September 06, 2022

Our Summer 2022 Challenge Winner, Marlena!


I’ve followed CSE for many years, but never committed to a challenge. Many years of pregnancies and new babies were the reasons I put my health on the back burner. After having baby number three late last year, I told myself that I’d get healthy in nine months (always using the explanation that my body changed nine months while growing a baby, and it would take nine months to “get back”). That nine-month mark rolled around and I was feeling more unhealthy than ever—I had been turning to sugary treats and sodas as comfort on hard days and rewards on good days. 

Part of me wanted to make another excuse, but the Instagram posts and emails popped up, and I knew the CSE Summer Challenge was what I needed. It began exactly one week after my baby turned nine-months-old. My main goal when I began was to lose weight and look better. While that got me started, it isn’t what kept me going (turns out it’s a lot harder than I thought to look drastically different in a week 🤣). 

What I did realize is I had more energy without crashes and felt more patient and happy with my kids during the day. I felt good about the food that went into my body and realized it was fueling my body through my busy days and evening workouts— and giant bonus, everything tasted so good (don’t even get me started on the Protein Orange Julius). 

Not only did I recognize the physical changes, but I began to feel confident again and proud of myself for committing and sticking to something JUST FOR ME. I have started and stopped many programs, but I wanted to prove to myself that I could do this - that I would make it through the entire thing! My husband has been the biggest cheerleader and has loved trying new recipes (especially CSE treats) and this has brought us together in a way I’ve never experienced. 

I was hoping that when I started the CSE challenge, it would propel me into a healthy life trajectory. Even if I don’t win the grand prize, I truly feel like I’ve won a new outlook on taking care of my whole self, and I thank CSE for that! Thank you Erika and JJ!


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