I was what they call a “hybrid mom”. The so-called balance of a demanding career in Marketing & Business Development and two kids and a husband at home. In 2008, I made the surprisingly easy decision to quit my career and stay home with my action-packed twin boys (then 3 years old). I often say that I “traded the Corporate Ladder for Snakes & Ladders” — and in the process realized I no longer feel like a mad headless chicken flailing in circles. In 2009, our family moved to Switzerland and spent a year falling in love with Europe. Our hearts are still there…
Shortly after moving to the US in late 2010, I embarked on an intense fitness challenge for 30 days to lose the “last ten pounds“. It inspired me to blog more about health & fitness rather than my usual posts of indulgent baking recipes. Before I knew what was happening, my mother was no longer my only blog subscriber and I was thrilled to hear how readers were inspired to make positive health changes in their own lives after hearing about my experience. I realized that I would much rather blog about healthy lifestyles than high-calorie baking, especially after seeing how much weight our family lost once I stopped baking. Just one simple change and my husband dropped ten pounds without even trying (let’s not talk about how much I despised his effortless male fat-burning abilities!).
CONTRARY TO WHAT YOUR MIND SAYS, YOU ARE DESIGNED TO BE THIN
My story starts with a simple biological truth: our bodies are meant to be lean and mean. We wouldn’t have survived this long any other way and we’re certainly not surviving well now that most of us are living large. For years, I failed to admit this simple truth and sabotaged myself with lies and excuses.
At just under 5’5″, I spent my teenage years as a chubby 140 pounds and a size 10. With more resignation than contentment, I acted as if I was confident in my own skin but in truth, I spent all my time finding clothes that hid my problem areas and was secretly envious of my younger sister’s svelte frame. I would console myself by blaming fate for her being “the skinny one in the family” and bought into the comfortable excuse that my body was made to be “curvy”.
At 19 and recently engaged, a coworker suggested we start running in preparation for my upcoming wedding. I started running 15km a week, cut all white flour/white sugar, and quickly dropped to 123 pounds. I cried in the change room when I slipped into a pair of size two pants. I honest-to-goodness sat there on the floor and cried. As if a veil had just been removed from my eyes, I finally realized that all these years, I had never been happy with my body and yet I was lying to myself and sabotaging my own potential the entire time. I had been my own worst enemy, allowing complacent excuses to become “truth” and it wasn’t even truth at all! Now, at this point, I was 19 and “skinny fat”. I didn’t look haggard or like I had an eating disorder but I had little muscle definition and was still a bit flabby in my weaker areas (thank you genetics!). I hovered around 120-130 lbs for the next few years and then got pregnant with twins.
After an awful bedrest pregnancy (fueled by pepperoni and ice-cream), I hit 205 pounds. With atrophied muscles and newborn twins, I was simply too tired to even think about going to the gym. For the first time in my life, I had to really consider what I was eating. It started with a somewhat naive question, asked of my local Starbucks barista, and that one question would change my life forever. I went on to discover the science of nutrition, the impact of a calorie, and quickly lost all of the baby weight. From there, I added weight lifting and plyometrics (body weight exercises), HIIT cardio instead of steady-state cardio, and some intermittent fasting, too. All of this re-training and re-educating myself led me to a lean and mean 125 pounds — 20 pounds LOWER than my pre-baby weight. I stayed there for years, maintaining without “dieting” and eating clean 75% of the time. Even after moving to Europe and devouring entire jars of Nutella, melt-in-your-mouth white bread and amazing Swiss chocolate for a year straight, I had finally found a healthy balance of clean eating and effective exercise. Thanks to the science of calorie counting, I no longer look at food as a way to soothe my emotions but rather, as fuel for my body. It’s just numbers when you really break it down.
How I Train Now
In 2010, I started kettlebell training and never looked back! Kettlebell is an intense cardio workout but without all the boring repetition (which some people love, but I just can’t handle!) and builds long and lean musculature. I have even more muscle on me now, my arms are finally well defined for the first time in my life, and thanks to my already low body fat percentage, a defined six-pack appeared not long after starting out.
When not writing, I’m often found homeschooling my boys, snatching some kettlebells, crashing a knitting group so I can add three more rows to my perpetually-unfinished fingerless gloves (even without fingers, I still can’t complete those stupid things!), knocking out a set of 40 military-style push-ups just because, cooking delicious and healthy meals for my family, or brewing crazy dreams with my amazing husband.