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.
When I see my face in my first picture back in the fall of 2020, I can see the sad, heartbroken mother I was. I had just been through the hardest year of my life; my second high-risk twin pregnancy, knowing one of them would die from a fatal syndrome. Knowing ahead of time made no difference; the fact is I still buried my precious baby. We got 32 beautiful hours with him. God luckily knew I needed his healthy twin to hug each day to get through the next year.
Grief took its toll on me physically. I graphed my weight. In the thick of my grief, 3-6 months postpartum, and despite exercising five days a week, I gained 8 pounds. I had always been healthy and lost 30-50 pounds of baby weight through hard dieting and exercise after all my previous babies, but I felt horrible and sad in my skin. I needed to be the healthy and happy mom my seven living kids needed me to be.
I got my hormones checked, I did the needed steps towards healing, and those things seemed to finally jump start my body in the right direction. Then I did two CSE Challenges to lose a bulk of my weight. I lost 45 pounds from those initial pictures to the end of those challenges.
In 2022, between a cruise and the holidays, weight had snuck back on me. For this Winter Challenge, I really wanted to see if I could focus on body recomposition. I have an ideal weight I’d like to be, but I predominantly wanted to lose 10 pounds and focus on building or at least maintaining muscle through this challenge.
Initially, I lost a lot of weight the first three weeks. Then I became a bit discouraged when the scale didn’t move much after that. That’s when I had to “trust the process” like so many say. I was doing everything right. I have never been so diligent in my life. I think I had so much success because of the CSE+ App. I only used the books in past challenges, but this year I bought the annual subscription. So from morning until evening, I tracked every single thing I put into my mouth to hit my macros. I loved the scan option and its ease too. I was so dedicated to hitting my protein goals especially, and when I did, every other macro seemed to fall into place too.
I am so proud of my hard work. Everyone says the last 10 pounds are the hardest, and they are! But I actually did it this time!!! I’m not stopping either because I know I can cut even more while building muscle before going into a maintenance phase by this spring and summer. I feel so good eating these delicious meals. I love making the various power bites that I grab as I jet out each morning to the gym after school drop off.
I’ve fully committed to CSE products. It’s a little embarrassing to look in my cabinets and freezer where I have just about every flavor of protein powder and nut butters. Oh and now collagens and other greens and berry antioxidants. My nails are growing like crazy! But I justified all the (recent) purchases because my husband joined me in this challenge. His body is totally changing for the better as well, and I was so proud of him! I love serving these shakes, snacks, oatmeals, and dinners to my children. I’ll often find extra “balls” (protein bites) as my toddler calls them left on tables scattered around my house. 😂 I trust in these products. They taste delicious, and they’re helping me achieve my goals. I couldn’t be more thankful!
I think I love this company so much because it’s the only thing I’ve ever found to truly be a lifestyle change. I was a health major in college. Despite my education, I tried just about every quick fix and diet program out there after all of my eight babies. My brain cringes thinking back about some of those programs. I love that I get healthier through CSE and the whole time my mind never thinks I’m on a diet! Shoot - I can even make treats and shakes when I desire them! This is my niche and I’m truly happy through balanced macro eating. I know that whenever life happens and when weight creeps back on, all I have to do is track my food diligently on the CSE App along with my exercise and it’ll be a success. To have confidence like that says a lot.
Thanks Erika and JJ for putting all your hard brainwork into recipes and sharing it with the world–and creating great quality proteins and products to help us reach our goals while licking our fingers all along the way! I’ve come so far since that first sad picture. Thanks CSE for helping me get here!
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.