Alida Steele: One Inspirational Mom’s Makeover

Hot mama alert!

In our latest Inspirational Mom segment, HerScoop is happy to share the story of Alida Steele.

The 29-year-old Canadian mom to daughters Layna, 3, and Shanna, 1, has transformed her body, mind and spirit since October 2012 when she first started on a regular fitness routine.

Along with healthy eating – and the love and support from her husband Shaun – Alida started the Beachbody program Les Mills Combat which awakened her passion for a healthier lifestyle.

“My weight along with my self-image really yo-yo’d over the last 10 years,” Alida shares. “For 4 of our 5 years of marriage, I constantly complained about my body to my husband. I knew what I had to do to but wouldn’t commit to anything.”

Still in “disbelief” that she’s lost over 35 pounds and dropped from a size 10 to a 0, Alida shares her inspirational story of how she gradually let go of her “woe is me” attitude and found the inner-strength to be in the best shape of her life.

Continue reading Alida’s phenomenal makeover story, and learn how you can join her online support group toward a happier and healthier you.

“I’m still in disbelief that I was able to get to this point!

At 29-years-old and a mom of two daughters (aged 3 and 1), I’m in the best shape of my life. I remember the day that the switch clicked for me and never in a million years imagined that I would get this far. My husband’s endless support and encouragement along the way has truly pushed me to want to be a better me. He has always been very active in the gym and has always been a source of inspiration to me.

I always saw pictures of women who were fit/in shape and aspired to get there, someday, but ended up burying the notion of ever getting there given how much work it would take. After having children, we all tend to think that we ‘don’t have time’ to spend on ourselves like working out — or even the simplest tasks of having a daily shower, doing our makeup, or keeping up with the laundry and housework.

I’ve come to realize that we can always have excuses not to workout. Once your mind is made up, your body will follow.

I’ve committed to creating excuses to workout instead of the opposite. A happier me means a happier wife, mother and person overall. Having two girls who are bound to be exposed to both positive and negative societal expectations/interpretations of body image, I’m hoping to show them a healthy lifestyle to help guide them in making their own health and fitness a priority.

I’ve been on maternity leave for the entirety of my journey thus far, so I haven’t had to juggle full-time out of the home work, with everything else, but also know that something is better than nothing — and we all have at least 10 minutes.

I’ve always been the mom, from day one of being home from the hospital, who gets up and gets cleaned up and made up for the day. My kids have never known anything different. Similarly, when I began working out it just became something that mommy does – it’s part of our daily routine. My youngest is generally napping when I do it, and I set my oldest up with the iPad or other toys/activities to keep her occupied and entertained (though she tends to cheer me on from the couch now that she’s getting older, or joins in the fun).

I haven’t always been this fit. It’s safe to say that my weight has been a struggle for me since high school.

I was a very competitive dancer throughout my childhood and early teenage years, and also played a lot of sports. I was heavy into the gym in my last year of high school and my first year of University. Physical activity was always part of my life until my later University years.

My weight along with my self-image really yo-yo’d over the last 10 years. For 4 of our 5 years of marriage, I constantly complained about my body to my husband. I knew what I had to do to but wouldn’t commit to anything.

Shaun was always in the gym, trying desperately to convince me that I’d feel so much better if I just went. He tried everything over the years to get me there. Occasionally I would go, for a few days, and then stop going. He has always made me feel that I’m perfect just the way I am, but knew that I wasn’t happy with myself.

It really tore him up to constantly hear how negatively I spoke of myself, not to mention, how the spongy ears of our toddler were picking up on words like ‘fat’ and ‘ugly.’ These things combined really aided in my need to make positive changes. It saddens me that I didn’t jump on board sooner, but I also realize that sometimes it takes a major life event to finally make us put things into perspective.

It wasn’t until my husband began working long hours away from home two months after our second baby was born that I got into working out again after so long. My husband, family, and close friends can attest to how the transition originally affected me. I had many friends and acquaintances, but no family around, and I was in a constant state of ‘woe is me’ – clearly projecting negative energy. It seemed that one thing after another was going ‘wrong’ for me – and, thus, began the ‘coping’ phase.

For a period of about a month, I would put the girls to bed after days full of playing, errands, housework, and the daily activities of stay-at-home-mom, and crack a bottle of wine. The bottle would be gone before I knew it and then I’d start all over again the next day.

I tend to isolate myself from people when I’m working through things in my life, so I didn’t spend a lot of time with other friends and mommies like we usually did. It didn’t take me long to realize that this coping mechanism wasn’t working for the kids, or for my husband and me. I took some time to refocus and I knew that quitting my nightly wine drinking habit was a must.

I slowly began adding exercise into my day – when I say slowly, I mean slowly. If I remember correctly, my first day I just dropped to the ground and started doing crunches. Later in the day I decided, ‘Heck, I’ll do some pushups.’ The next day I did some squats, and then started using my elliptical, adding 5 minutes more a week.

I started noticing changes pretty quickly — especially in my energy level and attitude. I was feeling stronger physically, emotionally, and psychologically. I started getting out with the kids more, hanging out with my friends, and had a more positive outlook on life.

I knew that my results would be further enhanced if I made changes to my diet. This was another change that occurred gradually. Major behavioral changes, including those relating to diet and exercise, can be very overwhelming. I learned quickly that a dramatic overhaul was only going to set me up for failure. I started by reducing, and eventually almost eliminating, the major starches in my diet like potatoes, rice, and breads. I also reduced my sodium intake and increased my fruit, vegetable, and water intake. It didn’t take long for my husband, family, and friends to start noticing and commenting on my changing body, and attitude.

I was over 200 lbs. with both of my pregnancies. When I began this journey in October of 2012, I weighed 164 lbs. (which was my pre-baby weight for both children) and was in a size 10. By May of 2013, I was and currently am 127 lbs. and in a size 0-1.

A typical day for me always includes exercise, unless it’s a rest day, and getting out in some way, shape, or form with my girls. I’m currently working through a high intensity cardio and strength building program, but generally like to mix up my workouts. Cardio tends to make up the majority of at least 3 of my weekly workouts and strength and weight training make up the rest.

When it comes to nutrition, I eat clean 80-90 percent of the time and make Shakeology a part of my daily routine. I’ve never been one to count calories but I do choose fruits, vegetables, nuts, eggs, yogurt, and protein over the other options out there. I always allow myself a ‘cheat’ or ‘treat’ meal a week as these, like rest days, actually help you to stay on track.

It’s amazing how your body eventually rejects and reacts negatively to the foods you once used to love. Sometimes a cheat meal reminds me of why I don’t eat them every day anymore, but I truly enjoy every minute of it when I do it!

There are days that I really don’t feel up to working out, but I know that I will feel so good about myself if I do. Exercise has really become part of my daily routine, like getting cleaned up in the morning.

Having a support network of like-minded individuals who help to hold me accountable really pushes me to get up and sweat. Knowing that working out makes me happier and makes me a better mom, wife, and person overall contributes in a huge way to my success.

Wanting to be a healthy, positive role model for my children pushes me to be a better person every day. Making health and fitness a priority in my life means that they will be raised with similar values, which is so important, especially in today’s fast paced eat-on-the-run, society.

I used to worry that I would lose my drive to stay fit, like the dozens of times before. Knowing that I have constant and endless support from my husband and the members of my private Facebook group I know that there’s no turning back for me. I created the group to help support others to reach their health and fitness goals and now I have people who look to me on a daily basis to help inspire and motivate them and I, similarly, draw from them to keep me motivated and inspired.

I’m drawn to tears almost on a daily basis by someone’s post in my group! Seeing people’s progress from week to week and knowing how far they’ve come and just how much work goes into it overwhelms me with joy.

When I first began this journey, I didn’t even know that that’s what it was. I was simply in ‘cope’ mode and one day led to the next. As I began to see results I started setting goals. My first goal was to get to 150 lbs. and once I reached that I aimed for 130 lbs.

Throughout the journey, however, I learned that the scale is a liar! It should NOT be the only source from which to gauge progress, but rather the way you feel, the energy that you have, the way your clothes fit, etc.

These are all much better measurements of success. While I can now say that I’m happy with the way that my clothes fit, the way that I feel, and the energy levels that I have, I am really gaining strength, both inside and out.

Five months ago, I couldn’t do a single pushup and now I can do half a dozen unmodified oblique spider pushups — never thought I’d see the day!

I’m setting new goals along the way and really hope to continue building a career involving health and fitness. I have recently been asked if I would ever consider being a fitness model, and to be honest, I had never thought of it. But since then, I’ve been toying with the idea, but still can’t imagine that I could be ‘that body’ that other women/moms aspire to have.

Having others support me throughout this journey and communicate to me how I’ve helped to change their lives and really show me how much I’ve changed has really opened my eyes to the reality of the last 10 months. This has been a gradual and progressive journey for me, so I don’t see what others see. I’m grateful every day for the support, encouragement, and inspiration that I’ve received along the way.

When it comes down to committing to making these types of changes in your life, like any changes, you have to WANT to do it for YOU.

It’s one thing for someone else to support and encourage you, but on some level, you have to be at a point that you know psychologically, you want and need to change.

It’s no secret that greater success can be achieved when you surround yourself with like-minded individuals in any given situation – which is where, in this case, a support group comes in. I gained so much momentum with my progress when I joined an online Facebook support group back in December 2012. At the time, I thought ‘I don’t need this group, but I’ll see what it’s all about.’ I also didn’t know at the time that I was setting myself up with an amazing support network who have helped encourage and motivate me to get to where I am today.

Being a part of that group showed me that I can push to achieve goals I never imagined possible. Watching other people’s progress and watching them push to reach their goals helped me to stay on track and get up and sweat when I just wanted to sit on the couch.

On days that I wanted to give up all I had to do was go into the group and see everyone working hard, and BOOM, I was working out! I reached out to the leader of that group, who has not only supported me, but has also demonstrated to me that I have the ability to help others make positive changes in their lives. I now run my own online health and fitness support group. It’s a FREE group where I provide FREE coaching and where members encourage, support, and motivate each other to reach our own goals.

We are doing various workouts and share our successes and setbacks, our meals and recipes, and hold each other accountable on a daily basis. If you’ve tried to do this on your own before and find that you lose momentum after awhile, it may be worth considering a support group. It’s not the answer for everyone, but it’s worth trying. I strongly believe that FITNESS + NUTRITION + SUPPORT = SUCCESS.”

Join Alida toward a happier and healthier you! For more information or for follow up with Alida, reach her here:

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