Girl Hero Michelle
One of my favorite things about blogging is making new friends. Michelle was one of the first people to email me through my blog and Iâ€™m so glad she did! Michelle is hilarious, witty, super duper encouraging, honest, and COMMITED to her family and her health. She is definitely a Girl Hero!
Michelle works as a full-time stay-at-home-mom and she designs beautiful jewelry part-time. After having three kids, the thought of having to buy size 18 pants â€œterrifiedâ€ her. She had just weaned her youngest and â€œknewâ€ she had â€œno more excusesâ€ so her â€œI will start a diet/exercise program on Mondayâ€ really did happen! Her lifestyle change didnâ€™t do a complete 180 right away. She tells me, it more of an â€œevolutionâ€. First, she started off counting calories and walking. Then, slowly she started mostly whole foods and running. That turned into clean-eating, interval cardio, and weight training. Now Michelle is one fit lady and a role model for others!
Overcoming Personal Obstacles
What was your diet like before? Your exercise program before?
My diet before was the Standard American Diet (SAD) minus red meat and pork. I didnâ€™t think I ate poorly at the time but in retrospect, I consumed a lot of processed, calorie-dense food low on nutritional value.
As far as exercise went, I took an occasional walk and that was pretty much it. I remember my husband used to ride the recumbent bike in our living room and I used to think â€œhow does he have the energy to do that after a day at work?â€
What have been your biggest roadblocks and more importantly how do you get pass them?
In the area of fitness, my innate nature to want to simply sit has been my biggest roadblock. Sure, I have three little kids and while I could give that alone as a roadblock, they do sleep and I get some free time. I have a hard time getting myself motivated to exercise when I do get free time because I would much rather read in bed, watch TV or surf the Web.
So, I play mind tricks like telling myself I will just exercise for 15 minutes and then it always turns into 45 or 60 minutes. Or I reward myself with a hot bath and new magazine in bed after I have worked out.
In the nutrition area, my biggest roadblock has been my tendency to be an emotional eater. Itâ€™s an area I am working on and I struggle with it because at times I think I have it figured out and then it nips me in the behind. I think recognizing that itâ€™s something I will have to manage for the rest of my life will help me deal with it better.
What is the silliest thing youâ€™ve done to lose weight? Like a â€œfad dietâ€ or a ridiculous exercise routine?
I canâ€™t think of any fad diets or ridiculous exercise *but* I can think of a time as a teenager when I tried to look slimmer. I was about thirteen and was attending a family memberâ€™s summer wedding. I planned to wear a blue strapless dress that I wore to my eighth grade dance. I must had been out and about at a store and noticed one of those neoprene bands you wear around your midriff to â€œhelp you sweat off your middleâ€. I donâ€™t remember ever using it for exercise so I guess I bought it for the sole use of trimming my middle under clothing (this is pre-Spanx obviously lol).
Anyhow, I wore it to the wedding under that strapless dress and you can imagine my horror when I looked down and saw the entire top of the dress soaked with sweat that had puddled over the top of the band. I ran to the bathroom, ripped it off, threw it in the trash and tried to sop up any moisture I could. Lesson definitely learned.
Have you dealt or deal with depression? Have your lifestyle choices helped?
In my early-mid twenties, I really struggled with depression. Therapy helped tremendously, medication didnâ€™t help (but then again, I donâ€™t think I took it long enough to give it a chance due to bad side effects). For some reason or another, in my late twenties, the heavy â€œveilâ€ that would overcome me for periods of time was lifted and other than some light post-partum depression and shorter bouts of PMS-related depression, I havenâ€™t struggled like I have in my past.
I definitely think exercise is one of the key elements to managing my mood in general. Even when I am struggling, the endorphins that exercise create can help just enough to get me through the day.
What are you most proud of?
My girls. Mothering them is and always will be my greatest achievement.
In relation to exercise/nutrition, I am most proud of being committed to my new lifestyle for this amount of time. Yes, I have fallen off the wagon several times in the past year of â€œmaintenanceâ€. In the past, it would have snow-balled into completely giving up and gaining the weight back. So far, I have been doing a good job of getting back on track after even the worst diversions. I know I have to keep doing this if I want to maintain a healthy weight for a lifetime.
What do you think about people who say youâ€™ve just got â€œgood genesâ€?
LOL! For people who donâ€™t know my history, I love to share my story because I definitely have to do the opposite every single day: fight the â€œfatâ€ gene! I always joke with people and say, â€œI am just one bag of chips away from gaining all of my weight back!â€
Of course thatâ€™s not true but it is true that itâ€™s a mindful, daily process to keep myself at a healthy weight.
Does your husband support or share your lifestyle?
Oh my husband is one of my number one supporters! He has been there for me since Day One and whether itâ€™s taking the girls on an outing so I can work out at the gym or not saying a word when he opens the pantry to see enough protein powder for a small army, he is always my rock.
For a while, he stopped riding the recumbent bike in our living room after work but this past January, he started again and has lost weight too!
We donâ€™t share the same exact passion for exercise and nutrition (he doesnâ€™t drink protein shakes and hit the weights but he has made changes like eating whole wheat bread and getting in his daily cardio). But, our styles definitely compliment each other in a way that we make good for good role models to our girls.
How have your friends reacted to your transformation?
Along with my husband and parents, my friends have been my biggest supporters. Their words and actions have helped me tremendously through all of the highs and lows over the past months. I have the best girlfriends in the world!
What are your favorite staple foods?
- 0% Greek yogurt (So versatile! I use it in everything from desserts to a sour cream substitute to a base for creamy dressings/dips. My toddler loves it with a drizzle of honey and fruit. My preschooler and first-grader always have it as a sour cream substitute.)
- Fresh berries
- Egg whites (Again so versatile. I love them as omelettes or mixed with oats for protein pancakes)
- Ezekiel 4:9 Cinnamon Raisin English Muffins
- Any type of nut butter
What is your favorite easy meal?
My latest favorite concoction is a â€œGreen Smoothieâ€. I swear you canâ€™t taste the spinach! Pour 8 ounces of water in the blender, add one scoop of protein powder (I think vanilla tastes the best in this combo), ½ banana (frozen or not), ½ cup blueberries (again, frozen or not), 2 large handfuls of fresh baby spinach and about a cup of ice. Blend well and serve immediately. I usually have this as a snack and love that it combines super foods with a good dose of protein!
Favorite food or cookbooks?
The Sneaky Chef, What to Eat, In Defense of Food, Barefoot Contessa Family Style and The Food You Crave.
If you were stuck on a desert island what one food would you want with you?
Avocado. (I am definitely guaranteed lots of sea salt to go with that, right?)
How often do you exercise?
I try to shoot for five days a week but some weeks itâ€™s four and some weeks, six. I try not to make myself too crazy but feel best with four days at minimum.
Workout in a gym or at home?
Both! I love having the freedom! But for anyone who loathes the gym, I always say to get a piece of cardio equipment at home in front of a TV with a recording system. Itâ€™s amazing how time flies while you watch your favorite shows. Add a couple sets of dumbbells, an exercise ball and a medicine ball and you can be well on your way to a great at-home workout!
Favorite fitness videos or books?
What motivates you?
Ok, Iâ€™ll be honest here, looking fit and being able to wear the style of clothing I love is my daily motivation but my overall motivation is knowing my body is healthy and that I am a good role-model to my girls.
What goals have you reached?
Iâ€™ve reached having a healthy BMI, completing a half marathon and learning how to love whole foods.
What goals are you working towards?
Finding balance/learning maintenance is my number one goal at the moment. This is the first time in my lifetime of yo-yo dieting that I have been able to keep a significant amount of weight off for this length of time. Some days are definitely easier then others but I keep striving for constancy, not perfection, and hope it all evens out at the end of each week.
Are you a scale addict? How do you deal with a â€œbad scale dayâ€.
I wouldnâ€™t say I am a scale addict in the sense of â€œI weigh myself more then once a dayâ€. I weigh myself twice a week (usually Monday and Friday), first thing in the morning and then get on with my day. If the scale hits a number thatâ€™s on the high side for me, I *try* not to freak out because I know deep down what my nutrition/exercise load has been like and the scale definitely reflects that. I am not really one to hold â€œwater weightâ€ so I have never been able to take that into account. Most times, a â€œbad scale dayâ€ is just a red flag to start watching portion size and up the exercise a bit.
What is on your iPod or mp3 player?
Although I am turning red as I say this, my iPod is loaded with songs that have lyrics that would make a grown man blush. What can I say? It gets me going! Some songs on my current playlist: The Way You Move by OutKast & Sleepy Brown, Stronger by Kanye West, Hotel Room Service by Pitbull (or anything by Pitbull). I do have a lot of songs with tamer lyrics too. Some of my faves are: I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor by Arctic Monkeys, Viva la Vida by Coldplay and Suddenly I See by KT Tunstall.
Do you know if any friends or family have made lifestyle changes because of you?
Other then my husband getting back to his evening cardio routine, my mom has lost the â€œlast ten poundsâ€ due to becoming more aware of portion size. She joined me at The Daily Plate in 2008 as moral support and that simple step created big changes for her nutrition. She also started lifting weights! (A plus for me because now when I visit my parents, I can get a great workout in their garage.)
Who is your favorite super hero?
Wonder Woman. Iâ€™m a child of the seventies and she was the first strong, female role-model I saw on TV. (And a brunette to boot!)
What is your most irrational fear?
Having fish brush up against me or touch me in any way! A catfish jumped out of our familyâ€™s fish tank and into my waist-length hair as a little girl and the experience scarred me for life! lol In my twenties, I went to Hawaii and managed to snorkel only by keeping my body afloat on an air mattress â€“ it really is that bad.
Anything else you would like to share???
I am very honored to be featured as a Girl-Hero. Itâ€™s exciting to know my girls can look back on this feature when they get older. And remember, itâ€™s striving for consistency, not perfection that will help you reach your goals!
Isnâ€™t Michelle just wonderful!!! Thank you Michelle for sharing your experience with us and for being a Girl Hero.