Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Challenger Transformation Story - April - The Queen of Excuses decided to STOP making excuses!

Today’s amazing transformation story is about my friend April.

April is a wife, mother of twins, and full-time Family Nurse Practitioner. Her life is NONSTOP, yet she makes time to work out and eat clean. She joined her first Challenge Group with me in January and I am so incredibly proud of her for not giving up despite the many excuses that have come her way! She is always posting pictures in our group of her kids working out with her and her husband even helps her with her meal prep, she has made it a FAMILY change too…And that is what I LOVE the most. April’s story isn’t just about weight loss, but it is about the overall LIFESTYLE change. She knows it will take time to lose weight, because that is the healthy normal way to lose weight…when you make it a lifestyle it just becomes natural, a daily part of your activities to work out and eat clean. But the BEST part of all of this is that she is getting healthy on the INSIDE. Because of the lifestyle changes she has made she has been able to reduce the dosage of her diabetes medication. I LOVE THAT. Food truly is thy medicine to thy body and you have control over your health. You choose if you want to HONOR your body and either build it up or tear it down. So choose TODAY to honor your body. It will change your life for forever like it has April’s.
A little bit about April…
She has spent the last 3 years studying, working, and being a mom and a wife leaving no time for herself.   April wanted to start focusing on herself and her health so that she could set an example for her children when it comes to healthy eating and exercising but also to extent her life so she can see them grow up! April really needed someone to push her otherwise she would be the QUEEN of excuses.
1. What's your health story and how have these challenge groups helped you?
I have battled my weight since I was about 8 or 9 years old. At 15 years old I was diagnosed with PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome) which affects multiple aspects of your endocrine, pituitary, hormone levels and adrenal system. It causes you to become insulin resistant, which leads to diabetes (check), infertility (check), irregular menstrual cycles (check), weight gain with difficulty losing it (check), Hypertension/high blood pressure (check), thinning hair (check), acne, obstructive sleep apnea, high cholesterol, increased risk for stroke, coronary artery disease and depression just to name a few. This lovely disease process just sets a woman up for failure or one heck of a battle if she chooses to take it on head first.
Research and treatment has come a long way in the fertility aspect, however there is no cure for PCOS. Only management of the co-morbid conditions that come along with this "syndrome". In 2006 at 31 years old, my husband and I decided to battle head first for children. At that time I weighed 320 pounds.  There was no way we were having a healthy pregnancy if we were able to get pregnant at all. I was already diagnosed with high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. We tried unsuccessfully anyways. So after yo-yo dieting for years and it obviously didn't work we did some research and decided I should opt for weight loss surgery. We chose the more conservative route and went for the Lap Band Surgery in 2008. I lost 60 pounds! I was down to 260 lbs. We did one round of simple fertility treatment and we were pregnant with twins. I gained 31 pounds with the pregnancy which came back off quickly after delivery. When our babies were 6 months old I decided to apply for graduate school to become a Nurse Practitioner. My program started when our twins were 1 1/2 years old, so through 3 years of intense education and residency, my son going through heart surgery for a very rare congenital heart defect I have put myself last when it came to my health, nutrition and fitness. I was now 271 pounds and haven't worked out in YEARS! Taking medications for diabetes, high blood pressure and now high triglycerides while dealing with anxiety I decided it was time for me to take charge of me. Put myself first. I realized I am now 39 years old, I have 5 year old twins and a loving husband who want and need me to be here for them! I have conquered so many obstacles along the way in my life it was time I conquered my health!
I have known Ali since we worked at a local children's hospital together in 2005-2008 time frame. Thanks to the power of social media we have been able to keep in touch and I was following that she had started her own personal journey for her health. In November 2014 I contacted her to see if she could guide me. She added me to her December 2014 group just as an "observer" since I wasn't ready to make a commitment yet. I had recently graduated grad school and accepted a new position that I wanted to get use to first before making any more huge life changing decisions.
With her December group I started changing some eating habits so I could get use to clean eating and drinking a protein shake and I lost weight over the holidays! I was amazed and ready to commit to the January group. I have NEVER been someone who works out every day... or eats healthy... or eats every 2-3 hours... or drinks a gallon of water everyday so I wasn't sure how long I would stick to this. I still face my own challenges within the group. I struggle to eat all of the required food every 2-3 hours due to the restriction the lap band places on me. Plus the profession I am in is not very time friendly to do so. I do the best I can do. I work out every day. If I miss a workout... life still happens. I pick it back up with a double workout on Saturdays when I have more time. Due to my condition I do not see the weight dropping off by the bucket loads but it is dropping off along with the inches. Slowly and surely. I am fine with that. I have stuck with the program, the healthy eating, the daily exercise and the lifestyle change for 3 challenges now. It has become my lifestyle. My children and husband have adopted this lifestyle as well. There are many nights my twins workout with me and encourage me when I am tired and just don't want to do it. Every weekend my husband helps me meal prep for the week and works out with me. It is an empowering feeling knowing that I am taking BACK control over my life with the help and support of my family, Ali and all of the encouraging ladies in our challenge group! To date I have lost 15 pounds and nearly 16 inches.
2. What was your favorite aspect of the challenge group?
My favorite aspect of our challenge group is the sense of belonging, encouragement, accountability and empowerment it gives me to know that I am not on the journey alone. Even on days I fall down, I lose my motivation, or I feel like just not doing it anymore. I either read other members posts of encouragement and success, or I post my own trials of the day/week and I am instantly lifted by the power of inspiring words and prayer.
3. If someone was deciding whether or not to sign up for the challenge group what would you tell them?
Do it. Do not waste one more minute thinking about it. You will not regret it. You will start living your life again from the moment that you type the words "I commit" on your very first challenge and every challenge after that!
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April, I am so proud of your incredible transformation on the inside-out! Always remember your WHY and know that you are inspiring so many women around you to get their health back!
If you are looking for support to get healthy on the inside-out please email me at imperfectlybalancedbyali@gmail, I would LOVE to help you!

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