I was listening to a sermon this morning, and it really hit home in my heart. It talked about how even after we accept Jesus into our hearts, often times we struggle to accept grace. We know that our sins have been forgiven, but when we continue to struggle and fall back into our own ways, we’re filled with incredible amounts of guilt.
I can totally relate. For example, when I’m with my kids and it gets crazy and no one’s listening and I raise my voice a little (okay, a lot)? I feel so guilty about it, and in that moment I feel like the worst mom in the world. Instead of remembering that His grace is enough, I tell myself that I’m not as good as other moms. Surely they don’t mess up as much as me.
Oh how I want my DEFAULT to be remembering that His grace NEVER runs out.
As an online health and fitness coach, my mind often goes to my physical journey and the journeys that my clients are on because there are so many parallels.
There’s a cycle that I constantly see in the lives of many of my boot campers. They sign up for an online boot camp and are super pumped up. They are full of motivation, they purchase the materials needed, game plan, and CRUSH the first couple of days, sometimes even the first entire week or two! Then reality sets in. Maybe they didn’t get much sleep the night before so they miss a workout, or a co-worker brings dessert into the office and they give in to temptation. And just like that, GUILT sets in. The momentum and excitement they had in the beginning starts to diminish, and they fall into a slippery slope, back into their old ways, and jump off the bandwagon.
See, I think what we often times forget, is that God’s grace NEVER runs out. Not even in our fitness journey! We let the guilt of making a few wrong decisions paralyze us from jumping back on the bandwagon. For whatever reason, the ways we talk to ourselves when we make poor eating decisions or choose the couch instead of a workout really penetrate to our core.
The truth is, just like in life, NO ONE is perfect in their healthy living journey! We live in a culture where we look at magazine models and think that surely they must be stronger and more disciplined than us, but I promise you, EVERY person struggles now and again.
The difference between my boot campers who succeed and reach their goals and the ones who struggle, is that they self correct faster. They fall down, but they get right back up again and keep fighting. They also are HONEST about their struggles! They lean on the other women in the group for support!
Today, I want to introduce you to some of these women in my life who inspire me DAILY to keep fighting. These women are truly MORE THAN CONQUERORS.
As Lysa Terkeurst says in her book Made To Crave, “We were made for more than being stuck in a vicious cycle of defeat. We are not made to be a victim of our poor choices. We are made to be victorious children of God.”
These women have truly embodied that truth and live it out day after day. Again, they aren’t perfect, but they are constantly focused on making baby steps of progress! If you are struggling today in your own healthy living journey, my prayer is that these women would inspire you to keep fighting the GOOD fight!
(Info at the end about how to start YOUR healthy living journey!)
Mattie Hansen – Champlin, MN
Mattie is a married mom of two who works part time outside the home in marketing and design. For as long as she could remember, Mattie has struggled with her weight. As a kid she did her best to avoid gym class and as an adult she wasted money on gym memberships she’d never use. She got used to putting everyone and everything before herself and putting her own health on the back burner. After baby #2 was born she found herself over 200lbs. Mattie knew she needed to do something. Years of yo-yo diets weren’t working and nothing kept her on track or accountable.
In came the 21 day fix in January 2016 and she hasn’t looked back since. In the first 4 rounds of boot camp, she lost over 30lbs. In the last year she’s lost over 60. Gone is the woman who hated the gym and in place is someone who’s happier, healthier and more confident than ever. She’s learned that you don’t have to live a life uncomfortable in your own skin. That life is too short to huff and puff up the stairs. Even the kid that avoided gym can become the woman in her thirties in the best shape of her life!
If you’re interested in following her story further you can find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/empoweredyouhealthandwellness and Instagram at www.instagram.com/mattieattie!
Angela Lahti – Duluth, MN
Angela is wife and a mom to 4 young boys and she LOVES being a mom. Growing up she had always been active in sports and therefore, never worried too much about what foods she was eating. Yet even so, she was always self-conscious about her weight. As they grew their family, life got even busier and much more full. She spent as much time as possible with her boys and exercise started taking a backseat. She found it hard to go to the gym and arrange for a babysitter and even when she had someone, she felt too guilty leaving the kids to go workout. It felt selfish and she didn’t want to leave the kids after already having been gone at work all day. So the workouts didn’t get done. Cooking became a struggle as well. She never liked cooking so she didn’t meal plan. It was quicker to make something quick like pasta or pizza. When exercise was in the equation it didn’t seem affect her too much but when exercise wasn’t happening, it made a huge difference and her weight started increasing. Angela also struggled with a sweet tooth so each day chocolate, sweets, and flavored coffees entered her diet. So when she got pregnant with their 4th sweet baby boy, she was the heaviest she had ever been and then proceeded to gain another 45 pounds that pregnancy. She knew when the baby was born she was going to have to make some changes as she was tired of feeling sluggish, heavy, and frustrated with her clothes not fitting.
Then she stumbled across the 21 Day Fix and Shakeology. She started at 3 months postpartum, in February of 2016, with the 21-day fix and over the next few months she lost 60 pounds by incorporating 30 minute workouts, eating whole foods with portion control, and drinking Shakeology and checking in with her accountability group.
She realized that it wasn’t selfish to take time for herself to exercise.
It not only wasn’t selfish– it immensely benefited her entire family!!
By taking time to exercise, she felt so much better and was able to give MORE of herself to her family. Shakeology gave her the energy she needed and within days of starting her program she already noticed results happening. She found a LIFESTYLE that was sustainable and improved the health of not only her but her boys too. She now includes them in the kitchen preparing meals and they are all developing a love for cooking. You can often find one or more of the boys sitting up on the counter helping her cook. And she also lets them see her exercising and they often join in. They are learning exercise is a GOOD thing and healthy eating is enjoyable! After 4 babies, she feels more comfortable in her own skin now than she ever has!
Angela wants to continue to keep up with her 4 busy boys! She is looking forward to splashing with them in the lake this summer and playing in the sand on the beach. Previous years she would be the spectator if there were other people around. THIS year, she will be right there with them MAKING memories together instead of just watching. She wants EVERY mom to feel the same way!
Kids are only young once. They only get one childhood. They don’t care how their mom looked, they just want their mom to spend time with them. And Angela wants you to also feel healthy and happy and confident enough to enjoy every single moment, no matter where you are.
Angela works part time as a Radiologic Technologist and also works from home to help women also create a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. She knows it is so important to take a small amount of time out of the day to take of ourselves so we can better take care of our loved ones.
If you are interested in following her story and see how to build a healthy lifestyle and include your children too you can find her on Instagram at www.instagram.com/fitandstrongboymom or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fitandstrongboymom or you can always email her as well at email@example.com.
Amanda Barrett – Arbuckle, CA
Amanda is a former teacher turned stay at home mom. All she ever dreamed of was being able to stay home with her kiddos and she loved being home with them. However, she found herself exhausted halfway through the day and wishing her kiddos would nap so that she could too. She needed something for herself and when she stumbled across 21 day fix she decided to go all in.
Less than 21 days in she found the energy she’d been missing, an amazing community of women and a healthier lifestyle for herself and her family.
When she got pregnant with her 3rd baby there was no way she was giving up her new lifestyle. She was able to workout through her entire pregnancy and jump back into fitness shortly after the birth of her 3rd baby.
She’s loving living a healthy lifestyle for herself and her family and loves sharing her journey with other moms.
If you’re interested in following her story you can find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/amandabarrettfitness
and Instagram at www.instagram.com/amandalbarrett85
Jessica Ralston – San Jose, CA
This is Jessica, a busy homeschooling momma of five kids who works part time as a math tutor. Having five kids within six years left her feeling desperate for a better way to stay healthy and active. She knew she needed to take better care of herself, her husband and her family but felt too overwhelmed to brainstorm a solution. She started her weight loss journey on her own in April of 2016, but struggled with finding time to consistently exercise and be mindful with her eating. Consequently she started a pattern of weight loss and gain that lasted 6 months.
Finally in November of 2016 she reached out for support and signed up for the 21 day fix and Shakeology. She knew instantly it was a game changer. It was a major lifestyle change made easy. Rather than feeling constantly tired, suffering from migraines, grabbing fast food late after the kids were in bed, feeling guilty for not exercising, having a poor relationship with food and a negative body image… she is now working out every day, getting dense nutrition, curbing cravings with shakeology and eating balanced portions every day.
In her first three weeks she lost 7lbs and two inches! She’s continued her journey with another 3 weeks of the 21 day fix, followed by 5 weeks of 21 day fix extreme and 3 weeks of Hammer and Chisel. The photo on the right was taken March of 2017.
This biggest difference in these photos is her confidence, her self love and her readiness to experience every joy in life. Now that she is FEELING great and energetic she can experience every moment to the fullest. It’s a wonderful feeling to be the MOST you can be for the ones you LOVE.
You can follow her on Instagram: www.instagram.com/messyjessyralston and Facebook: www.facebook.com/messyjessyfitness
Hilary Schaefer – Apex, NC
Hilary is a mom to two toddler girls. Growing up, she was always active but it was more for the social reasons than the health benefits. She didn’t realize it at the time, but she had a disordered view of eating and would limit her food intake to try and stay “skinny”, but a diet of Cheezits and M&Ms can only take you so far.
College and newlywed post-grad life brought a few situations where she lost 30+ pounds only to gain it back and then lose it again – just in time to get pregnant. Fast forward two years and two kids later, she was lost.
She was choosing to stay on the couch all day and had no desire to play with her kids – despite having always desired to be a stay at home mom. She hated what she saw in the mirror and cried every day in her closet. Something had to change!
Over the next few months, she lost over 35 pounds and not only changed her life – she saved it. She learned proper portion control and how to cook vegetables so they could actually taste good not just to her, but her daughters too.
She now takes time each day for herself to move so she can be a better wife, mom, and friend. She is grateful to have learned how to love herself so she can share that with her daughters and other women to encourage them to view food as fuel and exercise as a positive thing, and to not have them worry about being fat or skinny, but strong and healthy!
Follow along with her daily triumphs, struggles, and all the joys of being a toddler mom at www.facebook.com/hilaryschaeferfitness, www.instagram.com/hilaryschaefer or www.hilaryschaefer.com!
Cara Cappel – Cincinnati, OH
Cara is a mom of two toddlers, and works part time as a labor and delivery nurse.
She spent most of her life over weight and uncomfortable in her own skin. After two pregnancies in two years she had, had it. Weighing more than she ever had. She was uncomfortable, tired, short tempered and knew this wasn’t an example she wanted to set for her kids. She had tried just about every diet and exercise program known to man but thought why not this one. So she joined her first challenge group in January of 2016 just 3 months after her second was born. She jumped in with two feet and lost 10 pounds and 10 inches in 3 weeks, and hasn’t looked back.
Now down 40 pounds and over 35″ and going from barely squeezing in a 12 to wearing a 4/6 comfortably, and this is just the outside. The transformation Cara has experienced internally far out weighs the physical, she has more energy than she knows what to do with, more patience, and she feels confident in her skin for the first time in her life. She did all of this by taking just 30 min a day to move her body and fueling herself with nutrient dense foods!
You can follow her journey, surviving toddlerhood, healthy living, and more over at www.facebook.com/authenticmamacc or on instagram www.instagram.com/caracappel
Kimberly Byers – Cottage Grove, MN
This is Kimberly; a working mom of two littles and a wife. She has been a hairstylist for over 13 years and loves her job. Her husband is in the restaurant industry and works a crazy schedule.
Kimberly’s daughter has a medical condition that requires more appointments than normal and she often feels like she’s spending her days in waiting rooms and clinics.
Like all of us, she does the best she can juggling life, but this past fall she was really struggling. Having a history of depression and anxiety, Kimberly had hit a point where she was feeling like life was getting dark and her family was getting the worst of her. Knowing exercise and nutrition is so important for mental stability, she knew she needed to find something, but a gym membership (that included childcare) was expensive and time consuming. Also, it’s hard to get outside for a run with two kids in the middle of winter in Minnesota! Meals usually consisted of a muffin and coffee from the drive thru, ordering in lunch at work, and a quick casserole for dinner; with a whole lot of snacking in between!
Then along came an opportunity to start in a Challenge Group and it changed her life! She started with Core de Force and within a week Kimberly felt better. She gets up early every morning to make the time for herself, because the positive outcome will long out last the extra 30 mins of sleep. Her mood has lifted, her energy has returned and is far exceeded any normal day before, and her body feels amazing with all the great nutrition she is doing. By the end of the first month she had lost 6.5 lbs and 7.5”!!! Since then she’s gone on to do other programs; 21 Day Fix and Insanity Max:30, and is down a total of 11 lbs and 12”.
Follow her journey at www.facebook.com/kimberlybyershealthandfitness or www.instagram.com/byerski
Bridget Wheeler – Oakdale, MN
Bridget is a mom of 2 very energetic boys, full time CPA working public account and wife to Tate. Most people would describe Bridget as positive, outgoing and energetic. Bridget is all those things but she also was a person that lacked confidence and has suffered from anxiety. Her confidence was the lowest it had ever been this last year. She was 8 months postpartum after having her second child and in the midst of tax season. She was upset because her body was not bouncing back like it had with her first. She was working out more and eating better than when she was prior to having him. Why was her body not changing? She knew stress and anxiety was just making it worse.
Right when her 2nd child turned 1 is when she said enough is enough. She was still was not comfortable putting on a swimsuit, She wouldn’t show her stomach to anyone and she just wanted to have confidence again in herself. Bridget start with the 21 day fix in September 2016 and saw results within the first 2 week. She was AMAZED. She knew that this was the missing puzzle piece in her fitness journey. She found her confidence again and felt amazing. She knew helping others feel the same exact way was her calling.
With inches gone and a body she is CONFIDENT in, Bridget has never been in better shape and felt better.
She loves sharing her journey as she balances everything from working crazy hours during tax season, healthy family lifestyle and budget tips at https://www.facebook.com/Wheelerfitlife/ and https://www.instagram.com/wheelerfitlife/
Alyssa Black – Woodbury, MN
Alyssa is a wife and mom of two, ages 3 and 1. When she went back to working her full-time job after her younger daughter was born, Alyssa really struggled with her confidence: her confidence in herself as a wife and as a mother, as an employee and co-worker, and just being able to balance everything. She was an avid gym-goer prior to having her babies. Once she became a mom, she couldn’t stay consistent. It was too hard to get the motivation to go, and she would rather spend that every moment available with her littles. Meanwhile, she was eating whatever she could scrounge up between frozen pizzas, and her son’s leftover corn dogs, and drowning her sorrows every night in a bowl of ice cream. Her regular pants were still tight due to baby weight, and her self-esteem was in the toilet. Five months after having her daughter, Alyssa decided enough was enough, and it was time to take action and stop feeling sorry for herself. She started the 21 Day Fix and drinking Shakeology daily. Within DAYS, she noticed a change in her attitude and energy. She wasn’t falling asleep on the couch every night at 8:00 and for the first time in her LIFE she was eating a well-balanced diet. She was approaching things with a ‘can-do’ attitude versus, ‘poor me’.
Alyssa had found the missing piece: taking care of herself! In dedicating 30 minutes each day to exercise, drinking a superfoods shake daily, and caring about the foods she was putting into her body, she was gaining confidence and self-worth, and discovering who she was made to be. These tools have changed Alyssa’s life (and her family’s!), and they have found a permanent place in her future!
You can follow her story at www.instagram.com/alyssablackhealthyfit and www.facebook.com/alyssablackhealthandfitness
Emily Coldiron – Rochester, MN
Emily realized she had lost herself among the responsibilities of being a Momma to three littles, a wife, and a full time nurse practitioner. She had always exercised and taken pride in meal planning and providing well-balanced meals for her family. However, she was giving 110% to everyone else and her cup had run dry. She wasn’t doing anything on a daily basis to fill “her” up. She was defeated and overwhelmed. She needed a change.
This realization came on the heels of her baby’s 1st birthday. You see, when her first born turned 1, she ran her 4th full marathon. When her middle child turned 1, she finished a half-marathon in sub-2 hours. When her baby turned 1, she walked a fun-run Turkey Trot while pushing a double stroller. Although this was a fun and memorable start to our Thanksgiving day as a family – her fitness level (or lack there of) did not sit well in her heart. She had to find a way to incorporate daily exercise back into her life and make herself a priority.
Emily took a chance and signed up for a 1 month free membership trial. She began exercising daily following the 21 Day Fix Extreme program. It was hard. It took dedication and commitment. She woke up EARLY! Her soft and squishy Momma body covered her former toned runner physique. But…..”she” was awakened. She loved and craved the variety. The treadmill offered absolutely no appeal nor did running in general. What a great alternative Beachbody provided. She felt like she found a hidden jewel!
In January, Emily signed up for the All Annual Access package and has participated in monthly Challenge groups ever since. There was no turning back! Thanks to daily exercise, drinking daily Shakeology and portion controlled balanced meal planning…..Momma had found her Mo-Jo!
This journey has improved her quality of life, her relationships with her husband and her children. She is happier, more self-confidant, has more energy and feels like anything is possible. Each day truly is a gift. LIVE IT to the max!
This “hidden jewel” isn’t rocket science. The process is actually quite simple, but that is the secret to her success. Follow the workout schedule, eat from the meal plan, see results.
Emily is a giver. The majority of the roles in her life involve service to others – a daughter of God, a wife, a mother, a nurse practitioner. She gives. It’s what she does. To be her best, she will continue to follow the plan. She wants to help YOU discover the plan too. If 1 person or 100 people can feel better about themselves, improve their fitness level or eating habits then Emily will have left this world better than she found it. That after all, is what her Momma always taught her. And we all know that Momma knows best.
You can come up with a million excuses. But to be honest, there is nothing more important than YOU.
YOU ARE WORTH IT!
Send Emily a message and talk about what your goals and dreams are. www.facebook.com/Emily Hohenberger Coldiron
Karla Wocken – Cold Springs, MN
Karla has always been an active individual. In middle school and high school she was involved with gymnastics and dance line. After high school, she found herself enjoying running and attending aerobics classes at a local gym. The gym was her outlet. It was a place where she could walk in as one “person” and walk out as a completely new “person.” The gym was her safe haven. She could leave her worries and “baggage” at the door and spend the next one to two hours on herself. Some weeks she exercised two hours a day, seven days a week. That was a shocking fourteen hours a week. She was exercising with this frequency because she thought she needed to, to be fit.
As a Registered Dietitian, she knew what she should and should not be consuming to nourish her body. She also knew proper daily water consumption and 30 minutes of daily physical activity was important. However, just because she knew something did not necessarily mean she followed it.
After being married to her wonderful husband for nine years and being blessed with three beautiful children under five years of age, she was missing something. She has always been a self-motivated individual, but she was not fulfilled. Did this mean her husband, children and/or family were doing something wrong? Absolutely not! She was tired, frustrated and feeling lost on her journey as a mom/wife. Initially, she thought these feelings were linked to having a three-month-old and returning from maternity leave. Was a lack of sleep and her struggle to get back to her pre-pregnancy body the culprit? Maybe, but she was within five pounds of my pre pregnancy weight through a combination of running and sporadic aerobic classes. It was something else.
With her husband’s cautious approval, she took a leap of faith on November 7th, 2016 and joined a health and fitness support and accountability group. In the back of her mind, she wondered if this support and accountability group paired with an at-home workout, Core De Force, and nutrition plan with Shakeology could really be the answer she was looking for. Today, she can tell you with confidence that she is a work-in-progress, but she is becoming the best version of herself. By dedicating 30 minutes a day to herself through a proven fitness program, she is able to be the best wife, mom, daughter, sister and friend she can be. Her fitness program was not dependent on her leaving the comfort of her own home and taking her kids to the local gym daycare. Instead, she could choose to complete her at-home workout on her own schedule and not feel that mom-guilt tugging at her heart. She could still have that class environment, and also get a great workout. Before this opportunity, she thought working out at home was hilarious. How could she get a rewarding workout completed at home in a matter of 30 minutes? Well, she was humbled when she completed day one of her MMA (mixed martial arts)-inspired fitness program. Not only was she gasping for air and dripping with sweat when she finished the 27-minute workout, but she could hardly walk the next day because of her sore muscles. By incorporating a proven fitness program (one of dozens of workouts available), a balanced eating plan and proper water consumption, she was able to get in the best shape of her life.
If you are interested in following her story further, you can find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kwheartandhustle/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/kwheartandhustle/
Kaitlyn Vander Schaaf – Bloomington, MN
Kaitlyn told her husband not so long ago, “I don’t like my life. I’m not happy…” He was confused, as probably anyone from the outside would’ve been. It looked like she had everything she had ever wanted. A beautiful healthy 1 year old daughter. A loyal husband. A good paying occupation as a CPA that she actually enjoyed. A secluded, scenic house. Money in the bank. Traveling around the world on the company’s dime. But she was missing one thing…the only thing that actually mattered.
She was filling herself up with what the world told her would make her happy. Honestly, for quite a few years she thought she was doing pretty darn well, enjoying living life without feeling the need to please God or anyone else. It was quite freeing after growing up in small town Iowa where it felt like everywhere there was pressure to go to church every week, refrain from all alcohol, not swear, etc. She enjoyed all these Minneapolis people not giving a crap about what she did or how she lived. Kaitlyn figured maybe when she got old, then she would get serious about the whole God thing. She didn’t want to miss out on all the fun stuff this world offers.
It wasn’t until Kaitlyn started this very physical transformation that she realized how powerful and fulfilling God truly is. When she forced herself to STOP filling herself with food, wine, and trashy TV to mask her emotions, she faced her emptiness head on. When she worked out in the quiet morning hour, God used that opportunity to speak truth into her life. When she was asked to be a Beachbody coach, God kept telling her THAT is how He wants to use her right now. At every step in the journey, God met her right where she was at.
If you would have told her a month ago that she would be willing to share this story with all of you, she would have told you, “you are crazy!” But Kaitlyn has realized she has nothing to lose and everything to gain. She already had everything this world had to offer, and it frankly was not worth living for. She realizes now more than ever, HE is her SOLE reason she gets up every morning, why she lives to encourage others in their health and fitness journey and why she daily shares her raw emotions and unfiltered life on social media. Living in His will…in that alone she has gained all that matters. Everything else is just fluff. Follow her on Facebook as she avoids the fluff and focuses on He who truly matters as she works, does mom life, and everything in between.
Add Kaitlyn as a friend on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kaitlyn.vanderschaaf
Turning Your Inspiration Into Action
When I started my own healthy living journey two years ago, I was terrified. I didn’t want to give up my favorite comfort foods and treats, even though I knew I probably should. But I have to tell you, today, my life is SO much more FULL than those treats could have ever made me. I have found my TRUE comfort in Christ instead of food, and I’ve also found an incredible community of women to lift me up when I’m tempted to quit.
This is why we call our tribe REAL WOMEN CONQUER! Because we believe that REAL women can conquer ANYTHING!
If you are READY to take some baby steps toward your own healthy living journey, I would absolutely love to invite you to join us. Please feel free to connect with any of the women you met above (they are now coaches on my team because of the progress they’ve made and their desire to pay this forward). Simply follow their social media links to find an email address for them! If you resonated with any of their stories, please reach out. They would LOVE to be your coach and help you have success too!
Otherwise, if you’d like to work with me personally, I also have a boot camp coming up starting on MONDAY (April 3rd)! This online boot camp will last for 4 weeks, and we will be talking about how to focus on progress instead of being defeated by perfection! Every day, you will receive daily encouragement from me to stay on track, and I wil ask you to log your workouts and nutrition to hold you accountable!
To request information about this, please fill out this form! Today is the LAST day to sign up! I have a special offer for anyone who registers by 11pm CST Friday night 3/31!
Click Here To Request Information For April 3rd Online Boot Camp!
If you are interested in applying to be a coach on my team, please fill out this short application and I will get back to you ASAP!
The BEST is yet to come, friends!
I share many more “real life” mom moments on Facebook and Instagram. I’d love for you to follow along on our crazy, not perfect, incredible journey. Follow me on Instagram: (@mommysmetimeblog) and Facebook (Mommy’s Me Time).