As I close in on the last week of my #MIH15by15 anniversary weight-loss challenge, I’m giving myself the best possible chance to reach my goal by doing a clean eating challenge. My friend Lynn Bettencourt has asked me to join her 5 Day Clean Eating Challenge and I said, you betcha! Lynn is a clean eating mama machine. She’s a health and fitness coach, and recipe development coordinator for the Hungry Girl line of cookbooks. She is also mom to Irish twins, and has had many a drunken night at a Cowboy bar with me just outside LA. Pre-baby days of course. Check out the challenge I’m joining with her as my Coach and see if it’s something that might be right for you!
I’m a stay-at-home Mom (I just gave birth to my second child in less than 13 months… because I’m a crazy person), and I work two jobs. From home. While I don’t miss a second of my kids’ lives, juggling it all isn’t easy. But I love being up for the challenge.
Which leads to how I got started as an online health and fitness coach. It wasn’t for the potential income (though the financial freedom it has afforded my family has been amazing!), it was because I fell in love. With a shake. And with a community of supportive people who were with me in something called a challenge group. Everyone is at a different point in their journey, yet everyone is so supportive and encouraging of others. It’s amazing. But staying the course while pregnant was not easy.
Truth time: I had food aversions to everything but fried food and soda while I was pregnant with my first baby. I couldn’t eat my healthy staples. I couldn’t even drink water because it tasted like pennies! I felt horrible, exhausted all the time, and had no idea what to do. I turned to my friend and Coach, and I asked about the shakes everyone was drinking in the group. (Side note: I love to chew my food, so asking about a shake was a true sign of desperation.) I ended up doing some research and talking with my OBGYN – and I finally decided to give Shakeology a try. There was a 30-day money back guarantee and I fully intended on returning it if I hated it.
But it was totally the opposite. After months of feeling like crap, I finally had energy and was ready to take on the world. Dramatic? Yes. But seriously, I felt that great. And I couldn’t wait to share it with other friends of mine. Drinking a delicious superfood shake was so much better than the chalky, questionable-ingredient-loaded protein shake I had been drinking while trying to be healthy before. I decided that even though I was about to give birth to my first child, and while I had a ton of other projects on my plate, I had to share my experience and help others get started with their journey.
I invited a few friends to jump on the “get healthy” bandwagon and we have since joined together and now run groups of our own. May marks our one year anniversary of running our own challenges. My team of coaches and I have worked so hard to help reach people who need accountability, support and daily motivation. And our challengers have lost more than 10,000 pounds in total.
TEN THOUSAND reasons it was worth the effort. I was never much of an emotional person pre-babies so I’ll blame them, but I’ve gotten teary-eyed at some of the transformations I’ve been a part of with this “job.” It has been so rewarding to hear the non-scale victories, too. More confidence. More energy. Fitting into clothing sizes they haven’t fit into since high school. Getting off medications. Feeling happy. A sense of belonging. I could cry thinking about how strong these people have been while facing so many of life’s challenges, and they didn’t give up because they had the support of our community.
During these challenges, many people reported having no idea where to start when it came to eating healthy. My day job at Hungry Girl prepared me to point them in the right direction. While working on a clean eating cookbook last year (Clean & Hungry, now a New York Times Best Seller – shameless plug), I realized there are so many things you can do within the clean eating world. It just takes a little preparation to stick with it. So I decided to run a 5-Day Clean Eating challenge.
People LOVED that they could eat fries, tacos, and buffalo chicken while still eating clean. And their families have loved it, too.
Ever since, I’ve offered these challenges monthly. I prepare a menu, give out the grocery list, share helpful tips and provide a supportive environment for them to continue their journey. For free. It’s my way to give back, and it’s been incredibly rewarding.
Everyone is invited to join us for the 5-day clean eating and/or the 21-day health and fitness challenges. Everyone in the world. I’m serious. It keeps me going to see everyone working so hard for their goals… and watching them transform and gain confidence is worth all of the effort I put in to set it up. I believe these groups are changing lives for the better, and I believe in each and every one of my challengers.
I am so looking forward to setting a great example for my children. Not only exposing them to all the fun ways to cook healthy food, but also to sharing how important it is to teach and support others that want to work on their goals but need someone to believe in them.
Disclaimer: Shakeology is a nutrition shake that has 70+ superfoods and was approved by my OBGYN as a part of my clean eating lifestyle. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
You can join Lynn’s challenge and coaching on Facebook
And Follow Lynn Bettencourt on Instagram