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I am a former two-sport collegiate athlete, working mom of three over-scheduled kids, lover of all things sports who could no longer keep up with her kids.  As a mother I put myself last both mentally and physically…eating off the kids plates, never sitting down to eat a meal with vegetables, a glass of wine or two at the end of the day just to feel a little whole…fast food was the family’s bestie.

I always made excuses…one more email/teleconference, the house is a mess, kids have to be run to practice/games, I just need 15 minutes to get something else done. I was always thinking there wasn’t any time for me.  After tipping the scales at the heaviest I have ever been and not being able to play soccer at the park without resting every 5 minutes, I thought – enough was enough!  This is my story.

I needed to get myself back, I needed to feel strong and healthy both mentally and physically.  I needed to once and for all make time for me! There was a collegiate athlete still inside this body and mind of mine, I just needed to find her under all of the excuses and ‘fluffy’ exterior.

One thing I know about myself  is I need motivation and to be held accountable in order to be successful at anything I attempt.  Accountability is what this challenge group brought and motivation is what we received every day whether is was a text message, a quick acknowledgement during our workout and the progress photos showing our transformation, big or small.  I am a person who thrives on structure and process and I knew that this program provided both with the flexibility a working parent requires!  It was a recipe for success in my book.   This is why I chose FYTE’s 8-Week Fitness Challenge.

Every beginning has some trepidation…we all ask ourselves… Can I do this?  Will the other ladies judge?  What if I can’t keep up?  These are all negative thoughts that need to be pushed aside ASAP!  None of these negative feelings happened…the support within the group was outstanding…there were days and weeks I was in my own head telling myself I wasn’t cut out for this, I am not seeing the same results as others…but what I learned is that I had to do it at my own pace and for my own reasons.

You don’t know why the other ladies are in the group. Everyone has their own reasons and are on their own journeys.  Someone once said, “Don’t let your FEAR, stop you from moving forward.”  And all of these negative thoughts and feelings were my FEAR talking!  What was I so afraid of?  Getting stronger, toning up, losing weight, feeling mentally stronger?  I was certifiably crazy!  It was a FEAR OF FAILURE…but after the 8-weeks it was nothing but success!

My nutrition has improved tremendously…I haven’t had McDonald’s or any fast food in 8-weeks. I am craving salad and Greek yogurt and I am enjoying new foods, healthy foods.  I still drink Coke Zero everyday and have an occasional treat…but the craving for fried foods and sweets have diminished considerable.  My entire family is eating better and feeling better and quite honestly, everyone is in a better mood.

You don’t have to sacrifice your need to enjoy amazing food, you just have to make choices that are important to you.  I still enjoy a glass of wine…but I know in order to enjoy it, I need to plan for it!   My favorite quote: “If it fits in my Macros, I am eating it!”.

I lost 16.5 pounds, 3 inches off my chest, 3 inches off my waist, 2 inches off my hips and 1 ½ inches off each thigh!  I feel stronger, happier and healthier.  Mentally I am putting myself first as I have  a renewed spirit.  I am a better person, better Mom and better partner because of this journey.  It’s OK to tell your kids, I will take you after I go to the gym, I promise.  They will respect you more and what a role model I am for my kids by showing that taking time for yourself is OK.

I would tell the next mom or woman, who thinks there isn’t time or strength training isn’t for them…that is your fear talking!  Get over it…you’ll love yourself more!

-Stephanie