On Sharing the Real Pictures…

 

These two photos were taken the same week. Guess which one I didn’t share on the world wide web?

Yep. The left. The one that shows my squishy tummy. The one that made me cringe, and cry, because it’s been 7 years since I looked any different from the picture on the right, and I placed my value on it.

At this point in my mom journey, I was 6 months post partum and diagnosed with Post Partum Depression, which I had refused treatment for. I was and am scared of medications, but I was mostly scared of admitting I needed them, and couldn’t fight it on my own.

My fitness and how I look has been huge to me, for a very, very long time. I’ve struggled with my weight a little bit, but mostly I’ve struggled with accepting myself as I am, and just enjoying working out and eating well for the sole purpose of just that, being healthy. Being strong. I have a definition in my mind for how I should look, and I beat myself up if I don’t look that way.

And I didn’t.

And here I am, 3 weeks out with baby number 2 and have become a health and fitness coach, have been sharing my fitness journey this pregnancy on social media like crazy, and am now faced with the sudden reality that soon I will be sharing my post partum fitness journey.

No more pretty belly selfies.

No more “wow, you have like, the perfect pregnant body!” comments …

It’s about to get real.

Our culture LOVES pregnant women. Honestly I get stopped all the time. Talked to all the time. And I hate being pregnant so imagine how fun that is 😉

But what about post partum? Have I been basing my worth on how I look this pregnancy? Maybe. Probably. Sometimes. Not always. I work on it. I am doing my best to embrace the love handles, the cellulite and the thickness that weighs me down and frustrates me. I can’t say I fully embrace it because I am afraid of the after.

In fitness, it seems the truest successes are the ones that have flat tummy’s post partum and say “see, if I can you can.” which is sort of ridiculous because … every single body is different. Where we started is different. Where we are going is different … so how does that equate to us all being able to achieve the same goal?

It doesn’t make sense.

And yet here I am, with my post baby goals being things like, walk across the stage in Nashville at the Beachbody classic, and in my head I have the perfect body. And that’s the only reason I’m brave enough to consider it. Because I’m fairly certain I’ll get to where I want.

But what if I don’t?

What if I don’t look how I think I should? Will I still compete? I say yes…but this is going to be a very challenging period of learning to love the new me. Because our bodies are just different after babies, and I never accepted that. I tried to cheat it by sharing only the photos I wanted to.

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I shared this photo last summer, but I didn’t share that I undid the top button most of the day and sucked in my baby ponch most of the day because I couldn’t stand how my own body felt.

I was, in short, a fraud.

And maybe I still am. I’m able to accept my body right now because this is the way it’s supposed to look.

Will I be able to share with you all, when it gets really real, and I’m on the other end of this pregnancy?

I know I will force myself to, because it will force me to grow. And I want to grow. I want to be real.

But know that I’m just as real a person as you, I have feelings, fears and I struggle with my own set of issues. And if you say things like, I have no reason to feel those fears because I look great, you’re missing the bigger picture.

The point is that no woman seems to be able to love themselves fully. Regardless of how fit we are, I guarantee you, ask the fittest woman on the planet, I bet she hates her nose or something.

If you think because I have this body I have that I should have no reason to not love myself, then you’re struggling to. Because you have an idea in your head of what perfect looks like, and unfortunately, none of us stack up.

So here’s to not stacking up.

Here’s to being ourselves, and having fit goals but still enjoying life and love all the while.

Here’s to eating a piece of pizza because we have plans that have held us up and we can fall back into the next day.

Here’s to balance, here’s to healthy babies,

and here’s to the next 3 weeks of being as healthy and fit as possible as an act of love to myself, and respecting the results whatever they may be.

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On “Those” Days; An Open Thank you to my Husband and Mother

Today has been one of those days one of those weeks months years.

Ok, but today it all boiled down to a nightmare of a day.

I truly want to be one of those moms who writes about nothing but the rainbows her child poops and all the glorious joys of motherhood. And I will. One day. I do know those joys, I have those joys, I live for those joys … but to be honest, if I talk to you and you speak of nothing but all the happy times and how amazing everything is 24/7, I don’t relate to you. And sometimes I hope you’re a liar, because if you’re not, what the heck am I doing wrong? Is my parenting bad? Are my sons endless tantrums and lack of sleep my fault, thus causing the misery we find ourselves drenched in from time to time and if I could just … teach him better, none of this would be happening?

Probably not true. But my thought process none the less.

In any case, if you’re like me and my husband, you’ve had … well let’s politely call them shitty days. Yes, I know. I’m a Christian, and I swore. No, it doesn’t make me cool. No, it doesn’t make me evil. I’m very sad, very vulnerable and very tired today. And sometimes, it’s the only word I can find. So shitty it shall be.

Today started out like any other day…6:00AM wake up on the nose, child in the fridge screaming for strawberries and the tantrum over food begins. No, you can’t eat 12 plums and 38 strawberries for breakfast. Here’s your eggs. Well you said you wanted eggs. No you can’t have oatmeal. Because you asked for eggs and I made eggs. I don’t live to make you food. Yes, you can have a plum when your eggs are finished. Because if I give you the plum all you’ll eat is the plum until your stomach thinks your full and you never eat sustainable food. Sustainable. Sus-tain-a-ble. It keeps you full. No, you can’t have more strawberries. When you’re done screaming and kicking on the floor, come find me. I’ll be eating your eggs.

Usually my patience is pretty far reaching. I am able to take deep breaths and relax, remind myself this is a stage and that one day he won’t throw himself on the floor every single morning the minute he wakes up, and he will have slept through the night.

Today was a different day.

I managed to get in a team call this morning while he screamed and ran around peeing on things because he’s kind of over being told he has to pee and is rebelling, and I managed to do quite a bit of tidying around his tantrums. We also sat together and drummed, and played hide and seek around his fort, and read books inside of it. He then napped for 1/5 hours and woke up foul, as usual. And today I couldn’t handle it.

I don’t know why my son doesn’t sleep well, and I don’t know why he wakes up angry. But it frustrates the hell out of me, because I want to fix it. I want to see him happy and thriving, and to see him so upset all the time honestly just breaks mommas heart. He cries intermittently and hard for a long time after waking up. We’re talking a couple of hours until he’s righted himself, and I’m at the point where I’m falling asleep while he’s screaming because I’m so bloody tired of it all. My body is exhausted and my mind is weary.

And then in walks my husband, and in walks my mother.

My mom came to help me clean today … and all I could do was sit there. And cry. And then leave to nap. And then wake up and stare into space. And watch her clean.

She cleaned my floors, my banisters, my kitchen and every inch she moved along, she scrubbed away a bit of the clutter frustrating my heart.

My husband was in there with her, helping, putting in an effort … while I sat here. Immobilized by exhaustion? Yes … depression? Maybe … in any case, I am not alone in these struggles and there he is. Doing things I cannot do. Cleaning dishes. Making dinner.

My family has surrounded me and it took me a good couple of hours to get up off the couch, and pitch in.

And to top it all off? I can’t show my gratitude…I can’t seem to be very warm and inviting and kind. I can however be critical, condescending and lack the ability to extend anyone else the grace to not be perfect.

So because I can’t seem to find my voice when anyone is present to say thank you, here I am. Saying thank you.

Lucas, you have strength I cannot comprehend. No, you don’t have to be pregnant. No, you don’t know how tired or emotional I am. But what you do know is that you were once married to a vibrant, joyful woman who didn’t condescend, criticize and fall apart. I promise you, even though I keep losing that woman, she is here, and I will keep doing everything I can to find her, to be her. You have put up with just as much sleep loss and frustration and joy and pain as I have, and yet you come home and you take care of this family. I promise I will show you all the kindness I have, even if it’s not much I will muster it up and give it all to you. You have provided for me, for Asher in ways you’ll never understand. Food, finances, it all pales in comparison to the peace you’ve given me to know I am married to a warrior. A fighter. A man who is so capable of loving even when love is not being shown. Sometimes I get angry around you simply as a reaction to your love, because it’s too much for me to handle your gentleness that I react negatively…like being in the presence of God’s overwhelming love that if we don’t feel worthy we run from. I’m 5. No big deal. Just know that I see you, for every little amazing thing you do, even though I don’t seem capable of voicing it. I’m learning. Pray for me and work with me; I know God will use you to be the hand that pulls me up. Thank you for every day, for every hug, for every kiss, for every time we forget to make eye contact throughout the day and then you touch my shoulder to remind me that you’re there. Thank you to the ends of the earth, which I will crawl to to find a way to show you my love.

Mom, I don’t know how you’ve put up with me all these years. To no end do I wish I could actually be as kind as you deserve, when I am this down and out. And just like Lucas, what kills me the most is your endless ability to pour out love on me when I’m like this. To not ask for anything in return. To just be willing to do whatever you can to help me and my family, even if you never get a thank you. I wish I could open my heart when it’s this hard, but I haven’t been able to, and you deserve every ounce of gratitude I can muster. For loving my son to the ends of the earth, to taking him when I’m working, to always be there to help me, to always bend your plans to help mould them around mine and A’s sporadic naps…you’ve never asked for anything, and I’ve never been able to give much, but my love and respect and deeply rooted desire to be like you, you have. Thank you for choosing to love me even on the hard days.

I 100% believe this will pass. I know that this is 95% sleep loss and 35 weeks pregnant. But it’s hard to see past that, especially when I had such a good handle on it just a few short weeks ago.

But I’m here, putting the few things in front of me that I know how to do.

One of those being my complete and utter commitment to sharing my journey with you. Because while it is scary to some to be “so open” it’s actually very therapeutic for me. I’m a verbal processor but I also believe that God will use my struggles, and reach out and touch someone with them.

Maybe to help you feel like you’re not alone.

Mom’s, it’s a tough gig.

And sometimes, we aren’t the nicest to those who are nicest to us, and I know you’re like me and find it devastating to know we’ve hurt someone whom we love so dearly.

If you’re in the same boat, I’m praying for you. The trenches are deep, but the hands reaching in are strong and sturdy.

Grab hold of one and don’t let go.

Commit with me to taking the time every single day to doing something that utterly feeds your soul.

Spend time with God, knit, rest your face in the sun, walk alone outside, exercise, eat well and as you walk alone let the wind caress your skin and fall in love with life every single day.

It won’t be like this forever.

Just promise me you will take the steps to walk forward every single day.

More than a fitness coach, I walk hand in hand with women struggling with things I too struggle with.

A tribe of strong women is forming around me, and together we climb ahead.

I have an incredible support at home, and there are those of you who are single parents or struggling the same but have no family to help …

I can’t say I’ll come be the things for you that my family is for me, but I can walk with you. I can climb with you.

We are strongest when we hold each other up.

When being a mom isn’t so great …

There is nothing more soothing to my soul than the sweet sound of my little boy calling out, “Mommy!” and you can just hear the joy in his voice as he says my name. The name that only he calls me; it’s my favourite name.

But there was a time when motherhood wasn’t so great. I would hear people talking about motherhood and it was rainbows and sunshine. Joy unspeakable, and I could not relate. I even pulled away from these women. I felt like a bad mother. Why didn’t I enjoy it that much? I mean, I didn’t hate it, but it was most certainly just ok.

It wasn’t the life changing, joyful experience I had been told to expect and I was so lost and confused as to why that was.

I have so many photos of the first 12-15 months and it’s all smiles and laughter, but who photographs the moments you’re sitting on the floor crying because you are wishing you could wake up tomorrow and not be a mother? No one photographs those moments. But those moments and I have held hands. We’ve danced. I’d know that song anywhere. And it hurts me. I look at my son, thriving, full of joy and I feel my heart bursting with love and happiness that this little human has been gifted to me. But I also feel it breaking a tiny bit over the lost year. That moment in time where nothing was as it should be.

I mourn that time. I mourn that first year that I was to become a mother. To learn and to grow and to figure out our rythmn and settle into things…to really grow into the mother I was to be. To absorb those baby giggles, that fat little face and the nuances that only a baby can bring. I have had to move past anger for being robbed, and I still feel at times that I am grieving it. Maybe I will grieve more when my second is born and I see how much I truly lost. I hope not; to be honest it scares me.

But I can truly say that exercise and eating right have given me that year again. This year with my son is magical, he’s unreal. I get it now. I understand that uncontainable joy that says “I can’t believe he’s mine…” and it’s all because I reached out to someone and said “I need a change.”

If you’re missing something … if being a mom is just ok most days, but you feel generally lost and wandering through life, know that you are not alone. And know that I am here.

I DO think exercise and eating well are for absolutely everyone. I do NOT think everyone needs to have major weightloss or muscle gains goals. But I believe that this routine saves lives every single day, because exercise is the most under utilized anti-depressent in the Western World.

Motherhood is a gift, and it’s the most amazing part of being a woman to me. When I wake up in the morning to a cute little man snuggling in my arms, who looks to me for advice, boundaries, how to react, how to live … I want to show him that life isn’t just survival. I want to show him how to live, and live abundantly and live life by design.

I love coaching women into this journey. So many messages I hear include people saying things to the effect of, I want to be strong for my kids … either ones they have or ones they want to one day have.

Motherhood is embedded in many of our souls, and it’s absolutely my passion to help as many people as I can enter into a healthy lifestyle that enables us to be surrounded by other strong women who can encourage us on the most beautiful, and most difficult journey we will ever be on.

I honor that lost year by living in this one to the absolute fullest.

I honor that lost year by reaching out to you and saying, it’s your time.

If this speaks to you, reach out this Mother’s Day, and ask for help

You’re not alone, and there’s strength in numbers.  

On Making Me Happy

“It’s just not making me happy anymore”

Have you ever said this about a job? I have. In fact I am saying it; and I’ve felt in a very stuck place for the last while. 

Returning to work with post partum depression left me feeling like I hated my job (as a hairstylist) and this left a deeply conflicted feeling in my heart. I love doing hair, I love the art I create, but then I had my son, and that art failed to satisfy me. My career … the work I had literally poured myself into that satisfied my soul for so long, left me feeling drained and unhappy every single day.  

I began to question it every day leading up to work; does this make me happy? I had shining moments that I really loved doing hair; these make me giddy and that feeling carries me for a while, but then it fades, and I’m left wondering where it went and how come it leaves, and how do I get it back? 

I started this coaching business, and I felt fire and passion as I had for the hair world, and wondered if this was my new adventure … yet I still felt conflicted, unable to decide in my heart…am I done? I can’t be; I can’t imagine my life not doing hair and I think of all the people that tell me how amazing I am, and how much they love having me as their stylist…

Conflict. Major conflict. 

Feelings of thinks like I no longer posess a talent. 

Feeling low.

Yet, feeling something…

So what is this?

Well firstly, I think it’s natural. I think it’s the ok that God put a passion in me to be home with my son, and for my passion for hair to take a backseat. My family should be more important to me than my job.

But that doesn’t mean I have to leave. 

That doesn’t mean it’s not “making me happy…”

In our society, if it doesn’t make you happy then quit and keep quitting until you find this magic happiness. 

If your marriage sucks, quit, find a new one. If your job sucks, quit. Find a new one. If your house sucks, sell it. Buy a new one. If your life sucks, move. Build a new one.

Sounds fun and fancy, but it’s not reality.

Because happiness doesn’t come from things.

Happiness comes from me.

I make me happy. I lean into God for my joy. I choose to be grateful. I choose to let emotions rule me, or to rule my emotions. I choose to find joy in the hard times. I choose to allow happiness in, despite my circumstances.

I realized I am so, so incredibly blessed and ungrateful.

I am blessed to have passion for so many things, and for hands that are gifted in them. A mother, a coach, a stylist. All these things I have a love for, and it’s a copout to leave one simply because it’s not doing what I want it to do for me anymore.

It’s childish.

Leaving now would be like stomping my feet in a candy store because I couldn’t get what I wanted. The reality is, I have a choice. I can keep being unhappy where I am, or I can change my mindset. I can choose to find joy and life in my job again.

I can choose to push through these emotional days and see that overall, my job is really really great, and it pays me well, and that I get to afford a lifestyle for my family that otherwise we wouldn’t have.

Lows come, but they also go. Same as highs. They go as well.

If you want to quit somethings right now, don’t. If you’ve lost your motivation, put on your big girl panties and get back to work, and choose life. Choose commitment. Choose to be happy, and to be grateful. Look for the positive.

Realize that the problem might actually be coming from within and that getting up and leaving will only satisfy you for a short time, and then you’re left with unhappiness. Again.

Don’t mope around like I have, waiting for whatever it is in your life to make you happy. Make yourself happy by choosing to move forward.

Choose to cook whole, healthy foods today. 

Choose to workout. 

Choose to get outside, even for 5 minutes. 

Choose to do look on the bright side and be your own inspiration. Dig deep and get to it. 

For me, it’s choosing joy at work. It’s choosing to take my vitamins and drink my shake. It’s choosing to workout. 

EVEN WHEN I DON’T FEEL LIKE IT. 

Because feelings are fleeting and they change with the wind.

Stay the course. Find your courage. Find your muchness. And get to work. Get busy. 

And if in the end it means you leave your job, let it be 

  because you are happy, and you have so much happiness that you need another place to let it grow.

For me, I found that joy again in coaching.

I find that joy in sharing words of encouragement to my team, to my challengers and to my coaches.

This is what fuels me and gives me life at the salon again.

The problem wasn’t my job.

The problem was me.

Happiness doesn’t live in place or thing.

It lives in you.

On Asking for Help

I hired a cleaning lady yesterday. I can’t believe I paid someone to clean my house. But only because it adds to the judgments I feel on mothers … on me.

I should be able to do this myself. 

During my post partum depression, I did not know how to clean. I didn’t have the energy or mental ability to think about emptying the dishwasher. It was too daunting. I couldn’t fathom what it would take to pick up the dirty laundry and put it in the wash…it was all utterly overwhelming and the tasks consumed me every day; taunting me. Mocking me. 

I didn’t even know how to put my son down and have a shower. I can’t tell you how many times I wound up sobbing on the bathroom floor, naked and wet, holding my son while the hot shower filled the room with a heavy blanket of steam and depression. 

My house was not just messy, it was dirty, and I was completely ashamed. I hated when people visited. 

I was overwrought with the thought, “I should be able to do this.” 

My mom, my amazing mom, would come over and clean my entire house from top to bottom. She would scrub walls, toilets and bathtubs…and I would sit and talk. Incapable of knowing how to even begin helping. Feeling guilty as ashamed to not be helping … and she just cleaned. Never asking for anything in return, she just wanted to help. Words will never be enough to thank her for her help. She knew. She just knew. She gave me a space to feel relaxed in. A few days peace before it was all headed for ruin again. And she didn’t ask. She just did. I pray I will be that same kind of mother, of person, for my kids, that she is to us. 

But since joining a challenge group, becoming an online personal health and fitness coach, taking my fitness and ultimately my life back, I’ve been able to tidy. I’ve been able to start building habits that lead to a cleaner, healthier home environment. 

But I can’t catch up. 

I didn’t ask my mom for as much help as I should have, because truth be told I was ashamed in front of her as well. She raised me. And I failed at an area she excelled in. She kept a clean home. Raised two kids. And I couldn’t. So I didn’t ask for help from someone who would always give it without judgment. 

Because of this, there’s still layers of grime around my home that need attention. A home deserves to be taken care of. Not perfect, but it’s my home. And I now can take pride in caring for the place we raise our kids. Not in perfection, but not in filth. 

So I hired help. And it was weird. 

I still passed judgment on myself … should this be where I spend this money? Is it worth sacrificing other things? Am I that person now? 

And just who is that person that I had such a hard time becoming? The mom who’s home so much and still doesn’t get her house clean. What does she do all day anyways? The mom who can go get her nails done but can’t seem to get the walls and windows washed? Must be nice to afford such a luxury

And then I realize, who am I to judge others, but most importantly, who am I to judge myself? I think mommy wars are waged inside…not just out. 

I think they start with us. 

I think they start with a lack of honesty. 

Well, here’s me being honest.

I can’t do it all. I haven’t figured it out yet. I was depressed, and I needed help. I asked for help. 

I prefer to cook all our meals, and buy very little pre-made food. I’ve even begun experimenting with granola bars. Hello, my name is Michelle and I am a crunchy mom.

I prefer to workout before I scrub the toilets. I put eating well and fitness above other things. Hello, my name is Michelle and I am a fit mom. 

I like to spend time outside with my son, I like to have coffee and read books while he naps instead of folding laundry, I like to catch up with friends and arrange play dates and set up fitness groups for pregnant moms because my passion is to help.

Hello. My name is Michelle, and I am a real person. I am a real mom.

And sometimes, I need help.

A Fitness Fraud

I wish you could see not just the physical transformation of the girl in this picture, but the mental.
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On the left, I had just finished a year abroad with the most amazing missions organization YWAM. My life was turned right side up, and I was transformed.
But do you know what I look back on and remember? Pretending to be more than I was.
I liked to run, I liked to eat healthy … but it was an ACT. It was so I could pretend I loved myself, and pretend that I was doing all I could do to love myself in the best way possible.
I used to talk ENDLESSLY about eating well and working out, and not actually LIVING that lifestyle, and I walked around with tremendous internal conflict and guilt.
Why did I feel the need to lie? Because I wanted it, and I didn’t know how to do it, and I didn’t have the discipline either. So I pretended.
I pretended to be happy, I pretended when I said “God loves me this way, so I love me this way”
The truth was, I didn’t love me this way. And I can tell you, I never ONCE felt fat.
I never EVER recall feeling too big. Not loving my body externally.
What I do recall was knowing I was capable of more, and not doing it.
Unfulfilled potential is like a heavy rock that sits inside you and does nothing. But the thing is, the longer you carry it, the heavier it feels until one day it’s almost unbearable.
We all have a calling on our lives to find the treasure God has buried inside, and it’s our JOY to find it, and to have joy in it.
Yes, my legs are smaller. Yes, my arms are smaller. Yes, my face is less round, but if you could only see my heart.
It’s gotten so big ❤
The photo on the right was taken before I had my son, and once I had him, I lost that girl, again. 4 months ago, I would have told you she’s gone, and I don’t know where to find her.
But I found her, once again.
We are capable of more than what we give ourselves credit for; we can accomplish everything we ever dreamed of accomplishing. God has given us all the tools. But will we pick them up? Will we learn how to use them? Will we improve our skills until they become like a limb, that we control without any effort?
I now have the tools, and it’s more than fitness. It’s more than a shake; it’s a community, it’s a way of life. It’s fulfilling the desires of my heart that have been placed there for a purpose.
And now I’m using that joy and spreading it around. Let me know if you want some.
You are capable.
You are worthy.

The Wagon – Getting on and Falling Off

It is so easy to be fit and healthy when it’s new and exciting, but what happens when life happens?

Right now, I’m falling off the wagon. Life has gotten busy, and I’m struggling to find the motivation hit play on those workouts every day.

What are we supposed to do, to find that motivation? I’m a mom … I work part time out of my home and also am building my fitness coaching business at home. I feel so incredibly busy sometimes.

I have a house to clean; one that has been neglected through 17 months of post partum depression and the clutter and mess get into my brain and cause frustration and anger.

Baseboards are visibly dirty. There’s dirt on the walls that you can easily see when walking through the house. There’s milk on my sons floor that dried and I didn’t clean it up, only for me to see a few days ago. Yes, I have left things on the floor for a long time. Yes, it’s disgusting. Yes, I just cleaned our toilets for the first time in a long time a week ago. Yes, our backyard is COVERED in dog poop. It’s embarrassing, and it’s disgusting, but it’s real.

It’s also a reminder to me of the hell I went through, and the hell I’m picking up the pieces from, as I trudge my way through this messy thing called healing. And I choose to share this, and not be embarrassed, because I KNOW other women are going through this, and I want to talk about getting back on the wagon, over and over and over again, and how I’m doing it, because I know it will help others too.

So what do I do?

Firstly, and yes, this is apart of my job, is I make fitness and nutrition a priority in my own life. Working out brought me out of depression and into a life I recognized; a person I recognized. It hasn’t been easy, but I believe firmly, even if you don’t want to be skinny, or buff, or whatever, that fitness is an absolute must in life. Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy. It decreases your chances of diseases, lifting weights decreases your risk of osteoporosis, and it aids you against aging yourself into assisted living when you’re old, because you can’t lift yourself off the toilet. My job is to workout up to 5x a week, and to constantly learn about food, portions and supplements, to ensure I am first and foremost making myself better each and every day.

Secondly, I point people towards the programs and supplements I have used to get me to where I am. I help my friends, family and strangers, who turn into friends, pick a program and I help them use it. I hold them accountable to it. I encourage them on hard days, I am a phone call, email, text or FB message away when someone needs help, has a question, or just needs a word of encouragement. I’m here to make your goals my goals. I’m here to help change peoples lives by helping them get the nutrition and fitness into their lives, in simple ways, that create lifelong changes for the better.

Lastly, and this is the one I’m always scared to share, but the one that has genuinely impacted my life the most, is I’m here to run a business that is setting my family on the path to financial freedom, and I’m here to give that same opportunity to others.

My fears in sharing this are numerous. Why? Because I’m not certified in anything. I’m not a nutritionist. I’m not a personal trainer. I’m a mom and a hairstylist with a passion for fitness and a passion for bringing others on the journey.

But that’s kind of the exciting part…you don’t need to be in shape to coach people. You don’t need to know it all, to encourage others to start making healthy changes in their life. You don’t need to have a personal training degree. All you need, is the passion to share your story, the commitment to daily changing your life, and the courage to invite others to join you.

All this circles back to me getting back on the wagon. The big thing that has changed my life is coaching because I am accountable to others to stay on track. I can’t just stop. I have to find a way to keep going. I have to have a strong why, which I wrote about in my previous post, in order to get my butt in gear when I’m losing steam. And I have to revisit that why daily, sometimes hourly. Because if I lose it, I lose credibility, I lose my business, but most of all, I lose myself. And I will not go down that road again.

This is not a get rich quick scheme. This isn’t a diet. This is a way of life. This is choosing to have a new side hobby, which lets you pursue your full time career and still stay healthy and in love with yourself and getting paid to do it.

This is choosing to fire your boss, and start building something on purpose, for you and by you, that you can look proudly on and say “I did that.”

This is choosing to be apart of a team, just to keep you accountable if nothing else, that will lift you up and encourage you every step of the way.

I don’t have all the answers. In fact I have very few of them. But I commit to learning more about what I do every day. I commit to my challengers, I commit to my coaches, to be on the journey together.

This is what is getting me back on the wagon.

This is what’s keeping me accountable to myself.

This is what’s changing my families life.

This is what I want to do, every day, for the rest of my life.

So here’s to #kickingmybrass and getting over how sorry I feel for myself, getting over my excuses, and getting to the core of the thing.

I’m putting on my running shoes, and I’m going the distance.

I want as many people running behind me, with me, and passing me as possible; we rise by lifting others.

Don’t let these opportunities pass you by.

Wherever you are at in your journey, this is for you, just as much as it is for me.

Being a woman isn’t about having the perfect body, clothes and hair.

It’s about being strong of heart when everything is crumbling around us.

It’s about being strong of body to lift our kids, to go for that hike, to backpack through Europe, to have adventures and life abundantly, not in how the world views us, but how we view ourselves.

It’s about being strong of soul. To be grounded in who you are, in what you believe, and in what you’re headed for in life.

I want to do this together. Because together we will sweat. Together we will fall and get back up again.

Together, we will rise.

Send me an email at michrgross@gmail.com if you’re interested; I’d love to connect and discover your goals, your story and your passion.