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Perpetually exhausted, I could barely stand to look at my own reflection.
In the midst of a failing marriage, I was suffering from postpartum depression and 50 pounds overweight. Before I became pregnant, I weighed just 115 pounds. And I put enormous pressure on myself to be perfect.
I’d go to the gym at 6:30 A.M. every morning, throw in an evening spin class for good measure, eat clean six days a week, and then binge on my “cheat day.” If I ate something unhealthy on my clean-eating days, I’d throw it back up and chug a protein shake instead. I ate low-cal, sugar-free foods and obsessed over what I looked like in the mirror.
But after I became pregnant, I let myself go.
I figured people couldn’t judge me for piling on the pounds anymore, so I stopped watching what I ate. I quit exercising completely, and would binge on greasy junk food instead: french fries and burgers and pasta and ice cream, you name it. I ate all sorts of shit that I wouldn’t have otherwise.
Little did I know how the choices I made then would impact me, my marriage, and my ability to be the best mom I could be in the future.
Two weeks after I gave birth to my daughter, I STILL weighed around 160 pounds. At 5’3”, that was a lot. On top of that, I felt like a terrible mother; I never had any energy, thanks to all the crap I was eating.
One night, as I held my screaming baby in my arms, I broke down. All I could think about was how much I wanted my old life back (and my old body, for that matter).
And so I tried. I tried everything in my power to shift the weight. I clocked countless hours of cardio, I cut out carbs completely, and I tried every fad diet going. I lost some weight . . . but I still didn’t feel good. Instead I felt deprived, and I constantly craved the foods I’d obliterated from my diet. Not to mention the fact that I STILL hated what I saw in the mirror.
To cut a long story short : I felt like a failure.
So I set out on a mission : a mission to research and rethink everything I knew about health and wellness.
When my daughter turned one in 2004, I went back to school to become a nutritionist. Educating myself on health and nutrition was a game changer for me. It gave me my POWER back. I finally felt in control of what I ate and how I felt. And food didn’t control me anymore.
In 2008, I opened two weight-loss clinics. As a single mom with 10 employees, working 12-14 hours a day, I quickly found myself grappling a huge amount of stress. I had ZERO time, but still managed to squeeze in hour-long workouts 5-6 times a week. I adored how physically strong, confident and balanced exercise made me feel, and giving it up wasn’t an option for me.
The real test of this new lifestyle came when I became pregnant with my second daughter in 2011.
I was scared,
but there was nothing else for it . . . I continued to do what I knew how to do : I ate exactly the same, or a little more when I needed to, and I listened to my body. Despite having awful morning sickness—and no energy for the first 12 weeks—I was determined to keep exercising. I hired a personal trainer (and mom to four kids of her own) to kick my butt into shape twice a week by applying High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) principles.
Now I could get more done in less time, plus I felt better as a result.
I was focused on being the best version of ME so I could be the best Mom to my two girls.
Instead, I focused on becoming healthy.
As a result, I felt healthy and strong.
Instead of binging on junk food, I felt energized. I was even craving KALE (I shit you not).
I gained just under 30 pounds and gave birth to a healthy baby girl. And, within a few weeks of giving birth, I’d dropped most of that weight.
Since then, I’ve really come into my own. I’m a better person and a better mother. Eating right and moving my body has become easier and easier as the years have gone by.