I am 34, with a wonderful and supportive husband and a 4-year-old daughter, wanting so badly to feel better about myself. It is great to have a man who tells you all the time how beautiful he thinks you are. But it is another thing to look in the mirror and feel that as well.

I am one of those people who will find any excuse to not exercise. I am sure I have used them all. The excuses ranged from It’s too cold, it’s too hot, I worked all day, my daughter doesn’t like her stroller, can’t find a babysitter, my knee hurts, I have a headache. What other excuses could I have used? I tried getting into running. I bought great shoes and iPod to help. Nothing worked for me. I had no interest, and the will to curl up on the couch was much greater than the will to exercise. All those people who talked about how working out made them “feel better” were crazy in my eyes! Feel better? What?! Exercising is for the birds!

Until one day. A day came when I decided to take control of my life. With encouragement, tips, and a couple people who provided examples of everything from eating to exercising, things started changing. This was my body that I was in charge of caring for. I began to ask myself: What was I putting in my mouth? What are all those ingredients that are in that jar of spaghetti? Sodium WHAT? I can’t pronounce these ingredients – which, honestly, do not look like they belong in the food I am eating. I stopped what I was doing, grabbed the garbage and cleaned out the pantry and refrigerator. Preservatives, dairy, wheat, and sugar – all gone! That was nearly three months ago. Since then a lot more has changed.

The diet has transformed. The food that is put on the table has improved. Call it Paleo or Caveman eating. What it is to me is clean eating. I wouldn’t wash my skin with garbage! Why would I put it in my body? I want better for myself and my family.

Now to tackle the exercise…Oh, how I hated to exercise. (Notice I said hated not hate…)

At the same time I was making eating changes, I found a new love. I found something I am so crazy about that I have no problem waking at 5:00 a.m. for it. I show up excited to see what is on the agenda, and I leave sweaty, sore, and feeling energized!  Nine weeks ago I joined a CrossFit Gym. Granite City CrossFit, down the street from my office. My first day I walked in those doors scared, not knowing what to expect and fearing I would fail.Thanks to the coaches at the gym, I left feeling like I could not fail. I was trying. I was showing up, giving my all, and now after 9 weeks, I can say I am improving! I am not competing with anyone other than myself – which in my opinion is the best kind of competition. I love seeing how much more weight I can deadlift and  front squat than I did in the weeks before. I love doing clean and jerks with a kettlebell until I cant lift my arms! I love working on box jumps, because those truely intimidate me! I love setting goals and trying everyday to destroy them!

I was encouraged to walk into that gym and make changes, and it has spiraled into great things for me and my family. Look what encouraging others can do.  Have these changes been a struggle? Yes, at first. But the results from hard work and making a choice to change things have been worth it. On top of losing weight and inches, which are very important to me, the way I feel is even more important. I am not tired or sluggish, my skin feels great, my daily headaches have nearly disappeared, my lower back pain is gone and, basically, I feel better all around.  Healthier, happier and full of energy – everything a working mom and wife needs.  And to think, I used to think exercising was for the birds!