Today I want to introduce you to my friend Emilee. She has a POWERFUL story to share today about her heart and health transformation. I am so excited to share this story with you! Emilee is INSPIRING and I know she is going to encourage your heart today.
My name is Emilee and I’m 33 years old. I live in North Carolina with my firefighter husband and four children (ages 1-9). I homeschool my kids and I love movie nights and game nights with my family. I’m a Netflix junkie and a used goods treasure hunter.
How did you get started on your journey?
After 4 kids and ten years of neglecting my health, I had gained over 130lbs. When my daughter was born in December of 2015, I was diagnosed with post-partum pre-eclampsia. I was prescribed blood pressure medication. Up until this point, I had avoided any real issues with my health. But this was a wake-up call for me. I felt that my body was warning me that it was time to make some changes and focus on my health. I had always felt that I didn’t have the time or that it wasn’t that important because I needed to make sure my husband and children were taken care of first. But I realized that it is not at all selfish to take care of your body and your health, and in fact by doing so I can serve my family better. I started by writing down what I was eating everyday so that I could hold myself accountable. I was also looking for a way to get physical exercise, but was very intimidated by most of the programs I saw. A friend suggested that I try At-Home Tribe. I joined on February 22nd, 2016. I began by following 3 of the workouts per week. I didn’t add in the sprints or any other days of activity, but I was already noticing a difference. The scale didn’t move tremendously, but I was gaining confidence and physical strength. I was slowly gaining the ability to do physical movements that were once impossible for me.
What changes did you implement along the way?
After I had been a Tribe member for about 3-4 months I started adding in a day or two of running per week. Before I had gained 130lbs, running was a hobby for me. It was something I truly enjoyed. When I wasn’t physically able to do it anymore, it made me feel horrible. But after 3-4 months of Tribe workouts, I went for a run. I was super slow and honestly it hurt, but, I did it. This was huge for me! In addition, to adding in the running I also tried to really pay attention to WHAT I was eating not necessarily the amount of calories I was eating. I realized that yes, I can eat chips for lunch and stay within my calorie range, but I’m not going to feel good. I’m not going to have the energy to do what I need to do. For the first time I began to view food as fuel.
What does your typical week of exercise look like?
My exercise routine is constantly changing based on my mood, energy level, circumstances, etc. Some weeks I do metabolic workouts, some weeks I run, and some weeks its a combination of the two. I’ve learned through this process, that if I try to force myself to follow a routine to a tee, that I’m going to get burnt out really quick. There is a fine balance between staying committed and doing hard things vs making a set of laws that will determine if I am successful or worthy. The single most important thing I have taken away from the At-Home Tribe program is FREEDOM.
I have to ask myself, what is the thing that commands my attention the most? Where is my devotion? If my heart is devoted to an exercise routine, it will ultimately fail me. I am instead called to turn my heart to Christ, fully trusting that He knows my energy levels, my mood, my circumstances. He knows what I have to give today and what I will have to give tomorrow. If I am doing my best with what I have been given everyday….that is enough!
What types of foods do you eat?
Again, I’ll echo my last statement about freedom. I eat all types of food. I’ll eat cake at my kid’s birthday party or maybe have a biscuit with my dinner….but moderation, moderation, moderation. As I said earlier, food is fuel. I’ve learned that the hard way. So, yes, I am totally free to eat anything I want, but I will have to deal with how those foods affect my body, my mood, my energy. This is a big motivator to me to stick with protein and produce as much as possible…because I just feel better. I can think clearer, I have more energy, and I don’t feel my emotions sliding all over the place like I do when I’ve had lots of sugar or processed foods. If I depended on a strict food plan to guide my decisions, I would be in big trouble because my nature is to want what I can’t have….and lots of it.
What have been a few things that have helped you along the way?
Transparency! I’ve realized that one of the biggest ways the enemy defeats us is by encouraging us to keep things hidden, and then make us feel condemned. I can at any time get on the Tribe Facebook page and be honest about my bad day, or my three steps backward…and more often than not, there is someone else that says “hey that’s me too”…and you pick up and go forward knowing that you are not alone.
What has been the biggest challenge on your journey?
My biggest challenge has been erasing the timeline in my head. I think it’s good to have goals, it gives you something to work for. But sometimes I get so focused on the goal that I forget where I have been. Again, this goes back to where my heart is. And, I would also say…remaining humble. It’s super easy to allow yourself to get a little prideful when you start seeing positive changes. God is merciful to me here, He gives me some time to revel in my success but gently reminds me that, ultimately it was Him that gave me the strength to get to that place.
Progress Pictures! I may or may not be the selfie queen…but when I look back at pictures from when before I started, and even way after, I am blown away. I can remember how I felt during those days, wondering if I would ever see a difference. And yes, there is undeniable proof.
What advice do you have for someone who is ready to get started on their own journey?
Small steps are still steps…and they will add up. Furthermore, this is YOUR journey, you don’t have to or need to do what the person next to you is doing. First and foremost, check your heart. If your relationship with Christ is suffering, everything else will suffer as well, even if it seems ok right now. We share the same inheritance as Christ. We are sons and daughters, so this battle…whatever it is, is something that your Father wants to hear about and longs to help you with.
When preparing this post I asked Emilee how much weight she had lost so far. She replied with “To date I have lost 70 pounds. If you told me a year ago I’d be 70lbs lighter and be encouraging others, I would have laughed at you. God is good.”
Thank you for sharing your story with us today, Emilee.
I pray that it encourages anyone reading to show up and to allow the Lord to lead their journeys towards better health. It IS Possible…one step at a time.