We didn't pursue weight loss because we DIDN'T love ourselves - we made changes because we DID love ourselves. We wanted to take care of the one body we are given and what says self-love more than that?! Make no mistake about it - we've always been worthy. Now we're just strong, healthy, and confident, too! Low energy, serious health issues, and poor quality of life spurred changes in us. Sure, we lost weight. But we gained is so much more!
My early adult life was spent engaged in unhealthy behaviors - smoking a pack a day, living on fast food and energy drinks, zero exercise, and a few hours of sleep each night. When I became pregnant with my first child, I kicked a few of those habits but I continued two of them: a totally sedentary pregnancy with a diet that consisted of as much food as possible, primarily junk food. In that nine months, I gained a cool 65 pounds. I got a lot of unwarranted comments about my body, mainly not to worry "it's just baby weight, it will go away." Fast forward a few months postpartum and now I was a mom with a newborn and I was EXHAUSTED. Also, that weight did NOT fall off. In fact, I kept gaining. I remember walking into the grocery store with my newborn in tow. I was a few months postpartum and my weight was at an all-time high, while my energy was at an all-time low. Just a short walk into the grocery store and I had to find a bench to sit down. I was so out of shape, so out of breath, I could barely make it through the grocery store - all at the age of 24 years old. My joints ached and my mental health was suffering. I looked down at my newborn baby and I made a promise to him right then and there - that I would NOT continue down this path and that I would do whatever it took to be a good example for health, an active mother who could run and play and be the best version of myself.
I started small. Walks around the block. Each walk I went a little further. Then I moved a little faster. Eventually, I was ready to run and ran my first 5K pushing my now not-so-newborn in a stroller. Then, I added in strength training to my exercise routine. Mind you, I had never run or lifted weights in my life. I thought people who actually enjoyed exercise were crazy. Yet here I was, pushing myself, feeling strong, and having lots of energy. I even continued exercise through my second pregnancy, running and lifting weights up until the night before I went into labor!
Diet was a little tougher.
There's SO much information out there. I had watched friends and family start extreme diets, lose a lot of weight, only to put it back on and continue this yo-yo diet approach while they damaged their relationship with food and with their bodies. I didn't know what I was going to do, but I knew what I WOULD NOT do - that. Having a nearly completed degree in psychology, I knew behavior change through building habits was my best bet, so once again, I started small. Cooking more meals at home, adding in a serving of vegetables, choosing chicken instead of a burger, cutting my sugary soda amount in half, etc etc. I started to see changes, but it wasn't until I buckled down and decided to start logging my food that I really saw progress. At the time I started logging, I stumbled across macro counting/flexible dieting. In short, flexible dieting allows you to eat within a certain calorie range, hitting specific macronutrient targets, all while reaching your goals. The best part? NOTHING is off limits. No food, no drink, nothing. I knew right away this was the diet for me because let's face it - a life without pizza, cookies, and wine is NOT a life I want to live. The fact that I could gain muscle and lose body fat, all while eating my favorite foods seemed too good to be true. But oh, it wasn't!
I'm now 100 pounds down from my highest weight and in the best shape of my life. I've continued with flexible dieting for the last 5 years, maintaining my results and continuing to see progress. I am so passionate about what I learned through my experience that I went back to school to study Nutrition and in December 2019 I will graduate with a double major in Nutrition and Psychology, go onto fulfill a dietetic internship, and live out my dream of becoming a Registered Dietitian. Even more, I created a Mindful Macro approach to eating that combines flexible dieting with mindful eating to create enjoyable, lasting results. I have coached over 100 women now, helping them build healthier habits into their lives by adopting a mindful macro diet approach that helps them break the fad diet cycle for good. I help women reach their weight loss goals and improve their overall health by improving their relationship with their bodies and with food! I'm on a mission to show busy women they CAN have it all - the body, the energy, the mental and physical health, AND they don't have to sacrifice their social lives or give up the foods they love to do it!
No Excuse Moms is a group of 65k women all of the world who have committed to the mantra "health starts at home." NEM was the first group I joined on my journey to health and it continued to be a source of encouragement for me throughout the years. I am honored to give back and now serve as a leader as a No Excuse Mom Nutrition Pro and we would love for you to join our movement!
All my life I struggled with weight and food and exercise. I was NOT an active child or adult. I loved to eat mainly cheesy, fried, carby foods washed down with good ol' Coca-Cola! LOTS of it! I kept my weight fairly stable until I hit my 20s and that is when it all went off the rails. In my thirties I lost 100 pounds with diet and exercise and kept them off for many years, but when well-meaning doctor thought the answer to my peri-menopausal issues was a cocktail of antidepressants, I was back where I started...and worse. At 275 pounds, I was ALWAYS sick. Headaches, stomach issues, joint pain, etc. But when I received the diagnosis of diverticulitis and faced a major surgery requiring the removal of several inches of my colon, I was terrified. Even worse were the words from my surgeon at my check up...change or he would continue carving me up inches at time until all I would left with would be a colostomy bag. A BIG NO from me!
I had watched my daughter Hilary successfully navigate the pitfalls of fad diets by avoiding them completely! I was the queen of them! If there was a fad diet, I'd tried it! And failed. So, why not give her way a try, I thought. She was patient and explained macros to me in a way I could understand. She helped me look at it like a puzzle. I dropped about 30 pounds. I was happy with the results but knew I needed to add exercise. It wasn't until my grandson flooded his house by flushing a broken toilet that I got my exercise in check. I was teaching at the time. I had my two prep periods at the end of the day, so my principal allowed me to go home early. When I arrived, Hilary looked at the clock and at me and then back at the clock. She asked if this was when I always got home. I said it was. She questioned how I was going to spend the rest of the day and I said watching television, eating dinner, more television, and then bed. She told me to go get my walking shoes on so we could go for a walk. Reluctantly, I did it and I'm telling you...I was in PAIN. But I finished the walk and even though I was in wicked pain, I walked the next and every day after that. Two months later, I joined a gym and began working with my trainer. In April, he and I will have been together for three years! I also began Zumba, yoga, Pilates, etc. I settled on Zumba as my exercise of choice. I have done over 20 5Ks (and have several scheduled for the fall/winter) and one 10K, completed Zumba certification, and so much more!
All of this was accomplished without giving up a single thing I like. I eat pizza, Mexican food, chocolate, and homemade bread. I drink wine, vodka, bourbon, and mimosas. I have given up NOTHING! I refer to workouts as appointments with myself and I refuse to break them! They may be the most important appointments I've ever had! At the age of 63, I'm healthier and happier than I've ever been! I cannot imagine going back to the sad, anxious woman who slept 12-15 hours at night and woke up saying, "I'm exhausted!" In fact, I won't allow myself to go there because where I am today is SO MUCH BETTER!