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.