Mama on the Move: Maria

Good morning! I hope each of you has a fantastic Monday. Let’s get the week started off by meeting another fab Mama on the Move: Maria.

maria family


Bio: Hi! I am Maria, a 37yr old married mom of a 3 ½ year old girl. We live in Cadillac MI which is in the northern part of the state. I am a special education teacher and I work with adults with moderate to severe cognitive delays. I have been on my weight loss/healthy living journey since November of 2011. I recently started blogging about my journey over at Thirteen Point One Mom  .

1. What was your turning point moment? Tell me about the moment/moments you realized you needed to make changes?

maria family before

My turning point was when I got on the scale and had reached almost 200lbs. At 5’3 this was just NOT an acceptable weight for me and I knew I had to do something about it. I had gained almost 70lbs when I was pregnant with my daughter and just never got back on track after I had her…my eating was HORRIBLE and I never exercised. I didn’t want to be a bad example for my daughter. I wanted her to see her mom as someone who was healthy, happy and able to participate in all the things she wanted her mom to do with her. I had been a runner/exerciser before (I had even ran in some races when we lived in AZ before moving to MI). So on Thanksgiving of 2011 I went out for my first run in like 4 or 5 years and I haven’t looked back since. In October of 2012 I completed my first ½ marathon.

maria race

2. What was the easiest healthy habit to adopt?

For me the easiest healthy habit had to be learning the portion control. I got a cheap kitchen scale and I started weighing everything. Now I can look at something and know about what size of a serving it is…it has become second nature to me now and was such an eye opener to really see what an appropriate portion is as compared to what I was actually eating. And I have since been able to recognize portions when we go out to eat as well. I try really hard to not eat my entire meal and get a box to take home the rest.

3.The hardest?

It has been so hard to learn to limit my sweets! I have such a sweet tooth as does the husband. And it is so hard to say no when he brings stuff home. He is very supportive but he will cave into his own cravings and if that desert is sitting on the counter, I have a heck of a time walking away without a bite. So I have learned how to make modified versions of sweet treats. There are so many great websites out there with recipes for things like muffins and deserts that won’t break the bank on fat and calories.

4. Tell me about your favorite workouts.

Well I do 99% of my workouts at home. Part of balancing my life is that I get up at the CRACK of dawn to exercise so that I can fit it into my day. I have a bunch of DVDS that I use as well as a treadmill and an elliptical. I love my Bob Harper DVDS…I have a bunch of his stuff. They are fun and hard and I find myself being able to do things I never thought I could do. (Only downfall is that they are an hour and sometimes it takes me too long to get up to fit them in). Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 has been my go to as of late because they are under 30 minutes. I like how she changes it up all the time and each week is different from the next. I also have a Wii Fit and I like the boxing workout and the step aerobics one. The Wii is always fun! This training cycle I am really trying to make more of an effort to fit in strength and cross training. My next half marathon is in the end of May and I would really like to be a stronger runner for this one as the course is flat and fast and I would like to take advantage of the opportunity to take time off of my last race time.

5. Share your favorite healthy meal.

Oh my, there are so many it’s hard to pick just one. I typically go for what is good and easy to make. I don’t have time to cook for hours…the crock pot is my friend. Here are a couple of websites that I go to for recipes:

Breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day. My go to breakfast is a sandwich made with a 100 calorie English muffin, an egg or egg white and some PB2 (greatest alternative to PB in the world!)

6. How do you balance motherhood and healthy living?

Oh boy, I’m not sure I do all the time. I just try to be prepared, I always have healthy snacks in my “kid bag” whenever we go somewhere and try and plan our meals at least the night before if not the weekend before the busy week starts. I try and remember that I am a happier more fun loving mom if I get my exercise in first thing, so I try and make an effort to do that. My daughter likes the  jogging stroller so when it’s not winter here in MI I try and take her out with me as much as I can. I think having kids give you a new sense of motivation to be healthy. The husband and I were both over weight kids and we do not want our daughter to have to go down that same path so we really try and set the example for her. I try and make the time to be active with my daughter, walks around the neighborhood, bike rides with her in the seat we have attached to our bikes, playing at the park…all those ways there are to get out and get moving both for her and for myself.

7. Do you have a personal mantra? If so, what is it?

I guess my mantra would be “Don’t give up”. Once I realized that little setbacks were not the end of the world, it opened a whole new door for me. Instead of letting a setback send me to a downward spiral I just pick myself up and move on…it’s so freeing!

8. If you could share just one lesson you’ve learned with other moms, what would it be?

Try not to let the idea of being “the perfect mom/wife/partner” consume you. You will just set yourself up for failure. I recently read an article that reminded me that it is OK to not make all the wonderful crafts you see on Pinterest and that it’s ok that sometimes you let your kid play video games or watch T.V. I think we get so caught up in this day and age of what the “rules” of mommy hood are that we forget to just breathe, love our kids, love our partners and enjoy the moment. My daughter doesn’t have to know all the letters and the sounds they make at 3 years old…no matter what the internet says! Take the time to just enjoy playing princess castle or watching Dora and know that you are doing a great job as a mom.

maria after

Big thanks to Maria for sharing her story. I hope each of you are as inspired by her as I am.  Be sure to show her some love over at her blog.