Yes, that’s me. In a bikini. For the first time ever! When I started the 60-Day Challenge, I was an overweight mom battling depression and poor eating habits — struggling to nurse my infant who was diagnosed with a dairy allergy. I was in survival mode. I had to eliminate dairy to continue nursing my daughter, but found myself indulging in sugary dairy-free snacks. Once I discovered that Oreo cookies and Pop-Tarts were dairy-free, I started adding them to my weekly shopping list.
I indulged out of habit. I was so out of shape and overweight that I was neglecting my duties as a mom. I rarely sat on the floor to play, and found every excuse not to be active with my 3 daughters. When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t see myself. My body experienced a 60-lb weight gain and loss 3 times in 4 years. From 3 pregnancies and yo-yo dieting. My body was beat up and had the battle wounds to prove it.
I’ve always felt overweight. My first “I’m embarrassed that I’m fat” memory being wearing a T-shirt over my suit at a pool party in the 2nd grade. I was 8 years old. I knew I looked different than the other girls in my class, and continued to claim the fat-girl title until high school.
Even with increased activity throughout school and maintaining a somewhat toned body, I never felt comfortable with my body. Childhood obesity is something I care greatly about, because I lived it. Over the past 30 years, childhood obesity has tripled, and today, nearly 1 in 3 children are overweight or obese. As a mother, these numbers are scary and frustrating. I do not want my girls to live through the embarrassing and unhealthy struggle of being overweight or obese. This Challenge isn’t just for me, it’s for them.
Starting the Challenge, I was at my heaviest weight of 193 lbs. I could feel my body and brain pleading with me to stop poisoning myself with junk food. I knew I needed a change, and the motivation to maintain that change. I met with PT Manager Joe W. and he said something that I will keep with me forever: “You need to hold yourself accountable.”
Here I was, making every excuse possible to not make healthy choices. I knew that if I didn’t make a change then, things would just go downhill. I need to be the one responsible for my life. My goal is to redefine myself: I no longer want to be the stereotypical run-down mom. I want to be healthy and happy.
I immediately dove into the Challenge. I met with Dietitian Meredith P., who reviewed my food journal and offered healthy recipes and dairy-free alternatives. I attended every Try-It Tuesday event. I regularly attended 5:30am Barbell Strength, C9, TCX and Pilates classes. I started to look forward to weekly weigh-ins.
My diet history has revolved around big events like weddings and vacations. Although I saw results from eating healthy and regularly working out, my goals have always been short term. After my wedding, I quickly gained back 20 lbs. I lost focus because I had already met my goals. I stopped working out and reverted back to my old eating habits.
With the 60-Day Challenge, I focused on eating healthy as my priority. I chose vegetables over processed snacks. I kept my portions small. I rarely ate carbs, and never indulged in sweets. I refused soda, chips and fried foods. I stopped snacking off my kids’ plates, and instead focused on my own meal.
I was a woman on a mission and didn’t let myself get tempted. I felt my body responding and it made me feel better. More focused and determined. I made weekly goals for myself. I would wake up in the morning and be excited to go weigh myself. I started loving the person I was seeing in the mirror.
I feel fresh, motivated and in shape. I completed a Sprint Triathlon and ran 5K races. I make healthy meals for my family. I am active with my kids. Not only did I buy smaller clothes, I also look and feel amazing in them!
Memorable highlights of the past 60 days include running an entire 5K, weighing less than my husband, only needing one towel around my body in the locker room, being cheered on by my daughter in the stroller, and the 20-mile bike ride with my dad and sister.
However, the biggest highlight of this Challenge is that I am now at my wedding weight. I never thought that in 60 days I could lose 40 lbs. and be able to fit into my wedding dress while caring for 3 kids. I am so proud of myself!
This Challenge has taught me that I must be accountable to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I will continue to meal plan, schedule gym time, and emphasize healthy choices. I will continually set short-term goals, while always keeping the long-term goal of teaching my daughters how to live long, healthy lives.
I must teach them what it took me 33 years to learn: food can either nourish your body or destroy it. Once you are accountable for your body, you will learn to respect the foods that go into it.