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.
Honestly, I did this challenge because I wanted to do something together with my wife and she asked me to join her. I am so thankful I did! I have not felt this good in a really long time-and it has been even longer since I looked this good 😊 I went all in and worked my butt off and it has been totally worth it. I thought the window for me to get in the best shape of my life had passed, but I was wrong. To describe my transformation, let me tell you what I’ve learned and experienced:
⁃One of the first things I realized is that I pleasure eat. I can’t tell you how many times through the first week that I went to the fridge or pantry just to realize that I really didn’t need to eat-it was just a habit. That has changed. I now open the fridge and pantry with a purpose, not “just because.”
⁃I have also learned that pleasure-seeking doesn’t have to dictate my life. I can live an intentional life and this challenged proved it to me! Exercising discipline in my eating has enabled me to give up another addiction in my life that has robbed way too much time from my wife and children. I don’t know that I would have had the capacity (or even the idea) to rid myself of this other addiction if I didn’t jump into this challenge with both feet.
⁃With the right help, eating healthy really can be sustainable. I’ve tried different diets over the years, but in each case is just didn’t work. Either my body was too weak to continue or it just got to the point where my taste buds needed something more (I hate bland food!). I did not experience either of those problems during this challenge! The food was fantastic! It was full of taste, variety, and left me feeling satisfied. My pre-challenge complaint to my wife about spending $60 on a “cookbook” was totally unwarranted. It was SO MUCH more than a cookbook! For me, this was exactly what I was missing. I’ve told myself for years that I am going to get into better shape, but it hadn’t happened until I tried CSE. CSE made something that would have been too overwhelming to sustain to something totally doable. Thank you.
⁃This is been a huge blessing for our marriage! Food has been simplified! One of the worst times of the day was coming home from work around dinner time, with a super-stressed-out wife trying to get food on the table. We used to have regular conflict regarding meal planning and dinner time-not because we disagreed, but because it was so stressful! But these past seven weeks have been happier and simpler in our home.
⁃I don’t know how you guys did it, but you have completely curbed my craving for ice cream! I am (was) an ice-cream junkie! I have gone from having ice cream almost daily (very large bowls) to literally having zero cravings. None. It’s almost weird. I attribute this shift to the awesome shakes in the CSE book and the super tasty protein powder.
-This transformation has certainly been physical (aside from looking and feeling better, all of my cholesterol levels have moved from high/very high to optimal!) But perhaps more importantly for me, it’s been mental. I feel like I freed myself from a certain level of bondage that I’ve always had in my relationship with food. I feel that for so long I have allowed myself to be manipulated by the food industry. Even though I have always been free, I now feel free to choose healthy food as a tasteful alternative to empty calories that lack satiety. Obviously, this will help my physical health, but Alzheimer’s runs in my family and even though the research on diet and cognitive decline are still developing, I don’t want to take any chances with my mind. I want to be present both physically and mentally for as long as I can. I know this is just the start of the road, but, man, I feel empowered and confident! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I used several HIIT workouts, ran 2-3 times per week, went hiking, and lifted weights. Because I've had back trouble, I finally jumped in and focused on my core. I worked my core most days. In all, I exercised 6 days per week.
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.