Guest Blogger: Cassie Okoya
The year I turned 30 was the same year I became pregnant with my first child. Before I turned 30 I would read those silly articles that said “30 Things You Realize by the Time You Turn 30” wondering if there was any truth to them. However, when I turned 30, I realized they were true! You know who your true friends are, you know what clothing items work best for you, etc. but overall you know yourself well enough to trust your instincts. The biggest thing I told myself when I turned 30 was that I would listen to my body and try to honor what it was telling me. When I was at my heaviest before giving birth, I remember crying and praying to God to just help me make it through the next hour because I was so uncomfortable. I told myself once I gave birth and gave myself time to adjust to the new challenges of motherhood, I would commit to getting the weight off and overall having a healthier lifestyle for myself and my family.
When I was about 7-months post-partum, I felt my body telling me it was time to exercise and eat healthier and I wanted to trust my instincts. I remember I began craving green vegetables like spinach and broccoli! Through divine coincidence my neighbor (whom I had never met) posted on Instagram about a fitness class for moms she was going to start teaching called Body Back Transformation by FIT4MOM. The classes would be in the evenings and not too far from home, so it was perfect! I was especially excited to learn the program also had one-on-one coaching as well as meal planning assistance in addition to the twice weekly workouts.
I remember going to the orientation for the program and my instructor and neighbor, Nikki, mentioned that at the first class we would be doing assessments and part of the assessment would be running a mile. I looked at her as if she had two heads and told her I was the heaviest I’ve ever been in my entire life, and there was NO WAY I could run a mile! She smiled and told me that I was stronger than I thought, after all, I had given birth to another human being. She was right! (That was the first of many encouraging sayings Nikki would tell me)
Two years before I started Body Back, I worked with a celebrity personal trainer. She was great (and very expensive), however the diet was too extreme to maintain and when I stopped working with her I ended up gaining a lot of the weight back. Because of this experience, I wanted to fully commit to not just the Body Back workouts, but also the meal planning and recipes. I was happy to see that recipe book contained great options that were not extreme by eliminating entire food groups or certain seasonings and spices. My first Body Back class was definitely challenging and I faced the hard truth that I was extremely out of shape. I had some mild diastasis and the extra weight on my joints, which meant that I had to modify nearly all the exercises to be low impact.
Despite my challenges with exercising, each week I was making incredible progress. Sometimes the scale didn’t always show what I wanted it to show, but I realized I didn’t want the scale to be my only measure of success. I felt my body getting stronger and it felt great! At the end of my 8 week session I had a total loss of just under 10 lbs., but what I was even more excited about was at the final assessment -- I was able to run the entire mile without stopping and I cut 3 minutes off my previous time!
After my first sessions, I knew I wanted to keep up my transformation. After all, I was after a lifestyle change and 8 weeks wasn’t quite enough for me. After the first session, I completed two subsequent Body Back Transformation sessions, and in each session I learned something new about myself. My second session I really began to solidify the lifestyle changes. We went on a family vacation and I was able to keep up with my workouts and healthy eating, while still indulging a little bit, and it didn’t feel like a punishment! My third session I learned how to dig deep and to push my mental and physical limits by training for a 10K with the FIT4MOM Run Club in addition to doing my Body Back HIIT workouts. In total, from the 3 transformation sessions I lost 30lbs!