I’ve never been athletic. Phy Ed was the class I dreaded going to. I was blessed with a long lean body and fabulous metabolism. My mom prepared plenty of home cooked meals, but we also had plenty of processed food. It was a “normal” diet as that’s what everyone in my circle was eating.
I had my first child at the age of 25. Even though I gained nearly 50 pounds during the pregnancy, I lost it within the next few months. I maintained at 130 pounds and gained 30 pounds with my second child at the age of 28. And then, the battle for those last ten pounds began. With two kids and a full-time job there was no room for exercise let alone cooking a meal that didn’t contain at least one processed item.
Over the years I purchased the latest exercise equipment, the quick fix diet pills and plans, the latest videos. Many times I would lose the weight, but then it would creep back on and then some.
Memorial Day weekend 2012, two weeks before my 47th birthday, I decided I had enough. I was nearly 50 pounds overweight, my belly sat in my lap, no strength, no energy and I would get winded on a flight of stairs. I set a personal goal: To be in the best shape of my life by my 50th birthday. I’m hoping to have grandchildren someday and I want to be an active Grandma that can keep up with her grandchildren.
While surfing the net, an ad flashed on the screen with a picture of a woman holding out her jeans showing how much weight she had lost. I clicked on the ad and was taken to the Fit Mom’s for Life program. It was very intriguing as I had not seen a program that offered so much for Mom’s in the different stages of motherhood. And who was this good looking young man and why did he want to help me get into better health? I loved that he was located in the city I worked in. It made him real and trustworthy. No pills. Just honest to goodness commitment to exercise and clean eating. I ordered the DVD series. 12 DVDs for the next year and used them from the privacy of my own basement. When they arrived I started getting up earlier in the morning. You have to understand that I am NOT a morning person. This was definitely a challenge especially on those dark, cold winter mornings. I watched the nutritionist piece at the end of the first DVD and visited Tracie’s website. My sister and I went to her Nutrition 101 class. The awesome things we learned! I immediately started cleaning out my pantry and changing up my grocery list. There were very sad faces when I announced I would no longer be purchasing Poptarts. Guess what? Everyone is still living without Poptarts!
When they say 80% of your success is diet over exercise, they are speaking the truth. Start with your diet. Keep a food journal to teach yourself the macro’s of the food you are choosing. There are great on-line food journals that make this easy. Plan, plan, plan! Cook more chicken breasts than you will need for dinner so you have them for your salads. Make a big batch of steel-cut oats and portion it out for the week. I packed my lunch bucket with everything I planned to consume during the day and logged it immediately. I would then see how much room was left for the dinner I had planned. I could then adjust what was in my lunch pail to stay within my protein, fat and calorie goal. Over the course of a short couple of weeks I learned so much about food. My typical day is a protein smoothie for the commute into work. A couple of hours after I’m at work, I have breakfast (2 eggs -hardboiled or scrambled in the micro, steel cut oats with almond milk and fruit, or a cup of greek yogurt with fruit). For lunch I have a salad. Mixed greens, a protein (usually chicken or salmon), fresh veges and a drizzling of homemade dressing. I have two favorites: Lime juice, minced garlic, pepper and olive oil or stone ground mustard and local honey. My afternoon snack is typically a piece of fruit with 12 almonds, or greek yogurt with cinnamon. My husband does not like many vegetables and the ones he likes are starchy, so I’ve learned to cook one he will eat and cook one for me for dinner. If you’ve never roasted vegetables, I highly recommend it. So flavorful with a bit of olive oil and your favorite seasoning. I chose lean proteins and we grill a lot. One food challenge I did was a two week raw food challenge. I was determined to give two weeks of my life to the program and be really brave and try the vegetables I had never tried before. It was an amazing experience. They were some I didn’t like and some I needed to acquire a taste for, but what an accomplishment to not eat one piece of cooked food for two weeks. The result was I discovered vegetables I would have never otherwise tried. I absolutely love beets now. I find myself asking what the fresh vege of the day is when we go out for dinner. So many amazing flavors when you train your taste buds to crave good clean foods.
I did fairly well sticking to a 5-6 morning a week workout. I would do the strength training one day and then the cardio and core the next. It didn’t take very long before I was putting aside the 5 and 10 pounds weights for 15’s and 20’s. I now own 25’s and 30’s as well. There were definitely periods of time where life interrupted and I got out of the daily habit, but I was feeling so good and losing weight and inches that I was encouraged to get back at it. I also set a goal to run in a 5K mud run eight months after starting the DVDs. I needed something out there that would keep me motivated. Remember how I said I’m not athletic? When I first started running, I couldn’t even run a block. How in the world would I run a 5K, in the mud, with obstacles. Each time I ran on our farm, I would pick a spot and will myself to run to it. I did that first mud run. Walked part of it, but completed it and it felt great. And I got to meet Dustin in person at that race. There have been a few more mud runs since and I can now run a full 5K without walking. What I discovered was the DVD workouts contributed to my running endurance more so than the once a week run I would do. Strengthen the body and everything improves.
It wasn’t easy. There were many moments of wondering if it was worth it. But I can tell you, it was worth it. Even when I just didn’t want to do one more rep, it was worth it. I’m very proud of the fact I made my goal when I turned 50 this past June. Thirty-five pounds lost. Four dress sizes gone. The best was when I was hauling heavy buckets with my husband and he said, “You’ve got guns!”
My journey is not done. The difference between this time and all the other times is I made a life style change. I made my mind up that it was going to be hard work as I no longer have fabulous metabolism. I gave myself a realistic timeline to work towards my goal. I will not go back to eating the way I used too. My grocery cart is filled with fresh food. When I skip a day or three of exercising, I miss it. I’m told I look younger and honestly I feel many years younger. I truly believe I’ve entered my best decade yet.
You are never too old to take charge of your health and care for the one and only body the Good Lord gave you. Don’t expect a quick fix. Just start and take it one step at a time and one short-term goal at a time. Be that role model for your family. Be that physically fit, healthy Grandma so your grandchildren can make memories with you for many years to come.
Thank you, Kris, for sharing your inspiring story with us! You’ve worked so hard and I am thrilled that we are able to partner with you on your journey.
If you’d like to improve your health, eat better, move your body and live a more quality-filled life, please join the thousands of women (and men) who have joined the 6 Week Challenge. We’ve continued to make improvements to the program since Kris started and now everything (menus, recipes, videos, workouts and more) is available online but we still have hard copies of everything if that’s your preference. More information can be found here or email me with any questions and I or one of my staff will respond.