I am flat out convinced that Moms are the busiest people on the planet. Think about it, from the moment you brought your children into the world have you really had a minute to yourself? Of course not. You are either taking care of your children, working to take care of your children, or thinking about your children. 

So, it’s no wonder that we Moms have one of the hardest times finding time to really take care of our health and well-being. After all, how can we take care of ourselves when we are always taking care of them?  

In July of 2016, I was a busy working mom of 3 children, scared and stuck in a body and health that was slowly killing me. I was 302 pounds, a tight size 28, with multiple X’s on my shirt sizes. I was in horrible shape, got winded doing the smallest of activities. I was usually tired, always self-conscious. I simply lived for my kids, and never focused on the fact that I had let my health deteriorate so much. 

What’s worse was I was stuck, chained to my fate. I had no time to change. Every waking hour of my day was accounted for with work and family life. I knew a busy working mom of three could not lose weight and find health. It was impossible.

Or so I thought. 

A year later, here I sit 122 pounds lighter in my size 10 pants and shirts hanging in my closet with not one X on the size. Not only can I walk up stairs, but I run 5ks. I found my health. 

And yes, I did this all as a busy working mom of three. Here’s how:    

I removed doubt & excuses. It’s funny but the largest change I had to make had nothing to do with what I ate. I had to remove all excuses and doubt from my mind and vocabulary. I have no time to lose weight! I can’t do it! It’s too hard! I’m too busy! Stop all the excuses. Excuses are holding you back. Everyone is busy, but everyone makes time for things that are priorities. If you make your health a priority, the time will magically appear. I promise.

I turned everything I knew about dieting on its head: I was always told one thing about dieting: “Low calorie/Low fat = skinny person.” So you can imagine how shocked I was when I realized that this was so wrong. Fat is not what made me fat. In fact, the so-called diet food on the market today and the processed food I was eating were the culprits. I started to do some research into a low carb lifestyle. After all my research I learned the powerful lesson that living the miserable diet life of counting calories and fat, and thus eating food that tastes like cardboard, is completely and utterly unnecessary and it doesn’t work.

I count carbs and sugar. I made a major overhaul to how I eat. I now count net carbs (carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohols) and sugar and I don’t care one bit about the amount of fat and calories in my food. In fact, I eat more fat now than I ate at my top weight. I am literally amazed with some of the food I eat that makes me lose weight: I cook with REAL butter, I eat full fat cheese, cook with heavy cream. Not only is this working for me, but since the food tastes rich and amazing it is a long lasting lifestyle change, not a diet.

I nixed the plans. When most of us think about dieting we want to follow a plan. Here’s the problem with plans– people aren’t one size fit all, yet plans are marketed to be. Your life is different than my life. You have different cravings, different time constraints, different needs. So, although I am all for looking to plans for inspiration and ideas, I decided the best person to plan how to lose this weight was…well, me. I set the rules, I call the shots. The best way to not set yourself up for failure is to make your own plan that works with your life. 

I work out A LOT. I would love to tell you I lost all this weight without lifting a finger, but that’s not reality. The key to my fast success is that I developed a true love and passion for working out. I try to work out every single day, with a goal of 10,000 steps a day and one hour of exercise. Is it always easy? No. Yes, sometimes I’m up at 5:00 a.m. or walking in my neighborhood after my kids go to sleep. But no matter what time I do my workout, I know I have to get it done.

I had to take back my life. Which leads me to the final and hardest thing I had to do to change my life. I had to make the decision to make myself a priority. This was hard, almost against the “Mom-Code.”  At first, when I was at the gym and my kids were home with their Dad, I felt almost like I was cheating on my kids or being selfish. But here’s the deal: to be a great Mom you have to be a great you. It seems backwards, but you need to give a little less priority to them and a little more priority to you to find true happiness for both you and your kids. The moment I started making myself a priority I became a better Mom. 

So, Moms, if you are reading this, stuck in a health and weight that feels like a prison sentence, I promise you not only is change possible, it is completely doable. Yes Moms, even YOU can do this!

Mandi Richards

Mandi Richards is a full time mom and full time civil litigation attorney on a never ending mission to find the perfect balance between a busy family life and hectic professional life. As a working mom of three beautiful and busy children (ages 10, 9, and 7) her life is always chaotic but she wouldn't have it any other way.  She resides in Bettendorf, Iowa with her husband, Todd, and children. When she is not preparing for trial or spending long hours in her favorite Dance Mom/Baseball Mom roles, Mandi is an avid writer, scrapbooker, and photographer who loves to workout, decorate, and party plan. In the summer of 2016, Mandi set out on amazing mission to change her lifestyle and to date has lost over 120 pounds. Follow along with her incredible journey on www.recoveringcarbie.wordpress.com.  Her goal is to inspire all mothers out there that even with all we have to juggle it is not only possible, but completely doable, to reach our goals and change our lives.