Region 15 NZ/Australia Winner: Laura Monahan

My name is Laura and I am mother to our daughter Darcy.  After Darcy was born on Christmas Eve, 2013, I suffered from Post Natal Depression.  Going on medication and generally feeling like my world was caving in meant that for a long time I found it difficult to get motivated to exercise – or indeed, to do anything for myself.
I joined the Hamilton NZ No Excuse Moms group when it started in around November 2015.  For the first five or so sessions, Darcy would scream the entire hour-long workout.  I would spend half the time feeling like I had to apologise to the other women, whose children seemed to play like angels around us.  I would leave the sessions and, despite feeling good about the workout, would cry in the car on the way home.
But Darcy soon realised that actually the workouts were fun, and things started to fall into place.  I looked forward to the workouts, and started looking after myself a bit more.
Unfortunately, in January 2016, I suffered a miscarriage.  While it didn’t send me back to the dark place I had visited post-partam, the drive to look after myself dropped once again.  I continued to go to the weekly NEM workouts, but that was it.  I ate indiscriminately, blamed lack of time for the fact that I didn’t do any other exercise during the week, and the weight went on.
I wasn’t going to do the 12 week challenge.  I had a lot of excuses.  My sister Erin, another NEM Hamilton member who was then heavily pregnant and couldn’t do the challenge herself, convinced me to do it, along with our fabulous Hamilton leader Paula.
But if I do something, I do it properly.  I looked at the challenge as a way to get back on track – not as a diet, but as a lifestyle change that I intended (and still intend) to keep up as much as  possible when the official challenge ended.
There have been physical results.  Amazing results.  I’ve lost about 10kg (22 pounds).  I’m back in clothes I haven’t worn in years.  I’m stronger.  I’m running faster – with less weight on me, running is a lot easier.  I feel like I’m wearing less makeup as I’m prouder of my appearance.  My hair looks glossier.  My husband says I have more energy.  Hardly a day goes by where someone doesn’t tell me how amazing I’m looking.
But the main thing for me has been the mental benefits.  This challenge has not been so much about the “destination” of weight loss for me, but the journey of falling back in love with exercise, and of taking some time just for me, to look after myself and do something that I enjoy.  I do not intend to stop.   This will keep going.  Thank you so much to Maria, Ros (NZ/Aus lead) and Paula (Hamilton lead) for your support, and for changing my life.

Congrats to Region 15  winner, Laura Monahan, for being an incredible inspiration and following through on our 12 week challenge! You have $220 extra shopping money this season and we hope you get something extra awesome for yourself! Our No Excuse Moms followed our official NEM program, where they used a fitness calendar, logged in their meals, participated online/in-person and overcame their excuses!
Join our private Facebook group HEREand find your free community of moms (in your local city!) HERE
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