Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Joc!
All images from Jocelyn Lydon
When did you realize you wanted or needed to be healthier? How old were you, how old were your children? What happened to make you realize you wanted to make some changes?
I first realized I needed to do something about the way I felt in 2013.I was 34 years old I had been at a new position at work for a year. I had gone from a short 12 minute commute to work to a 45 minute drive. I was stressed about being away from home more plus the added responsibilities of my new promotion. I constantly felt guilty when I left work early to take care of my boys and I felt guilty when I was at home because I wasn't putting in the hours at work. My boys were ages 2 and 7. I was at my heaviest and unhealthiest. I saw it on the scale, I saw it in the size pants I had to buy and in my poor food choices. I was unhappy and I knew I had to do something.
When you started eating healthier and working out more, what were your original goals?
My original goal was to lose 10 pounds and I did this by increasing my exercise and choosing healthier food options. Avoiding processed foods, avoiding sugar, white flour products. I started jogging and on the days I couldn't go out to jog I did the elliptical or an interval training video at home. I lost 17 pounds over a year. With time, I needed a bigger goal, I needed a larger push; something to motivate me. I was tired of seeing a pound loss on the scale after weeks of "eating right". I had cheat days, jeesh I had cheat weeks. I am a stress eater so on hectic days I rewarded myself by eating sweets and lots of carbs. I told myself I deserved it. I decided to do a 30 day cleanse and I followed the Isagenix program. It was exactly what I needed. My motivation was that I could do anything for 30 days. I needed to train myself that I had the will power. 30 days; that's it. I could go back to eating sugar and pizza after 30 days if I wanted. It was the best 30 days ever. I learned that I didn't need food to feel better, I was full on smaller portions and I felt so strong and healthy when I ate good foods. I avoided any sugar and processed foods. I focused on fruit, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats and proteins.
This past March I started running more. I decided that I was going to do a half marathon. It was a crazy goal and while I had always been a runner I had never run that type of distance. I told people my goal which was a huge motivation because I couldn't be a failure. I felt I was held accountable by those around me who were helping me reach my goal. My husband works long hours, nights, weekends and I didn't have the ability to go out for a 2 hour run anytime I wanted. I couldn't send my kids to day care and go to the gym. I often had to get up at 4:30 to fit a workout in. Other times, I ran at night with a head lamp. I depended on my family to watch the boys so I could get a run in. I couldn't let them down by not completing my goal. The training for a 1/2 marathon was a 12 week commitment. I ran 4 days a week and did 3 days of strength training. I was averaging 20 miles a week running and it certainly was time consuming for me as I was already working full time and stretched for time to begin with. I needed it though.
I needed to do this for me. Since my boys had been born I had devoted my body, my emotions and my life to them. It was time to find myself again. And what is a better way to do that than teaching my children about living healthy.
They did not mind the time I put into my health. It became a common routine that Mom went for runs. They became involved in my training, for instance, they always wanted to know how far I was going, if I had beat my last time, and often they would meet me out at the road to cheer me on or my oldest would ride his bike with me during my last couple of miles. I not only met my goal to complete a half marathon but I completed two this year. At the age of 36 I had completed 2 1/2 marathons, I was at my strongest and was more fit than I had been at the age of 22. I was happy and healthy and very importantly my children saw this.
While I'm not training for a race I have cut back on my running but I still exercise 3-4 days a week and when I can't go to the gym I have workouts I can do at home.
Why do you think moms should and could work out more? What is your advice to moms who feel they just can't find the time, energy or motivation to get moving?
I think every Mom needs to find the time for themselves to be healthy. You are teaching your children that your well being is important. I know that I have always put my children first, but I think it's good for them and for me to build in time just for myself. I have found that through the improvement in my health, I have felt happier, I have more energy and I am more present emotionally and mentally when I am with my children.
They have adopted some of my healthy habits; for instance, they love to have races around the house and they ask if eating certain foods make them stronger. They are proud of me when they know I am going to run in a race. I hope my children learn from me, that it is important to put your own health as a priority.
We all need to build in time for ourselves and to find something that improves us physically and also mentally. Every Mom can find time for themselves. You may need to make adjustments, but you can if you really want. I've learned that about myself, I was full of excuses as to why I couldn't exercise but that is what they were, excuses. For anyone who wants to improve their health I would start with a small, reasonable goal and establish specific steps to get to this goal. Setting too large of a goal at first is just setting yourself up for failure.
What foods do you eat to help you with your fitness goals, as well as to feel overall healthier? Tell us about the health plan you follow.
Meal planning is important otherwise I will eat anything I can get my hands on. I often prepare my food on Sundays, I make a large batch of quinoa for the week that I will add various proteins and veggies to daily. I make up egg white turkey sausage "muffins" and freeze them.
I keep plenty of healthy snacks on hand; almonds, apples, natural peanut butter so when I am absolutely starving I have a healthy option instead of grabbing the cookies. Frozen veggies are great and I keep all natural turkey burgers in the freezer too for a quick meal.
I often eat the same foods as my family, just altered a little. I will eat spaghetti squash with turkey meatballs and I'lll eat a taco salad as a variation. My family is used to only whole wheat or sprouted grain products in the house. I take a B Complex supplement for energy as well as Biotin and Glucosamine and Chondroitin because my joints ache from all my running.
What is your New Year's Resolution for 2015 in regards to being a healthy, happy, totally yourself mom?
Moving into 2015 I want to see my family improve their eating even more. I now have my husband on a healthier lifestyle and he feels great. I plan on running a race a month and doing more half marathons as well.
I am hoping this year to continue improving my family's lifestyle through healthy eating, exercise and lots of laughter!