I must admit moms that the timing of this Motivating Mom post could not be better! Meet Andrea, fabulous mother of 2, who has resolved to live a healthier life. Not only is she our featured mom this week, but she also won the FIT4MOM Fit4Fall Challenge. I feel like I know this lovely lady, because she posted pictures of every workout, most meals and all of the runs she did with her mom. Read on about this amazing Mom who decided she wanted to get healthy for her family!
**Tell us about yourself**
I’m a 28yr old SAHM with two awesome little boys who are 1 & 4 yrs old. I found out about Stroller Strides while my friend and I were walking around a local lake. We kept seeing this group of moms walking around with their strollers working out and we wanted to know what they were up too. A few weeks later I found a Groupon for Stroller Strides and we decided to give it a try, we started working out with the mama’s at Fit4Mom Santa Rosa in April and the rest is history.
**Share where you are in your fitness journey**
So far I’ve lost 16 pounds in 7 months. The first picture was taken the first day of Stroller Strides in April 2013. The picture of my mom and me running the ½ marathon was Oct 2013. The last picture is before Stroller Strides in Nov 2013. More important then the weight I’ve lost is the strength I’ve gained. I feel so much happier and positive everyday. It has definitely improved my outlook.
**What motivated you to make a change?**
My family was the greatest motivation to make a change in my overall health. My husband and I are both fans of comfort food and worked so much that exercise was never a top priority; it was always something we wanted to do, and we knew we should do, but never got around to it. When we had our first baby we told each other now was the time to start living healthier lives. We wanted to be good models for our kids but it still took us awhile to figure out what the met to us and get started. When our son turned 3 he started noticing that he was eating really healthy but my husband and I ate a lot of the foods we told him were unhealthy and didn’t have what he needed to grow big and strong. We realized that we couldn’t keep preaching about being healthy, it needed to be our priority to eat the way we wanted our kids to eat and find the time to exercise. My husband and I decided that our family goal for 2013 was going to be to eat healthier and exercise more, a daunting task that we didn’t have a real plan for but it was time to stop talking about it and start doing it.
**Here is the question our moms are dying to know the answer to: What are you doing to get/stay so healthy!?**
We started our mission to be healthy slowly. First, I started with a meal plan, no more eating out, last minute unhealthy meals, or over processed frozen foods (don’t get me wrong, these things still happen just much less frequently). My husband picked 3 days a week to go to the gym and incorporated it into his daily routine. I wanted to exercise too but with a new baby and a preschooler it was hard to be disciplined about it. Luckily I have a great friend who was happy to go on walks with me and gave me some accountability. When I found out about Stroller Strides I couldn’t wait to try it out. It was exactly what I needed, I could bring my baby & my preschooler, if he was out of school, I was with other moms that weren’t there to judge my fitness level, and it felt great to be really exercising again. When I joined Stroller Strides I also started running with my mom one day a week. My mom is a marathon runner and was always looking for running partners. She was really excited when I told her I wanted to run with her. It was so hard initially, I wanted to die after I finished my first mile but I kept going to Stroller Strides and every Sunday when we would run it would get a little easier. Seven months later, a week before my baby’s first birthday, I finished my first ½ marathon. I can’t even put into words the feeling I had when I crossed that finish line. It was amazing. My routine now is 3 to 4 days a week at Stroller Strides and running 2-3 times a week, I make sure I take one day of rest and I never miss a Sunday run with my mom, who happens to be my biggest cheerleader.
**It can be SO HARD to find “me” time when you are taking care of your family, how were you able to make these healthy changes and stick to them while still doing all of you other day to day duties?**
Initially it was really hard to find the “me” time, to write the meal plans and get myself together to workout but now it has all become habit, it’s just our daily lives instead of a special event we have to plan around. When we started eating healthier and exercising regularly I felt so much better physically and mentally I wanted to keep going. I wanted to keep making improvements & I wanted to exercise more. I felt sluggish on the days I didn’t workout, I was shorter with my kids & husband, and I just didn’t feel as happy. There are still days I would rather pull the covers over my head and stay in bed for 15 minutes but I know I’ll feel yucky for the rest of the day or if I miss Stroller Strides I’ll have to run around the neighborhood which isn’t nearly as fun as going to class and seeing my friends! We also made the changes very slowly, which I has helped make them lifestyle changes instead of a diet we might have given up on. We are slowly moving towards a paleo diary diet and I’m learning how to cook without grains and processed sugars. My family is finding that I can still make the meals they love and embracing our healthier eating habits.
**How do feel now? How has this changed your life?**
I feel great! I’m happier, more motivated, and I’m a better mom & wife. I can’t believe that deciding to exercise and eat better has really improved all the other aspects of my life. I’ve even decided to go back to school in January and finish my degree. I feel empowered and confident that I can tackle things that seemed daunting before.
**What are you most proud of? Or list your happiest moment.**
It’s funny, it seems like my proudest moment would be when I finished the ½ marathon, but my proudest moment was about 6 weeks after I started Stroller Strides. I was chasing my son around at gymnastics playing tag, after playing for while I realized I was running and not getting winded, I didn’t have to be embarrassed in front of the other parents anymore that I was huffing and puffing trying to keep up with a 3yr old. That was a happy day; I knew all these changes were paying off.
**What advice do you have for other moms who want to get healthy?**
Pick a day and get started! I have to recommit to a healthier lifestyle every day. We have definitely had set backs along the way but we acknowledge them and move on. Making changes slowly has made this a more successful and permanent change for us. If I had thrown out all of our food in January and been really strict about everything we would’ve failed the first week. I also still eat the foods I love, I just eat less of them, or I find a way to prepare them healthier. One of our favorite Fall treats is pumpkin bread. This year I made paelo pumpkin muffins instead and they were delicious! My husband and I are also in this together and support each other by taking turns with the kids so we can both workout. On the weekends he’ll take out preschooler on a bike ride while I go to Stroller Strides with our 1 yr old, etc.
*If you want to share your story, please email Hillary@fit4mom.com*