No Excuse Mom: Nicole Lewis

According to Nicole Lewis she is by no means anyone out of the ordinary. “I was fat and miserable. On my youngest child’s first birthday I sat and ate an entire cake. That was the day i realized I was done. Done being fat and unhappy and full of excuses. Done not wanting to take pictures of myself. Done ripping the sizes out of my size 16 or 18 jeans. That was the day I hit bottom. And it was the best thing I ever did.”

Meet No Excuse Mom, Nicole Lewis. At 5-foot-7 and 165lbs, she lost 45lbs after the birth of her sixth child! Her kids are ages 14, 12, 10, 6, 5 and 2. She was also a surrogate mother to one who is now 7! With each of the 7 pregnancies (and natural births) she gained over 30 pounds, but with her first she gained almost 60lbs!

Did you nurse?
I nursed all 6 of my own children but I’m going to be honest, I didn’t nurse for long. Maybe 2-3 weeks with each.

What is your daily routine? My daily routine varies. When I can I get up and hit the gym at 445 am. More often than not when that alarm goes off I hate the world and I turn over and promise myself I’ll workout at naptime. I run a home daycare so I have kids here from 7-5 during the week. After daycare my own children usually have dance. Once they are home and fed and bathed I try to hit the gym to do at least 3 miles on the treadmill. Then home, shower and bed for me.

What is your weekly workout?  My weekly workout is fairly simple. I love Jillian Michaels “Ripped in 30” DVD and I try to do that on days I know I can’t hit the gym. I aim for at least 4 days a week of working out. I’ve been slowly adding days since I began the journey. I didn’t start off saying “I’m going to work out everyday!!” I knew I wouldn’t keep it up. When I’m at the gym I usually just do the treadmill. Nothing fancy but it’s been working. Maybe not as fast as I would like but slow and steady wins the race!!!

How is your diet? My weekly diet is kind of strict. I eat mostly fruits, veggies, rice, tempeh, and protein shakes during the week. The weekend is another story. I don’t go crazy and eat everything in sight but the weekends are when people have parties and events and because I know I eat really healthy during the week I don’t feel so bad eating ice cream or something not so healthy on the weekends. And I drink half my body weight in ounces of water a day.

Your philosophy on training? It sucks!!! But it’s totally worth it.

What is your most asked question? The question I’m asked the most is “what are you taking?” My response, “I’m taking my butt to the gym!!!” People assume that I’ve taken some magic pill. Sorry folks. Not magic just hard work.

Most challenging thing about being a No Excuse Mom?  I used to feel guilty about taking time away from the kids to go to the gym. And having so many kids was a great excuse to not work out. And people would always give me a pass for being fat and say “well you have had 7 kids.” Like that was suppose to make me feel better. Well I made the time. No more excuses!!!!

What is your occupation? I am a home daycare provider

Advice for other mothers starting out?  My advice for moms just starting out is just to change one thing. Start by just drinking more water a day. Or by aiming for the gym once a week. Don’t give yourself unrealistic goals!!

Favorite clean recipe?  My favorite clean recipe is a banana and maple almond butter quesadilla. Using corn tortilla spread the almond butter and add some sliced banana. Toast in the skillet for a few minutes on each side. It’s sweet heaven.

Do you have a secret weapon?  It’s taken me a little over a year to lose the 45 pounds. I don’t know about a “secret weapon” but water is what really helped. I used to drink soda like it was my job. Now I’m all about the water.

What do you love about the No Excuse group?  I  absolutely love the group. I love everyone’s pics and stories. As a matter if fact that’s probably where we should tell women to start. Join the group and witness real moms making it happen. I would love to start a workout group in my area. I feel like I can do it with my crazy life and 6 kids than anyone can.

Follow Nicole on Instagram here:  @nicole_renee82

Nicole Lewis

 

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No Excuse Mom: Lauren McBride

Lauren McBride lost an incredible 105lbs!

Check out this mom who made No Excuses for being healthy for her family. She is 5-foor-8 and has lost 105lbs! (currently weighing 135lbs!)

1. How many kids do you have? Ages? How heavy were they at birth and how much weight did you gain during pregnancy? I have 2 boys, 2.5 years and almost 1 year. I gained 50lbs during my first pregnancy and my son was 7lbs5oz. After he was born I couldn’t turn the “pregnancy appetite” off. I wanted dessert with every meal and over indulged all too often. When my first was 8 months old I suffered a heartbreaking miscarriage and ate my sadness away. When he was 10 months old I found out I was pregnant with his little brother. I was 75lbs heavier than my pre baby weight and very nervous about gaining more weight. I gained 30lbs with baby number 2, who was 7lbs13oz at birth.

2. C-Section or Natural? How long did it take you to recover? When did you start training? My first son was born via emergency cesarean. Recovery wasn’t terrible, but the birth itself was traumatic. I didn’t do much of anything but walk a few times a week after he was born and that didn’t last long. My second son was born via VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and it was amazing. Recovery was QUICK and I felt like super woman. I started food logging 2 weeks postpartum, mild exercise 3 weeks postpartum, and heavy exercise 5 weeks postpartum (with doctor approval). 3. Did you nurse? How long? I did exclusively nurse both boys. The first for 14 months and I’m nursing my almost 1 year old.

4. What does your daily routine look like? Insane. Haha, no really though! I’m a hairstylist, fitness instructor, mom, wife and so much more. I’m usually up between 4-6am depending on the day. Somedays I workout in the morning, somedays at night, somedays both. No day ever looks the same, but everyday always includes the following: hugs & kisses, story time, exercise, fueling my family’s bodies with healthy and nutritious foods, and a whole lot of hustle. I try to be in bed by 10, but that doesn’t always happen.

5. What is your weekly workout? I attend a 50min bootcamp style circuit training class 4-5 times a week. Each class lasts about 50min and implements body weight exercises, cardio, and resistance/weight training. I have also recently discovered a love for running and just completed my first half marathon. I typically run 4 times a week also.

6. What is your weekly diet? I’m a creature of habit so my diet, especially in the beginning of my weight loss journey, was pretty regimented to the same meals. It start most everyday with oats of some sort, usually have a piece of fruit or nuts mid morning, chicken with quinoa and broccoli for lunch, a veggie or cottage cheese mid afternoon, and then dinner is usually different. We try to keep it to mostly veggies and protein with a complex carb and healthy fat on the side. I’ve gotten a lot more creative with my meals as time has gone on, but I find that food prep and consistency is key.

7. What is your philosophy on training? Train hard. If you want the body of an athlete, train like one. My time is precious, so I’m gonna give everything I’ve got in me during training and then move on with my day. Also, listen to your body. If you need a break, take one. Water? Get some. Rest, take it!

8. What question are you asked the most? What is your answer? How did you get or stay motivated? My answer is just do it. Make a commitment to yourself and hold true to it. Make a game plan, and get it done. Schedule your workouts like it’s a job, plan/prep your meals so you have no excuse, get the junk out if your house, believe in yourself and JUST DO IT. No one can do it for you, there’s not magic wand, and it’s not one size fits all. Find something that works for you and do it every single day. It’s not easy. It’s actually pretty darn hard, but it’s 110% worth it.

9. What is most challenging being a fit mother? How do you overcome it?  Time, I wish I could add 4 hours to everyday, but I can’t so I make do with what I’ve got. I schedule my workouts like they are appointments with my boss, I can’t miss them. I prep my food on Sundays and Wednesdays so I have no excuse and the drive thru around the corner isn’t necessary. I kiss and hug my kids and husband as much as I can so they never feel like anything but my top priority. 10. What is your occupation? I am a hairstylist, fitness instructor, boo boo kisser, laundry folder, and floor scrubber

11. What is your advice for moms first starting out? Log your food. People (including myself!) think they know how many calories they are consuming and the reality is they have no clue. Get up and move your body. Dance, swim, run, lift, rock climb, just find something that you enjoy and it becomes much easier to do. Give yourself a hug. You are worth so much more than any number on a scale and when you learn to love yourself as you are, bettering yourself becomes effortless.

12. What is your favorite clean recipe? Hulk Pancakes: Blend 3/4 cup oats, 1/2 egg whites, 2 cups spinach, 1/2 zucchini, 1/2 scoop protein powder of your choice, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1tsp cinnamon, 1 packet truvia. Pour onto greased skillet and cook like normal pancakes! Mine made 9 decent sized pancakes. 36 calories, 5g carbs, 3g protein. I like to top them with PB2 mixed with water and honey on top.

13. What is your “secret weapon” for those who want to be in shape? How long did it take you to lose weight? My secret weapon (and sometimes weakness) is my stubbornness. When I’ve made my mind up that’s it, the decision has been made. In this case, I decided that my family was going to get healthy and I was gonna look and feel good at my son’s first birthday party. Less than 1 year (10 months to be exact) after making that decision I look and FEEL better than I ever have!

14. Personal Thank You’s. I couldn’t have done any of this without the love and support of my husband. He has loved me through thick and thin (literally) and has always made me feel beautiful. My family and friends have given me so much support and have believed in me when I doubted (doubt!) myself. They have watched my kids so I can have the time I need to make my dream into a reality. I am truly blessed by the support system I have.

15. Any additional information. You can follow my journey on Instagram at @mumsiemcmuscles

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Fit Mommy Role Model: Katty Johnson

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Miss February, Katty Johnson attempted to run a half marathon when she was 14.  She was very athletic and thought she could attempt it without proper training. A physical exam  prior to the race showed that she had water in her lungs along with asthma. Despite the news, she ran anyways and couldn’t finish the race. That single, painful running memory stuck with her for a long time. At age 39, she conquered her fear of running.  She ran two 5k’s, one 5k mud run, one 10k, one 10k mud run and two half marathons! We – at No Excuse Mom’s believe in celebrating NSV’s (non-scale-victories) and this is definitely Katty’s! She is currently training for the full L.A. Marathon scheduled for March 2014.
This is Katty’s story:

I gained over 30 lbs. with my pregnancy and I was hoping to get back in shape by breast feeding, exercising and eating healthy food.  Unfortunately, my baby came 5 weeks early.  I had preeclampsia/toxemia, and therefore I had to have an emergency C-section.  As much as I tried, my breasts just wouldn’t produce milk, so breast feeding was out; and figuring out how to exercise with all that was happening with our new family addition seemed just too complicated.  Having a baby was a big change and trying to have somewhat of a similar pre-baby life was just not going to happen.  Difficult as it was, I somehow managed to lose almost 40 lbs.
  
Five months after my first baby was born, I found out that I was pregnant again.  My second baby came 5 weeks early as well and I had to have a second C-section.  Life had changed 360 degrees – I was working full time, providing financial support for my family while my husband was going through grad-school, taking care of the babies and my two step-sons (every weekend and holiday visitations), along with all the assortment of duties that regular life presents, life had become very chaotic.
 
I have struggled with my weight over the last 18 years of my life.  I had gone through strict diets, extreme exercise routines, and always managed to lose weight, but the weight-loss was always temporary. I wasn’t as much focused on being healthy, as much as I was focused on my appearance.  I had tried every diet that I had heard of and had even become anorexic for a period of time.  But through the various attempts to improve my shape, I had damaged my metabolism and had become anemic.
 
Around May of 2011, about 10 months after my second child was born, we visited my grandmother in Argentina.  We took so many family pictures while we were there.  It’s interesting, though, how seeing yourself in print can be more enlightening than seeing yourself in the mirror everyday.  At that time, I was weighing around 184 (and I’m only 5′ tall).  After seeing the family pictures when we came home, it was apparent how much weight I had gained, and for the sake of my own health I knew that I had to do something.  
 
That was my moment of epiphany… the moment I looked at myself and said “whatever happened to me? I’m not only very overweight, I’m unhealthy and I’m doing nothing about it.”  I was very lucky that I didn’t get diabetes, but I had very high cholesterol.  I didn’t want to raise my kids in an unhealthy environment.  I want them to eat right, exercise, and be happy. 
 
This is when my journey for a healthier, happier and better me started.  By last December, I had lost approximately 20 lbs of my baby-weight gain, but I was still struggling and felt like I had hit a brick wall.  I had learned about the “2013 No Excuse Mom Challenge” group from Maria Kang’s page, and after reading Maria’s book, I became excited and reinvigorated.  I joined the group immediately.  I related so much with the members’ posts and stories.  With lots of hard work, clean eating, the support and encouragement of my amazing husband, family, friends, the love and strength from God, and the support of all the wonderful, powerful women in the group, I’ve managed to lose another 29 lbs. this year.
 

I’m so happy to have a better, healthier life style – one not as focused on image, but more on mine and my family’s health.  I’m proud to be living a life that I can make my kids and husband a part of – a life we can all enjoy together… and I’m even happier that many of my extended family members have been motivated by my journey and transformation, and have decided to jump on the bandwagon to enjoy a happier, healthier life. – Katty Johnson

50 Tips to becoming a Fit Mother

50 tips to becoming a Fit Mom
by Maria Kang

Staying healthy is a whole different ball game when you’re a mother.  You can forget about keeping a consistent schedule, sleeping eight hours a night and spending two hours at the gym. While the day-to-day physical challenges are one thing, the daily mental challenges are another. Not only do you deal with stretch marks, hormonal fluctuations and pregnancy weight gain, but you have to deal with your insecurities around women who have never had a baby, a sleepless night or a full-on toddler tantrum. I knew becoming a fit mother required me to make extra efforts in creating a successful environment.  After gaining and losing 110lbs for three years after having three kids, three years old and under, here are my 50 top tips to becoming a fit mother.

1.      Breastfeed: it burns tons of calories and contracts your uterus to become smaller.

2.      Create short term goals to keep you motivated.

3.      Measure your progress by inches, clothes and confidence…not just the scale.

4.      Stock up on meal replacements, like protein shakes, if you are too busy to eat.

5.      Drink some tea or coffee for an extra boost of energy.

6.       Journal what you are eating so you get a good idea of your caloric intake.

7.      Only keep healthy foods in your house.

8.      Bring healthy snacks like a protein bar/shake or nuts for quick snacks in your car.

9.      Carry a water bottle everywhere you go.

10.  Workout in the morning before the children wakes up.

11.  State your intentions every morning by creating daily workout and diet goals

12.  Invest in a jogging stroller. (I’ve purchased mine inexpensively on Craigslist)

13.  As soon as your baby is old enough, instill a routine for him/her so your schedule becomes more predictable.

14.  Join a stroller club or No Excuse Mom Fitness group

15.  Perform exercises with your baby like “kiss the baby sit-ups”

16.  Buy workout DVD’s to perform at home.

17.  Jump rope while watching your kids in the backyard or park

18.  Climb on the jungle gym with your kids

19.  Play the Wii instead of video games

20.  Create a mini-home gym complete with some weights, strength bands and a yoga mat

21.  Join a gym with a kids club

22.  Befriend other fit mommies

23.  Find a role model who is a fit mom

24.  Make “workout dates” with your friends

25.  Set a goal like a beach vacation to keep you focused

26.  Hold yourself accountable by telling other people your fitness goals

27.  Workout with your partner for support

28.  Enjoy active recreational activities like hiking and biking

29.  Don’t finish the rest of your child’s food

30.  Start eating more raw foods (fruits and vegetables). It saves on cooking time and is more nutritious.

31.  Eat before attending birthday parties

32.  Avoid eating out (and save yourself from the chaos of bringing kids to the restaurant)

33.  If you eat fast food, always order a salad or grilled chicken sandwich

34.  Eat most of your sandwiches “open-faced” or with just one slice of bread.

35.  Forfeit the bread basket at restaurants and only drink water or unsweetened ice tea (with lemon!)

36.  Eat s-l-o-w-l-y. Allow your body and mind to get satiated by the food your consuming.

37.  Purchase a healthy cook book and try a new recipe every week. If it’s not within budget, follow healthy Facebook pages! There are tons.

38.  Subscribe to an informational fitness magazine or online newsletter (that is often free).

39.  Try out new exercises every week as it will promote change, challenge and avoid boredom.

40.  Perform core exercises three times a week to tighten up your midsection. Here are my favorite AB exercises.

41.  Incorporate both weight training and cardio in your exercise routine

42.  Invest in cute workout clothes that make you feel beautiful and confident

43.  Brush your teeth at 8pm to avoid eating late at night

44.  Create a workout calendar as a visual reminder

45.  Make a personal pact to spend a minimum of 20 minutes a day exercising

46.  Get acquainted with the free workout channels on your television set

47.  Find your favorite workout videos on Youtube.com

48.  Be an active consumer in your local farmer’s market

49.  Plant a vegetable garden with your kids

50.  Focus on becoming a positive role model for your kids

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Mom of Twins: Stacy Menecola

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To give you a brief history of myself and my weight loss journey…I have struggled with my weight since I was a little girl.  I can remember back as far as the 3rd grade wearing my brother’s hand me down jeans, that only a boy should wear, and thinking my thighs were fat.  THIRD GRADE…!!!  That’s where it started for me.  In High School I can remember hating wearing my school uniform every day because, let’s face it, I wasn’t happy with my legs and thought of them as tree trunks.  I got teased by kids in school and my brother too…but hey, we were kids and that what we did.  I, like many of you, have dealt with not liking what I saw in the mirror day in and day out.  Not liking the way I looked in my clothes, I hated shopping, and a bathing suit…forget it…!!!   I tried a million things from my very early teens through college and nothing; I mean nothing, worked for me.   Up & down and up & down my weight would go with each ‘fad’ diet I would try.

11 years ago I stumbled upon a major weight loss companies commercial and it got me thinking about trying their program.  So I did.  I lost a bunch of weight but still was never really ‘happy’ with what I saw in the mirror.  I was merely a smaller version of my once overweight self.  I maintained my weight loss for 7 years until getting pregnant with my now 4 year old twins.  I gained 62 lbs while pregnant with them…yikes…!!!  They were delivered by emergency C-Section at 27 weeks weighing just over 2 lbs each.  Gaining 62 lbs in only 27 weeks…could you even imagine if I went full term with them…WOW!  We are very fortunate that they both are here with us today.   It was touch and go for my son in the beginning but after several setbacks for him and the love and support of our family and friends we now have two healthy and happy 4 year olds.

After my C’Section I was able to eat ‘right’ and do some cardio to take my weight off again.  Soon after reaching my pre-pregnancy weight I got pregnant again.  This time around I gained the same 62 lbs but with only one baby.  Our little guy was delivered naturally and no C-Section needed.  Soon after I was released to exercise I started eating ‘right’ and I became what I call a ‘cardio queen’ once again getting down to about 10 lbs above pre-pregnancy weight.  I stayed there pretty much up until this past summer.

This past summer I started following some of my favorite fitness models on Facebook, one being Maria Kang.  She put out a Challenge for this calendar and the rest is history.  I began eating clean a month prior to starting this challenge so continuing throughout the challenge with no cheats was a challenge in itself but I was determined to succeed once and for all.  I had lost ‘weight’ before but never really transformed my body until I found clean eating and lifting weights. 

I was in such shock that I actually found something that worked for me.  Each week I would notice changes in different areas.  I remember one morning waking up and looking in the mirror and thinking “I DO have knees”.   My legs were starting to have shape and muscle definition.  My body fat percentage was dropping and I was starting to transform myself in to the body I have always wanted to be.  Before I knew it I was at my weight loss goal…!!!  Something that I had tried ALL my life to do was finally accomplished.  I had such belief in the program I wanted to scream “try clean eating, it works” from the roof tops. 

Why am I telling you all this, you ask?  I’m telling you this because I was just like some of you.  I struggled every day.  I hated my self image.  The way I looked, they way I felt, my attitude, the vibes I gave off were so negative.  Clean Eating and lifting weights changed my life and it can for you too…!!!  You are worth every healthy meal you eat and every sweaty workout you do.  Believe in the process, believe that lifting weights won’t make you bulky and most of all BELIEVE.IN.YOURSELF…you can do it too. 

 <3   -Stacy Menecola        

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No Excuse Mom: Lorna Pope

My name is Lorna, I’m 30 years old, a mum to one son and I work part time as a molecular biologist. I am one of the administrators for the No Excuse Mom Movement and I look forward to sharing my fitness journey with you – I’m sure we can inspire each other. But for now, here is a little bit about me.

On 8thNovember 2012 my life changed, I gave birth to my amazing baby boy Henry.

Although the love I felt for him was never in question, the love I felt for myself had disappeared along the way.

When I looked in the mirror I didn’t like what I saw. Who was I? I had everything I had ever dreamed of, I always though I was naturally maternal, but really I was lost. I felt as if I had lost purpose – and yet there, laying in my arms, was the biggest purpose of all.

The truth about postnatal depression is that it’s an illness. You can’t just snap out of it, you can’t just look at your baby to make the sadness go away, regardless of how cute they are or how much you love them. You need to give yourself time, need to get support and seek medical assistance.

I was patient with myself, both physically and mentally.

I came across Maria’s No Excuse picture, and investigated her further. I read her book, joined up to the group and set about to make plans.

I knew I couldn’t just sit around waiting for my life to change, I knew I had to do something about it.

I just kept going, focusing on each hour, which then turned into a day, a week and then a month. And this wasn’t just in weight loss, for some days it was just survival.

I took progress pictures every 4 weeks, and for sure I could see the difference, which would give me another boost of motivation.

My motivation to begin with was mainly weight loss. I wanted to feel better about how I looked and I wanted to give Henry the mum he deserved. I wanted to be able to run around with him and not let my weight hold him back in any way.

It wasn’t always easy…. There were days when I felt too low to go out and days where I would be crying all the time. But as time went by, it got easier, I realized that going to the gym actually gave me a boost and improved my mood. Since I was lifting weights, and the area is mainly male dominated, there was no way I could shed a tear. I was becoming stronger, both mentally and physically. I was becoming a better mother too, my energy levels were up, and I wasn’t on edge or snappy.

It would have been easier at times to reach for something quick to eat, or reach for chocolate to get an instant feel good hit, and I admit, sometimes I did this. But it’s very empowering to over come this. To pick yourself up, wipe away the tears and cook dinner. I always ask myself a these moments…. What is it you want the most? Do you really want to eat that chocolate or do you want  6 pack abs? I also leant to plan for such days. Make up big batches of soup and freeze them. Dinner can then be ready in 10 minutes – some days as a mum…. Time is not on your side!

I set myself a target of weight loss, but with knowledge I learned that it’s not the main focus. Now I have a whole new set of goals. It’s about me as a person, I want to be fit, healthy and strong. I’ve set goals for 2014 so that I stay motivated. I’m going to do a triathlon!

I started out slow at first, I made small changes to my diet, first cutting out the obvious junk and cleaning it up. Now I eat 6 small meals a day and my food is 90% clean. I don’t calorie count but it’s around 1600, on this amount I’m still consistently losing weight. I plan my meals for a week ahead, making sure I have enough time in the day to prep that meal. For exercise I started with the C25K program and swimming. Now I do strength training with free weights, some HIIT and Pilates.

I faced some criticism along the way, this often happens when someone makes a lifestyle change. But I have my core supporters who really got me through these difficult times and have celebrated every success along with me. I’ve made new friends, I’ve been able to inspire and motivate others…. I’m even in calendar!

Now I find myself as a whole new person. I see that my journey out of depression and into my new body run along in parallel with each other. I have more confidence and self respect than ever before. At 5’6, I started out at 218lb on 19th Feb 2013 and I last weighed in on 30th October and was 158lbs.

Now Henry is over a year old, he is the light of my life. He has taught me so much and been the central part of my journey. I’m so proud of every new thing he learns and discovers, I just hope I can serve him justice. I hope he looks to me as an inspiration, I hope he sees the dedication I put into my fitness and sees how I achieve my goals. I hope he one day reads this and realizes that anything is possible…. You just need to set yourself some goals, break them down, be determined, put in hard work, learn from your mistakes, and smile!

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24 real moms with real advice for the New Year! Lorna is Miss August!!