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.
In my early adult years if I wanted to "get healthy" it usually meant my clothes were getting snug and I suddenly realized I needed to lose some pounds, but as fast as possible. I did so many crash diets. Liquids only (lasted 6 days), vegetables only (lasted 10 days), juice cleanses (3 days), and a bunch of other ones I can't remember because they lasted less than that.
After becoming a mother, dealing with postpartum depression and anxiety, I started using treats to reward myself for just making it through the day. When I wasn't self medicating on sweets, I was fixing the quickest frozen meals possible. That was all I had energy for. It got so bad that I ended up in urgent care for severe pain and digestive issues because I wasn't eating enough fruits and vegetables. It wasn't just about snug clothes anymore. And they were snug. I was in a vicious cycle. The food I was eating was making me feel like I was too sick and sluggish to prepare healthy food or exercise.
I opened up to two friends who didn't even know each other about how I felt and they both recommended Clean Simple Eats. It didn't take me long to fall in love with the food. Prepping took some getting used to, but it was also like magic. Here was this healthy eating plan that didn't ban carbs or chocolate. What was even more amazing to me, I stuck with it and ate on plan for about 4 months straight. I lost weight and inches which was great too. But I was so proud of myself for sticking with something for so long and finally prioritizing my health.
During those 4 months I even started to work out sporadically, which was a big step for me. I found out I was expecting again 2 weeks into the following challenge and had the worst FOMO watching how my #CSETribe crushed it. Once the baby was born and started on solids, I couldn't wait to participate in this challenge and even worked out regularly this time - three times a week! That might not be a lot to some people, but for me to start from zero and have the energy to do that with three active kids 6 and under is a testament to CSE.
When I'm eating the food, somehow I have more energy for my kids, but also for myself. Now I'm even doing physical therapy exercises to heal the abdominal separation from the three pregnancies that got me my beautiful girls. I had it after the first two, but never looked into fixing it, other than hearing that traditional ab workouts made it worse. I was in such a bad place at the time that I figured doing nothing was safer, so that's what I did for years.
Now that this challenge is ending, I'm looking forward to more delicious CSE food and more progress in my health. I've learned that in order to "get healthy" or heal my body I can't just sit and do nothing. I also can't fix it overnight (or in 10 days). But I can determine that my health will be on my list of priorities for the day. I'm so grateful for these recipes and workouts. I couldn't think of a better tool to have with me in this season of healing and learning.
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.