner & designer of Nina Hendrick Design Company and the Nina Hendrick blog. Along with her husband Mack, she is chronicling the journey of transforming their builder-grade 80s colonial into a modern day New England dream home. Nina and Mack live in the suburbs of Boston with their three children and golden retriever Lucy.


Hi Nina, I’m new to your blog and found so much inspiration in you as a person. Looking at you it’s easy to see your inner beauty and warmth. You look to me to be such a warm and beautiful person and you’re a beautiful writer. But I can relate to your struggles with weight and body image as my daughter has the same struggles so I know how difficult and discouraging it can be. But somehow from what little I can see of you that you’ll make your goals, after all we’re all pulling for you :-)

Thanks for a great blog and super ideas. I’m already a big fan and plan to be following you and your blog regularly :-) .


Nina, thank you so much for your transparency. It takes so much courage to share as you’ve done. I have only recently found you (most likely through Pinterest, but possibly from another blogger) and I love your website so I’ll be following along.

Thank you so much for your kind words, Kathy! I am so happy to have you with us.

Nina! I’m so excited for you! At my doctor’s urging last summer I also embarked on a lifestyle “metamorphosis!” It’s given me my life back and although I still struggle with an unnatural craving for peanut butter and chocolate, for the most part I eat 95% better than I did in my “before” life. You too will find that the strength training will snap your metabolism back, plus you’ll be stronger, sharper, and more energetic than ever before. Couple that with your running and you’ll be transformed. Now…I humbly beg before you…could you, would you maybe design a printable fitness lifestyle tracker to go along with your wonderful planner? Here’s what I personally hope and wish for in a fitness planner: Water intake, food intake (with space for macronutrient grams), cardio accomplishments (with miles/steps, time, pace, calories burned), and space for my strength training routine. Also a page for tracking measurements throughout the year and maybe a goal sheet you could use for creating a vision “page” for your fitness goals–mine would have pictures of places where I’d love to go to run a marathon eventually–long ways away, but I can still dream!! Oh, have something like that would be glory! I’m sure you would add in inspiration and other things to make it as perfect as your planner (that I LOVE). God bless you on your journey and keep us all posted!

Congratulations on your transformation, how inspiring! Peanut butter and chocolate is also my favorite (Reese’s), but I’m managing the addiction with the cashew butter and apples ;) I will definitely take that into consideration as an add-on to the planner! Thank you so much for the feedback. And I’m fully confident that you will run those marathons!

Nina I love your blog and wish you all the success with your goals for this year! I don’t have to loose weight but I do have to watch my cholesterol and sodium intake as I do not want to go on medication. The less chemicals I put in my body the better! This is coming from a 77 yr old who wants to encourage you. Think strong!

I so appreciate the encouragement, Buelah! I wish you the very best with your health as well!

Wow, Nina, I am convinced that there is a reason I found your blog a couple of weeks ago, and subscribed immediately. Besides the fact that I LOVE your style. :) I feel like I just ready a post about my own current health situation, except that I am older than you and feel like my need for change is almost urgent. It is such a struggle. I admire you for going public with your plans, and wonder if I was lead to this post to motivate me to do the same. Thank you for sharing!

I’m so happy to have you here, Kimm! Thank you for the sweet words. I wish you the very best on your journey as well, and I know that you can do it! That “aha” moment is so powerful!

Oh, Nina, I love your blog so much, but now I love it even more! I have had weight and self esteem issues my whole life. It’s so great to hear your thoughts and plans. I am trying to do the same: eat healthy, eat less and move more! We can do it! My birthday is October 2nd, so we even have the same timeframe! Thank you for the inspiration and for always seeming to know what I need!

Thank you so much for your support, Linda! We can definitely do it!! So happy to have you on this journey with me!

As someone who has struggled with the same thing, I wish you all the best! Here’s to metamorphosis!!

Thank you so much, Melissa, that means a lot!

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