NEM Region 3 Winner: Erica Hansen

Congrats to our Region 3 winner, Erica Hansen, for dedicating 12 weeks towards self-improvement both externally and internally and winning $422! Region three is managed by Barbie Caulder and comprises of Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware and Maryland. Find a local No Excuse Mom meetup near you by entering your city/state or zipcode HERE.
Erica’s Story:
A few of you may know me; you may know me as the “fancy” eater, your “sweaty selfie” sister, or the protein shake mad scientist. I post funny things, important things, and motivating things. I like to brag about my husband who writes motivational phrases on our bathroom mirror. I’m a mother of four children and 10 chickens and just your average, granola, fancy gal. I’m here to tell you about my transformation and how it changed me, in 500 words or less. Let’s do this.
I started the challenge with a mission: lose weight. Lots of it. I was unhappy with my body and it was affecting me and my family. I was in despair mode; you know, when you think nothing will get better so why even try? We were eating poorly and sedentary. Maria Kang had successfully challenged me to change my hydration habits in August, so I figured that the 12 Week Challenge was the next logical step. I put up my fitness calendar, started counting calories and worked out. I was losing weight and feeling better. I still battled with feelings of despair, depression and anxiety, and my compulsive eating was always lurking around the corner waiting for a moment of weakness, but the support and love I felt from my family and the NEM community could always help boost me out of my funk. I consider my challenge to have been a success; I lost a little weight, I got motivated and I am inspired to keep it going. This was more of a transformation of my mind and my soul than my body. I have learned to love my body and give it love, and I know that I need to do it for the rest of my life.
I would like to take this opportunity to give future-me and other women who need it some advice:
1. Be good to yourself. Take moments away to meditate and concentrate on your love for yourself. Take the extra time to dress up your food. Go out and get a new workout outfit. Be fancy! These little things reinforce the idea that you are worth it and cement them in your mind.
2. Take chances. Go to that group workout that you were too shy to attend. Workout at the playground, even if you’re the only one. Run like a kid, dance like no one’s watching and do headstands. You do not look silly; you look like a person who is dedicated to fitness and you may inadvertently inspire someone else.
3. Be positive. Forget the “haters”; don’t think about them, don’t even talk about them. Turn every down moment into an up moment. Surround yourself with positive people. It’s not easy at first, but you’ll find that positivity is absolutely infectious and every moment that you have a smile on your face, you’ll be spreading goodness to others.
Lastly, I would like to thank the amazing NEM community. I love you all. Pinkies up!
 
Read about our No Excuse Mom program HERE or pre-order Maria Kang’s “The No More Excuses Diet” Book HERE.
erica

NEM Region 2 winner: Bridget Molnar

Congrats to our Region 2  winner, Bridget Molnar, for dedicating 12 weeks towards self-improvement both externally and internally and won $442! Region two is led by Vanessa Campos and comprises of New Jersey and New York. Find a local No Excuse Mom meetup near you by entering your city/state or zipcode HERE.
Bridget’s Story:
I began my journey September 29, 2014. I stumbled upon a Facebook group of women all working on being healthy role models for their children. This being something I longed to be. I reluctantly went to a NEM Meet up where I was greeted by an incredible specimen of a human-muscular, lean, beautiful and strong (Vanessa Campos). I was terrified! But, nearly 10 minutes into my grueling workout I realized I was in the right place with the right people. I had a goal. I would become the skinny girl I once was! Nothing more-nothing less! Little did I know I wouldn’t only lose inches, body fat and pounds; but I would lose the self-hatred, torment of carrying burdens and trauma I had endured my entire life. I WOULD TRANSCEND ALL EXPECTATIONS OF MYSELF!
You see I am far more than that fat woman in the picture above who appears to lack physical strength and confidence. I am a PTSD survivor, sufferer of major depressive mood disorder since I was 13, the daughter of a 15 year mother, a girl who’s never met her schizophrenic father, was raised by grandparents alongside my own child mother, graduated the top ten in my high school class, was sexually molested nearly daily by a family member to whom I love and trusted starting at the age of 4 to which my family never knew or could protect from his grips. I put myself into therapy as well as college where I graduated a Dean scholar. I’ve been committed to a psychiatric ward for 7 days for a psychotic break and attempted suicide 5 years ago. I have 2 beautiful healthy confident and mentally stable children, and a challenging yet loving and supportive husband. And I’ve always hung my head in shame of it all. Embarrassed by my imperfections and dysfunctional life. Then, being a people pleaser, I perfected the art of the fake smile seeing the effect that it had on everyone I met. I was the master of disguise wearing the mask of elation only to be broken and very alone with my secrets and shame.
Until now! More than 35 years after my torture I am saved by this transformation challenge! I no longer fear challenges-I EMBRACE THEM!!! I have made the realization that I have always been strong, resilient and consistently a fighter! I do wear this smile of true elation and pride. I am a survivor, a mother, an example of strength and hope! I’ve learned that I no longer need to pretend I am happy when I’m sad-LIFE ISN’T PERFECT! And, I don’t need to pretend to be or hide in embarrassment of my experiences!
My transformation isn’t over…I will always be a work in progress. No I’m not that skinny girl I set my goal of being and I’m not sure I’ll ever be and that’s ok. But I no longer carry my burdens or pain. I have transformed into a woman I love! Maria Kang, you’re creation of NEM and your fitness leader Vanessa Campos have saved my life! I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Read about our No Excuse Mom program HERE or pre-order Maria Kang’s “The No More Excuses Diet” Book HERE.
bridget m

NEM Region 1 winner: Lindsay Ahearn

Congrats to our Region 1 winner, Lindsay Ahearn for dedicating 12 weeks towards self-improvement both externally and internally and winning $442! Region one is led by Jennifer Dillon and comprises of Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Find a local No Excuse Mom meetup near you by entering your city/state or zipcode HERE.
Lindsay’s Story…
“My journey to health and happiness started a long time ago. I was 22, overweight and unhappy with myself. I decided to take charge of my body, and I lost 70 pounds over the course of two years by adopting a healthy diet and embracing a love of running. When I found out I was pregnant last December, all the same fears came creeping back. What if I gain too much weight? What if I can’t lose it after? What if I can’t make time to exercise? I tried very hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle for my baby, but by my 8th month, I had gained the 70 pounds I had once lost, and found myself back where I started. A month postpartum, I stepped on the scale, and although I had lost nearly 40 pounds, I knew there was work to be done. I have this new little person relying on me to be there for him, and I intend to do that the best I can.
I was cleared to exercise right around the time I heard about the “No Excuse Moms Transformation Challenge.” This was the perfect motivation for me. I had adopted a healthier diet the day after I left the hospital, but I knew exercise was something that wouldn’t come back as quickly for me. I started walking with Tyler in his stroller around our neighborhood, so by 6 weeks postpartum I was able to start jogging. My family was a great support system for me, as my sister and mother would volunteer to watch Tyler so I could go for a run a few times per week. I always knew, though, no matter how many times I was able to get out each week, I would be able to circle back with our NEM group each Sunday morning and get remotivated.
Our group leader, Jenn, did a great job organizing each week, and bringing new types of exercises for us to do. Weight training has never been something I was good at, or was even motivated to do, so it was great to have a time allotted each week to do these things. As a group, we ran three different 5k races, and had a great time doing it!
Being back at work has been difficult. The first month I was feeling discouraged, because I was not able to get in these workouts, then I remembered… NO EXCUSES! I have been making time during my lunch hour to get in a run, and I joined a women’s gym in my area which focuses on weight training at each visit. I’ve been keeping to this routine now for two weeks, and I already feel better. After a long day at work, the last thing I want to do is leave my son behind to hit the gym. I know this will be worth it though, as he will have the best version of his mom possible growing up.”
Read about our No Excuse Mom program HERE or pre-order Maria Kang’s “The No More Excuses Diet” Book HERE.
Lindsay Ahearn

20 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget

Access to healthy food is a basic human right (at least it should be). Without access to healthy food, people are at a higher risk for conditions such as heart disease, type II diabetes, and obesity.
However healthy foods, along with many other basic costs of living, can add up quickly. These costs of living have increased dramatically over the years, and yet wage rates and income supports have not increased at the same rate of inflation. This means people have to spend more and more money on fixed costs such as housing, electricity, etc., and the most flexible basic expense is the food budget (you can’t pay half of your rent, electricity, or power, but you can sure cut your food bill). Does this seem fair? Many people blame themselves for not being able to afford enough healthy food for their families, when in fact it is more of a societal issue (when you look at the issue as a whole and not on an individual basis). Does this sound like your situation? Then throw away that blame and don’t being so hard on yourself. You are doing the best you can with the social circumstances you are given. And if you’re one of those people who say well people should do this, or shouldn’t do that…just try to be a little more understanding about the fact that everyone is doing their best with their given circumstances.
Most people will say that a healthy diet should be affordable to everyone. The truth for many is, if you have an extremely tight budget for food for the week for yourself and your family (I’ve worked with mothers that have $20 to stretch for the week for food), a few boxes of Kraft dinner and some hot dogs, or a $3 on sale pizza, go much further than an array of lean meats, healthy carbs and veggies. A bottle of pop you can get for 50 cents on sale, yet the same size carton of milk would run about five dollars. The examples are endless. The fact is that many of us have to make some tough choices that we judge ourselves harshly enough about. Healthy eating can be done on a budget, but it takes some time, patience, understanding, effort, and trial and error to figure out the best system that works for you and your family.
Here are some tips for eating healthy on a budget:
1. Buy Generic Food and Store Brands

  • Generic versions of raw foods such as rice, pasta, eggs, milk, cottage cheese, and frozen fruits/veggies taste like brand name foods (or at least comparable), and they’ll save you money on packaging & advertising.

2. Buy in Bulk

  • Especially when there are sales. Foods like pasta, rice and oats are easy to stockpile. If they’re on sale, buy as much as you can afford and store to last you until the next sale.

3. Invest in a Deep Freezer

  • Even if you have to buy one second hand and clean it. It will save you tons of money in the long run because you can stock up on fruits, veggies, meats, etc., when they go on sale.

4. Buy Only What You Need

  • “Failing to plan is planning to fail”. The best way to avoid impulse buying is to prepare yourself before you do the grocery.
  • Plan your meals ahead, including portion size. List all foods you need for the next 7 to 14 days. Go the grocery store, get what’s on your list and get out.
  • Eat before you go shopping. This prevents buying foods not on your list because you’re hungry. Eat a solid meal before doing the grocery.
  • Shop alone as it prevents impulse buying from the significant other and/or kids.
  • Keep a list in the kitchen to write down items that you need to buy for your menu or to restock your pantry.

5. Prepare Your Own Food

  • Cook all your meals for the day on waking up or before going to bed (place ingredients in a slow cooker, or cook and then store in the fridge/freezer). It takes 30-40mins, saves you stress about what you’ll be eating the rest of the day and you eat healthy while saving money. Or choose one afternoon or evening a week to prep some meals for days when you know you will be busy. There are many websites where you can get ideas on family meal prep, such as this one.
  • Reduce processed foods: Buy oats instead of cereals, make home made protein bars, home made tomato sauce, home made pizza (recipes can be found online).
  • Keep it simple: make double portions, take leftovers with you, use cans of tuna & mackerel, rice, pasta, and frozen veggies.
  • Learn to cook from scratch: Learn to work with spices & herbs. Invest in a budget-friendly eating on a budget cookbook, or free sites such as this one for recipes. Note: it takes time, patience and practice to learn new cooking skills (as with learning any new skill). Don’t get frustrated if you burn something or don’t get it right the first time. You will slowly start to develop your skills over time.

6. Make One Meal for Everyone

  • Try to offer everybody the same foods at mealtimes. As tempting as it is to please everyone, avoid making something special for ‘picky’ eaters. Children will learn to like many different foods only if they are encouraged to try them. Making only one meal also saves money and prevents waste. (Disclaimer: this might not be true for some households with picky eaters, so I do understand that sometimes you just ‘gotta do what you gotta do’ with a very picky eater).

7. Offer Water Instead of Juice for Kids

  • Or try diluting juice with water. It’s better for their teeth and also helps reduce the risk for childhood obesity (through drinking too many calories).

8. Plan for Leftovers

  • Make larger amounts of food and plan to use leftovers for lunches or suppers the next day. Add leftover vegetables, meats, fish, or poultry to salads, pastas, soups or spaghetti sauces.

9. Use Community Gardens or CSAs

  • Community gardens offer people the opportunity to grow their own vegetables and fruit. A group of people come together to grow food, maintain the garden and share the harvest. Ask your local community centre or public health department if there is a community garden that you could join.
  • ‘Community Supported Agriculture’ (CSA) refers to a particular network of individuals who provide money to support one or more local farms. CSA subscribers pay at the beginning of the growing season for a share of the anticipated harvest; once harvesting begins, they receive weekly shares of vegetables and fruit. Often, CSAs also include herbs, honey, eggs, dairy products and meat, in addition to produce. Check if there is a CSA in your area.

10. Buy Frozen Fruits & Veggies.

  • Unfreeze berries in microwave and eat warm with cottage cheese. Buy large bags of spinach and freeze half of it so it does not go bad; use the fresh spinach in salads and the frozen in cooked recipes. Try frozen beans, broccoli, carrots, corn, etc.
  • Benefits of using frozen fruits and veggies: Saves Money – often half the price of fresh and almost infinite shelf life when kept in freezer; Saves Time – frozen fruits & veggies are pre-washed and pre-cut, which saves preparation time; Nutrient Dense – if frozen right when picked, frozen fruits & veggies can contain just as much or even more nutrients than fresh ones.

11. Plan Easy Meals Around Whole Grains

  • Add meat, chicken or dried beans, peas or lentils and vegetables to brown rice, quinoa, bulgur or barley. Follow the directions on the package to help you cook the grains.

12. Healthier Cereal Options

  • Buy unsweetened whole grain cereals when you can. Sweetened cereals are higher in sugar and are often lower in fibre.
  • Hot cereals like oatmeal and multigrain cereals are the best buys. Instant flavoured hot cereals in single serving packages are easy, but they may cost more and are higher in sugar and salt.
  • Add your own toppings to cereals to make them more flavourful: banana slices, berries, canned fruit, dried fruit (raisins, apricots, dates, dried cranberries), nuts, yogurt, applesauce, chopped apples or cinnamon.

13. Buy Discounted Meat

  • Grocery stores often discount meats by up to 70% as they approach expiration date. Buy several pounds and store in your freezer.

14. Buy Less Expensive Types of Meat, Poultry and Fish

  • Stewing meat
  • Outside, inside or eye of round
  • Blade or flank steak
  • Regular or medium ground meat
  • Pork shoulder
  • Chicken pieces (legs, thighs) or whole chicken (or buy breasts when they are on sale and freeze)
  • Plain frozen fish fillets such as salmon, tilapia, sole, haddock and Pollock
  • Canned fish like salmon, “light” tuna, sardines and herring

15. Keep Portions Small

  • A serving of meat, poultry or fish is just 75 grams (2.5 oz) or about the size of a deck of cards. Have 2 to 3 servings per day. Enjoy meals that use small amounts of meat and lots of vegetables, pasta or rice. Try stir-fries, casseroles, curries and pasta dishes.

16. Lower priced meats can be less tender because they are lower in fat. Try these ways to make meat more tender:

  • Marinate meat overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Pound the meat using a mallet before cooking.
  • Cook meat slowly for a few hours in a liquid such as water, broth or tomato juice.

17. Explore meat alternatives like eggs, dried beans, peas and lentils, soy products and nuts and seeds. Try eating a few meatless meals each week:

  • Curried chickpeas and rice
  • Vegetable cheese omelette
  • Vegetarian bean chilli
  • Lentil casserole or soup
  • Tofu stir-fry
  • Egg salad sandwich
  • Hummus and vegetable pita

18. Ways to Save Money with Dairy Products:

  • Buy milk in 4 L bags or jugs instead of cartons. Milk can be frozen for up to three months. Thaw bags of milk in your refrigerator and shake it before you open it.
  • Skim milk powder costs less than milk and is just as nutritious. Once skim milk powder has been mixed with water, try mixing it with an equal amount of milk from the bag or carton for a creamier taste. You can also use it for cooking or baking. Buy yogurt in a larger container instead of single serve portions.
  • Buy cheese in blocks when it is on sale and slice or grate it yourself.
  • Freeze grated or block cheese to help make it last longer. It will crumble when you thaw it, but it will be just as nutritious.
  • Buy yogurt in a larger container instead of single serve portions. Note: plain yogurt can be used as a much healthier substitute for mayonnaise.
  • Low fat cottage cheese can be a good substitute for regular cheese in some recipes
  • Compare brands and the price of cheese per kilogram.

19. Try These Budget-friendly Meal Ideas

  • Make a stir fry and serve it over brown rice.
  • Toss leftover pasta with diced canned tomatoes, canned or frozen vegetables and cooked meat. Put in a casserole dish and top with grated cheese. Heat in the oven or microwave.
  • Add chopped vegetables and dried fruit to quinoa, bulgur or barley and toss with oil and vinegar salad dressing.
  • Add cooked brown rice or barley to soups.
  • Cheese, bean and vegetable quesadillas on whole grain tortillas.

20. Last but not least – Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

  • Everybody has rough times for various reasons. People are usually too embarrassed to ask for help because there are judgements and stigma out there around this. Try to look past that and understand that no matter what people will always judge. Don’t refrain from seeking help just because there is a lack of understanding around who should and shouldn’t need it.
  • Community Kitchens: are small groups of people who prepare low-cost meals together to divide among their families. Ask your local community centre or public health department to connect you with a group.
  • Food Buying Clubs (e.g. The Good Food Box): The Good Food Box is a non-profit food buying club that makes fresh vegetables and fruit available at an affordable price. Community organizations and volunteers help pack and distribute the boxes. Go to www.foodshare.net to find a Good Food Box program near you.
  • Food Banks and Food Cupboards: provide basic food items to help when you do not have enough money for food. They try to offer healthy foods, but the types and amounts of food you will get depends on what is available. When you find a location, be sure to ask about the hours of operation and what information you should bring with you when you go.
  • Meal Programs: Sometimes you need a place to get a meal when money is tight. Nutritious meals that are free or at a very low cost may be available where you live. Ask about meal programs at local places of worship, community centres and other non-profit organizations in your community.
  • Student Nutrition Programs: Many schools offer breakfast, lunch and/or snack programs for their students. Ask the principal at your child’s school if they offer a nutrition program.

Felicia Newell, BScAHN, MScAHN(c), RD(c)

Official NEM Nutritionist

For the past several years, Felicia has been working at a university research centre with a focus on food security (Food Action Research Centre), and has taught university level nutrition courses. Her passion lies in working toward a future where everyone has access to enough affordable, healthy, safe and culturally appropriate food, that is produced, processed and distributed in socially, economically and ecologically sustainable ways. Felicia has recently published a paper in the Canadian Journal of Public Health titled, ‘Is the Minimum Enough: Affordability of a Nutritious Diet for Minimum Wage Earners in Nova Scotia’.

 

One Step at a Time

For many people, cravings (and sometimes addictions – both mental and physical) for sweet, salty, high-fat foods are what hinders them from their progress and goals.
As I will reiterate over and over, making lifestyle changes can be difficult. Some people try to take on too many changes at once, and that can become overwhelming so they give up (and unfortunately feel like a failure). Instead of letting a ‘failure’ stop you from achieving your goals, learn from it instead!
If making changes is hard for you – try it one step at a time. Find your most challenging negative habits or addictions and slowly cut them out/replace with healthy behaviours. For example: someone barely ever drinks water, craves and snacks on high-fat sweet snacks at night, eats fast food several times per week, and does not get get much exercise. They could still snack at night, but instead of always choosing chocolate and other high-fat sweets, they could replace some snacks with something that is nutritious, still tasty, and has significantly lower calories (see example below). They could also try slowly increasing their daily water intake (adding in 1-2 cups per week). Once they are comfortable with making these changes (and they become habits), other changes such as adding in more exercise that suits their schedule and cutting down on fast food can be made. This is just one example, and would be different for every person, but hopefully you get the point!
If you have trouble with craving sweets, try this yummy, healthy, nutrient-dense snack to satisfy your sweet tooth!
– Layer (low sugar) regular or Greek yogurt in a glass pan or comparable, add your favourite fruits, nuts, and/or a bit of dark chocolate, freeze for a few hours and enjoy!

Felicia Newell, BScAHN, MScAHN(c), RD(c)

Official NEM Nutritionist

For the past several years, Felicia has been working at a university research centre with a focus on food security (Food Action Research Centre), and has taught university level nutrition courses. Her passion lies in working toward a future where everyone has access to enough affordable, healthy, safe and culturally appropriate food, that is produced, processed and distributed in socially, economically and ecologically sustainable ways.

 

Healthy Cooking Tips!

Let’s face it – it’s a new era where some of us have basic cooking skills, and some of us don’t. It’s not our fault really – it depends on how we were raised and other factors (We all have strengths and weaknesses right?).
 
 
Try these ideas to make some of your favorite recipes a little healthier. 

  • Blend a handful of spinach or kale into a fruit smoothie
  • Mash cooked cauliflower together with potatoes
  • Add puréed butternut squash to homemade macaroni and cheese
  • Shred carrots, zucchini or onions into spaghetti sauce
  • Stir canned puréed pumpkin into whole grain pancake or muffin batter
  • Sprinkle berries onto breakfast cereal or yogurt

Balance your baking with simple swaps.

There are lots of tasty ways to make your baking a little bit healthier. Experiment by using these simple substitutions in your favourite baked goods:

  • Replace at least half of the enriched white flour (if you normally use white flour) with a healhier type of flour (e.g., whole grain, coconut, brown rice, millet, buckwheat, oat, etc.)
  • Replace a quarter or more of the sugar with a healthier alternative (e.g., stevia, truvia, agave nectar, honey, skim milk powder)
  • Replace half of the fat in muffins, quick breads and cookies with mashed fruit or vegetables, such as unsweetened applesauce or puréed sweet potato
  • Use milk (regular, almond, coconut, etc.) instead of water

Get delicious results with good-for-you ingredients. 

Cooking at home lets you control the taste, nutrition and cost of your meals. Try these simple swaps to fill homemade food with flavour:

  • Use whole milk (or another milk alternative) and cream cheese instead of cream and butter for a luscious pasta Alfredo
  • Substitute greek yogurt for mayonnaise to make a creamy salad dressing
  • Sweeten whole grain hot cereal/oatmeal with fruit, such as bananas, apples or peaches, instead of sugar
  • Use lemon juice, garlic, herbs and spices instead of salt to flavour savoury dishes

Add some zing!

Think healthy cooking is bland? Healthy cooking is all about good taste. Add some zing with these mouth-watering flavor boosters:

  • Garlic is perfect for pasta, potatoes and peas, and it makes a tofu-and-veggie stir-fry’s much more flavorful
  • Fresh lime juice is a tangy addition to fish, avocado or fresh tomato salsa
  • Red pepper flakes deliver delicious heat to lightly sautéed greens
  • Ginger spices up butternut squash soup and adds depth to beef and pork dishes
  • Cinnamon pairs sweetly with apples, squash and sweet potatoes

*Notes:

  • There are many more ‘cooking basics’, these are just a few tips.
  •  Please keep in mind that people have varied skills and habits when it comes to food. As a nutritionist I meet people with all different levels of cooking skills, and many use white flour, sugar, etc. all of the time, so for many people cutting out half of what they use would be a step in the right direction.

Felicia Newell, BScAHN, MScAHN(c), RD(c)
Official NEM Nutritionist
For the past several years, Felicia has been working at a university research centre with a focus on food security (Food Action Research Centre), and has taught university level nutrition courses. Her passion lies in working toward a future where everyone has access to enough affordable, healthy, safe and culturally appropriate food, that is produced, processed and distributed in socially, economically and ecologically sustainable ways.

12-week Transformation FAQ’s

Are you on edge about challenging yourself these next 12 weeks? Here are frequently asked questions that will alleviate some of your concerns! JOIN the contest HERE>
1. I don’t want to lose weight, can I still join?
Yes. This is a transformation contest! That includes all forms of transformations!
2. How do I find a local No Excuse Mom group near me?
Simply type in your zipcode on the locations page and find your nearest one here.
If you are having trouble finding a leader, please contact your regional manager here.
3. If I don’t have a local group, can I still participate?
If you don’t have a local group, you can either create your own (if there is no one next to you) or join the closest group either online or in person. The reason why this is required is to align you with positive people and create lasting, healthy friendships.
4. I live internationally, can I still join?
Yes. We have several international groups including the UK, Australia, South Africa, Germany, China, New Zealand, France, etc. Please contact your international managers to get connected!
5. I’m still breastfeeding, can I still join?
Yes. We have many nursing moms who are able to eat healthy, incorporate exercise and not lose their milk supply!
6. Do I need to follow all the Rules? I like cream in my coffee.
There is no way for us to ensure you are following the rules, what we provided are guidelines to help you transform the most effectively.
7. So…I don’t have to count calories?
NO. It is recommended but not required.
8. I take a protein shake, can I still join?
Yes.
9. How do you define Detox?
We don’t recommend any program that allows less than 1200 calories/day. This was a general term used to avoid quick fix dieting. (which is detrimental in the long term)
10. I am pregnant, can I still join?
YES! To be fair, you can either use a before picture at the same time you were pregnant prior (if this is your second child) to demonstrate a healthier pregnancy. If this is your first time, please just provide your most recent picture. (BTW: we’ve had a pregnant mom grace the pages of our swimsuit calendar)
11. Can I use a ‘before’ picture that was taken earlier this year?
Please provide the picture taken this month (August 2014). Please submit two photos. One holding a daily newspaper and one without. You can also include a picture taken prior but it will not be used in the final judging.
12. Do I need to be a mom?
No! Stepmoms, grandmothers, mom of doggies…are all able to join!
13. Can I be refunded after I join?
After September 1st there are no refunds.
14. There’s a lot of paperwork on the application. When do I turn it in?
At the very end of the contest on November 24th.
15 Do I  need a professional photographer to take my “after” photo?
No. However, if you do use someone, we ask you utilize the photographer waiver in the application packet.
16. How will we be judged?
40% Transformation
30% Personal Story
30% Participation
17. Who will judge?
There will be a NEM panel.
18. How many prizes are there?
The pot money will be divided between 13 winners:
1. ELEVEN Regional winners (including our international NEMs)
2. ONE National winner (Our 11 Finalists will be voted by our NEM group!)
3. ONE NEM admin/leader (online admins, regional and group NEM leaders)
19. When is the last day to join and when will winners be announced?
Last day to join: September 5th
Winners announced: December 15th
20. Will I know the total pot money?
Yes! On Sept 6th we will announce how many people have entered and what is up for grabs! We will also announce pot updates the weeks leading up.
21. I’ve done contests like this before and failed. What do you recommend for me to keep me motivated these next 12 weeks?
I will send out weekly emails to all of you as your mentor. If you are following the contest rules as written here you will also have found accountability partners in the form of a supporter and follower. The positive and inspiring energy of people around you will be the defining factor that will make this a successful journey versus the times you have attempted to transform in the past. I believe that we can absolutely transform ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually in these next 12 weeks and that NO ONE on my team gets left behind. I will send all those joining a personal email to contact me directly for any questions, motivation or support.
22. I signed up but didn’t get my application?
A link should’ve been provided along with the receipt. If it was not received, please forward your receipt to noexcusemoms@gmail.com JOIN the 12-week transformation contest today! $20 to join! CLICK HERE.

Meet our NEM Advisory Board!

We have seen these smart ladies on our NEM boards for the past few months and am excited to OFFICIALLY announce that they are a part of our NEM Advisory Board! There are so many great questions about fitness and nutrition that it’s time we brought in people we trust and are in line with our health philosophy. Feel free to browse their websites and YouTube channels and discover why we love them so much!
vanessa
Vanessa Campos
Official NEM Fitness Pro
Email: vanessa@noexcusemom.com
Education:
BA Dance, Connecticut college
MMFA dance NYU Tisch School of Arts
Certified Personal Trainer, Pilates Mat and Standing Pilates Instructor
Qualified TRX instructor

VanessaLynn Campos is mom to 2 boys, Kai and Rocky.  Her interest in fitness began at age 15, having been a dancer, cheerleader and soccer player.  She studied dance at Beijing Dance Academy in Beijing, China and the London Contemporary Dance School at The Place in England. Her professional opportunities also included working with internationally acclaimed dance photographer, Lois Greenfield, who featured Vanessa in her 2007, 2008, and 2013 calendars.  Her professional fitness career began in NYC in 2002.
jules
Julia Rosenthal
Official NEM Fitness Pro
Email: Jules@noexcusemom.com
Education
ACE certified
Tread Tabata certified
Masters in Social Work
Jules always played sports though wasn’t always an athlete until she found where were greatest strengths were: running, weight training and coaching. She also had a short career in the culinary arts before changing course and earning her MSW in 2005. Not too shortly thereafter, though, the lure of the fitness called again, and she returned to the health-world by getting her ACE certification in 2009. Jules resides in the Boston area — she is a No Excuse mother of two, licensed clinical social worker, avid runner/fitness freak and made her vision come true when she started her own personal training company, Ripped by Jules in 2013.

felicia

Felicia Newell
Official NEM Nutritionist
Email: Felicia@noexcusemom.com
Education:
Bsc Applied Human Nutrition (AHN)
MSc AHN(c)
Certified Nutritionist
Advanced Food Safety Certificaton
Dietitians of Canada Dysphagia Management Certification
Dietitians of Canada Critical Care Nutrition Certification

Instagram:
@fifi_noexcusemomFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/FeliciaNewellNutrition 
Felicia is a busy mom of 4 boys under 4 (including twins). For the past several years, Felicia has been working at a university research centre with a focus on food security (Food Action Research Centre). Growing up in a single mother household has opened her eyes to the fact that not everyone can afford to eat healthy. Her passion lies in working toward a future where everyone has access to enough affordable, healthy, safe and culturally appropriate food, that is produced, processed and distributed in socially, economically and ecologically sustainable ways. In 2014, she published a paper in the Canadian Journal of Public Health titled, ‘Is the Minimum Enough?: the Affordability of a Nutritious Diet for Minimum Wage Earners in Nova Scotia’.

 
diane
Diane Kazer:
Official NEM Nutritionist
Email: Diane@noexcusemom.com
Education:
BS – University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA
Frauen HSV – Bundesliga, Germany Pro Soccer Player
WPSL – 2nd Team USA, All Stars Womens Pro Soccer League
NASM – Personal Trainer
ISSA – Fitness Nutritionist
RYT Yoga Alliance – Yoga Teacher
FDN Practitioner – Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist
Website: www.dianekazer.com   www.kazerwellness.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/dianekazer
Diane played pro soccer at a young age, but gathered distractions to numb her pains of IBS, various viruses, an auto-immune thyroid disease, UTI’s, hormone imbalance, depression and problematic skin. She took her personal training skills to sculpt herself into a National level bodybuilding figure competitor, then turned in her clear heels for a yoga mat, finding balance in life through a series of positive mantras, asanas, and a trip around the world alone. She realized, cookie cutter nutrition doesn’t work for the masses, nor is it straight-forward to navigate the maze of health advice today. She navigates dysfunctions of the body through diagnostic testing to identify the root cause of dis-ease and a customized approach to heal and thrive, which is what sets her apart and is the REAL key to perfect health, as she cleverly coins the ‘Di-Vinci Code to health’. Diane specializes in hormones and digestion, the seeds of our vitality, and works with loving souls of all ages and health considerations from cancer and auto-immune disease to mood imbalances and stubborn fat loss.

12-week Transformation Contest!

On September 1st we are beginning an international transformation contest with all our No Excuse Moms! For 12 weeks, we are asking you to eat healthy, get active and be purposeful in your daily intentions. This was created to connect us as No Excuse Moms, motivate us before the holidays and transform us in a limited period of time. Contest Ends November 24th.
If you lose a healthy average of 1-2lbs/week for the next 12 weeks, you will be 12-25lbs lighter in 12 weeks! If you are heavily overweight, you will lose more weight. Click here to submit payment and receive an application via email.
Rules:
1. Drink only water, black coffee/tea
2. Eat balanced meals comprising of 30% lean protein, 30% healthy fats, 30% carbohydrates. The last 10% goes towards a small treat or protein/fat (for rest days) or carbohydrates (for training days).
3. Track your calories. If you are trying training for weight loss, lower your intake by 300 calories every few weeks.
4. Enjoy 1-2 treat meals a week.
5. Perform cardio 4 times a week for 20-30 minutes. (the shorter your cardio time the more intense it should be).
6. Perform strength training 3 times a week for 30-40 minutes.
7. Stretch daily.
8. Take a Selfie monthly (in workout clothes/swimsuit)
9. Participate and connect with your local NEM group either online or in person.
10. Identify your Target Heart Rate: 220-age * 60-85% =
11. Create a 12-week Fitness Calendar. For tips and downloadable calender click here.
12. Find accountability partners: Mentor (group leader), Supporter (friend) and Follower (someone you can guide). Find your regional leader here.
13. Be a member of our online NEM Facebook group
Contest Rules:
1. $20 opt-in payment to place into the pot.
2. All application will be emailed after payment is received and must be submitted by September 5th
3. Submit before and after pics and story by November 24th
4. Must connect with closest NEM group (via online or in person). Identify your local leader.
5. Must follow NEM guidelines. No extreme dieting, diet pills, detox plans allowed.
Winners will be judged by Maria Kang and a NEM panel. Criteria will be based upon:
40% Transformation
30% Personal Story
30% Participation
The pot money will be divided between 14 winners:
1. TWELVE Regional winners (including our  two international NEMs)
2. ONE National winner
3. ONE NEM admin/leader
The way we will divide prize money will be:
30% NEM Winner
30% NEM Admin/leader Winner
30% NEM Regional Winners
10% Misc Fees and NEM Charity Bucket (everything will be accounted for and transparent for everyone to see)
For Example, if we have 500 entries this will be the breakdown:
$10,000 POT MONEY
$3000 Overall NEM winner
$3000 NEM Admin/leader winner
$300 (11 Regions: $3300) Regional leader
Leftover is $700 which will go towards any paypal fees and the NEM charity bucket (i.e. sponsorship races)
<<<CLICK HERE TO JOIN NOW>>>
FAQ:
1. Do I need to count calories?
No. We provided a general guideline for those who want to know how to get started.
2. How do you define Detox?
We don’t recommend any program that allows less than 1200 calories/day. This was a general term used to avoid quick fix dieting. (which is detrimental in the long term)
3. I am pregnant, can I still join?
YES! To be fair, you can either use a before picture at the same time you were pregnant prior (if this is your second child) to demonstrate a healthier pregnancy. If this is your first time, please just provide your most recent picture. (BTW: we’ve had a pregnant mom grace the pages of our swimsuit calendar)
4. Can I use a ‘before’ picture that was taken earlier this year?
Please provide the picture taken this month (August 2014). Please submit two photos. One holding a daily newspaper and one without. You can also include a picture taken prior but it will not be used in the final judging.
5. Do I need to be a mom?
No! Stepmoms, grandmothers, mom of doggies…are all able to join!
6. Do I HAVE to join a local group?
Yes – you can either create your own (if there is no one next to you) or join the closest group either online or in person. The reason why this is required is to align you with positive people and create lasting, healthy friendships.
7. Will I know the total pot money?
Yes! On Sept 6th we will announce how many people have entered and what is up for grabs! We will also announce pot updates the weeks leading up.

2015 Fit Mom Calendar Application


fitmomswimsuitcalendar - Copy

We highly recommend you purchase the 2014 Calendar for inspiration, motivation and what to expect: Click here to order.

 

2015 No Excuse Mom Swimsuit Calendar

 

 

Who: Moms of every age and size. You must be a member of the online No Excuse Mom group.
 
What:  2015 Fit Mom Swimsuit Calendar! All proceeds benefit a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Fitness without Borders and building No Excuse Mom groups. All participants will receive their copy for free.

Everyone will be featured on our website, www.noexcusemom.com, however, there will only be 24 moms featured in the calendar. The administrators will determine the top 50 to be voted on. Voting will take place on June 5th and will last just ONE day, so please be prepared. The voting process will be announced later.

 

Criteria for being a ‘featured female’ will be based upon:

20%  Creativity. Please provide a high-quality, professional photo that captures your personality and creativity.

40%  Fitness Level and Public Appeal. We want to see tasteful pictures of healthy moms of all sizes and shapes. We encourage ‘mommy marks’ i.e. stretchmarks, excess skin, varicose veins, scars, etc. We want to show the world what being a ‘real mom’ who takes care of her health looks like!

10% Participation.
We believe in the importance of serving others in this process to bettering yourself. We take note of those who are highly involved in helping others as a No Excuse Mom member, ambassador, group workout leader or group workout participant.
30% Personal Story. Please share your personal story on how your journey to becoming a fit mom. Be deep and personal. Provide tips and inspiration. (500 word count max)
We would like you to submit TWO photos, one with your children and one without. Please do not ‘over-edit’ these photos. They must be natural-looking. You are welcome to pose however you want (including flexing).
A ‘before photo’ is not required but always recommended for you and for us! We will also have fitness/nutrition/time management tips and quotes (yours) throughout the calendar!

 

When: Start Date: Feb 1st
            Last Day to Join: Feb 28th
            Picture Submission Date: May 30th
            Monthly Feature Voting Date: June 5th
            Announcement of Monthly Features: June 7th

 

Why: We are challenging YOU to eat clean, exercise and transform yourself alongside hundreds of other moms to be part of our 2015 calendar! What better goal to focus on?

 

How: Follow the nutrition and fitness guidelines in Maria Kang’s “No Excuse Program” found in Chapter One (www.mariakang.com/category/fitness/no-excuse-program). Set your short term goals, plot your workouts, prepare your meals and make NO EXCUSES every day as you execute your plan. We suggest you create a visual poster board and put all 16 weeks on the calendar to keep you accountable. Perhaps put photos of your favorite featured moms from the 2014 calendar and motivational quotes to keep you motivated.

 

FAQ’s:

1. What if I’m pregnant?  Stay healthy and active and provide a picture by May 30th

 

2. Do I need to be in a swimsuit? Yes. This is a fit mom swimsuit (any kind) calendar.

3. Do I pose with my children?
Highly Encouraged (good luck!) but not required.

4. Is there a submission form?
Yes. Please fill out before cut date on Feb 28th. Please send to: noexcusemoms@gmail.com

5. Who do I send my image to?
Please send to
noexcusemoms@gmail.com

6. Does a professional photographer have to take my photo?
No, but it’s highly recommended. Investing in quality photos is a great motivator. You can find an inexpensive photographer in your area by using most online discount sites (groupon/living social)

7. Is there a criteria for the photos?
You can shoot either indoor or outdoor. Must submit a high quality image with a dpi of 300 resolution. You can choose to wear heels, one piece or two piece – but no workout clothes. We encourage you to purchase the 2014 Fit Mom Swimsuit Calendar to see the diverse photos used (and be inspired of course!) You can order on our website,
www.noexcusemom.com

 

7.  Can I submit photos earlier? Yes!

8. How much weight can I realistically lose in 16 weeks? Weight loss is dependent on your weight. Typically, the heavier you are, the more you will lose. It is safe to say 1-2lbs/week is realistic, so imagine losing anywhere between 20-40lbs in the next16 weeks. However, we recommend you don’t focus on the scale, especially in the first month. Use other scales of progress including body fat, clothes and measurements.


9. Can stepmoms enter?
Yes.


10. Can fit moms who don’t have a ‘before’ photo join?
Yes. We want to promote healthy, everyday role models and if you have always made health a priority then you should be celebrated!

11. Do I have to be part of a No Excuse workout group in my area?
No. But it is recommended. If there is none, consider creating one. Many of our local groups are initially starting online (since the weather is cold) and have created local Facebook pages for their groups. Please email
noexcusemoms@gmail.com to get started as a group leader. You do NOT have to be part of a group when you submit your application, but if you are part of a group by the end of the challenge, please note that.


12. If I was in the 2014 calendar, can I join again? Yes.


13. Will there be a cover model contest? We have a surprise challenge for our cover photo. We will announce that challenge on March 1st.

 

14. When do I have to submit my application? February 28th. There are no late exceptions.

 

15. When does the transformation challenge begin? NOW.

 

 

2015 No Excuse Mom Swimsuit Calendar Application


Full Name:


Address:

Phone:
Age:
Kid(s) ages:
Residence:
No Excuse Mom Group Location:
Favorite Exercise:
Favorite Clean Meal:
Favorite Motivational Quote:
How do you manage time to workout?

 

What is your best fitness and nutrition tip?

 

Personal Story (500 word count max):

 

 

 

Please send answers as well as a high quality before photo (uncropped – high res of at least 300 dpi) via email to noexcusemoms@gmail.com

Cut off date to submit application is Feb28th