My Fit4Mom journey began almost 11 years ago with a Fit for Baby class with Phoebe at Cedar Park Regional. After delivery my husband was deployed, and I was alone and terrified about being a new mom and completely insecure about every aspect of it. Phoebe with Stroller Strides reached out and took me under her wing. She introduced me to a tribe of new moms and kept me included and motivated during my two+ years of Stroller Strides. I absolutely loved all the moms I worked out with. They accepted me and made me feel normal for being exhausted and frustrated and were my beacon of light in the uncharted territory of being a new mom. I loved these women for the years that I worked out with them and have remained friends with them all this time. Eventually, I had to go back to work and stopped my fitness journey.
Fast forward 10 years and there I was, taking yet another “before” picture. By now I had a pretty impressive slideshow of me getting unhealthier, but not doing anything about it. Two kids, two deployments, school, career, and life happened during that time and I’d slowly gotten stuck in the quicksand of losing myself and unhealthy coping mechanisms. I couldn’t stick with anything and every time I would start and stop it felt like another failure. I gained 40 pounds in a year and the physical changes my body were undergoing solidified these self-defeating thoughts.
Luckily, a friend of mine who didn’t run away from me at my worst, convinced me to try BodyBack. She sold me off as a BodyBack virgin and we both started the January 2019 winter session together. She stuck with me through two sessions knowing I needed a “safety blanket” familiar face much like Phoebe was in Stroller Strides. I am forever in debt to her. Lindsey, I love you! You mean the world to me and I can’t thank you enough for being there for me in so many ways.
Then there was Courtney, my BodyBack coach for a whole year! For all those who have met her know she has an insatiable zest for life and fitness. Not going to lie, she intimidated the heck out of me initially. I felt like the type her type would judge while taking my measurements. I have historically projected my own distortions on others and demonized them before they had a chance to disprove it. It’s kind of my superpower and I’ve used this excuse to avoid working out with others for most of my life. Little did I know I would be repeatedly disproven with her spirit, kindness, words of encouragement, and not even a hint of judgement. She has a gift to keep you motivated and feeling good about yourself even when you can’t. In the beginning she gave me modifications for all the “sorcery” moves I couldn’t physically do and not once made me feel like anything less because of it. She kept me accountable and grounded and even convinced me to share/take my very first “selfie”. Can you believe that? I’ve never had that level of confidence before. Courtney, this is your thing and you do it beautifully.
In conjunction with a home workout routine (BodyBoss-MWF) and the BodyBoss nutrition guide as well as BodyBack recipe guide, I was 100% committed for the first 16 weeks and made great stride. It was the first time I’d stuck with anything long enough to see results and it was invigorating. Even when the weight wasn’t falling off, I felt better, my body felt happier. I was finally improving, and I felt like I had found the answer to all my struggles. Mid-summer, however, I hit a low and came to realize that physical health and mental health had a very symbiotic relationship. I could feel myself slipping back into my old ways and it was terrifying.
I started seeing a psychiatrist in July to deal with a lifetime of struggles that finally became too heavy. Even with the combination of diet and exercise (which had such an incredible effect on my mood and outlook), I needed some support. Through a combination of medication, workbooks, and monthly counseling, I’ve managed to shed some of that weight as well. Neither of my weight gains were put on overnight, nor was their loss going to be resolved that way either. Neither has been quick or permanent, but it’s been sustainable progress. My mantra from the beginning has been “I’m a work in progress, everything is fluid”. Sometimes it has been a struggle to say it to myself or I’ve said it in tears, but I’ve said it throughout my journey.
As a mom, some of us tried for years for that role, some were thrown into it unexpectedly while others are somewhere in between. Regardless, we’ve all felt defeated and worthless and overwhelmed. It’s so very important to remember you are enough, you are fluid, you are worth it. Take the time to invest in yourself. Invest in your mental health, watch it blossom physically. Accept slipping up, embrace collapsing, know there will be times that you fall, that you fail. Also know there will always be someone to lend a hand. Be ok with accepting it. Then be that hand for someone else. Fit4Mom has given me so much. Phoebe, Lindsey, Courtney, I’m forever thankful for you and the repeated offering of your hand, even if it took coaxing to accept it. I love you ladies, and thank you for not giving up on me.
Some quick year stats:
40 pounds lost
16 minutes off my 3-mile run (I did my first 5K last month!!!)
5+ inches off my waist
Bitchin “Courtney arms” (I started with 3lbs and now I’m using 8!)
I actually enjoy running
I can do a sit-up again
I’m learning how to ask for and accept help
I’m learning to like and be more kind to myself
I can sit still without guilt
I can challenge my own mental distortions
And of course, the obligatory before and after visual transformation! I wish I could depict the mental one as well.
We love getting to know our amazing mama members! Stay tuned for more video interviews of our real mamas, living their real lives.
Combining stretching, physical therapy, and yoga? YES, PLEASE!
We are SO excited to kickoff the Fall with our Vendor of the Month, BetterStretch! We got to sit down and talk with Greg House, owner of North Austin's favorite stretch studio, to hear what he's doing and why it fuels him.
What IS BetterStretch?
BetterStretch is an innovative approach to improving flexibility and mobility. Our program is truly unique and original; I assure you that this is not the stretching you’re familiar with! I developed this program based on many years of physical therapy experience and included the most effective and safe manual therapy and stretching techniques. All sessions are provided by highly trained Stretch Coaches (both male and female) and are appropriate for anyone wanting to feel better, taller, younger, energized, faster, and less-restricted!
Why did you start BetterStretch?
I love being able to serve and help others. I wanted to extend my services to everyone, not just limited to people seeing me for injuries in the PT clinic. I realized that the concepts I discuss with patients on a daily basis are really relevant to all people and many of the treatments I provide are not only therapeutic (when treating injuries), but can also be great for injury prevention. It is important to identify and address common muscular imbalances before they turn into common musculoskeletal injuries. That’s what this program is all about.
What do you do outside of work?
As with many of the F4M moms, my favorite thing to do is to hang out with my kids. They’re so much fun!
What keeps you motivated?
I am motivated by a drive to help people feel better and be more able to enjoy their lives. Every day I get to go to work with the goal of making a positive impact on someone’s life. This typically means that I’m helping them to actively engage in the things they want to or need to be able to do more easily or without pain. Sometimes I’m helping athletes perform better and other times helping a grandma be able to get off the ground independently. I created my PT clinic and BetterStretch to provide individualized, 1 on 1 care. I think this personalized, focused approach provides a much greater quality of care.
... Mamas, this sounds AMAZING! You can read in-depth about BetterStretch and book appointments right on their website or by calling 512-569-7309. But be sure to mention you heard about them through us to get your exclusive FIT4MOM Austin discount! And as usual, stay tuned on our Facebook page throughout the month for a few giveaways from Dr. House!
- 8 Fun, Totally Not Boring Ideas
- Looking for healthy party favors that don't suck (like when you were a kid and the local dentist gave out toothbrushes at Halloween or that time your mom put fruit at the bottom of your Christmas stocking)? Look no further. It's definitely possible to throw a fun party and give your pint-sized guests a little surprise to take home that won't add to their after party sugar crash.
This post is guest written by Peggy Keefe-Lopez, owner of Yippitee, a new, Austin-based children's birthday shirt company.
We’ve got parks from Georgetown to Circle C and mamas from even farther. That being said, we’ve got a whoooole lot of fun packed on that map! We’ve pulled some of our favorite pumpkin patches from all around the Austin area for your pickin’.
- Meet Heather Perkins
- Hi! My name is Heather Perkins and I am honored to be August’s Mom of the Month!