I’m honored to introduce this week’s Mom-spiration to our My Fit Family community. I’ve known Sam for over 9 years and watched as she transformed her life for the love of her daughter. Moms know–having children changes us. And it was no exception for Sam, who after the birth of her daughter, decided she needed to make a change. That led to an almost 150 pound weightloss and a healthier life. I’m so darn proud of this lady and no introduction will do her story justice–read her words and see the transformation for yourself.
My Fit Family: I feel like I know you well, but tell the rest of our My Fit Family readers about you.
Samantha: My name is Samantha, I am 35 years old and live in Minnesota (and according to my friends that don’t live here…yes, I have an accent!). I work full time, am the mother of an 8 almost 9 year old girl, and have been married to my husband for 13 years. I volunteer at my daughter’s school in addition to chairing the PTO. It seems I’m always on the move and my days are almost completely packed from 4AM to 8PM.
My hobbies include spending time with my family and friends, reading, and riding my motorcycle. I also really enjoy travelling; hot weather + ocean breeze = one happy momma! My favorite place I have traveled so far has been San Diego, CA.
MFF: Have you always embraced a fit and healthy lifestyle?
Samantha: No, this is a new-ish adventure for me. I say new-ish because the “getting healthy” lifestyle I started working on in 2008 I when was 312 pounds and had a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 46%. In addition to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, pre-diabetes and problems walking because my back, hips and knees hurt all.the.time!
I decided to do something about my weight the day my doctor told me I was “Grossly Morbidly Obese”. Basically, this meant that I was going to (eventually) die if I didn’t do something. My weight is always something I’ve struggled with and classified myself as a “big girl” but never really realized how big I was. In order for me to portray what a life altering statement that was from my doctor, I’m going to have to get personal…I hope you don’t mind.
After I had that discussion with my doctor, I had to come to terms with how I was living my life because I had a 2 year old little girl who depended on me to take care of her. This was someone I chose to bring into this world, someone who needed me, someone who loved me unconditionally…and I felt like I was letting her down. I felt this way because I wasn’t taking care of myself and doing what I could to be around long enough to watch her grow up…to me this meant possibly missing out on all of her great hugs, the I love you’s, the snuggles, her first day of kindergarten, meeting her first crush, her graduation from high school and maybe…eventually getting married and having babies. It also meant having someone else potentially getting to experience those things instead of me. Call me selfish, but I want all of it!
I knew I needed to do something to get healthy and after discussing with my doctor, tons of research, and a lot of soul-searching I finally decided on gastric bypass (specifically Roux-En-Y). I know there is a lot of controversy over weight loss surgery and I can completely understand and relate to both sides of the fence; but for me, I knew I needed to do something drastic and felt this was the ideal tool for me at the time. Yes, I said tool. For me gastric bypass isn’t the “easy way out”, nor is it a fix-all; meaning it doesn’t fix the cravings or the reasons why I chose to eat (stress, sadness, happiness, because it was Tuesday). It is a tool that helps me keep my eating in check. It is a tool that has helped me get closer to my goal of being there for my daughter and watching her grow. It is a tool that has helped me shed almost 150lbs.
It’s also a tool that did nothing to help me get fit. I have come to realize I have to do that on my own and haven’t been as eager to work on that part of a healthy and fit lifestyle, but I’m getting there. I have recently, within the last couple of months, setting aside time to workout and I’m learning to enjoy the results of working out (don’t get me wrong, I hate every second of it while I’m doing it, but I feel great after). It’s amazing how much it does for my daily stress and mental wellbeing. Getting fit and working out has helped me shed another 10 (for a total of 160 lost to date) and is helping me shed the last 10 I would like to lose.
MFF: What does typical workout look like for you?
Samantha: My workouts usually start with a lot of grumbling, pouting and “I don’t want to” and then quickly transition to “what the heck did I get myself into” and finally “I did it!” Oh…wait, I don’t think that’s what you meant by that question!
Can I tell you a secret? I hate the gym. I avoid it at all costs when possible; so instead of going to the gym, I do “quiet exercises” after I wake up for the day at 4:00am…typically squats, planks or some really basic yoga poses. I stick to those because I don’t want to wake my family up. Then I walk approximately 2 miles at lunch (well, on days it’s not raining or 45 below zero) and then go to a friend’s house after dinner time and do a high intensity workout for 25 minutes a day. Each day concentrating on a different area of the body.
MFF: How do you make the time to workout being a mom?
Samantha: Finding time to workout is something I’ve recently forced into my schedule. I say forced because I’ve had to either give up or reduce the amount of time I spent on some things I enjoy so I can make time for exercise. For example, instead of sitting and reading a book for an hour at the end of the day to wind down, I read for 15-20 minutes. Instead of perusing Pinterest or Facebook during lunch, I go on a walk. I’ve found that the time I spend on myself exercising has helped me deal with stress a lot better than eating ever did.
I really struggle with allowing myself to take time for me. On a typical day I leave the house at 6:15AM and don’t get home until 4PM and bedtime for our house is 8PM. That leaves me 4 hours a day to see my family and I am taking time to work on myself. And yes, I do feel guilty, but I figure if I don’t work on improving myself how can I give my family the best of me?
MFF: What is your favorite physical activity?
Samantha: Hmmm, I would have to say it’s the squats, planks and yoga I do in the morning. It’s not the actual exercise that I like but the quiet solitude it provides me as I mentally prepare for my day.
MFF: What is your favorite healthy meal or snack and of course we love hearing about favorite food indulgences–what’s your #1?
Samantha: While I am no longer considered pre-diabetic (also, no longer have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or sleep apnea). I have what’s called “Reactive Hypoglycemia” as a result of my bypass, which means my body reacts to foods much like a diabetic. So my meals are typically small, frequent (6 meals a day), high in protein, and low in sugar and carbs. I have 3 “go to” meals that I love:
- 1 hard-boiled egg, 2 oz of cheddar cheese, grapes, and a few whole grain crackers
- 2 oz mozzarella cheese (or I will also substitute 1% cottage cheese), avocado, tomato, cucumber all cut up in a bowl with toasted sesame oil drizzled over the top and salt and pepper to taste.
- Hummus and pita chips or hummus and veggies
As far as indulgences go I don’t deny myself anything. That being said, I try and stick to an 80/20 meal plan for the week: 80% healthy and 20% things I know I need to limit; like chips and dip. Oh. and coffee. I can’t survive without coffee.
MFF: Who inspires you?
Samantha: As cliché as it sounds; my daughter. I strive to be as good of a person as she is. Her ability to love and accept people for who they are is astounding.
MFF: What one piece of advice would you give out to someone just starting out on their health/fitness journey?
Samantha: As difficult as it is and as impossible as it seems, you have to make time in your day to exercise. It doesn’t matter if it’s taking a walk (with or without kids), going up and down your stairs 10 times or doing a full blown workout routine at the gym; find something. Your body and mind will thank you for it.
Thank you so much Sam, for sharing your story with all of us.
If you have any questions for Samantha regard gastric bypass surgery feel free to leave the question in the comments below or if you would rather, email them to me at fitfamilyco @ gmail. com and I’ll connect you.
Never Give Up,