Our Summer 2021 Challenge Winner, Ashlee!
My name is Ashlee and I am 31 years old. I have 3 children, with the youngest being 9 months old. I love being a mom; my kids are amazing, but it has taken a toll on my mental and physical health. I did great after having my son, who is now 7. Postpartum was never an issue and losing the added baby weight was fairly easy. My daughter came next; she is now 5. After I gave birth to her, a huge part of me went with it. I suffered from really bad postpartum depression that never went away.
The next 4 years I was on a hard mental and emotional rollercoaster. I was trying everything to help me feel like me again. Exercise, dieting, rewards, shopping, all of the things for small moments of feeling better inside or happy. One of the biggest struggles was the emotional eating that came with feeling so off inside. I would turn to food for comfort. It was a huge battle for me. I was always disappointed in myself for giving in, beating myself up inside. I got in some therapy and on the right medicine. I was able to find some balance, but emotional eating was still my weakness when life got stressful, which is all the time with small children.
Then came my 3rd child. He is now 9 months old. I was so happy, but so scared for what my postpartum journey would look like. Things started off pretty good and smooth. A couple months in, I felt my body shift and something was very off. I started to struggle mentally again, and had all sorts of physical challenges. I couldn't cope and would look to food for comfort. I was gaining weight, unable to motivate myself to exercise and the downward spiral was happening fast. I found out my thyroid had tanked, and I was even more discouraged knowing all the challenges that come with thyroid problems. It seemed hopeless and I basically threw in the towel. I was miserable.
My sister-in-law told me about the Clean Simple Eats app and how awesome it was. I decided to give it a go, but could never really commit. The food was yummy and the convenience was awesome, but I would always revert back comforting myself with food. I got to the point where enough was enough and I decided to go all in for the Summer Challenge. I had the motivation and drive, I was ready to commit and to see changes. The Clean Simple Eats app is so awesome. The challenge had all the meals laid out for me, and even when I should prepare my food. I told myself I would follow it exactly how they had it laid out. Taking the guesswork out of it was one of the biggest things that helped me succeed. I felt satisfied and my cravings for junk seemed to calm down. Exercising seemed to get easier, and I wanted to make better choices. I was also so proud that I was cooking and providing healthy meals for my family. Even my little kids loved the food.
The biggest thing I have gained from this challenge is the strength I gained on the inside. Not giving up on myself and letting myself down. I'm grateful to see physical changes, but I'm even more grateful for the stability that I've gained mentally. Eating healthy food and exercising regularly really is the recipe for success. I'm so grateful for this challenge and what I've learned. I can't wait to continue to learn and move forward in my journey to becoming my best self.