Sometimes the most formative transformations in life begin from something simply ordinary. For Army wife Mareike Lott, it all started with a photograph…a photograph that I snapped.
But let’s start at the beginning.
Mareike was my next-door neighbor and best friend while stationed in Germany. She and I quickly bonded over our taste in music, our academic backgrounds, our adoration of coffee and the fact that we each had a baby and toddler, who were also (conveniently) best friends. I admired Mareike’s intellect, strength and fun spirit, yet had no idea she was drowning.
Although we saw each other on a daily basis, I didn’t realize that Mareike no longer recognized herself. A former cheerleader who once loved dancing, Mareike found that the demands of pregnancy and the exhaustion associated with raising small children led to poor health choices. She was sleep deprived, inactive and survived off of junk food. “My diet was bad. I was eating a lot of chocolate, cakes and half a dozen donuts in one sitting. I also had late night binges going back and forth between salty and sweet,” shares Mareike.
Her weight ballooned and her confidence crashed.
I’ll never forget the night that Mareike texted me in a panic, unable to fit into any of her cute clothes as she dressed in preparation for a margarita night. Feeling uncomfortable and like a stranger in her own body, Mareike was reduced to tears. I provided support and encouragement and together we arrived in style and enjoyed the evening. It wasn’t until later I learned that tears in the closet were a daily struggle for Mareike.
The Wake-Up Call
One day, much like any other, we enjoyed her backyard while our two-year-olds played. Mareike sat on the kiddie slide and started blowing bubbles to our tots’ delight. I remember thinking “What a fun mom she is,” and so I snapped a photo. Apparently, Mareike had gotten very good at dodging photographs, yet I managed to catch her. When she saw my photo she realized that her body had gotten out of control. It was a wake-up call.
“I remember how I felt that day like it was yesterday. I had to sit to ‘play’ with my little girl because standing for too long was too exhausting. I remember sitting at the playground seeing the other moms up and about with their kids wishing I had their energy, but my knees hurt, my back hurt…I could go on and on. Bottom line — I was miserable,” explains Mareike.
At her heaviest weight, Mareike was 230 lbs., which equated to a BMI of 38. According to standards set by the World Health Organization, Mareike was clinically obese. Realizing this, she had choices to make. Mareike shares, “That was one of many turning points for me, I realized I couldn’t keep living the way I was.” Mareike believes that she suffered from body dysmorphia, a distorted view of how she looked.
Making A Choice and Trusting the Journey
A research aficionado, Mareike looked into healthy options to change her lifestyle, while home with two small children and while pursuing her doctorate of physical therapy. She realized that she had been saying “one day” for weeks, months and years and it was time to change that to “day one.” Mareike was ready.
“I started eating clean and exercising,” shares Mareike. She began with 30-minute at-home workouts, and although she initially struggled, Mareike kept pressing play, followed a modifier and finished her workouts. Additionally, she followed a nutrition plan and consumed a healthy, balanced diet. Mareike incorporated her daughters, Mia and Leona, in her workouts, and called them her “baby weights.” She explains, “They were never in daycare so they had to do everything with me. I had no choice, it was either incorporate them into exercise or not exercise at all.”
During week one, Mareike swapped chocolate for a chocolate flavored nutritional shake and dropped six lbs. After a month of daily exercise and proper nutrition, Mareike was down 18 lbs.
Although Mareike had PCS’d to the States, I kept up with her transformation through progress photos and workout videos she shared online. She branded herself the “No Excuse Fit Mom” and accrued quite a following — others were noticing too. Mareike was making impressive progress and developing visible results. To give you an idea of how eye-catching and inspiring her transformation was, Mareike’s Instagram currently has over 10k followers.
Making a complete lifestyle change, Mareike is now a health and fitness coach. The milspouse has lost 90 lbs, has a healthy BMI, and has regained confidence, energy, and happiness. “The exercise is giving me and my children a better life as they get to see their mom happy and energetic instead of depressed on the couch. The 30 minutes I take for myself to exercise is easily multiplied in the amount of fun, time and energy I can devote to my kids.”
I have been inspired by Mareike and have followed her lead in taking charge of my health and fitness. Now when I am lucky enough to visit her, we work out together, dance all night, borrow each other’s clothes and — trust me — no one is crying in the closet anymore.
Find and Follow No Excuse Fit Mom
To learn more about Mareike Lott the “No Excuse Fit Mom” and to get her in your corner as someone who has been there and understands your struggle, you can find her online:
This is a sponsored post by No Excuse Fit Mom. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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