Our Fall 2023 Challenge Winner, Hailey!
CSE taught me that healthy food can taste good, give you more sustainable energy, and honestly, my depression and anxiety has gotten so much better.
Check out this fit momma’s story and tell me it doesn’t strike a chord with you! @katrinanickle1 was a finalist from our Spring Challenge and knocked it out of the park! Katrina and her husband are down pounds and inches and have completely taken control of their lives! Read her story below:
Hear from her in her own words:
“I never thought I could start this plan and stick to it with a one-month-old baby and busy four-year-old son. I hate to admit I have purchased multiple Clean Simple Eats cookbooks in the past that I have not used. I would feel overwhelmed with all the shopping and cooking and I would put it off for “another day”. When I saw this challenge, I finally decided “why not just try?” Guys...WE STRUCK GOLD at our house doing this 8-week plan. My husband and I lost weight and inches, gained energy and confidence, learned to love our meal prep Sunday’s tag-teaming in the kitchen and it was so fun doing a plan we were BOTH on board with because it is so well-balanced, amazing tasting and such a great variety. Also, our four-year-old son loves all the food! Now that we have these tools and knowledge, we feel so empowered.
My life has pretty much consisted of undereating and overeating. Since I was about 9 years old, I started becoming very calorie conscious. I would look at the calories on every label and I have a very thin mom who has always watched her calories closely and makes an emphasis on low-calorie foods. I began to become obsessive about it as a young girl and by the time I was 13 or 14 I could tell you how many calories were in every food and the serving size. I would try to stick to 1,000 calories a day.
I couldn’t go to the gym the entire challenge with a brand-new baby but committed to JJ’s 20-minute beginner workouts in the back of the book because it was REALISTIC for my current circumstances. ANYONE has 20 minutes in their day to exercise at home with no equipment. PERIOD. I’ve never worked out at home, nor have I ever done such quick workouts, yet I’ve seen my body transform more in the last 8 weeks doing this meal plan and these simple at-home workouts than anything I’ve tried in the past.
My mental energy has been spent in places so much more meaningful now because I’m not thinking about food all the time. I’ve just been prepping meals and excited to try them. I don’t worry or obsess on this plan. I’ve trusted the process and eating calories that seemed high to me and my body has quickly transformed eating more and working out less. I feel happy, nourished, and energized.
I would feel so deprived, sometimes on weekends I would binge and eat so many treats. I would feel horrible and disgusted with myself and would eat myself sick. This trend wasn’t just as a teenager, it’s been most of my life.
If I knew I was going out to eat, I wouldn’t eat all day so when we went out I could look like I ate like a normal person and I’d eat my 1,000 calories all at that meal. Then I wouldn’t eat the rest of the day, or at least try my hardest not to eat.
Like I said I have also had struggles with overeating. You can only deprive yourself for so long before you “give in” to food. I have had times where I was heavier and ate more junk food but didn’t ever enjoy it, I fought it every day. At one point in my adult life, every morning I would commit to not eating much. I would make a big bag of air-popped popcorn to snack on throughout the day so I could feel like I was eating without eating too many calories, and at night, I would lose control because I had starved myself all day. One example, if I was alone in the evening, I’d mix a whole package of brownie batter and eat the whole thing straight from the bowl. Thinking back, my body was lacking SO many nutrients!! I was out of control and stuck in a vicious cycle of under eating and overeating.
I once did a 500-calorie a day diet for a period of time. When I stopped I knew my metabolism was so screwed up, I was so afraid to eat anything. I would suck on treats and spit them in the garbage because I was so afraid of eating and gaining weight. Even if I looked fine on the outside, I was a mess.
Something else I’m grateful for with this challenge is I have always struggled with digestive/stomach problems. I have started using CSE protein and it’s the first of several protein powders I’ve tried that doesn’t hurt my stomach. I have also started taking CSE probiotics and digestive enzymes. My gut feels so good! I no longer have terrible, painful stomach aches every night like I used to and I’m so grateful to feel like I finally have something to help me!
The last handful of years I have gained a healthier relationship with food and am trying to learn a balance. I was very motivated when I became a mom because we want our son to have a healthy, well-balanced life including his relationship with food. And now we have a beautiful daughter and we want the same healthy life and body image for her.
I’m so grateful I did this challenge and my husband and I are committed to a lifestyle change for our health and for our kids. Food can be fun, delicious, and guilt-free all at the same time. On this challenge, I’ve been eating between 1,800-2,000 calories a day and listening to my body along the way since I’m nursing. I have been shocked with the results I have seen and honestly didn’t expect it AND I’ve kept my milk supply. I look and feel better than I did pre-pregnancy.
Each season we host a free 7-week, community-based health and fitness challenge. We work hard, get our sweat on, and work together to motivate each other to reach our goals.