We’re Jason and Roz Ackerman, the founders and head coaches at Own Your Eating. We have a somewhat crazy love story that involves a little bit of serendipity and a lot of love for doughnuts! Despite growing up worlds apart, our shared passion for fitness and food lead us down two paths that would eventually intersect, thanks to CrossFit! Between us we suffered through just about every diet out there before discovering something that wasn’t another diet. Flexible eating is a lifestyle that has transformed our lives beyond the scope of basic nutrition.
Maybe you’re on a diet for health reasons. Or maybe you want to look and feel better naked – who doesn’t?! Or maybe you simply want to enjoy the food you love without immediately feeling guilty after. Whatever food related issue you’re dealing with, WE KNOW what you’re going through and we want to put an end to your misery!
We have a dream that we can turn the nutrition industry on its head and show people that doughnuts, cookies, pizza & ice cream aren’t actually “bad” for you. Being able to eat mom’s mac n’ cheese is just as important for your health as eating your ‘5-a-day’. We want to share everything we’ve learnt in our combined 40+ years of experience and make nutrition a simple concept that everyone can understand and implement in their lives, for the rest of their lives.
We believe that flexible eating can change the lives (improve the quality of life) of countless people and help combat the biggest health concerns our nation faces today – metabolic diseases like obesity and diabetes.
Along with our dream to change the way the world thinks about nutrition, we’re on a mission to find and devour the best doughnuts in every state! Join us on our journey as we take our flexible eating lifestyle on the road. Join thousands of others, become a part of our Tribe and Own Your Eating today!
Growing up in the 80’s, I lived a lifestyle of your typical skinny kid. My parents had concrete boundaries on eating snack foods, and since my mother was a great cook, we rarely ate out at restaurants.
I never really thought about my body weight until I started wrestling in middle school. In those days, there was no such thing as nutrition coaching. No one was available to give proper guidance and whatever advice I received came mainly from my teammates. “Go home and eat ice for dinner and have some Advil for dessert” was the prescription for cutting weight before a big meet.
My parents didn’t know any better; they just thought it was what I needed to do to participate in the sport. My junior year was the most stressful when it came to cutting weight and usually meant starving myself until I reached my goal weight. It was during this time that I started to develop binge-eating habits that affected me for years to follow. I continued the ‘cut weight – wrestle – binge’ cycle all throughout high school until my senior year when I finally decided to gain control – enough was enough.
After high school I set my sights on being a fit and healthy person. I discovered a love for weight training and began bodybuilding as a new pursuit. In my first official bodybuilding show, I took second place in the teen division and later that summer I took first place at my second show. It was whilst I was competing in bodybuilding and spending all that time in the gym, that I discovered my love for coaching and personal training.
I also began to educate myself about nutrition and became disciplined following the classic bodybuilding diet of egg whites, oatmeal, chicken, rice, broccoli, and sweet potatoes. Despite achieving fantastic results with my physique, after competing I would always crack under the pressure of deprivation and resort back to my old habits of binge eating. I remember going on vacation after one competition and gaining 13 lbs. in a week! Although I tried to resist them, my old habits were always lurking in the background, waiting for my inevitable failure on a diet that was so restrictive that sustainability was impossible.
My bingeing habits continued to haunt me throughout college where I would lose and gain the same 30 lbs. over and over again. It was miserable.
After college I went through another shift, dabbling in vegetarianism and doing a lot of yoga. After adopting two Pugs, I decided to become fully vegetarian because I couldn’t fathom harming any animals that were like my dogs. Once again, I found myself eating a very restrictive diet and failing to achieve a healthy balance. Like many vegetarians out there, my diet was lacking in protein and somewhat surprisingly, in vitamins and minerals too.
When I found CrossFit in 2007, my body couldn’t handle the intense exercise regime and I finally realized my body was not getting the fuel it needed with my vegetarian lifestyle. Through CrossFit, I educated myself about Paleo & The Zone diet and experimented with them both.
Pairing the quality aspects of Paleo with the quantity methods of the Zone diet seemed like the best idea… Well, that turned out to be anything but a sustainable lifestyle. I developed some good habits such as meal prepping and traveling with food packed in Tupperware, but in the quest for virtuosity, I became “that guy” at the party who couldn’t eat certain things or brought his own meals.
What I found through Paleo was a very low carbohydrate mentality. It was all about eating a lot of meat, the glorification of bacon and the vilification of foods like grains. Paleo “challenges” were all the rage, which led to a lot of 30-day restrictive diets followed by heavy binge eating on Day 31.
And so, despite over a decade of hard work & commitment to finding the best diet for my body, I found myself still trapped in that classic and self-debilitating cycle of diet, binge, diet, binge. Not only that, but at the end of the day, I was unhappy with the reflection staring back at me in the mirror.
Discovering Flexible Eating changed my entire outlook on nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle. Within the first year of practicing this method, I went from weighing 170 lbs. and eating 1,900 calories per day, to weighing 140 lbs. eating 3,000 calories per day.
I live a lifestyle that is guilt free, enjoyable, sustainable, and most importantly healthy for both the body and the mind. I no longer restrict my food intake and basically operate under the notion of “don’t eat like an asshole.” Meaning I enjoy my fun foods, but make sure I get plenty of whole foods in too.
Flexible Eating has changed my relationship with food to one that is both enjoyable and sensible. I know that this method can change the lives of countless people out there and I hope it does for you what it did for me.
Jason is currently a part of the CrossFit HQ seminar staff. As well as a Masters Degree in Psychology & 25 years coaching experience in the health & fitness industry, Jason has the following qualifications:
- Precision Nutrition L1 Certified
- CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
- CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
- CrossFit Trainer Certification (CF-L3)
- CrossFit Coach Certification (CF-L4)
- CrossFit HQ Trainer
- CrossFit Barbell
- CrossFit Endurance Running
- CrossFit Gymnastics
- CrossFit Kettlebell
- CrossFit Mobility
- CrossFit Nutrition
- CrossFit Rowing
- CrossFit Science
- CrossFit Strongman
- CrossFit Weightlifting
I have a long-standing passion for food. It started at the modest age of 3, when I easily demolished an adult-sized portion of spaghetti bolognese in about 5 minutes. As a child, I was every mother’s dream, I saw food and I ate it! But as I’ve aged and my taste buds have developed, I like to consider myself more of a foodie than a human garbage disposal unit! Despite my passion for food, I cannot claim to have always loved it. Like most women, my relationship with food has been tumultuous, fraught with emotions like anxiety, shame, guilt and frustration.
Until the age of 11 I was a typical skinny kid just like Jason. But then I hit puberty and struggled with my weight and body image from then on. So just a meager 20 years of my life!
My mother has always been an excellent cook but like most working moms she struggled to balance her career with spending time in the kitchen. Consequently, home cooked meals were often reserved for weekends and my sisters and I were left to fend for ourselves during the week. This was back in the 90s when ready meals were popular and nobody knew any better, so I would eat a lot of microwavable mac n’ cheese, shepherd’s pie & of course junk food – it’s true what they say about Pringles, once you pop you can’t stop!
My diet wasn’t completely terrible but it certainly wasn’t balanced.
I got away with eating this way for a few years because I was pretty active with after-school sports activities. Although I wasn’t overweight at first, I remember feeling self-conscious at swimming training, not understanding why my limbs were slim but my belly was holding fat. Then school got more demanding and like most teenage girls, I was struggling with my hormones. I rarely felt like doing sports anymore and had no clue about nutrition. I didn’t really realize I had put on weight until one day a friend called me “thunder thighs”. I had gotten chubby.
With my 5 ft frame, shopping became a nightmare. I would leave the store in tears, frustrated and confused when no jeans would fit me but they would easily fit my sister. I didn’t know what I needed to do and my mom didn’t really know how to help me either. I naturally assumed I was just eating too much.
Just before my 16th birthday, we went on a family vacation to Cuba. I was so consumed with self-loathing for my body at this time that I completely lost interest in food. I remember I even bowed out of a MacDonald’s breakfast at the airport, which had always been one of my favorite family vacation traditions. While I was on vacation experiencing these mixed emotions around food, I happened to suffer with a bad case of food poisoning. I returned home 2 weeks later, 16 lbs lighter and accustomed to eating less than 1,000 calories a day.
From that point on I found I could maintain my weight provided I restricted my calories or avoided “bad foods” – you know the kind; desserts, bread, pasta, french fries. Basically anything really delicious! It wasn’t easy and it certainly wasn’t fun but I had a lot of will-power and desperately wanted to be thin like my genetically fortunate friends.
College was tough. With excessive partying and vacations with my friends, I would gain and lose the same 10 lbs. over and over again. I was trapped in a vicious cycle. Every time I “slipped up” I would find it harder to get my body back to where I felt comfortable and “happy”. Despite trying to lead a healthy, active lifestyle, I resorted to replacing calories with cigarettes.
Eventually, I recognized my fitness was suffering and decided my health was more important to me. I would find an alternative ‘healthier’ distraction to food. I quit smoking cold turkey and replaced cigarettes with regular physical activity. I went to group exercise classes like spin & body pump and discovered a love for running. At this point I had learnt that limiting my calorie intake, avoiding “bad carbs” and exercising like a fiend, all helped me to maintain my ideal weight, but I still had no real knowledge about nutrition. I ate a lot of salads, fruits, cereal, crackers and very little protein.
After college I moved to the Cayman Islands. Living on a tiny island in the Caribbean I pretty much lived like I was on vacation! Needless to say, my lifestyle quickly caught up with me again and despite my usual running routine & other sporting activities, I easily gained my usual 10 lbs. and 5 more. To everyone else I may not have looked overweight but at 5 ft 1 and 120 lbs. I felt very unhappy. To help me lose weight and keep me motivated, I started signing up for every running event out there. I took part in 5Ks, 10Ks and half marathons. I lost a lot of weight and actually got pretty good at running, but my mindset was all wrong. I loved being active but I was addicted to exercise in an unhealthy way, often working out two or more times a day if I knew I was going to be indulging in some way.
Before I discovered flexible eating I had some successes with weight loss but never achieved a healthy, balanced diet. I followed strict elimination diets, Paleo and the Zone, vegetarianism and even experimented with a bodybuilding style diet that included tracking macros and eating small meals every 2-3 hours. At the end of the day, none of these diets were sustainable and I still suffered from tremendous guilt whenever I would occasionally indulge.
Flexible eating has changed my mindset entirely about food and exercise. I have learnt so much about health and nutrition as holistic concepts. I have radically improved my body composition, repaired my metabolism and healed my broken relationship with food. I went from eating 1150 calories a day to being able to consume 1800 calories a day in 8 months. Shopping for skinny jeans and yoga pants or going out to eat are no longer torturous activities. I finally feel a sense of ease in my body that I have not felt since I was a child.
Flexible eating worked for me and I believe it can work for every person out there. It’s never too late to heal your body and mind so you can enjoy life to its fullest.
- Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certified (2017)
- Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certified (2016)
- CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
- CrossFit Kids Trainer
- Yoga Instructor (Yoga Alliance 200 hours RYT)
- Certified Personal Trainer (NASM)
- TRX Group Suspension Training