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We chose Anna as our Mom of the Month because she is passionate about Moms getting healthy both emotionally and physically. Anna knows that a health journey can begin and it is not only a straight line to the top. She encourages her followers to be healthy, happy and fit and is motivated by her adorable son. Read more about Anna and her journey with Beachbody…

What motivates you?

That one awesome pair of expensive jeans I wore once before my weight gain and pregnancy. I say that sort of as a joke, but it’s completely true. It sounds superficial, and maybe it is, but I have so many amazing clothes I want to be able to fit in again! On the more sentimental note – my son motivates me. I have always struggled with my weight, but I never made myself a priority. When Charlie was born I had to do it for him. I wanted to do it for him. He doesn’t need a mother that gets the laundry done, cooks, cleans, and maintains a spotless house. He needs a mother that is healthy, happy, and takes care of herself so she doesn’t need to sit at the sidelines, so she can be involved in his life, and frankly just keep up with him.

Tell us what it was like becoming a Mother for the first time?

It was amazing. It wasn’t easy. It’s still not easy. There was a huge adjustment period – adjusting to no sleep, eating sporadically whenever I found the time, at least it was like that for the first few months until we got into a good rhythm. I think the thing that I loved the most was how I fell in love with him instantly – but we still needed to get to know each other. I had to learn his reactions, his habits, and the most amazing thing was seeing his little personality grow bigger every single day. I knew I always wanted to be a mother, I love kids, but I didn’t think I would have loved it THIS much. He relies on me for everything right now, and I’m totally OK with that. I would do anything for him.

What started your health journey?

This time around??! (haha). My entire life my weight was up and down – usually up. If I ever did lose weight I didn’t ever really do it through being healthy. I tried supplements, eating way too little, and filling up on caffeine to get me through my moments of low energy. I didn’t really care how I lost the weight. Finally, back in January, I got to a point where enough was enough. My son was about to turn 6 months old. I had gained back all the pregnancy weight I had lost, plus an extra 15 pounds. I was miserable. I had zero confidence. I hated leaving the house in my extra tight yoga pants. After having spent the holidays trying to squeeze into decent clothes for family dinners and feeling terrible about how I looked, I knew something needed to change. I also knew that I couldn’t treat my body the way I had in the past. I needed to do it right so I can be healthy and strong, so I can live a long happy life with this little man, so I can keep up with him. I also needed to make sure I showed him how to take care of himself, how to make healthier choices, and, most of all, that anything is possible if you stick with it. What started my healthy journey? Knowing I have someone that needs me to be around, needs me to be involved, and needs me to show him the way. Charlie got me started on this.

What keeps you motivated during a hard work out?

My goals. I won’t lie and tell you I am so into it every single time. There are days where I don’t feel like doing burpees. There are days where I don’t feel like working out at all! But I do it. I refocus. I remember why I started. I remember what I felt like before I started this journey. I remember that amazing pair of jeans I want to wear again. I remember that there is a little pair of eyes watching me every single day, learning from me, following my every move. I remember that missing one workout won’t prevent me from reaching my goals – but if I do the workout, if I do the burpees, if I keep pushing on I will reach my goals that much sooner.

What is your favorite healthy food to eat?

PIZZA. Yes. Pizza. I used to think of eating healthy foods as eating rabbit food. I have learned so much about nutrition since I started this journey. I can eat pizza!! I just need to clean it up a bit. Instead of your traditional white, fluffy pizza crust, I will use whole wheat naan or make a crust out of cauliflower! I also love whole wheat pasta with garlic and parmesan, chicken curry, and I wouldn’t be able to live without tacos! (Clean tacos: use ground turkey or chicken, and instead of shells eat the meat on a bed of spinach with some salsa, cheese, tomatoes and jalapenos!). I love to cook, but I don’t have a lot of time on my hands. I rely on quick and easy meals, my BBQ, and most importantly my slow cooker!

What is the hardest part of your health journey? How do you overcome that challenge?

Staying motivated is the hardest part. There have been a few times where I gave up on myself. Not for an extended period – I think the longest time I spent without working out was 4 days. Life just sort of takes over. Maybe a few restless nights, maybe a million things are going on all at once, maybe things have just come up. It is so easy to let all that stuff take priority. I just take a step back and remember why I started and what I had set out to achieve. That always gets the fire burning again. If my reasons why were strong enough to get me started, then they are strong enough to keep me going. I just remember my “why”.

How do you balance it all and still ensure you get a great work out and eat well during the week?

 

PLAN AHEAD!!!! Honestly, there have been weeks where I didn’t “have time” to plan it all out. I was still able to work out but I wasn’t losing any weight because my nutrition was terrible! I was eating whatever I had on hand because I hadn’t planned my meals or grocery shopping in advance. Getting my workout in is easy, they’re 30 minutes in the morning while Charlie sleeps, and if he is up he joins me for the fun! The eating well is what takes a bit more effort. I write down all our meals for the upcoming week on Thursday, then I head to the grocery store on Friday. I spend Sunday doing meal prep (including portioning out snacks) so everything is ready to go and I will ALWAYS have something healthy (and delicious) to reach for when it is time to eat.

 

Why is it important to show your son healthy eating habits?

I’ve started crying and I haven’t even began answering the question yet. I don’t want him to go through life the way I did. I was bullied in school for being fat. I was emotionally and mentally beaten down. I became angry, sad, insecure, and withdrawn. I began to think there was something wrong with me as a human being. Every time I felt low I would turn to food. I would eat whatever I wanted because it made me feel good to put delicious things in my mouth. It turned into a vicious cycle. It was not easy to overcome any of that, to finally rebuild my confidence and self-worth. To this day I am still breaking down boundaries and learning to love myself. I want Charlie to have a healthy relationship with food. I want him to understand that putting good things into your body does good things for you, while understanding that life is about balance. If you want to go out and have some ice cream, that’s ok every now and then. I also want him to know that eating well does not need to be boring! You can have fun with it and be creative with your meals. Food does not need to be unhealthy and terrible for you to be delicious!

Tell us how you were introduced to Beach Body…

I was first introduced to Beachbody probably 10 years ago. I saw an infomercial for one of their programs that promised results in 6 weeks, so I bought it! I did it for 3 weeks and I lost 10lbs. It was the first time I had ever actually exercised and stuck to it for more than a few days. But back then I wasn’t disciplined, so I stopped using the program before I had even finished it and I gained back every single pound. I even fell back into my routines of not taking care of myself to try to lose weight. Over the years I saw more and more infomercials for more and more programs they were releasing. Finally, back in January, I came across a Facebook advertisement to become a Beachbody Coach. I was already familiar with the company, I knew that they had lots of different options in terms of fitness programs, I knew that the programs “worked” if I worked for them, so the rest is sort of history!

What inspired you to become a Beach Body Coach?

I was at a point where I knew I needed to start losing weight and taking care of myself. It wasn’t about me anymore. I had a little man that was looking up to me. My original motivation to become a coach was so I could hold myself accountable. The whole point of being a coach is to help other people with their weight loss or fitness goals. I felt that I wouldn’t be able to help anyone else if I couldn’t help myself – if I couldn’t stick to a program and finally lose the darn weight! From there it has sort of evolved into more. I have had some great results so far, and I really want to pay it forward. For anyone that has been where I have been, that has felt what I have felt, no matter where you have come from or what you are doing, these programs can help you. I can help you. I can help you because I know how hard it is. Sometimes you just need someone to lean on and give you a little kick in the butt, and that is exactly what a Coach will do. On top of all of that – I want freedom. Sure, I get paid by Beachbody. No, it is not my main reason for doing this. I recently made the decision to not return to work once my maternity leave is up. Daycare costs in Toronto are RIDICULOUS. It didn’t make sense for my family to pay that much for daycare. I would be working my butt off and not even being able to enjoy time with my son. I would work early mornings, late nights, and weekends, all while pouring my paycheck into having someone else watch Charlie. So, I’m doing this for freedom. Freedom to spend time with my family. Freedom to bring in income for my family for vacations, trips to the aquarium, or even just filling up my gas tank or paying a veterinarian bill.

What is your advice to parents who will be going to birthday parties, bbqs, and more over the summer to keep their health on track with all of these delicious but unhealthy foods?

First off, life is about balance. Charlie’s birthday is coming up and I can guarantee I will be eating cake. You can’t completely deprive yourself. We call it the “80-20 rule”. 80% healthy choices, 20% indulgence. If you find that you’re having back to back to back parties and get togethers, maybe you can offer to bring an appetizer, snack, or side dish. That way you know there will always be a healthy dish to snack on or supplement a not so healthy meal with. My favourite thing to make for BBQs is vegetable kabobs! I use a lot of different coloured veges to make them look exciting. They’re fun for kids to eat, and it is so easy to make a delicious marinade using olive oil and a variety of spices.

Tell us what it is like on a usual day being a Beach Body Coach…

Honestly?? Just like any other day for anyone else. I will wake up in the morning, feed Charlie, get my workout done, put him down for a nap, take a shower, chat with some amazing people, Charlie wakes up, I feed him again, he plays for a bit while I do some cleaning around the house, he eats again, we go for a walk, then he usually naps again while I “coach it up”, he eats some more, and then he plays while I start dinner. When my husband comes home, they hang out after dinner so I can finally run to the basement and throw some poopy clothes in the wash, and the remainder of the evening is spent as a family, usually taking our dog for a nice stroll to the beach. That’s probably more detail into my life than you need, haha! But honestly I probably spend an hour a day doing this, and frankly not even in one solid chunk of time. I fit it in where I can; between diapers and baby food and dishes. So many people are always on social media anyways, whether they are posting or chatting, so it really isn’t any different than anyone else’s life.

Do you have a favorite work out?

I did. Now I have too many favorites!! I started with the 21 Day Fix, and I LOVED how it kicked my butt, but the moves were simple enough that it was easy for me to build up my strength. From there I moved onto the 21 Day Fix Extreme which just kicked everything up a notch, or a few actually. I recently started a program called Core De Force and it is just flat out FUN. I don’t even feel like I am working out!! It’s an MMA style workout that just gets me so pumped when I’m doing it. I feel like I should be in an UFC ring! I have tried quite a few of them now, not fully from start to finish, but I have not yet found a single one that I don’t absolutely love.

How long do you work out every day?

30 minutes. Next question. No really, that’s all it takes. These programs are so incredible. They have been developed in a way that you get an amazing workout in a short amount of time. Some programs are longer if you have more time to commit to it, but this girl definitely does not! On days where I am just super swamped or have appointments, there are even 10 minute express workouts. Doing something is always better than doing nothing.

What is some advice you would give to a parent or caregiver who wants to live a healthier lifestyle but is having trouble motivating themselves?

Call me. Call another coach. Call someone. Anyone. When you go at it alone it is easy to give up. It’s easy to just sit on the couch and say to yourself “I will start tomorrow”. When you do that, tomorrow rarely comes. When you have someone holding you accountable to what you say you’re going to do, you are much more likely to do it. Make plans to start a fitness regimen with a friend or relative. Join an online accountability group. Most importantly, dig deep down inside of yourself and write down why it is important to you. Make a collage of pictures. Do something so you have a physical reminder of why you need to be healthier and what you are trying to achieve, and put that reminder somewhere where you will see it every single morning. It is not easy, it will never be easy, but it will always be worth it.