2018 Leader Winner: Alanna Butterfield

Congrats to our NEM Leader from Lexington, Kentucky for being one of three NEM Leaders who won our 2018 Pot Leader Challenge! You have $1,050 extra spending money!!! Thank you for inspiring us!
Alanna’s story:
In March 2015, I became a local NEM leader for the first time. Prior to that, I had dropped around 40lbs, completed my first race (a 1 miler with my son), and worked my way up to a half-marathon. I was a part of an avid running group comprised of moms, many of which attended my first group meetups on a regular basis. In my mind, I was the role model that I wanted to be for my 2 boys – “supermom” who would bike both of them to their homeschool co-op and squeeze in every minute possible to lift weights or push my way through a full body kettle bell routine. Health was a priority, because without it, it weakens our full potential.
Slowly, group attendance dropped and I took it personally. Eventually, just my boys and I attended the meetups and I focused on training for the handful of half-marathons that I had signed up for.
Then, I became pregnant with my third child. My efforts with the NEM Lexington group came to a halt and I focused on preparing my body to complete my first full marathon. On one hand, I was excited to say that I had completed something so amazing (at four months pregnant no less!), but on the other, I felt like a failure.
I wanted so much to be that healthy and inspiring person, but I let the excuses get in the way. After the birth of son, I weighed a whopping 188+ lbs leaving the hospital, which was quite a bit given my 5’2″ height. I was devastated. Never in my life had I ever weighed that much. I never felt fully rested, my gut was in very poor health, I became very depressed, and often cried for no reason. After a series of attempts at trying to drastically cut calories (which proved to be quite unsuccessful while breastfeeding), I became even more irritable and would turn to unhealthy food choices to satisfy my hunger and intense cravings. I honestly would not want to know how much money was spent on Chik-Fil-A during this time.
Early in 2018, my husband and I started doing the Keto diet and in May I joined Maria Kang’s Diet Bet with the goal of losing 4% of my body weight in 4 weeks. With sticking to the diet, I lost 7.4lbs and won the bet. However, I had regained that weight back and was “stuck” in the 170’s again.
When I heard of the 12 week challenge back in July, I toyed with the idea of reviving the NEM Lexington group, mostly to motivate myself. However, I remembered why I had wanted to become a group leader in the first place. I wanted to inspire other moms not to settle for mediocrity and to be the best, happy, healthy version of herself. Being a mom is incredibly tough, and many of us have little energy to “make it through the day”. I knew that not having time to workout was a lie, I had already proved it to myself before. I ditched the Keto diet and focused on simply eating as “clean” as possible, adding more veggies, limit sugar, and did not beat myself up if I decided to have some wine, chocolate, or fruit (because you can really have them on a low-carb diet).
It was TERRIFYING to restore my image as a group leader, because I had felt like had failed my wonderful group of ladies and I honestly thought that they would not take me seriously again, especially since I was far from fit . I was so nervous for the first meetup and even hoped that the one mom that said that she would be there, wouldn’t show, but she did. I struggled to complete the workout and we both agreed to “walk it out.” That was the first and last meetup that she attended. My heart hurt, maybe I was not cut out to be a “leader”. All other meetups were just my toddler and I. I never thought that that time was wasted though, because I used it to reflect on my vision for the group while burning some calories.
I didn’t give up. I wanted to inspire others, because our lives our too short to live in a “comfort zone” that denies us from achieving our best. I was not comfortable living the rest of my life hidden under leggings and baggy shirts because the thought of wearing any other outfit in my closet drove me to tears.
On October 20th, I finished my first half-marathon even though my legs seemed to scream at me the entire time. Many times, I broke down crying…for various reasons. Most of which stemmed from one of the real reasons that I started running in the first place…to help deal with past issues of inferiority and sexual abuse. I wanted to stop many times, and at one point I felt like I could not breathe and just stood in the road with tears rolling down my face. After taking a deep breath, cranking up the music, and pulling my pony tail tighter, I convinced myself that I was strong and that there was no one else on Earth that I had to prove that to. During the last half mile, I texted my husband and told him that I was in an incredible amount of pain. He asked if I needed someone to pick me up and I responded “I am not giving up.”
I continue to post small challenges in the Lexington group, host meetups, create workouts, and do my best to reveal to the other moms that I am not perfect, nor do I need to be…I just need to BE there for them and help them achieve their goals. I am not one who needs to thrive on compliments, but the greatest joy (besides FINALLY breaking that 170lb weight-loss plateau) in this 12 week journey is hearing from others how my confidence and ambition has inspired them in some way.