Role Model: Jeanine Auldridge

To anyone who feels defeated and overwhelmed because of your current health status, I’ve been there. I started at 260lbs and a size 24. I couldn’t play with my kids without becoming winded. Simple things most take for granted, like turning over in bed, became difficult. I went to bed sore and woke up sore, and I was so very tired of always being tired. Please know that regardless of your starting point you CAN become a healthier version of you, but you have to take that leap and start. It won’t be easy and won’t happen overnight, but if you’re consistent it will happen. It may overwhelming at first, but take things a day or even a food choice at a time if you have to. Little changes will eventually put big changes in motion. Don’t do it for a number on the scale, a clothing size, or some life event you want to look good for (although those can be goals/motivators). Do it because you deserve to feel good and have energy. Do it because you deserve to be the healthiest version of you, the weight loss is just an added bonus.
I am Jeanine Auldridge, 37 years of age, was a nurse for 10+ years and just started as a SAHM last month!  Most of my teen/adult life has consisted of periods of losing and gaining weight through yo yo dieting, deprivation and overindulging, and overall unhealthy means. With the exception of this past (almost) year, my health was never a priority. I only wanted to be “skinny”, and didn’t put much thought into the importance of a healthy lifestyle. For the first time in my life I have a healthy relationship with both my body and with food, and it has truly been life changing!
I’ve been pregnant 7 times, and have had 6 babies, but currently have 5 children earthside. The boys are 18, 7, almost 5, almost 3, and my daughter just turned 2. My youngest children are not quite 11 months apart. My cravings mainly consisted of pickles, tomatoes, and chocolate frosting, but I ate everything in sight simply because I wanted to. Pregnant or not, I used to be overly obsessed with food. I’d go to bed full from gorging myself and thinking about what I could eat the next day. When I decided to take charge of my health I changed my mindset in regard to food. I don’t count calories, fat, carbs, serving size, etc. I eat Paleo and follow the simple rule of if I can’t plant, pick, or kill it, I don’t eat it (with the exception of ghee for cooking). I also quit my diet soda addiction and drink tons of water.
The only pregnancy I was physically active with was my 4th. I did light aerobics 3 times a week. I never “bounced back” or even tried to after any of my pregnancies. If anything I continued to bounce forward at light speed because of my obsession with unhealthy food choices, overindulging, and a sedentary lifestyle. I ate and drank anything and everything. I have no idea how many calories I averaged, but I could eat an entire pizza by myself if that is any indication.
I started this journey January 9th of this year. My youngest was 17 months at the time. Once I decided to become a healthier version of me, my workouts started out as 10-15 minute sessions on my elliptical 2 times per week because that is all I could physically handle. When weather allowed I began walking the kids to and from school while pushing the younger kids in the double stroller 3-4 times per week. Over the past 7 months my sessions on the elliptical have progressed to 35-45 minutes 4 times per week. I still walk the kids to and from school, but now wear 10lb ankle weights and take an extended route home (approximately 3.5 miles). I also do random exercises throughout the day and use weights at home a couple times a week.
With the kids still requiring so much, I find it’s easiest to get up before them to use my elliptical. After that I include them as much as possible. The younger kids make great weights for leg lifts and arm curls. And all 4 younger kids love playing “Yoga Leader” (each of us take turns being the leader and everyone copies the move or pose). I also add in some type of extra movement whenever possible whether it be squats while cooking dinner or lunges while doing laundry.
My best advice for other moms is:
(1) Take time to get in the right mindset before beginning your lifestyle changes. Overcoming my mental/emotion roadblocks in regard to food was key.
(2) Research, pick a start date, and stick to it.
(3) Food is how you nourish your body, NOT good, bad, or a reward.
(4) I know how tired you are, but I promise you will feel better once you get up and moving.
(5) It doesn’t matter where you start, just as long as you start. *6* My Bonus Tip- Love YOUR body (not some “perfect” celebrity version you see on TV) and treat it well.
My mantra and something I wholeheartedly believe- To change your body you must first change your mind. I don’t see food as good or bad, but rather as a choice, therefore I don’t believe in “cheat” days. Having said that, every blue moon I choose to have a few ice cold beers with friends and/or family. After that it’s right back to healthy choices. This journey is not about reaching some magical number on the scale or in clothing. Long story short, I don’t want to be skinny. I want to be strong.