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The first Sunday of each month will now be dedicated to spotlighting someone who has made healthy changes in their life. We want to share their story to help each of you realize your potential and help you stay motivated! We are really excited about this and hope that each of you will be also.

If you know of anyone (of if you) would be a good candidate for our monthly spotlight, PLEASE email us at threehealthymommas@gmail.com. It does not have to be a weight loss story, we want all different types of health related changes that have bettered your life.

Thank you!

Today we are turning our blog over to my friend Hayley:

Let me first start out by saying how excited I am to be featured on Three Healthy Mommas! Jaeme is one of my idols, especially when it comes to health. She’s a strong, kind, beautiful mother who is wise beyond her years and hilarious. I’m so glad to be able to call her a friend. In order to keep this more reader friendly I’ll make this more of a Q&A, but here’s my background:

I’m a very tall girl and up until I got married, I was always pretty naturally slender. I never truly watched my diet and exercised regularly, and up until I got married I never really worried about my weight. Something happened when I got married. I could blame it on a lot of things like my husband eats A LOT and so I followed suit, or we spent more time at home and less time being active, or life got busier and my healthy priorities fell by the wayside. But honestly, I find those all to be pretty bad excuses for myself since I am in control of my own decisions and my own body. All I know is that two years after being married, I woke up one day and finally noticed that I was about 50 pounds heavier than before I got married.

It was a miserable few months where I couldn’t even look in the mirror. Not because I was “fat,” (which I was) or “ugly,” but because I was ashamed that I had made so many poor eating and exercise (or lack thereof) choices in a matter of time that led to me feeling like a different person. I had no confidence and felt a sort of depressing, crippling fog roll over me. Just as painful as the mental games this weight put on me was the physical pain as well. My lower back hurt non-stop, as well as my joints, my feet and my head. I wasn’t drinking enough–or any– water, causing severe migraines. My skin felt puffy and bloated. Frankly I was a hot mess and one day I decided to stop complaining and get off my @$$ and do something about it!

So here’s where the Q&A starts :)

What healthy changes have you made in your life?

When I  first decided to make positive, healthy changes in my life, it was like a switch went off in my head. All of a sudden I felt empowered and I decided to start with my diet first. I’m not a nutritionist nor a scientist, but I truly believe that diet is 90% of being healthy. I eliminated most processed foods and tried to stick to a balance of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats. I try to eat a lot of veggies and fruit each day. I reduced my calorie intake to a smaller, but still healthy amount. I ate (and still try to) eat about 1200-1500 calories a day. On the exercise front, I was still in college so I signed up for a cycling class and zumba class my last semester of college, which meant I had to exercise for about 90 minutes everyTuesday and Thursday at least, since it was for a grade. After that, the motivation kicked in. I loved cycling and zumba, and so I decided to try other things, like weight training at a gym on Mondays and Wednesdays, and sometimes Saturday. Exercising can be fun, especially when you have a friend to go with. My best friend Ali would come with me to the gym to keep me motivated and on track. All in all, I lost about 45 pounds in about a 6-8 month time period.

Did you or do you ever reward yourself for hitting specific milestones? If so, what were the rewards?

My goal when I first started was to lose 40 pounds, so when I hit my halfway mark of 20 pounds, I rewarded myself with new sneakers and some cute workout clothes. I think special rewards are really important and I’m all for retail therapy :) I also make sure to never deprive myself. If I want a treat, I’m going to eat it. I try to maybe eat a smaller treat… But still, life is short so I’m going to eat dessert :)

What hardships have you encountered during your journey?

To be honest, the biggest hardships I have encountered have been after I lost the weight. The hardest thing about losing weight is keeping it off. Since I lost the weight, I graduated from college and now work a relatively stressful job with long hours. Work-life balance has been a huge adjustment for me and most nights I leave work and want to go home and put on my sweatpants (especially in the winter). Since starting my job about 6 months ago, I have put on about 10-12 pounds and have fluctuated a little bit. I try to eat healthy and still exercise, though my healthy habits have suffered a little bit since starting my career. However, I try not to get down on myself because the main thing is that I am still trying. Our bodies fluctuate as we go through different phases in our lives and I am determined to never be where I used to be, but to try my best and love my body and be good to it. Something I really struggle with is that I LOVE to bake, and that’s a huge temptation for me. I love sugar! Luckily, there are people like the Three Healthy Mommas in the world who can give really good advice for that :)

What are some positive things that have come out of your journey?

I can’t begin to tell you how amazing it feels to feel healthy, strong and confident again. Living a healthy lifestyle is not about being skinny or looking like a model. It’s not even about how much you weigh or about losing weight. What really matters is loving your body for all its beauty and faults. I feel strong like I can tackle on anything, and I have grown to love being active and eating healthy. I feel a noticeable difference in my body– my skin, my muscles, my bones– when I eat healthy and exercise. I have more energy and less headaches, and I can concentrate better at work and I’m nicer to those around me. I feel confident and I can actually look in a mirror again! The biggest thing I’ve learned is that no matter how much weight I lose or muscle I gain, my body is not perfect and never will be. I have big hips and I wish my boobs were smaller and I could still nitpick. But I’ve grown to love my body, even though it’s imperfect, because I know that I am working to keep it happy and healthy.

What motivates you to stay on track? 

My biggest motivation is honestly my mental state. I am so much happier when I know I am living a healthy lifestyle and when my body and mind feels strong. I also love going to group classes like cycling, total body conditioning and my favorite: vinyasa flow (a type of yoga that rocks– it’s such a good workout!).

If there’s anything I can teach someone (which is hardly anything, since I’m certainly no pro when it comes to all this!), it’s to love your body and don’t let anything stand in the way of being happy, especially when it comes to your health! If I can do it, anyone can. Trust me!

Below is a before and after:

Thank you Hayley!

-Jaeme

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