The Body Image Blueprint Book Review

The Body Image Blueprint Book Review

book cover the body image blueprint book review

The Body Image Blueprint: Your Go-To Guide for Radical Self-Reverence is an easy-to-read, compelling story of how we can tap into our inner wisdom to design a sustainable healthy lifestyle.

The author Jenny Eden Berk structured the book in three parts: My Blueprint, The Etiology of Body Image, and The Body Image Blueprint.  These sections translate into Jenny’s story, interview answers about shifting ideas of body image from men and women age 22-70, and how the reader can design a personal body image blueprint.

The strengths of The Body Image Blueprint lie in the author’s humanity. Not only is Eden Berk not afraid to share her own struggles, but she puts them center stage. Her personal journey makes up the focus of the first half of the book.  The reader is introduced to Eden Berk’s inner critic as she explores the body image messages she received as a child, adolescent, and young adult. She shares how she silenced these voices and now chooses instead to see body positivity.

Eden Berk gives credibility to her story when she reveals that she was employed for more than a decade with a medically-supervised weight management program. Urged to comply with program (including going on their diet of prepackaged foods) in order to serve as a role model for clients, Eden Berk began to question the message she was sending.

She was dismayed by the idea that she couldn’t trust her body enough to make good choices about what to eat and how to move. Ultimately, she decided that she possessed the inner wisdom (and an “inner dietician”) that would guide her to be her healthiest self, irrespective of weight and size.

The Body Image Blueprint is not a quick fix diet plan. Rather, it is a book that encourages a shift in mindset. To get the most out of the book, readers must be willing to ask themselves some serious questions. The second section of the book reads like a questions & answers session. There are questions about body image and how it has changed over time and affected self-perception. Answers from interviews conducted with men and women make up the bulk of this section. For those who struggle with body image, you will quickly find you are not alone.

To guide the reader, Eden Berk includes the same interview questions used in the second part of the book at the end. It is clear that to get the most out of the book readers will need to confront their inner voices and question what they really value. In doing so, they can create a body image blueprint of their own.

I was pleased to see Eden Berk include Health at Every Size as a resource in the book. I promote this body-positive organization to my blog readers and coaching clients. While weight loss is a main theme of The Body Image Blueprint, it is not the goal.

There are recipes included as an appendix to the book. These are meant more for inspiration and a jumping off point rather than a dietary prescription. They are illustrative of the idea that simple real foods can be combined to pack a punch of flavor and satisfaction. Personally, I was drawn to the yellow beet and blood orange salad. Yum!

If you are on your own body image journey and would like a guide who is candid and casual—but also wants you to take yourself seriously—I highly recommend The Body Image Blueprint by Jenny Eden Berk. The road won’t be easy or short, but the “radical self-reverence” you will develop is well worth it.

If you’d like to know more about the author, join Eden Berk’s Wellness Warriors Support Group on Facebook.

I was provided a review copy of this work. All opinions are my own. Affiliate links are used in this post. Purchases made via these links support the work of Running on Balance. Thank you!

Book Cover for The Body Image Blueprint book review



A New Idea of Self-Care

A New Idea of Self-Care

wisdom of the body humility self-care

I’m no stranger to women’s groups and book clubs that discuss books written by and for women about the perception of “being a woman.” I’ve been doing this work long enough that it often starts to sound recycled, or at least a new verse to a familiar song.

In Christine Valters Paintner’s book The Wisdom of the Body: A Contemplative Journey to Wholeness For Women, she draws a connection that struck me to my core. Rooted in humility, it was a completely new idea of self-care.

She begins by explaining that humility is derived from the word humus, meaning EARTH. To live with a spirit of humility is not about being subservient; rather, it is about being well-grounded.

Humility is about remembering our earthiness and our human limitations.

Basically, none of us are Superwoman. Because we are human, we have limitations. None of us is special. Quit trying to pretend you aren’t bound by your humanity. Accept your limitations because….

Honoring our limits as creatures can be deeply liberating.

When we realize we have limitations, we are freed from the type of thinking that gets us into that Superwoman mindset in the first place. When we acknowledge that we don’t HAVE to do everything, there’s suddenly space to make decisions about what we WANT to do. We are active participants in our lives!

Giving up our demanding inner perfectionism can be freeing.

Releasing ourselves from inner perfectionism opens up possibilities of trying new things just for fun. We’re also open to allowing our authentic self to come out to play, and that can create strong connection with others.

And most significantly….

Humility reminds us that we are called not to be all things to all people but to nurture our unique gifts and to recognize that self-care is good stewardship of those gifts.


Self-care is stewardship of our gifts? How does that work exactly? 

If we take the time to nurture ourselves and our gifts, then we are best prepared to be of service to the world. Conversely, when we neglect what we really need, we are always working a less-than-optimal position.

Here’s the really great part: in order to practice deep, meaningful self-care, we need help.

Remembering our humility encourages us to ask for help. In doing so, we invite others to share their gifts with us. When we receive, we create a sense of community that binds us together.

This new idea of self-care is a way to honor my human limitations and savor my connection to others.

So what does that really mean?

If we celebrate the fact that we cannot do everything ourselves rather than see it as a point of personal failure, we allow ourselves to authentically and fully participate in the community of humanity.

What a gift!

If this new idea of self-care speaks to you, too, I invite you to have a look at my new ecourse Self-Care: Beyond the Bathtub. In it I’ll guide you through this shifting self-care mindset so you can establish systems of support that not only give you more space in your life but also more connection.

(Bolded phrases are from Christine Valters Paintner’s book The Wisdom of the Body: A Contemplative Journey to Wholeness For Women. I highly recommend it for a thoughtful, guided adventure into your relationship with your physical self. )

Affiliate links are used in this post. Purchasing via these links supports the work of Running on Balance at no cost to you. Thank you.

earthen path in woods with text overlay new idea of self care

Spit Saves Lives

Spit Saves Lives

blood marrow donor registry leukemia

When my best friend’s daughter was three, she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Blood cancer.

Like many families, this diagnosis was completely unexpected. Just 36 hours before her diagnosis, little Katherine was at a friend’s birthday party jumping on bouncy houses. Her life really did turn upside down that fast.

Katherine endured two years of treatments, including those which made her lose her hair and swell up uncomfortably. She received wonderful care at Texas Children’s Hospital. I remember her giving a spinal tap to her teddy bear, using thoughtful language and loving hands, just as I am certain was done to her.

Thankfully, two years of chemotherapy conquered Katherine’s cancer. She is now a thriving high school sophomore with No Evidence of Disease, aka Full Remission.

Unfortunately, a young girl in my local school community is in her own battle with ALL right now.

Riley is a third-grader who has been fighting cancer for over a year. She has learned recently that she needs a bone marrow transplant.

While Riley’s family is hoping that her sister will be a compatible bone marrow donor, it is not a guarantee. In an effort to improve her chances of finding a match, Riley has begun a campaign to enroll people in Be the Match.

Be the Match is a national blood marrow donor registry that matches compatible donors with those in need. I first learned of Be the Match when I ran the Miracle Match 50K in 2016.

Before you start worrying about needles and scary things involved in joining Be the Match, let me tell you how easy it is to get yourself on the blood marrow donor registry.

No, wait…Riley can tell you all about it:

Did you know that spit saves lives?

The impressive and inspiring part of Riley’s campaign is that she wants to use her situation to help improve the lives of others. There are thousands of people waiting for a bone marrow match. More donors means better odds of finding a match.

You can request a Be the Match registry kit. The swab will be sent to your home. It takes less than a minute to do the whole thing.

You have the power to save a life in less than a minute. Spit saves lives!

Please, won’t you #spitforriley?


medical swab text overlay your spit could save a life

Why I Started Blogging (And Why I Still Do)

Why I Started Blogging (And Why I Still Do)

why i started blogging and why i still blog


I started my blog—the one that became Running on Balance—back in 2009. In the blogging world, this makes me a dinosaur.

In my mind, it makes me a trailblazer.

You see when I started blogging I had no intentions of being what we now call an influencer. That is, I didn’t start my blog with the intention of writing sponsored posts or being an affiliate marketer.

(In all honesty, I didn’t even know you could use a blog to really make money until years later.)

I started blogging simply because I wanted to share what I know and what I love to do.


What do I know?

I know women’s fitness and health. I am a lifelong fitness junkie and someone who knows how good it feels to feel good.

What do I love to do?

I love to share health tips and that feeling great feeling with every woman.

I’m really no different than most of you, dear readers. I have a husband, three kids, a job, and my own interests. I have way more things on my to-do list than will ever get done.

But I know that I am at my best when I eat good food, move my body, get plenty of sleep, and take time for myself. So I’ve figured out a way to make sure those things happen even when life goes crazy.

The reality is: life is always crazy. I can’t wait for things to calm down or for there to be less stuff to do or for the kids to grow up. Life is happening NOW, and I want to make the most of it.

As I’ve learned painfully from the death of two close friends, tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.

So I write to bring you the science of women’s health issues in simple language because knowledge is power.

I write to share tips and tricks from my own life that help me fit in fitness and make healthy choices.

Other active women share their stories of fitness quests or how meaningful movement can be fun!

I also write to inspire you to reach for your dreams (even when they don’t quite go to plan).

Really, creating this blog and how it supports the health coaching work I love is an act of self-care. It feeds me and fuels me to support the growing community of Well Balanced Women.

As my audience has grown (thank you for sharing!!), I’ve pushed myself to step out onto bigger stages. In September I’ll be presenting at the Type A Blog Conference in Chicago. I will be speaking about how I used my blog to grow my local personal training business into a worldwide health coaching platform.

If you’re a blogger or a small business owner, I invite you to register now and join me at Type A this September. When you register, use coupon code SPEAKERFRIEND for $20 off your registration. If you’re just getting started blogging, you’ll be amazed by the quality of resources at this conference. Don’t miss out!

As always, thanks for being here and helping me do what I love.

Affiliate links were used in this post. Purchasing through these links supports the work of Running on Balance. Thank you.


woman laptop blogging

Your Well Woman Check Could Save Your Life

Your Well Woman Check Could Save Your Life

speculum used for a well woman check that could save your life

Raise your hand if you’re busy.

Keep it raised if you’re so busy you haven’t had an annual well woman check up in so long you can’t really remember.

You’re not alone.

The thought of scheduling an appointment, which is probably going to be months away, and then getting to the appointment in the midst of all the other things going on in life is daunting. It’s easy to see why so many of us put off our well woman check ups.

The reality is, though, your well woman check could save your life.

Last week at BlogHer18 Health, I got to hear 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist Shannon Miller speak about her experience with an annual exam that changed her life.

Shannon Miller speaks about Ovarian Cancer

As the busy mom of two young kids, Shannon was scheduled to go to her gynecologist for a well woman check. She saw the appointment on her calendar for later in the week and felt like she was just too busy that day to take the time for the appointment. When she called the doctor’s office, the receptionist told her she could cancel that appointment, but she really needed to come in soon. As it turned out, there was a cancellation for that same day. Shannon reluctantly went in.

Her physician found a tennis ball sized cyst on her ovary. It was malignant.

As a seven-time Olympic medalist, she knows her body really well. And yet Shannon had no red flag symptoms to indicate she had ovarian cancer.

Thank goodness the physician’s receptionist was kind of a bully about not cancelling the appointment outright!

I hear from many women that they feel their annual check is a waste of time. One or two quick tests, then they’re sent off without any real inquiry or conversation about their health. If this is true for you, please find a physician who will listen to you. Your health is worth it!

If you are nervous about speaking with your physician, write a script or bullet points of your questions. Having that to refer to during your appointment will raise your confidence. You can also take a friend along to the appointment if you need a wing-woman. Whatever you need to do to make it happen, do it!

Your health and wellness depend on you advocating for yourself. It’s not always easy. It’s often time-consuming and frustrating. But making and keeping your well woman check could save your life.




Speculum with text Your Well Woman Check Could Save Your Life