before and after

Then and Now

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Hey guys! Happy Tuesday! I thought it would be fun to do a then and now post to take a little trip down memory lane, whaddya say? I did a similar post for Weddingbee a few years back!

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Then: Dipping my little sister's toes in the ocean in Florida! She was so tiny back then! 

Now: Brooke's in High School and this year she went to Homecoming! She's so beautiful and so grown up! Proud moment!

Brookes Homecoming
Brookes Homecoming

Then:Not that long ago I was addicted to Venti iced americanos with a pump of vanilla and splash of half-and-half!

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2014-10-09 15.11.33

Now:I'm onto a much healthier option: the venti iced unsweetened ice tea! :)

Whole30 Starbucks
Whole30 Starbucks

Then: In 2011, I used to go running every weekend around the tidal basin in DC!

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IMAG1610

Now: I go to CrossFit every weekend and I don't miss running at all! I love my new workout routine. It's a lot of fun and I'm so that happy it's something I can share with Aaron as well.

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2014-08-30 08.57.53

Then: Wearing braces - yikes! I remember the day I got them; it was awful, but I smiled and sent this pic to my mom and dad, brother and grandmother.

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2013-10-28 12.19.39

Now: I'm so much more confident in my smile - yay! The six months I wore braces went by really fast and it was definitely worth it!

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2014-11-04 17.24.42

Then: This photo was taken over a year ago when I was making enormous salads for lunch everyday with Salad Club.

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Now: Not much has changed! I'm still eating huge salads for lunch, styling them, and taking pics! My archive of these kinds of photos is ridiculous!

Whole30 Week 2 Recap
Whole30 Week 2 Recap

Then: This was back in 2002, I think. I was goofing around with my best friend, Ghadeer at my mom's house in Shenandoah.

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Ghadeer_Country

Now: Ghadeer and me are still BFFs, we hang out all the time, and still goof around quite a bit! :)

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SONY DSC

Then: A real throwback!! I was a huge Lady Vols fan as a kid. My dad and grandmother are die-hard Tennessee fans and obviously, Tennessee costumes were totally appropriate around Christmas!

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Christmas

Now: Not much has changed - I'm still a big Tennessee fan and rep the orange and white whenever I can!

Do you ever look back at old photos or think back to how things used to be?

What are some things that have changed for you? What's stayed the same? 

#TransformationTuesday

Hi guys! I'm starting a new series on the blog - #transformationtuesday! I'll either share a before and after photo, or a weight loss success story. These are wildly popular on social media so I figured why not bring a little more before and action to the blog? I have oodles of old photos and clearly, I have no shame! Haha!

#TransformationTuesdayWearing a crop top for the first time on New Year's Eve in Florence was such a new and exciting feeling! I remember thinking, Who am I? I felt totally transformed in this tight-on-tight ensemble, but maybe I liked it? You can tell by the way I'm swaying in this photo that I definitely did!

Crop tops - I'm learning - are awesome because they show just enough skin; not too much, not too little. I'm still self-conscious when I wear one, but hey, look how far I've come! These posts serve as a reminder of that! #proudmoment

What's something you've been able to wear since losing weight, or something you hope to wear when you do? 

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DO YOU HAVE A TRANSFORMATION PHOTO OR STORY YOU WANT TO SHARE? I'D LOVE TO FEATURE YOU! SHOOT ME AN EMAIL!

Fit Mom, Karlye // Starting from Scratch… Again!

Hey guys! Karlye, our new fit-mom blogger, is back with another post! :)  Hello, FFABulous readers!  I hope everyone is having a healthy, happy week so far.

In my last post I told you all about my lifetime of fluctuating weight due to my struggles with emotional eating.  Needless to say, I feel like I have failed 100 times.  But what’s most important is that I have tried 101 times.  I never completely give up; I always get back on the wagon, dust myself off, and try again.  I’m not going to pretend like it’s not hard to fail or that it’s easy to pick yourself back up and try again because it’s not.  I’m sure giving up and throwing in the towel is a lot easier, but giving up is not an option.  We can’t ever let giving up be an option!

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Dusting myself off and trying again after I fall off the wagon is extremely difficult both physically and mentally.  Especially this time because not only have I fallen off the wagon, but the wagon ran me over and dragged me for a while (I mean, hello! I gained 80lbs).  It’s amazing how fast our bodies can lose strength, endurance, and flexibility.  An exercise that used to be so easy suddenly makes you feel like your heart is about to burst and your limbs are going to fall off.  I once ran 10 miles. 10 miles!! This was me back then - smaller than I've ever been in my life, and running!

2014-03-05_0018After running the Cherry Blossom 5k in 2011

Right now - today - I don’t feel like I could run 10 seconds without huffing and puffing like a chain smoker!  During weight training, I can also tell a difference- I’ve lost strength and I often have to stop and catch my breath during circuit training, especially after things like step-ups, kettlebell swings, and burpees. I used to barrel through those!

It's also especially frustrating to know that you have made things so much harder for yourself by falling off the wagon!  Falling off the wagon can mean you stopped working out regularly, you stopped eating as clean as you know you should be, and/or you have gained back weight you have worked so hard to lose.  In my case, falling off the wagon means all of the above.

Our gym at work has walls of mirrors everywhere!  It is impossible to avoid your reflection.  So, along with the frustration of not being able to do things I was once able to do, I would often look at my reflection during my workouts and start to feel disgust.  I was so disgusted that I allowed myself to get as big as I was again and I knew I had no one to blame but myself.  I would just want to break down and cry during the workouts because I had so many negative feelings towards myself, I had so many negative thoughts running through my head, and I did not believe I could ever accomplish my goals.  I felt like I was just going to be the fat girl chasing this impossible dream forever.  And then one day it hit me…

This isn’t a weight loss walk in the park, it’s a weight loss journey.

This isn’t going to be easy and there will be ups and downs.  Sometimes it might even feel like you are starting from scratch.  But, in the end, it is you against yourself.  I’ve learned that it is so important to keep a positive attitude and believe that you can accomplish your goals.  If you are not positive and do not believe in yourself, you are setting yourself up for failure.  The only way I will truly be defeated by this extra weight is if I allow that to happen; I refuse to be defeated!

The most important thing about being a fit mom is setting that positive example for your little ones.  My son is my extra motivation to take more steps forward than I take back.  I want him to know that he should never give up, he should treat his body well, and he should always believe that he is capable of anything he puts his mind to.  I’m excited to continue this journey and one day (hopefully soon) meet my goals.  Although I know the road will be bumpy, I hope that this is the last time I feel like I’m starting from scratch.

 Have you struggled with your weight loss and felt like you were starting from scratch? 

What helped you get back on track?

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Previous posts in this series:

Meet Karlye: Our New Fit-Mom Blogger

Hello, hello! Today I'm excited to introduce a new FFAB column that will be authored by my friend Karlye! I started working with Karlye about 4 years ago. She was there for me during my wedding and I was there for her during hers, and through it all we sweated it out at the gym, shedding pounds and learning to live healthy! In fact, in 2011, I witnessed as Karlye transformed her life and lost more than 70 lbs! She latched onto a solid fitness routine and clean eating, and took off running! She inspired me and helped me reach my goals. I think I inspired her some, too! We made a great team! But, as the years have gone on, we've both struggled to maintain our weight loss. We've had highs and lows, and tons of new obstacles (an especially painful one for her was divorce), but the good news is we haven't given up! We're still sweating it out two days a week at our work gym, and determined to meet our goals once in for all!

When Karlye approached me to blog her journey, I didn't hesitate to bring her aboard! She's been a huge supporter of my dream to launch Fit for a Bride, and was one of the first to hear the idea - back when it was just an idea! Let's give her a warm welcome! Welcome Karlye!!! 

Fit-Mom-BloggerHi! My Name is Karlye and I am an Emotional Eater.

Hello, FFAB family! It is so nice to finally introduce myself to you all. If you have been reading the blog since the beginning, you may have seen my name in a post or two. Or maybe you’ve just seen a picture of my adorable baby boy! Ok, ok. He’s not really a baby… he’s almost 6! I’m a recently divorced single mother on a bumpy journey to health and happiness. You may be wondering, “What’s a divorced gal doing blogging for a site called Fit for a BRIDE?!” Well, allow me to tell you more about myself and give you some background on how I got to where I am today.

Once upon a time, I was madly in love. We moved in together, had a baby, and eventually got married in April of 2012. At that point, we had been together for 7 years. Even though I had felt like we were already married, I vividly remember feeling like our wedding day was truly the first day of the rest of our lives. I was so excited for the future and the idea of having more babies and growing old with him. Well, it turned out he did not exactly feel the same way; 4 months later he told me he did not think he was in love with me, and 3 months after that he moved out. I was completely devastated and in shock. It was not just shocking to me, it was shocking and devastating to everyone who knew us. Everyone adored him and thought we were such a cute couple—we represented true love.

In a few short months, I went from the highest point in my life to the lowest.

I had always known I was an emotional eater. When I was genuinely happy, I could lose weight without even trying. When I was stressed or depressed, I would blow up! Since about 3rd grade, my weight has been going up and down, and up and down according to my level of happiness. This pattern continued throughout our relationship. At the very end of 2009, Sara and a couple other coworkers talked me into joining a gym with them and working out during our lunch breaks. I signed up for personal training and something clicked! I ended up losing 70lbs in 7 months and kept it off for the rest of 2010. I still needed to lose more weight, but I was happy in every way, which made it so easy to stay focused and on track. In 2011, however, I started to slowly gain the weight back because I allowed stress back into my life and the emotional eating came back with it. I went up and down for a while, but never gained all the weight back. On my wedding day, I was the biggest I had been in a while, but still much smaller than I once was. Needless to say, since the day I realized my husband was not in love with me, I have suffered from a lot of emotional eating, including binge eating.

I gained all of the 70lbs back, plus another 10 or so.

I was so disappointed in myself, especially because I know how to eat right and I know how to work out. I have no valid excuse for letting myself get that big again.

Throughout my life, I have never had super high self-esteem. During my relationship, I put so much energy into loving my partner that I do not think I loved myself. Now, it is time to focus on me! My goal is to be fit, happy, and healthy and to be a good role model for my son. I want to be here long enough to have grand kids and see them grow up and I want to teach my son healthy habits so that he does not become the emotional eater I became. I thought sharing my journey would help hold me accountable, so I asked Sara if I could use her Fit Mom series as a platform.

Around the same time, our current trainer provided some extra motivation. We are lucky enough to have a gym at work that is super cheap and the membership includes FREE personal training. It doesn’t get much better than that! Sara and I have been working out with him for a few years, but you would never know that by looking at me. So, to help kick our butts into gear, he is giving us 2 months to lose a certain amount of weight. If we fail, he’ll stop training us (gasp)! I look forward to these sessions. If I did not work out any other day, I at least had two days of the week that I would work out with him. I CANNOT lose these free sessions. He gave me 2 months to lose 20lbs (ahhh) and after these 2 months are over, he’ll give a new goal for the next month and every month after that until I’m one sexy momma! Haha!

All joking aside, this journey I’m embarking on is about becoming physically, mentally, and emotionally stronger. I want to learn to love myself, flaws and all, during every phase. I am determined to be fit, happy, healthy, and confident. I hope that you all will join me on my journey to be a FFABulous Fit Mom!

Fit_Mom_BeforeKarlyeBefore-9

 

You guys can expect to hear form Karlye again this Thursday and then once-a-week after that! I'm super excited to have her as a regular contributor and hope you enjoy following her journey! Feel free to follow a little closer via Instagram @Kaylynnsnow!

Are you an emotional eater? 

Have you ever gained back a significant amount of weight? 

9 Amazing Instagram Transformations

When I first joined Instagram back in September, I had no idea it would play such a huge role in my fitness journey. But, the way this social media platform instantly connected me with clean eaters and crossfitters, and incredible transformations, has been the biggest motivation. I love meeting new people (Hi Nutty!), trying their recipes, and watching others transform their lives as I try to transform mine. Posting my own before and after pictures, workouts and clean eats is fun, too. Not to mention it's free and easy to use! If you have instagram and you're on a weight loss journey or a get-strong journey an eat-clean journey or whatever, you should be following these women.

@Estellearcher

Dawn is positive, upbeat and on a mission to change the lives of women across the nation! I love seeing glimpses of her fast-growing zumba/fitness workout classes, SWEAT and her motivational quotes. I also love that Dawn setup a seperate instagram account to share other people's transformation stories. If you need a shot of inspiration, just start following @wesweat. Like Dawn, the people, the stories, the transformations are incredible!

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@Nutty4Nutrition

You guys know I'm a huge, huge fan of Nutty!! She always posts great recipes that are easy to make and taste delicious. I also love all the funny jokes she posts, and her before and after shots are so inspiring. I love that her fitness journey has been HERS and hers alone. She advocates finding a path to healthy that works for YOU, and that there's no one-size-fits-all approach.

nutty4nutrition

@sarah_griff_fit

Sarah is a friend of mine and she is on fire for running - she just completed her first half marathon! - and PX90! She's a beachbody coach and on Instagram, she posts the most inspiring before and after photos (like the one below!). This mama was definitely born to encourage and inspire others! Rock on, sister!

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@myweightlossfr

The picture tells it all! Wow! Just wow!

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@the_masonette

I totally love this girl! Just look at her before and after photo - it's not just about weight loss, look at that muscle! And doesn't she look so much younger in her "after" photo? Someone commented the before picture could easily pass as her mom! It's amazing the way weight loss makes us look younger. The Masonette is down more than 67 lbs, and has more than 100,000 followers. If you need a dose of heavy inspiration, look no further!

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@babnotonadiet

I interviewed Brooke about her incredible weight loss and ever since, I've been following her journey on Instagram. I love Brooke's balanced approach to weight loss through Weight Watchers, and not any extreme measures. She's also not afraid to try some hardcore workouts like Jillian Michaels Shredded or Insanity! She's lost more than 150 lbs!!!!! It doesn't get anymore inspiring than this.

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@jessicasmith626

I also interviewed Jessica- she's incredible! Like Brooke, Jessica takes such a balanced approach to weight loss and healthy living. Jessica is a runner and her blog is full of awesome, healthy recipes. She just doesn't give up! She's got a heart for God, which I love seeing laced through her posts; she's so inspirational.

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@niftyfoodie

Another friend of mine who has lost an incredible amount of weight - Amy is an awesome source of inspiration! She's been tracking and counting calories, running and weight lifting! I love these shots of her flexing that she posts every once in awhile to Instagram. Amy also has an incredible food blog, The Nifty Foodie, where you can read more about her weight loss journey, as well as find some awesome recipes! I really love Amy's approach because she's not looking for a quick fix! She's slowly, but surely changed her life through running and eating better - and the results are just a side effect of that. You're amazing girl! Keep up the good work!

niftyfoodie@average2athelete

I get a new favorite instagrammer every so often and the moment, I'm obsessed with @average2athelete - two girls on a mission to inspire! Below is a photo of Julia before and after beginning crossfit - she looks incredible! Both ladies, Julia & Kayte post some crazy workouts that always looks awesome and intense! I love that they're doing them in regular gyms, too! Not necessarily crossfit gyms! They look like they do these workouts on their own, too, which is something I really admire!

If you're looking for a place for workout inspiration - this is it! These girls will have you leaping from off the couch in no time! They also have a blog you have to check out!

average2athlete

Are you on instagram?

Who do you follow? Share your favorites!

Weight Loss Success: Brooke Not on a Diet

Good morning and happy Tuesday! Today's post is dear to my heart because I've been following Brooke's journey over on her blog, Brooke Not on a Diet. As you can see from the pictures below, Brooke totally turned her life around -- losing an incredible 178 lbs and becoming an "after" for the Weight Watchers campaign! Her weight loss journey is utterly amazing and you will not regret reading this Q&A.

Brooke: I truly appreciate you taking the time to share your story with FFAB readers. You are such an inspiration!

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Brooke-FInal

Has your weight always been an issue for you? Since what age?

Weight has always seemed to be something I have dealt with. I really cannot remember a time when I was “thin.” I was always a chunky kid and an even chunkier teen/adult.

When did you decide to make a change? Were you engaged at the time? 

I decided to make the change after a really crappy relationship and realizing that I really needed to start loving myself if I was ever going to find “the one.” My mom invited me to a Weight Watchers meeting around that time and as they say, the rest is history. ;)

Has your decision to get healthy been on-again off-again, or did something just click?

I did do some fad diet stuff throughout my teen years and there was even a doctor recommended diet. But I never stuck with it for long because I was doing things to lose weight that I wouldn’t be able to do for the rest of my life. (Grapefruit diet, anyone?)

When I started Weight Watchers back in 2009, it just sort of clicked. Sure there have been times where I wasn’t fully on track (Wedding planning brought on a bit of stress eating and who can forget the honeymoon where I started everyday off with a Mudslide cocktail!), but I’ve never strayed so far that I’ve gained a lot of weight back. I’ve been doing this awhile, so I’m pretty good at reeling myself back in when I’m straying a bit too far. I always remind myself how much better I feel when I’m eating things that are better for me.

What was your starting weight? 

My starting weight was 327.6lbs. Talk about a shocker when I stepped on the scale at my first Weight Watchers meeting! I knew that night that I would NEVER see that number again.

Did you measure body fat?

I didn’t measure body fat in the beginning, but it is something I pay attention to now.

Did you use a particular program to help you lose weight? What program? (Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, MyFitnessPal?)

In case you haven’t figured it out by now; I follow the Weight Watchers program. I follow the Simply Filling Plan they offer. I did the PointsPlus for most of my journey, but made the switch to Simply Filling last November. I absolutely love Weight Watchers and cannot sing enough praise for the program. I love that you can eat anything you want, but they teach you to choose more fulfilling foods. I go to meetings and just love the support and encouragement I get there weekly. My plan is to eventually work for them and then demand they put me in a commercial. ;)

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Has anyone been doing this with you?

My mom started out with me, but jumped off the wagon a few months in. She joined again last year and is now down almost 50lbs! I love that I inspire people everyday with my journey, but I’m most proud when my mom tells me that I inspire her. It’s awesome!

When did you start to see the number on the scale go down?

It started going down right away and steadily went down for a while. Of course there have been many plateaus since then. Getting under 200lbs was the most difficult and I played around with that for over a year. The day I hit Onderland (199) I ran into the bedroom and jumped on the bed scaring the crap out of Mr. B who was snoring peacefully. Haha

What's been the best part about getting healthier/losing weight? 

Sex. ;) Seriously though the way I feel now is the best part. I can do things like bike 100 miles in a month and run up stairs. I don’t get tired as easily and my body doesn’t ache daily. I found a love of cooking and exercising. I became confident and found the most amazing man to stand by my side during this journey. I also get to inspire people everyday by showing them that they don’t need a fad diet or surgery to become healthy. Being healthy is AWESOME!

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What's been the hardest part?

The hardest part is always dealing with the scale. I know they say not to let the scale define you, but man sometimes you just let it. Of course I deal with it better now than I ever would have in the past and I always remind myself of how far I have come.

Another hard part is the loose skin I now have. It is so freaking annoying and frustrating! But again, I remind myself that it’s there because I worked my ass off. I also much rather have the loose skin than the extra 177lbs!

Have you reached your goal yet?

I have! I hit it in the beginning of May and it was one of the best days ever! If you want to read about it, I posted a lovely detailed story on my blog, including the part where I took off my bra! ;)

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If you made these changes because of your upcoming wedding, what specifically was motivating? The wedding gown? Seeing all your family and friends? The pictures?

I started losing weight before I got married, but obviously getting married kept me on track with my efforts. The pictures really kept me motivated, no one wants to look back on their wedding day pictures and hate how they looked. And it worked too! I actually had to reorder a smaller dress a few months before my wedding!

What are some of your staple foods and favorite recipes?

Gosh, where do I even begin? Lol. On my grocery list there is always light vanilla yogurt (which I always top with fruit for a snack), unsweetened vanilla almond milk, PB2 (powdered peanut butter), bananas, eggs, oatmeal (regular & Better Oats Oat Fit Maple & Brown Sugar), Hendrickson’s salad dressing, and frozen fruit. Oh and you can’t forget the occasional pint of Ben & Jerry’s. ;)

Mine and Mr. B’s favorite recipe at the moment is Philly Cheese’steak’ Filling. It is crazy delicious! We also love us some roasted green beans!

Do you workout a lot? How often?

I’m not crazy about my workouts, but love doing DVD challenges! I just finished Turbo Fire and have done couple of Jillian Michael’s DVDs. Jillian is by far my favorite! I would say that I workout anywhere from 3-5 days a week depending on my mood and motivation!

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Do you workout at home or do you belong to a gym?

I have lost all of my 177lbs without ever owning a gym membership! I have only worked out in a gym once during this whole journey. This means all of my weight has been lost by working out at home, outdoors, and with the occasional Zumba class.

I have quite the variety of workout DVDs and have done several challenges. My favorites by far are my Jillian Michaels DVDs; I have such a girl crush on that woman! I also love biking when the weather allows it!

What are your favorite exercises? Do you lift weights?

My favorite workout DVDs are the 30 Day Shred and Ripped in 30 by Jillian. I don’t do a lot of weight lifting because I don’t have access to a lot of weights, but it is incorporated with each of the DVDs I mentioned.

If so, do you have a favorite body part you like to work? (Such as quads or delts?)

I really don’t have a certain body part I like to work. My favorite part to flex though is my biceps. I flex in the mirror at least once a day. It is totally surreal to me that I have actual muscle! I also tell my husband constantly that I’m stronger than him, which I’m not, but he plays along. ;)

Where do you find your motivation? Other blogs? Magazines? Which ones?

I read a lot of different blogs and get great motivation and inspiration from them! I love Fit & Free with Emily, Kelly @ Curvy Fit Girl, Mel @ The Daily Mel, Rachael @ The Domestic Geek, and a million others. I absolutely love blogs! :)

As for magazines I love Health, Fitness, Shape, and Weight Watchers. Oh Cooking Light has some pretty great recipes too!

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Are your family and friends aware of these changes in your life? Are they supportive?

My family and friends are both aware of my changes. I’m not quiet about it at all. I love hitting a new milestone (scale or non-scale) and quickly texting everyone about it. ;) They have always been supportive in anything I’ve chosen to do and my journey is no different. It’s awesome to have them cheering me along!

What does your husband think of these changes?

I didn’t meet Mr. B until I had already lost over 100lbs, so he didn’t know the old Brooke. He has really only knows ‘healthy’ Brooke. So, he has always been supportive and is a great cheerleader. He is my recipe guinea pig and even sometimes pushes me out of bed in the morning to exercise. I couldn’t ask for a better support really. This is why he’s my soul mate because he loves me for whom I am and supports me in everything I do. Cannot sing enough praise for my Mr. B! I’m one lucky gal. :)

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Finally, do you have any advice for other women who are trying to be healthier and/or lose weight?

My most important piece of advice is: You Are Worth It!! So many women don’t feel like they deserve to be healthy and shouldn’t put themselves first. But, you must remember that in order to be there for others, you need to be here. If you’re unhealthy, the chances of you being around for a long time are slim. Take care of you and your health (physical and mental) first, and then tackle others.

Other advice is to look for some support, whether it come from family or a group like Weight Watchers. There’s also awesome support online! I have found a great community of healthy lifestyle bloggers who are super supportive and then my readers are also awesome. All I have to do is send out a tweet that I’m struggling with something and I can get a slew of tweets back offering support. There are Facebook groups, online message boards, and so much more. You can find support anywhere these days!

Also, be sure to take it one step at a time. When I started my journey I focused mainly on my eating, then slowly incorporated exercise. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself with too much, because you’re more likely to give it up. Small changes add up to big results.

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Oh and don’t forget to set some goals! Reward yourself for hitting those goals too! I try not to focus solely on scale related goal either. My goals consist of drinking 100oz of water daily, moving my body at least 30 minutes daily, and trying a new recipe weekly. This journey is much more than the scale and we all need to remember that sometimes. :)

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Thank you so much for letting me tell my story on Fit For a Bride! I hope you all get something from it! If you want more inspiration from me, you can find me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook! Oh and of course my blog! Hope to see you around!

Thank you so much, Brooke!

I'm so inspired by your hard work and drive. You look AMAZING!!!!!

I vote Weight Watchersput you in a commerical ASAP! :-) You totally deserve it!

Do you know someone who has lost over 150 lbs?

Have you ever tried Weight Watchers?

Wedding photo credit: Creative Wedding Package