The Woman Behind “A Better Body”

A Better Body After Baby was started by professional actor, writer, producer and mom Charity Parenzini.  Self-dubbed the “Rachel Ray” of fitness, Parenzini is a self-taught health trainer and teacher whose mission is to help moms come to terms with their own health so they can pass on a legacy of wellness and healthy-living to their children.

After years and years of struggling with her weight, body image and level of fitness, Parenzini came to realize that to really be fit and healthy she had to embrace a lifestyle different than what she was acquainted with.  So she set out on the decade-long task of educating herself about healthy eating and movement.  On her way she became a professional group health instructor and trainer.  She researched, read, learned, explored, and experimented her way to a fit, trim, energetic late 20-something.  And then she had a baby.

So, with a baby in her arms and a baby pooch around her belly, she set to work again.  Her determination to be healthy and not live her life on a “diet roller coaster ride” spurred her to incorporate her baby into her health journey. No longer was her mission to look “hot” in a bikini.  Her mission was to create a legacy of wellness and health for her kids.  She wanted to teach her kids how to be healthy and crave good, real food and movement. (“Not that the bikini body hurts” she says, “but it’s all about perspective”).

With the inspiration of other women also wanting the same thing (but not yet having the experience and knowledge she did), Parenzini created “A Better Body After Baby”.  Her goal was to educate and challenge moms yearning for life-long health and a love for movement (a.k.a. exercise). She also says she wants to save other women the years of time it took her to figure it out.

She writes about her health journey in her soon to be released book “A Better Body After Baby”:

I spent ten years of my life figuring out how to willingly embrace a healthy lifestyle of eating well and exercising.  I have counted fat grams with the analytical nature of a chemist.  I have journaled the foods I ate down to the bite.  I have calculated calories, measured out every serving of food I ate, and even cut out entire food groups just to stay on top of the game.  I have done away with foods I love and called it fasting just to make my brain think there was more reason behind my choice than anything resembling a diet.  In addition, I learned how to force my certified couch potato self through the drudgery of a gym workout simply because I had to stay relatively fit in order to be considered for a role when the opportunity presented itself.  And I hated every minute of it.

I then spent three years hating workouts.  (More if you count my entire youth and college years).  I have gained weight, lost weight, and maintained weight.  And now, after two kids, I can confidently say that I have finally figured out how to achieve the body I want with no more excuses. And I really, truly love it.

I am more fit now than in all of my teen years and most of my 20s.  And I have achieved physical goals I only thought about in daydreams or after watching inspirational videos. All the while training with kids in tow.  But it took me a decade to get it figured out.  I’m here to save you that.

 

She also talks about finding fitness out of necessity:

I’m an actor and lifestyle model.  I live my life in front of the camera and in front of live audiences.  I also endure the regular picking-over by directors and executives.  They analyze my facial features, my body, even my measurements. It’s a hard career – not as glamorous as most seem to think.  It’s full of rejection and constant criticism.  But it’s taught me a lot about self-image and the ever-talked about “self esteem”.  It is not for the faint of heart and it’s a poor choice for someone who grew up thinking vegetables mainly came in cans and that really good foods came from boxes.

If I am not at the top of my game then the reason for me not getting the role might come down to the simple fact that I am out of shape and the woman who auditioned after me is not.  Because in advertising and marketing image is everything.

…Now, I realize there is a balance to that, but the truth is I long ago decided this is what I wanted to do because, aside from personal relationships, nothing else makes me happier.  And with that decision I knew my quest for total health began.  (That and because I hated dieting and because I married a man who loved exercise and good well-rounded food.  So skipping meals to fit into costumes wasn’t going to go over well).

Simply making that decision was just the beginning.  Years of making mistakes or not acknowledging where I was at in my approach to food wore me down.  I felt overwhelmed at the idea of staying trim much less looking “fit”.  It was a constant battle and shying away from old habits was hard. And, despite my desire to be fit and trim, I wasn’t having a ton of success until I put some basic principles into practice.  Principles that changed my body and the way I think about food.

Just to be clear: I don’t think fitness is easy.  And I don’t think eating right is a simple one-time decision. They are both hard to incorporate at first.  But I do think anyone – ANYONE – can get healthy if they truly desire it for themselves or their family. It’s a day-in, day-out decision that reaps unbelievable rewards if you put in the effort.  And you will never, ever regret it.

Also, I don’t think the word healthy simply translates into being skinny.  Or thin, even, in some cases.  Being healthy means you live a health-filled life.  You use (read: exercise) the body you were given and take care of it – inside and out.  You don’t have to fit into a single digit size of clothing to have reached a healthy level of fitness, but you do need to be realistic with yourself.  You need to be moving daily and you need to be eating life-giving foods.  Which I’ve now found usually don’t come from a can.  Or a box.

A Better Body After Baby means you can have an even healthier, stronger, more fit body than before you had kids.  That doesn’t always translate to being a size 4, but it does translate into: more energy, better skin, more emotional stability, better digestion, more toned muscles, more stamina and stronger, more flexible muscles.  You can challenge your body to achieve things you never did before.  You can face the day with joy and excitement.  You can learn to create food you know is fueling and nourishing your family.  Your body is better because of the motivation behind achieving physical goals.  It’s no longer just about you.  It’s about your legacy – your children.

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