Posted: Jul 08, 2013 11:00 AM
 
Charlene is a busy mom of two young kids, but she knew that she needed to drop a few pounds. One hundred (and 20!) pounds later, she feels fabulous and is a great example for her children.

Losing weight can seem like an insurmountable challenge when you're a mom, and if your kids are small and close together, you may wonder if you have the time, energy or motivation to really take off those pounds. Charlene, mom of two kids 3 and under, started off slow but has managed to take off over a hundred pounds in nearly a year and a half. How did she do it?

Inspiration to lose

I was comfortable in my skin still. It wasn't until I got married and had two kids back-to-back that the weight became a problem to me.

Charlene grew up in Buffalo, New York, and met her amazing husband at the University of Buffalo. After spending a few years in New York City, they moved back to Buffalo to start their family. She reported that she was on the heavier side as a kid — not "fat," but she was definitely heavier than the average kid. "Even in college, I was heavy but it still wasn't a huge issue," she remembered. "I was comfortable in my skin still. It wasn't until I got married and had two kids back-to-back that the weight became a problem to me."

The weight began to weigh on her, literally as well as emotionally, and she began to notice that it was taking a toll on her. "I decided that it was time to do something about it when I was depressed about it every night before bed," she explained. "I knew that I was either done having kids or I wouldn't have another for quite a while so now was the time."

Charlene before and after with Charlie
Charlene: Before and after with son

Getting started

glass of waterCharlene said that she didn't really know how to lose weight and get healthy — it wasn't something that she'd ever specifically learned. In February of 2012, she decided to give up Pepsi for Lent. She was drinking four or five cups of the soda daily and she completely cut it out and drank only water. She loved the challenge of giving it up, and felt that the goal of 40 days was one that she could tackle.

Once those weeks were over, she realized that she didn't miss the soda one bit and wanted to continue on her journey downward. She started exercising more and took a hard look at what she ate on a daily basis. It has taken nearly a year and a half, but she is down 120 pounds and is doing great. She stays on track by keeping track of her calories using a site called My Fitness Pal. "It has really helped open my eyes as to what we consume on a daily basis and helps me make better choices," she shared.

Charlene before and after with Audrey
Charlene: Before and after with daughter

Maintaining and motivation

She gets her motivation from her kids. She wants them to know what eating healthy means and she wants them to grow up that way. They don't keep soda in the house at all and unhealthy snacks like chips are present on a rare basis. She doesn't restrict them completely, allowing cookies and cakes on special occasions, but she offers all the fruit they want (that they love) and hides veggies in their foods.

Cook healthier meals for the entire family and look at it less as trying to lose weight and more as trying to help your whole family become healthier!

You might be reading this and looking at her amazing before and after photos, thinking that you could never drop the weight that's been plaguing you. Charlene insists that losing weight, while not easy, is a simple concept. "Eat less, move more," she said. "I would tell another busy mom that if I can do it, anyone can! I incorporate the kids into my exercise routine. We go for walks together or run around the park, I used my youngest as a weight before he got too heavy! Cook healthier meals for the entire family and look at it less as trying to lose weight and more as trying to help your whole family become healthier!"

These are wise words to live by. Start small by eliminating one thing and replacing it with something healthier. Charlene is awesome, and we love how inspirational she is for us — and her two small kids.

More on weight loss

My personal weight-loss journey
Weight loss in a 5-pound package
Dealing with pregnancy weight-loss

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