Emily Allen, 37 next month, wasn't always heavy. She was healthy. She was busy and navigating her way through a new job that had her in a chair all day long. At the same time, she fell in love. Emily moved to a new town with her husband where she started the new job and let her healthy habits slip through her hands. Within a year, in the small town of Santaquin, Utah, she went from fit and routine to sedentary and steadily gaining.
"The weight seemed to creep on and lodged itself firmly around my middle and stayed put for over a decade," Emily admitted.
First comes love, then comes marriage...
Emily became a stepmom when she married her husband, then brought two more babies into the world. After her youngest was born, she developed a severe case of postpartum depression.
"I realized that I was being a terrible mom, a terrible wife," Emily related. "And that I just couldn't live feeling that way any longer."
After a long look in the mirror, Emily decided enough was enough and it was time to put her brain power to work. She was aware of the pit falls of fad diets (been there, done that), so she researched nutrition and exercise so she could do things the right way. She wanted to focus on health and not the number on the scale.
Once she started her research, she came across a workout program that suited her perfectly. The Tracy Anderson method supplied Emily with various 30-minute workouts she could do right at home. She slowly upped her game to working out four to five times a week. Emily also wore out her library card by checking out nutrition books, cookbooks and healthy eating resources. Eventually, she joined a co-op where she could gather tons of organic produce to prep for her family's meals.
Uh oh. This wasn't work after all! Emily was actually enjoying herself.
"I had to change my attitude from one of punishing myself ('I'll exercise for an extra 20 minutes today to try to burn off that brownie,' or 'I was bad and ate that brownie so I might as well eat five more') to one of love ('I exercise daily because it feels good and helps me be alert and happy,' or 'I drink my green smoothie every morning because it makes me feel good and gives me energy'). When you are being healthy out of an attitude of love for your body, you are willing to have patience and put the time in. At that point the weight loss becomes secondary, but also surprisingly effortless."
The Final Score
Emily lost 70 pounds in one year. She plays with her kids, maintains her workouts and nutrition, fits into a size 4 and "feels pretty crazy good."
Today, you expect Emily's alarm clock to go off at 5 a.m. to get her 30 minutes of cardio in at home. Eventually, her husband meets her downstairs so they can catch up and pray over some warm lemon water. Emily finishes up her strength training after hubby leaves for work, and by then the kids are up and ready for their morning routine. Then it's off to work! She's back by 5 p.m. for the dinner dance.
"I have too much to do to make complicated meals, so I only like to spend an hour at most in the kitchen," Emily said. "Dinners are usually either a grilled meat with tons of veggies and a salad, a homemade soup or burritos with homemade refried beans. We also enjoy homemade breads and other whole grains. We spend some time as a family before putting the kids to bed around 8 p.m. In the evenings I work on my health coaching business and my site, but not for too long. I try to make sure I'm in bed early, sleep is so important!"
Emily has used her weight loss experience as a foundation for her own business. You can find Emily at That's What I Eat, where she shares her favorite dishes and workouts with other moms and those embarking on their own weight loss journeys.