I am really excited to be writing a weekly article for all of you MOPS. What a great community! But you may be wondering who I am, and why the MOPS powers-that-be asked me to spout off each week about healthy living. Here’s a synopsis of my background, and then the interesting stuff will start next week.
My degree is in Human Growth & Development and my pre-kids career was in healthcare, first as a child life specialist, and later as a patient relations director in a Houston hospital. During that time, I discovered fitness and became certified to teach group fitness. I had my first baby in 2003, and when she was 9 months old, I purchased a fitness franchise in Houston called StrollerFit and earned a specialty certification in pre- and post-natal exercise. In 2006 I had baby number two, and then in 2007, I purchased a second StrollerFit franchise in Cypress, a suburb of Houston. In 2008, I trained for and competed in a natural figure competition, and placed second. This is when I really started learning more about nutrition, and became inspired to study for my personal training certification. After moving to Iowa and having baby number three in 2009, I became a certified personal fitness trainer and started JB Fitness, a personal training studio which also offers group fitness and nutrition guidance.
I have a passion for fitness and healthy living, but it hasn’t always been this way. I have struggled with my weight my entire life. I was a healthy, active kid who was also overweight. You know the chubby kid on stage at the dance recital? That was me, and I was very aware of it. While my parents struggled to get my brother to eat at meal time, they were gently reminding me that I didn’t “need to eat it just because it’s there.” In high school, I was athletic and that helped me maintain a healthy weight. Then in college, I gained a significant amount of weight from inactivity and a poor diet. After graduating, I pulled it together, started exercising daily and watching my food, and lost about 45 pounds. That’s when I became a group fitness instructor.
Each of the three times I’ve been pregnant, I’ve gained significant weight: 62, 48, and 67 pounds, respectively. I was especially active during the middle pregnancy, teaching fitness classes. In fact, I taught a class the day Allegra was born, and still I gained 48 pounds. After each pregnancy, I took the weight off through hard work and conscientious nutrition.
I know what it means to struggle to lose weight. I know how difficult it can be to make the right choice nutritionally. I know what it means to be busy, and have to carve out time to exercise. But I’m here to tell you this: It’s worth it. I’ve been very overweight—200+ pounds—and I’ve been quite thin—size 2—and everything in between. Being a healthy weight and in good physical condition beats eating junk food any day. There is no comparison.
But you have to be honest with yourself. You can’t make excuses. You have to decide this is how it’s going to be. If you can’t muster the power to do it for yourself, do it for your kids. We are all mothers of young children. They watch what we do and what we eat, and they emulate us. They think we’re AWESOME, and they want to be like us. (Now, at least!) If you show them what living a healthy lifestyle looks like, the chances of them living one is better. There is no better gift you can give your children. It’s the gift of longevity.