Recovery of a No Excuse Mom: A Re-Introduction

It’s time for me to take some time to re-introduce myself. For those of you who have never heard my name… I’d like to change that.
I am Lori Hare.
I am the Co-Founder of the No Excuse Mom Facebook group that began in 2013. Maria and I have an even longer history, stemming clear back to 2006, when I reached out to her in order to get serious about my fitness journey. You can see more of that history here, in a fit mom interview on her website from 2013:
When Maria and I ended up pregnant at the same time in 2011, it was only natural to be in touch and talking about our health and fitness. I was absolutely honored when she asked me to start blogging about my post baby weight loss in 2012 and in 2013 I asked Maria to start an online Facebook group for challengers following her No Excuse book. During that initial time, I lost all of my pregnancy weight and had a new motivation to live a healthy lifestyle for my daughter. This picture was my documentation of that… (with my ex-husband strategically deleted for privacy purposes!)

When the first No Excuse Mom calendar challenge was created, I competed and I ended up on January with my challenge transformation.
I was in the best shape of my life physically.

This is when I wish I could have stayed on track. But at the same time that that photo shoot was taken, my marriage was in complete disarray. My grandparents passed away 22 days apart, my work hours dropped significantly and I was struggling to hold it all together.
I was able to keep pretty consistent with my healthy lifestyle until after my initial separation with my husband in early 2014 and had an awesome opportunity to meet Maria and some other amazing No Excuse Moms in Central Park, NY.

After this, my life continued into a downward spiral. I fell into depression, everything in my life was uprooted and nothing was what I thought it would be in my 30’s – divorced – alone – no consistent work hours – no money for the gym – at that time, it was barely enough for me to muster getting myself to counselling which I so desperately needed.
I have clung to No Excuse Mom for two reasons. First, it was my baby, I still had a dream for it. Since I had been so involved in its beginnings, I never intended to let things slip so far. And second, because I knew that I was so much more than how I was living. I wanted to make the effort to eat right and exercise, but each step that I took painfully reminded me of how far I had dropped off of the wagon. My pride kept me from going to the gym when I got the money because many of the people had seen me when I was fit and because I couldn’t lift what I had done before. What would people think now? My pride also stopped me from running 5k races that I had enjoyed so much, because I used to run 3 miles in 26 minutes and now it took over 34 minutes. Running at all was so hard. Exercising was hard. All I wanted to do was retreat to a bag of jelly beans and not care about anything. In 2016 I ended up 178 pounds, my heaviest ever (more than pregnancy and more than my unhealthy teenage years). Here I am at my friend Dylan’s wedding.

This picture was hard to dig up because I tried very hard to not be in photographs….I literally had to have this dress taken out for it to fit…
In this time frame, I only took pictures of my face – at certain angles – and maybe with a filter… I was ashamed of how heavy I had become.
But during my hiatus from healthy living…. Something else had been slowly happening. Despite the frustration and chaos I was choosing to live in at that point, my heart was healing. I went through counselling, was spending a lot of time journaling and reading my Bible and unpacking all of the lies that I had been told for years. I was remembering who I was and who I was created to be. I was realizing that I have value. I was deciding for myself who I was, what I liked and what was important to me. I would see my old pictures when I was fit and I realized how insecure I actually was. I was definitely pursing health to be a good example for my daughter, for my husband to think I looked hot, to break my family history of bad health… but I had no self-esteem.  You wouldn’t have known that looking at me. I’m a smiler. I have always been great at building other people up, but terrible at encouraging myself. And great at hiding my sadness.
For all of my life I have felt like I was not “worthy” or like I had no value.  Somewhere deep down, I felt like garbage and my more recent life failures only amplified those feelings of unworthiness.
My biggest “Ah-Ha” moment happened last year when I was sitting in my car, driving for my job. I turned the radio station and heard the last line of a sermon on the radio. “God can take the garbage of your life and turn it into something beautiful.”
I felt like those words were meant for me.
Don’t ask me why that made more of a difference to me than anything else in that time frame. But I decided in that moment to take whatever little steps I could to stop thinking that the garbage and failure in my life defined who I was.
So, I quit making a stop at the dollar store for jelly beans. I started making at least better choices in my food choices to make sure I had healthy thing to eat during the day and tried to start being more active.
Weight loss for me has always been molasses slow.
I have only lost about 13 pounds since that point, but the transformation has been much more internal this year than external.

So, what makes me think that this time around is going to be any different?
First things first, I have come to the realization that while my divorce was an ending and a “death” that marred me and changed my life greatly, it is also a new beginning.
I have decided to be brave and believe that the Lori I felt like I lost is still there.
She’s different.
But she knows without question who she is inside.
She knows her worth.
And she is deciding to be vulnerable enough to take this leap back into health and fitness with No Excuse Mom and to show other moms that they aren’t alone. That they aren’t defined by their failures. That the story isn’t over just because life changes. There are times in life when health and fitness can be a priority and times when it can’t. For me, that time is now.
And so here I am today.
Excuse Mom Lori.
165 pounds, but not defined by my weight.
Divorced, but not defined by my relationship status.
Not where I want to be in life, but certainly not where I was…. and yet, also not where I am going to be.
I believe in me. I have confidence and hope that will not be taken away from me. Although I cannot rely on the strength and endurance I used to have, I have the power to create that anew.
This is my new beginning.