Growing up, I didn’t know what it really meant to be healthy. I only knew that being active in sports was good enough for me and my siblings. Fall was soccer and spring was always t-ball or softball. It wasn’t until my mom decided to take away our Capri Sun and soda that the word “healthy” became a part of our lives. We definitely didn’t like it, but we had no other choice because, let’s face it, my mom was the one who paid for the groceries.
Now I’m a stay-at-home-mom to three beautiful, energetic kids and I’m married to a man who works hard and allows me to stay at home with them. The one drawback is that he deploys 3-6 months out of the year. Being fit and healthy is a must for me because there are no days off when he is away.
The Struggle is Real
I never had to worry about working out or really losing weight until I gave birth to my oldest son at the age of 22. Even then, my body bounced back quickly, but as the years went by, the weight stayed on longer. I tried little programs here and there, but nothing stuck with me. I always gave up and promised myself, “One day. One day I’ll get my body back.”
Things started to change when I got engaged and I was determined to look good on my wedding day. I joined a local boot camp in my area and committed for the 15 months I had before the wedding. I saw great change in my body and my weight, but I still had a horrible diet.
Food was a constant battle for me.
As soon as I got married, I stopped boot camp and got pregnant right away (honeymoon baby!) and during my second pregnancy, I gained more weight than before. I would sometimes go on walks or pop in a fit pregnancy DVD, but it was never consistent.
I was a gestational diabetic with my first two children, which meant that my diet had to be more controlled than usual.
Who wants to be on a diet when they’re pregnant? Definitely not me.
Trying to Bounce Back
A few months after my second baby, I became obsessed with trying to find a quick fix.
I tried a trainer for a while, but it didn’t work with my schedule at the time.
I tried eating better and it worked for a while, but I wasn’t consistent.
I found some workouts online and I did those for a bit, but I just wasn’t seeing results I wanted to see.
When my son turned one, I was desperate for something. I needed to find myself again. I was uncomfortable in my own skin.
I was introduced to a TRX Bootcamp class and immediately fell in love with it, attending 3 to 4 times a week. The only downfall was that the gym was 30 minutes from my house and I had to leave early to make it to class, so I could be back to take my oldest to school. I couldn’t keep up with that schedule for long. On top of that, paying for a membership, childcare, and gas just didn’t make sense anymore.
It all changed when I was asked to be in my sister’s wedding. We went to try on dresses and I was six sizes bigger than my pre-pregnancy weight. I almost broke down. I remember looking myself in the mirror and saying, “Really, Anya, you’ve let yourself go. You let life get in the way and now you’re beyond uncomfortable.” I kept my disappointment inside and said nothing.
But I had to do something. Six months went by without a plan and the dress that I was measured for barely fit. I walked out and said, “That’s it. No more excuses. No more sabotaging yourself. No more of looking at fit ladies on Instagram and saying ‘One day my body will look like that.’ No. More.”
A few weeks later I connected with a mom on Instagram. I related to one of her posts about mom life and getting fit. She was offering the 21 Day Fix and the opportunity to join an accountability group with her.
I had nothing to lose. Nothing but my extra pounds.
In February of 2014, my life changed. I purchased the 21 Day Fix along with my superfood drink and went all in. I was terrified because I was always that girl who would start something and then quit when it got hard. I would always come up with an excuse to justify myself.
For the first three weeks of the program, I gave it my all. I had a superfood drink every day and I learned three very important things:
1. How to portion control
2. What worked and what didn’t work for me
3. There was a whole community of women who were going through the same thing.
This community encouraged each other, helped me when I was down, helped me when I was determined, and showed me I could do it. I fell in love with fitness, and through this community, I found my passion to help others.
It wasn’t always easy to workout at home. Three kids, husband gone half the time, and now a new baby girl, I have to stay on top of things. I get one session done each day, but sometimes it’s really early in the morning, mid-day, or after the kids are in bed.
During this process of new beginnings, I’ve learned that putting my health first is a must. It’s not selfish to get my workout in, I’m taking time to become a better version of myself.
Putting your spouse and/or your children first comes naturally. We are nurturers by default, and anything less would just feel… less. But I’ve learned through this process of failing, persevering, that making myself a priority is a must.
Now I get to buy groceries.
I get to choose the food my family eats.
My oldest has a love/hate relationship with what I buy for him but all I can do is tell him, “One day you will have kids of your own someday, and you will want to put the best foods in their bodies, help them grow and be healthy. So that example starts now, and it starts with me teaching you so you can pass this on to your kids one day.” I think he gets it. I hope he gets it.
I don’t just want to be fit, I was to live fit. I want to live in a way that my family can follow after and I can look back and know that I took care of the body God gave me. That is privilege enough.