How I Got Into The Best Shape of My Life 1

I was at the Arizona MVD, nervously approaching the counter, driver’s license application in hand, thinking there had to be some mistake. They want to know my weight? I politely asked the clerk about the little box awaiting my answer, and suggested that since Pennsylvania, where I’m originally from, didn’t require a weight on my license so I shouldn’t have to divulge that information just to be a driver here. The lady looked at me kindly, but firmly responded, “Weight is required for our licenses.” Feeling witty, I asked her, “Does it have to be true?” She caught me off guard and responded, “No.” I returned to my seat and scribbled in that final answer: 145 (shaving off at least 40 pounds) and smugly went up to get my picture taken and my license printed. This was over 10 years ago.

For so much of my adult life I was considered obese, and on some charts I was labeled morbidly obese. Yes, I was overweight but I never felt like I was obese, and I was offended when I was placed into that category. I “carried my weight well,” or so I was told by many family members and friends. They were shocked when I would tell them the actual number on the scale. Perhaps they were being polite, but it wasn’t until I saw some pictures of myself that I realized how much my weight had gotten off track.

For years, I battled. I tried this diet and that, having some success and then going right back to where I started. My husband was supportive through it all, but he didn’t understand because he has never had this same struggle. It wasn’t until I became a mother almost five years ago that I really made a change. I was determined to live a healthier lifestyle. When searching for a solution for my exercise needs, I found Stroller Strides and mentioned it to my husband. The next thing I knew, he had signed me up to start the very next day, and I remember feeling so angry at him. I didn’t know if I was ready to take a big leap out of my comfort zone.

Hesitantly, I went to that Monday morning class and absolutely fell in love with the program. I bought my membership that day and went religiously five days a week, with my daughter in tow, and exercised with a diverse group of moms. I had some success at slimming down but realized that if I wanted bigger results, I had to make additonal changes.

With the help of my husband, we radically changed how and what we ate. We started eating clean by cutting out as much processed foods and sugar as possible. This is when the magic happened. In one calendar year, I lost 90 pounds! I hadn’t gotten my body back—instead, I uncovered an even better body than I had before. After I had a second child, my son, I was determined to get right back into shape. It took constant commitment but I did it a second time and have been maintaining for about a year now.

If you want to lose weight and get in shape, there’s no magic pill or quick fix. It comes down to the timeless methods of diet and exercise. I think what helped was that I was finally ready to make the changes necessary. I stopped making excuses and blaming food and my emotions. I stopped being defensive about my weight and insecurities. I finally accepted that I had the power to overcome my struggles, if I was ready to put in the work. For me, that means removing all added sugars, processed foods and a lot of dairy. I also make it a point to work out at least five days a week.

My transformation not only changed my physical appearance, but also the trajectory of my life. Last year I became a fitness instructor, helping other women on their fitness journeys. I never would have imagined this would be in my future, but it is truly my passion and I am so thankful to play a part in inspiring others to make the change to living a healthier life.

I feel great in my skin now. I am lean and strong, and that’s what really matters.