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Perspective- Looking Back

Perspective- Looking Back


*Disclaimer- This post was actually started yesterday afternoon, but thanks to a cranky Judah who wouldn’t nap, 4 hours of teaching aerobics last night and a much anticipated “Bachelor Pad party for one”, it had to be continued today.

Today is one of those days. I woke up not feeling that great about myself. A little too much eating over the weekend, not enough resting and my clothes fitting a little tighter than I’m comfortable with will do that to me. But, rather than get down on myself or feel guilty about things, I decided to look back at how far I’ve come and just be thankful for where I’m at now and the many blessing I have.

So, I’m kicking back with my overnight oats (Coach’s oats in a SunButter jar) and an iced tea


and savoring the last few bites with huge chunks of SunButter.


Here we go.

Sixteen years ago at this time I was starting my Freshman year in college.

blog 130 crop

(Nice scrunchie on my wrist. Every day I sported one of those. I thought I was so cool. I talked about feeling like this guy in Thursday’s post, but this picture might top it.) Smile

Anyway, there I was. It was the start to many years of way too much processed food and a few too many grown up beverages. My dorm room mini fridge was filled with packages of Twinkies (the low fat ones of course) and chocolate milk cartons. I still worked out every day, but I was tired a lot of the time. I was not the happiest person although I put on a good show.

Christmas funny

(How could I not with a tumbleweed snowman? Notice the scrunchie again. And, um, love you bro? Good thing he doesn’t read this.) Smile

After college I maintained my Freshman 15 20 weight gain for a good 4-5 years. It was hard work, but I kept it up with days of eating anything processed I could get my hands on followed by days of restricting calories. I would go from eating my way through entire bags of processed food and/or sweets to restricting calories and exercising 2-3 hours a day. I turned to food instead of dealing with my emotions.

yosemite ugh

I thought that that’s just who I was supposed to be. I would lose the same 5-7 pounds and then gain them back again. I would have a really good month, and then have a really bad month. I always wanted to be that healthy person, but didn’t quite know how to change.

It wasn’t until after I got married that I really started to change my habits. I got into running and realized what an important part healthy exercise and good nutrition played in being a better person. I knew I wanted to be a good wife and take care of my husband as well as be a good role model for my students and clients. I had always been really active and worked out daily, but days of binging did me in.

Around 5 years ago I made a conscious effort to take better care of myself. Running slowly became my therapy and I started to really think about how my poor eating habits were affecting my daily life. I still had the occasional days when I would go crazy and eat everything in sight and proceed to feel gross and tired for days afterwards, but they became less frequent.

When it became time try to start a family, I found out I was a little reproductively challenged. I won’t go into the details, but I’m convinced it was because of the stress I was putting on myself with specific eating and exercise habits.


after an amazing family vacation two and a half years ago to Belize…


(I had to put two pictures since Andrew didn’t make the cut on the first one.)

My life was changed.

While we were there I was forced to take a step back, relax and enjoy every moment with my loved ones. Then, after years of struggling with issues, God blessed us with two little miracles that were conveniently born 9 months later.


Throughout my entire pregnancy I was living my dream. I wanted to be that pregnant lady that kept running, working out and staying fit. I wanted it bad enough that I made it happen. As a fitness instructor, I continued teaching classes until I was about 7 months pregnant. I remember getting a lot of weird looks and comments. I wonder why? Smile


When my doctor pulled the plug on my running, I still kept active using the elliptical, walking and lifting weights. I even went for a walk the morning I gave birth. 


  That was me on the elliptical just a week before I had the boys.

When I look back, I actually think I was the healthiest I’ve ever been in my entire life those 9 months of being pregnant. I realized that I had been blessed with an amazing gift and I needed to take care of my body and my babies the best that I could. My mindset changed and instead of having a list of foods that were off-limits except for special occasions (which added to the desire to binge), NO foods were off limits. I was focused on eating for health rather than eating to lose weight. I knew my body needed a certain amount of calories a day to feed two babies and I exercised to FEEL GOOD rather than to burn off all the “junk food” I had eaten previously or because I “had” to.


After the birth of my boys, I got back into my workout routine and lost the baby weight rather quickly.


However, after a few weeks of sleep deprivation and struggling to figure out how the heck to be a mom, my old eating habits resurfaced. It felt like the only thing I could control. It just added to the complexity of being a new mom and trying to figure out what direction my life was going to go. Not only did I feel guilty that I ate that way, but I was disappointed in myself that I had gone back to my old ways (after finally being “normal” during my pregnancy).

One thing I did do though was keep my focus on being active. I went running a lot, I pushed that stroller everywhere I could and I resumed teaching my fitness classes 5 weeks after the boys were born. Even despite falling back into my old eating habits, I managed to run a half marathon when the boys were just 4 months old.


Somewhere along the way I turned a corner. It was a lot of trying to find other ways to deal with my feelings and stress and being creative with how to distract myself away from the kitchen. By focusing on my boys, my health, and trying to become the best mom that I can, I’ve gotten to where I am today. I may not be the ideal size I want to be and I still might not fit into my goal jeans, but I’m healthy. There’s a part of me that is always going to struggle with the same issues, but for now I do the best I can to eat in moderation, fuel my body the right way and make exercise a priority.


It’s a lifelong journey.

It’s a tough one while trying to take care of a family and work three different jobs.

But, I think we’re all on the same journey.

The journey to find balance.

That’s where the whole inspiration behind this blog came from.

Thank you to those of you that have been with me the past few months. I hope you stay for awhile and enjoy the ride. You are why I write. I look forward to reading your comments and emails every day.

Now, who wants a hug?


Or a Put Me in Coach Oatmeal Cookie?


Have a good one!

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  1. 1
    Jaime Westlund says:

    Kristin, you crack me up! It’s so funny that we all have our own personal issues. I am always jealous of how great you look, its true.

  2. 2

    Love your story – so very inspiring and I’m so happy for you 🙂 You looked (and still do!) absolutely amazing pregnant, so healthy, vibrant and glowing – I hope to do the same when it’s my turn!

    I too sometimes have those Monday’s feeling not so great after an indulgent weekend, but like you, I try to remember how far I’ve come and all the many blessings I have in my life. Thank you for sharing your story and I’ve loved following you on your journey and learning all about you and your amazing recipes!! 🙂

  3. 3
    Jessica says:

    I have to say I think it one of my favorite post that you have done. It makes me realize that it doesn’t come easy for anyone (some of us just have further to go). I am not happy you have had to struggle, but it helps make it more “real” to me and gives me a lot more inspiration to continue to change my habits because the goal can be accomplished. Thanks for all that you do!

    • 3.1
      STUFT Mama says:

      Aw thanks Jessica! Yes, I don’t think it comes easy. It’s hard, but definitely attainable. You have already made some amazing changes and are doing fabulous! You should be proud! Thank YOU for what you do!

  4. 4

    I just found your blog from the comment section on Daily Garnish. This is a great post. Very inspiring especially to keep myself healthy as I am currently going through fertility treatments. Excited to read more.

    • 4.1
      STUFT Mama says:

      Thanks for stopping by! Yes, being healthy is so so important while going through all of that. 🙂 Good luck with your treatment, I know it’s a difficult process.

  5. 5
    Meagan says:

    Girl, I feel you! So been there…very similar journey…healthy and much happier now but, like u said, think it will be a lifelong journey:-) And I, too, hate that if my skinny jeans don’t fit I become an unhappy person!

    • 5.1
      STUFT Mama says:

      Meagan- I know, I wish how snug my jeans fit wouldn’t mess with my head sometimes. But…….. we’re in a better place now and that’s what matters. 🙂 Glad to know others have been there too.

  6. 6

    I haven’t ever commented before but I was feeling bad about myself today too for some reason and I couldn’t blame it on “the weekend”… I really don’t like when my mind tricks me into thinking bad things because deep down I do know how far I have come and seeing this post reminded me everyone has bad days but we get over them and keep on going! It’s very motivational for me to see how far you’ve come! And those boys are too darn cute!

    • 6.1
      STUFT Mama says:

      Kinley- yes, why does our mind do that to us? It’s so not nice. It always seems to come at times when you really don’t need that added pressure too.

  7. 7
    Liz Anglin says:

    Kristin- I didn’t think you could be more inspiring then you already are but after reading your post, you truly amaze me! Love the preggers pics too! As I started back to work today, your post is a great reminder to work towards balance by keeping my mind and body healthy and enjoy every moment with my little one! See you soon 🙂

  8. 8
    Erin says:

    Thank you so much for sharing, Kristin. It can’t be easy but I agree that your struggles are what make you a real person who is relatable. I’m so glad that you’re in place in your life where you can focus on your health and on being a great mom and wife. You look great!

  9. 9
    Cindy K says:

    What a great post. You were always cute, skinny Kristin in my eyeballs. <3

    Also, I love the comments. So many people read your blog and it seems like more and more people are seeing it. Wee!

    • 9.1
      STUFT Mama says:

      Cindy- thanks! It’s so funny how you can feel a certain way and have other people’s perception of you be totally different. I think it’s mainly just about feeling good and taking care of yourself. 🙂

  10. 10
    Robin Baker says:

    I love you! Awesome job sharing. I bet it was very therapeutic. I’m surprised you didn’t start this post way back in junior high and high school – I worried so much about you throughout the years, especially freshman year of highschool when you were 88 pounds. You HAVE come a long way. I am so PROUD of you. Keep up the good work. You have always been beautiful, even with a little extra padding (in your eyes).
    Miss you! Hope I can join the exercising fun soon 🙂

    • 10.1
      STUFT Mama says:

      I know right? I COULD have gone way back, but then the post would’ve been pages long. ha ha ha! Miss you! And if I was happy and healthy with that extra padding, it would’ve been all good. I just knew that I wasn’t taking care of myself then. Remember our collages in 7th grade? Now that takes me back….

  11. 11
    Hilary Stewart says:

    Kristin! I read HALF of this post earlier and had to leave! I COUDN’T WAIT to come back and finish it! My favorite one yet! I love how honest you are, I know most people can relate to this struggle. Thanks for sharing, you’re awesome!

  12. 12
    Cheryl D. says:

    I think it is SO hard being a mom, wife, employee, daughter, friend, and sister! It’s so difficult for us to take care of ourselves, though it’s of the untomost importance we do, or we’re absolutely no good to anyone. You’re post has touched me to my inner core. I have gone through the same path as you. Bad eating habits then extreme exercising to counteract the bad eating habits. I am now to a place where I’m healthier than I was 10 years ago but I have a ways to go before I hit the goal I’d like to achieve. For now, I’m happy with being me though. ((hugs))

    • 12.1
      STUFT Mama says:

      Thanks Cheryl. It’s so nice knowing others struggle with the same things. I’ve never been one to open up about it, but it’s comforting knowing others can relate. I’m so happy for you that you’re at a healthier place now. Baby steps all the way! 🙂 Hugs right back at ya! 🙂

  13. 13
    Angie says:

    WOW – I love this post. You are so honest and candid about the challenges you have been facing through your life. Your persistence to work with and through them and to take that struggle and make it part of who you are is really inspiring. I’ve had a chance to catch up on your blog too and a lot of the posts take me back (your Beaker impressions and our group exercise “classes” growing up)!! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and I will continue following!!

    • 13.1
      STUFT Mama says:

      Angie!!!! Sooooo honored to get a comment from you! Love that you were there through the Beaker and exercise “Classes” phases with me. Ha ha! 🙂 YOU are amazing with all you’ve done with Oda!!! Hugs!!!

  14. 14
    Shannon says:

    I love, love, love this post!! You are amazing and inspiring!! Thank you so much for sharing…I got your email (thank you so much!!) and have been meaning to respond, but every time I sit down – I get interrupted. Story.Of.My.Life. LOL

  15. 15
    Tara says:

    Enjoyed the post. I had the same experience with my pregnancy, finally seeing food as fuel and nourishment. It lasted for about the next 6-12 months pp but then I fell back into the cycle of emotional eating, boredom eating, crash dieting, etc.

    I strive to re-find that balance and just take things meal by meal. I know I’m so much healthier now than I was back then.

    • 15.1
      STUFT Mama says:

      Tara- I know, it’s so hard. Once you think you’ve totally overcome it and then you get something new thrown at you. 🙂 So glad you’re healthier now. Meal by meal is a great idea. 🙂

  16. 16
    Annette says:

    Yes… the college 20+ in my case. There is something that happens to our bodies and especially minds when we start to “diet.” I never had a weight problem until I started on that not so great journey in my life. I don’t have great memories of college being 175 pounds and feeling so horrible about myself. It consumed every waking moment of my life. It is amazing what exercise can do for a body, soul, and mind. It puts perspective in our lives and gives us some “me” time… which is much needed for any woman, especially a mom. I have really enjoyed your blog. You are an inspiration for so many people. I really don’t know how you do all the things you do. Don’t beat yourself up about not having a perfectly organized house. You are doing a superb job. The boys are very lucky. I cannot believe how great you look pregnant. I think I have 2 pregnancy pictures from all 4 kids…. I wasn’t very proud of the 2 humps I always got on my stomach. I always wished I could have the cute round basketball. 🙂 Have a great week.

    • 16.1
      STUFT Mama says:

      Stop it- you look GREAT pregnant. And now- you look just plain AMAZING!!!!!!!!! And yes, exercise is WAY underated. If only more people would give it a shot.

  17. 17
    Michelle Fritzler says:

    WoW!! This post hits close to home. Thank you so much for writing this post and sharing it with us. I feel the same way you did but know that I have to put my best foot forward. I was lucky enough to run through my whole pregnancy but got some very weird looks for sure. My little girl get the luxury of being pushed in her BOB stroller for 50-60 miles a week but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

  18. 18
    Halle Kline says:

    I don’t know if I have told you this before. When the members “mistake” me for you, I take it as a compliment and it makes my day. 🙂

  19. 19
    Denise says:

    Goosebumps today Kristin! I don’t always have time to read your blog but today I was drawn in and it was SPEAKING TO ME so clearly! Thank you! I think my own journal might have had the similar words in it today. I was wanting to eat poorly this afternoon when I was so tired…almost drove to In-n-Out…but then thought of BALANCE…and the journey of losing 50 pounds and how hard that was…. I can’t go back. I agree that it is ok to have a bad day, weekend or moment. It is only a crime if I ever let it go that far again. I miss our summer stroller classes and the great fun with all you other moms! Thank you all for your inspiration!

    • 19.1
      STUFT Mama says:

      Oh Denise, I’m out of words. I TOTALLY get it. Sometimes it’s just hard to put things into perspective. You have worked so hard and look absolutely FABULOUS! You know what’s funny- I used to gaine the same 5 pounds or so every fall at the beginning of the school year. I was not good at handling that transition. I am soooo proud of you for soooo many reasons. You are amazing. I miss you too! At least we know we have many years to come to hang out and have our little ones grow up together. He he!

  20. 20
    Jaime Rayfield says:

    I love your honesty…Thank you for sharing. You are an amazing mom and friend!

  21. 21
    Georgia says:

    Well you look amazing! You’re very inspirational!

  22. 22

    What a great story. It is so inspiring to see people who get healthier as the years go by – so often it’s the opposite. I see a lot of myself in your story, although mine lacks the “and then I turned a corner” part! I love to exercise, but often it is for the purpose of burning off indulgent eats rather than making my body strong. I’m working on that. I’m also working on eating more whole foods and less processed foods, especially dessert (my weakness). I plan to try out some of your healthified cookie recipes next time the sugar craving hits.

    • 22.1
      STUFT Mama says:

      Meg- desserts are totally my weakness too. I bet one of these days you’ll “turn a corner”. Awesome that you love to exercise and yes, I’m with you on avoiding processed food for a bit. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  23. 23
    Carrie says:

    I just now stumbled onto your page and I am SO glad that I did. I am one of your “normal” girl side kick’s that struggles with all the above issues too. Although, I am not yet the mother I dream to be, I’m hoping to be some day hopefully sooner than later. Until then, during, and after I do my best to stay active every day and do my best at not “burning out”. I too try my best to eat whole good foods to fuel my body now and have for the past 5 years or so. Anyhow, I’m always intrigued and happy when I stumble across women like you who are highly motivating and positive and most of all “REAL”. I love that your a mother of twins juggling it all and “making” it happen, which gives me hope that when my day comes I will be as great or motivated as you 🙂 Thank you for sharing your journey and I look forward to pop in and being motivated by you daily 🙂 Here’s to you wonderful day of meeting Stuft Mama 🙂
    Carrie, San Antonio, TX

  24. 24
    Christina says:

    Love your story, it’s incredibly inspiring & motivating. I am 4 1/2 months pregnant right now & I’ve been struggling coming to terms with the limitations of what I can and can’t do. I’m only pregnant with one, but seeing you do all that while pregnant with twins makes me feel like I can continue on. Thanks for the inspiration.

  25. 25

    You look amazing! And your boys are adorable!

  26. 26
    Allison says:

    I was clicking around on the blog and found this. You have no idea how much it helped me today! I have been working and working towards better eating habits but last week I just felt like giving up and have gone back (a little) to my old ways. I really needed to hear that it happens to other people and that you can get over it- and stay determined.

    I thank you for the inspiration!

  27. 27
    Amy says:

    im pretty sure ive read this post multiple times but i love to read it for motivation! i now have a 3 month old so ive been bustin my buns to get back in shape. i love seeing moms who get it done! it gets me movin. you look awesome! congrats on your beautiful family too!

  28. 28
  29. 29
    Kristen says:

    I just had my first baby 8 weeks ago. It’s so inspiring to see uou so healthy and fit after your babies! I just discovered your blog and I am so looking forward to being a regular reader! 🙂

  30. 30
    Lisa says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few months but just found this post today (linked from your “About” page), and what an inspiration is was to me, at the just right time too. I’ve had similar ups and downs and struggles with how much to eat and exercise, and WHY I eat and exercise (or don’t 🙁 ). I’m in a pretty healthy spot right now, bu today was a day that had me thinking a lot of old rough thoughts and reading this post was very inspirational and shook me out of that a little bit. So thank you! Thanks for your candidness and honesty, and for sharing with your readers.

  31. 31
    Laura says:

    Oustanding post! Just came across this and am training to run my first half marathon (after having twins). They are 11 months old now. I struggle with all these SAME issues. I’m loving being a Mom and finding I have to MAKE time to run, so I have more energy and feel better.

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your blog!! Thanks for your honesty and creativity.


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