Finding Balance: Interview With Season 13 Winner, Hannah L
fter losing almost all her baby weight after her first child, Hannah L experienced 2 miscarriages before becoming pregnant with her now, 1 year old daughter. Due to the emotional stress and heartbreak of the miscarriages Hannah became depressed, hid from family and friends and used food as her comfort. The emotional state lead to her weighing a very unhealthy 230lbs.
When Hannah became pregnant with her now 1 year old daughter she was immediately put on bed rest due to the previous miscarriages, which in turn, caused another downward spiral of emotional eating. This roller coaster of emotions continued for Hannah, and once her daughter was born she had lost all motivation. She found herself 9 months post pregnancy still at the same weight and this was when contacted me and joined the challenge.
With never having an interest in working out, being through 2 years of an emotional roller coaster, Hannah decided to give this challenge her all, and did just that! She lost 35lbs, fell in love with working out (even though it took until week 10) and powered through some tough times in the challenge to becoming the winner of the 13th season of the What It Takes! 12 week transformation challenge
Just recently I interviewed Hannah about her experience in the challenge. Check it out:
You have 2 children under the age of 3, you work full time as an animal health technician and your husband works away. How did you manage to fit in eating healthy and training with everything that you do?
During the challenge I found eating healthy was the easy part. It took a little bit of time to get used to but I would meal prep my whole week, including extras for my kids. This way I never had to make my lunches or come home after work and get dinner made. This was especially helpful in the first few weeks when I was exhausted from starting a new diet and cutting out a lot of sugar. As far as training goes, in the beginning of the challenge I would come home, get the kids dinner and pop on a cartoon and I would get about a half an hour work out in while my kids were occupied. I would then still have time to get a shower in and put the kids to bed. After that is when I would get my house chores done, such as laundry, dishes, and plowing the driveway(because winter in Alberta sucks sometimes).
What was the hardest part about the challenge?
There was a few things that came up during the challenge that made it hard. It is hard to pinpoint just one. In the first month of the challenge I had a miscarriage which was out of my control. My husband and I were not trying for kids and I was shocked. Because I was feeling good I just modified my workouts and skipped abs for a bit. Nadine helped me work out which exercises I could still do without causing more harm then good. Next, I dropped the plow for the quad on my foot. I ended up fracturing a bone in my foot and again had to modify workouts. I was still keeping positive through all this with help from Nadine. Whenever something came up she would be right there emailing me back and helping me through. In the third month my cat died. It was a rough death and I was very upset about it. This was the only thing that wasn’t physical but was the time I was most tempted to veer off coarse for eating. I was very good as it was near the end and decided I would push through and throw everything into the challenge.
What was the one most important thing you learned from the challenge?
The most important thing I learned from the challenge is be prepared. Nadine told me numerous times in my emails that there are only so many things in your control, food is one of them. I could not control the miscarriage, my foot or my cat but I could control how I reacted. That is one thing that will stick with me forever. I have all the control when it comes to what I put in my body and it is my own fault if I feel and look bad.
What is your motto?
“Don’t give up.” It’s a common motto but it applies to most things in life and I feel it’s what kept me going. There are so many times when I wanted to never work out again. I was sore and tired and had so much piling up. When I would tell Nadine that I was too sore(as I was new to this) she would let me have a few days off without making me feel bad. It was what I needed while I was just getting into things.
What was your eating habits like before the challenge, what types of diets have you tried in the past. Why do you think you failed, if they did?
Before I started this challenge I ate like crap. I was not unhappy with my body (or so I thought). I liked food and I ate a lot of the time and most of the time it was fast food or food with high carbohydrates. In the past, after I had my son I used weight watchers and I did get very close to my pre-pregnancy weight. I had gained a lot of weight with my son because I was put off work and on “light activity”. I gained 50 pounds and had managed to lose just over 40 of that. At this point was when I got pregnant again. I ended up having two miscarriages at this point and that is when the weight started to creep back on. I started to get depressed and was trying to hide it from everyone else so I stuffed my face with every unhealthy food under the sun. When I got pregnant with my daughter I was at the point where if I had one more miscarriage I would start having testing done as to why so I wasn’t in a great place mentally. I had some spotting in the first two months and was put on bed rest right away, I wasn’t even supposed to lift my almost 2 year old. So Levi went to daycare and I stayed home on bed rest and lay in bed all day and ate!!!! I’m sure everyone can imagine how to weight just started to pile on! After Kate was born I had little motivation to even try. I always told myself after my son that it took 9 months to gain it so I have 9 months to lose it. So with my daughter I thought the same and then all of a sudden she was nine months and I hadn’t lost a single pound and that’s when I knew something needed to change.
What was your training like before the challenge?
Before I ever had kids I never worked out, it was not for me. After Kate was born I did a stroller fitness class with her and I really enjoyed how I felt after. When it finished I did some moderate activity with the kids in the stroller in the summer then when winter hit I was stuck again. I was scared of the gym and instead of focusing on myself, when my husband would leave I would throw myself into work I even took more shifts to avoid being home and having time to think about how crappy I felt.
What is one thing you would say to others that are on their own health and fitness journey and hit a road block like you did, to keep them going?
I would tell others the same thing Nadine told me, which is “There are only some things that are in your control and food/working out are some of those things”. Don’t give up on yourself because you will feel way better knowing that you made it through. I always felt amazing with the fact that I didn’t give into temptation. I also thought of how bloated I would feel and look if I went and had a pizza or some fast food. When you like the way you look it gives you a boost to get through the hard times.
For all the working mothers out there, what advice do you have to them?
For any working moms I just want to tell you that you aren’t alone. Make a routine and stick to it. Kids are good with routine and my kids got great until I hit 1 minute over my allotted time then that was it, but hey a little is better than nothing right? Also don’t stress too much if you miss one workout. It’s not the end of the world and there is always tomorrow. Also, lean on people to help. People want to help and I never used to ask because I felt like a burden. I now know if I am stressed and unhappy then my kids are getting the blunt end of the stick, when I am happy I am way more interactive with them. You need some me time. My husband works away about 80% of the year and I don’t love asking for help but now I know the worst that can happen is people say no and you try again tomorrow.
What have you learned from all of this from a mental stand point?
From a mental standpoint I have learned that I am a lot stronger then I give myself credit for. I do not need the fast food. I’m not going to lie, when I am feeling lazy I still get my kids fast food but I never even have a taste anymore. I know I will feel like crap and I have healthy meal prepped at home. I also am more than capable of doing this on my own(probably not what my husband wants to hear, HA!). When I take time for me I feel way better about myself and I feel like I am a better mom for it.
What would you say to others that are interested in joining the challenge?
I would tell anyone interested in doing the challenge to GO FOR IT! It’s a great opportunity and Nadine helps you get set up for lifestyle change and not a band aid fix. She helps you to get on track for a permanent diet change that doesn’t leave you feeling like your starving. When I finished the challenge I felt good and wanted to keep going. I didn’t feel like I immediately had to reward myself with a huge meal because I felt good. I want to keep feeling good. I learned that there are healthy ways to make most unhealthy meals. It’s very easy and do-able to incorporate whatever you want to eat.
Have you always had a passion for living a healthy lifestyle?
I have not always had a passion for a healthy lifestyle. I never enjoyed workouts or the gym. Food used to be a huge thing for me. It wasn’t until about week 10 when things clicked and I loved having time to work out away from the kids and it was my escape. I now don’t see any way to go back to the old me. It is much easier to feel good all the time and not worry about eating something then feeling crappy. I also find what I have learned is that eating smaller meals more frequently keeps you on track and I don’t end up feeling hungry and having the urge to cheat.
A huge congrats goes out to all of the participants in the challenge. I will be interviewing each of them over the coming weeks and sharing their stories. Thank you to all the sponsors involved. Inside Fitness Women’s Magazine, Cellucor, Perfect Shakers, Believe Fit – Lorna Jane, Fit Kat Chocolate and Isolator Fitness.
Looking to start your OWN journey TODAY? Click here and request a free assessment!