October 25, 2023

I am a 48-year-old wife and homeschooling mom of 4 teenagers, 3 of whom went off to universities for the first time this fall. I was an Army nurse for a number of years, and I currently do some educational consulting and corporate guest relations part-time. I love college football and am a huge University of Michigan fan.

I had needed to lose a good amount of weight for the better part of a dozen years before I found CSF. I knew what good habits looked like, and I knew what I needed to change, but I could never make the changes AND stay consistent with them. By the time I found CSF, I could no longer get my wedding rings on and off, my waist line was more like a waist blob, and while I was pudgy and swollen all over, I could feel the swelling and pudginess behind my knees whenever I bent my legs. It was not a good feeling.

In my lifelong quest to find the keys to being fit I had dabbled in being vegetarian and taking pills. Neither of those lasted very long. I had also tried Weight Watchers and Atkins/Keto/Paleo diets.

With Weight Watchers and Atkins/Keto/Paleo I had some success, and I learned some good lessons about how my body responds to food. However, I was never able to take the weight off, improve my fitness level, or maintain improvements long term with any of those systems. I was still missing a major piece of the puzzle.

CSF changed everything for me! Ironically enough, it changed everything by starting out with changing nothing. The first thing Coach Dana had me do was just observe what I was eating and log it. That slow approach to making changes, conquering small goals one at a time, and checking in with Dana weekly to adjust my goals were game changers.

It took me a year to lose the extra 50 pounds I had been carrying around, and I am still working on building muscle in order to improve my body composition. If someone had told me at the beginning that this was going to be a year-plus long process, I might have balked; but in retrospect, I can see that taking it slow was integral to my success. I needed that time to make the changes and then to turn those changes into lifelong habits.

The first time I ran into my closet, grabbed an outfit for a quick change from “mom” to “guest at a corporate event”, and my clothes fit and flattered me was immensely rewarding! It had been at least a decade since that was the case. I still revel in that feeling every time I get dressed to leave the house. I no longer worry about t-shirts being tucked into my fat rolls or belly fat rolling over my jeans. I even wear shorts and dresses now, something I haven’t done in such a long time that my mother commented on the change.

As an added bonus, I now have energy! I rarely have that mid-afternoon slump that I had come to accept as normal. I sleep better at night and wake up easily in the morning. I enjoy walking the dogs to start my day, and walking with my husband in the evening.

I still LOOOOOOOVE food! All food! I eat carbs and ice cream, though not to excess. I meet friends for meals at restaurants, and I enjoy a glass or two of wine on the weekends. The difference is that now it is all balanced in a way that works for my body.

Three specific things I learned while working with CSF, that made a significant impact in my success, and that I will continue doing even after working with CSF are these:

  1. Protein matters! It might even be the most important thing. It took me 9 months to finally get consistent with meeting my protein goal, but it was so worth it. I’ll never go to bed again without having had triple-digit protein grams in a day
  2. Steps are king. However I get them (outdoor runs, after meal walks, grocery shopping), and whenever I get them, I won’t end a day without 10,000 steps and I celebrate myself when I hit 12,500 or 15,000 or more.
  3. Focusing on one change at a time is the key to success. I can’t change everything all at once, but I can change one thing right now; and if I stay focused on that change, I can make it a habit… then I can move on to the next change.

Joy of joys… I have a waist! I can do a proper push-up! Actually, I can do a few of them, and I’m working on being able to do an unassisted pull-up. I can run a few miles, though I still wouldn’t choose to do so all that often. I am not out of breath or struggling to keep up when I have to do a long walk, or a fast walk, or a bunch of stairs, or a big incline. All of my lab values and vital signs are down from borderline concerning to well within healthy limits.

Had I not decided to start CSF, I would be exactly where I was a year ago – uncomfortable in my own body, and feeling a bit frustrated and sad every time I got dressed in the morning.

If you’re considering CSF, commit to it – sign up for the whole year! Own up to your perceived failures (not logging food, not moving your body, not losing weight) by scheduling those coaching calls and getting re-committed every week. Stop lamenting the failures. Recognize every little milestone success. If you are on a plateau after losing 10 pounds, celebrate that you are 10 pounds lighter than when you started. Then re-commit to doing what it takes to lose pound #11. If you are not hitting your fruit and veggie goal, celebrate that you are eating twice as many fruits and veggies as you were a month ago. Then re-commit to adding a number of fruits and veggies that day. If I can do it, so can you!

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