Brooke Griffin had a seemingly perfect life. She was a former NFL Cheerleader and Fitness Universe Champion. Brooke and her husband just had their son, Easton, when her life fell apart. She had been a Christian but had wandered from her faith. She got divorced from her husband, lost her home and was suffering from depression and anxiety. She moved into her parent’s basement and out of desperation cried out to God for help. It was during this time that not only was her faith restored, but she started Skinny Mom, a website that gives people tips on healthy living with everything from recipes to workouts. She also recently wrote, Skinny Suppers, a cookbook, with quick, healthy recipes to inspire family and friends to gather around the dinner table. Risen caught up with Brooke to learn more.
Interviewed exclusively for Risen Magazine
1. Risen Magazine: When everything came crashing down, how did that experience draw you back into your relationship with God?
Brooke Griffin: I was in this place of brokenness. I felt like I had failed at everything. I was going through a divorce. I was a new mom and had gained 70 pounds. I moved back in with my parents and was really suffering from depression and anxiety. I had no idea what my future looked like. I remember crying out to God, “God if you are real I need you!” I am so thankful that His grace and mercy met me at that moment and radically changed my life from that point on. In the days and weeks that followed, I felt like I had hope and He had a future for me. I started making changes and overcame depression and anxiety and in the weeks that followed would start the career path that I am on today.
2. RM: What role does your faith play in running your company?
BG: It has a huge influence on how I run my company. I tell my team openly and often that God is my CEO. The Bible says, that He gives us wisdom. I really pray about the decisions I make. I pray about the team that I have and the people that are a part of the team. Now that I am in a leadership position, I try to lead with love and really try to love the community that we have grown through the website. I try to always think of what they would want us to share and be the resource for them. It has really helped shift everything from who I was and has had a huge influence on how I lead the company and what I want for the business in the future.
3. RM: You grew up in one of the poorest counties in the country. After your divorce, you didn’t have a job and were living in your parents’ basement. What words of encouragement do you have for single moms, or others, who are going through a tough period?
BG: Trust in God and trust that He has a plan for your life. Even if you are in your darkest place or questioning your financial situation and what your future looks like, He is not surprised by that. He knows what you are going through. I truly believe that if you trust in Him and trust His plan for your life, you will discover the bright future He has for you.
4. RM: Meals have the power to bring people together. What is your hope and inspiration for your cookbook?
BG: I grew up in the south and had the privilege of living next door to my granny. She would cook for my entire family. I can remember squeezing into her country kitchen and having this great meal and we would share memories with each other. We would have conversations and discussions about each other’s lives. I knew that when I was in the process of writing this cookbook I wanted my family and son to have a reason to get together; good food. I wanted to make sure we could share conversation and know what was going on in each other’s lives and pray for each other. I hope that is what this book does. Yes, you will have good meals, the recipes are delicious, but I hope that it encourages families to turn off the TV, and all the other electronics, and have a conversation and create memories.
5. RM: In a culture of eating disorders, obesity and being perfection-driven, what wisdom can you share?
BG: Before I found Christ, and being the Fitness Universe Champion and NFL cheerleader, this was something that was very prevalent in the industry. I think anytime that we put so much focus on our outside appearance we have the opportunity to lose focus on what is important. Those things [eating disorders and perfectionism] can come as a result of that. We need to have more of a focus on the inside and the reason why we are trying to be physically fit. I believe that each of our bodies is a temple and we should do it to glorify God and put Him first. By eating healthy it enables us to be healthy to do His work, which is what He has called us to do. It is also about balance. The philosophy and recipes I live by are not about fad diets or rapid weight loss. It is about each day making healthy decisions that eventually become a lifestyle.