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Jessica Klopfenstein- Our February Mom of the Month from Plainfield!

Hometown: Fort Wayne, IN

FIT4MOM Member since: August 2016

Members of your Family: Husband Jeremy, daughter Violet

Current/Previous Career: Chemical Engineer / at home for a few more precious months

How did you find Fit4Mom? I met Eryn Kubinski at Target when I was pregnant

What has Fit4Mom done for you (or meant to you)? As an older Mom (I'm 36) a lot of my friends have already been through the new mommy stage of life, so it is great to make new friends who have very small children. It was hard to watch everyone else have kids, but now that I have Violet I just adore our playdates and watching our village children grow.

What was your childhood ambition? To become a novelist or at least a professional book reader.

What does motherhood mean to you? It means learning how to love, and it is a challenge to love myself and treat myself better. I want to learn to live the way I want Violet to live and allow myself to create the fun and friendships for myself that I...

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-Hometown: Oswego

-Fit4Mom Member since: Summer 2016

-Members of your Family: husband Matt, Juliet (7), Beatrice (3)

-Current/Previous Career: 2nd grade teacher (job-share)

-How did you find Fit4Mom? Facebook

-What has Fit4Mom done for you (or meant to you)? I've been able to work out again, start feeling good about myself in clothes, and met some amazing people!

-What was your childhood ambition? To be a teacher

-What does motherhood mean to you? Motherhood has been scary, hard, exhausting, frustrating, amazing, and joyful all wrapped into one!

-What is your favorite exercise? I love working on my core because I still feel like it's my biggest challenge and the part of me that I would like to change the most and surprisingly I don't mind running as much as I used to...

-What is your proudest moment? I love hearing my girls get along and play with each other!

-What are three of your favorite things (besides your family)? Gardening, bike riding, and shopping

-If we asked your partner what they think your...

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Body Back

As I set off to begin another round of Body Back with Fit4mom - (my 3rd round to be exact!) I'm reflecting back on what a benefit this journey has been for my own health and wellness, but many others in my life too!

First off, I have an amazing husband, who makes life happen at the speed of whatever music might be playing at the time! He is an awesome dad who has earned much needed "dad time" with our boys during Body Back. My husband was at first reluctant to miss his partner in crime, or "better half" as I like to call myself...two nights a week. At first, the guilt was heavy as I left home to Body Back on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Yet, we both knew we needed it! I needed the health "kick in the rear" (for our family) and he needed uninterrupted "guy time" with our two sons. As the weeks went by, the results began to show in our healthy choices as well as our time spent focusing on these changes. We worked through food and activity changes for our family together and really began to grow our healthy family! My support system had grown to not just the moms I...

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Meet our January Mom of the Month, Ivy Blasko!!

Here are her responses to questions we asked her!

Hometown:Oswego

Fit4Mom Member since:October 2016

Members of your Family:There are four of us: Jeff, Ivy, Andrew (7), & Dylan (2)

Current/Previous Career:Elementary grade teacher/ Now I'm at SAHM

How did you find Fit4Mom? Two neighbors told me about it.

What has Fit4Mom done for you (or meant to you)? I'm finally able to find time to workout since having my second child and I truly enjoy doing the workouts!

What was your childhood ambition? I wanted to be a teacher.

What does motherhood mean to you? It is amazing, surprising, full of worry, rewarding, and a unique experience. "Nobody said it would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it."

What is your favorite exercise? I love bike riding and circuit training.

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Do you find yourself saying the following things lately?

“It is impossible to eat healthy during the Holidays”

“I will start back on track after the New Year”

“I want to bring something healthy to a party, but I don’t even know where to start.”

The holidays are not an excuse to throw all your hard work and goals out the window. Should you enjoy your Grandma’s famous Christmas cookie recipe? YES! Have a glass of wine at that Holiday party? YES! Everything in moderation, my friends. Besides, when things are NOT taken in moderation, they actually lose their luster and we appreciate them less. So, savor that cookie and glass of wine and call it a day. If you went overboard at a party, don’t beat yourself up over it and then binge more. Instead, forget about it and get back on track the next day. Remember, you are human.

Although filled with fun and family time, this can also be a[JED1] very exhausting time of year....

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So happy to recognize our December Mom of the Month- Jacque VanFleet! Here is some information on Jacque!

Hometown: Streator, IL

FIT4MOM Member since: March 2016

Members of your Family: John (husband), Evan (6), Noah (4), Caleb (1)

Current/Previous Career: part-time Pharmacist

How did you find FIT4MOM? Facebook advertising

What has FIT4MOM done for you (or meant to you)? So many things! Primarily, F4M has given me the accountability and the motivation I needed to make myself and my body a priority. Finally taking the time to do so has made me a better mom in turn.

What was your childhood ambition? To be a scientist.

What does motherhood mean to you? Motherhood surprised me. I always thought (and still do) that motherhood would make me focus on raising my kids to be the best people possible. What I didn't realize was just how much being a mother would make me focus on making sure I was being the best possible version of myself (the kids are always watching!).

What is your favorite exercise? I like a good circuit that...

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‘Tis the holiday season filled with traditions and celebrations with family & friends! This also most likely means lots of opportunities to indulge in good foods & baked goodies. Since my kids are still too young to help cook & bake with me, I have started the tradition of making holiday playdoh with them instead. We enjoy playdoh as a fun family activity, but we also like to give this as fun & easy gifts!

Imagine your house smelling like peppermint and gingerbread for days after making some homemade playdoh! We like to jazz up the recipe with some different food coloring & glitter. You can also use different baking extracts for scents or your favorite essential oils. We use our favorite holiday cookie cutters, such as a Christmas tree or a gingerbread man, and use buttons or beads to decorate our playdough cut outs. It has kept my kiddos busy for hours when I give them different cookie cutters! Then I have time to wrap presents while they’re occupied! Mom Win!

Kids really enjoy making and playing with playdough at any age. Let’s be honest, adults...

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Our November Mom of the Month is Courtney Dattilo! Courtney and her daughter, Avalyn, are part of our Stroller Strides group and we are so excited to have them in Our Village!

Hometown: Bolingbrook, IL

Fit4Mom Member since: September 2016

Members of your Family: Avalyn (daughter 6 months), AJ fiancé

Current/Previous Career: Administrative assistant

How did you find Fit4Mom? Facebook

What has Fit4Mom done for you (or meant to you)? A place for me to meet other area moms, a way to get Avalyn & I around other moms and kids and just out in general!

What was your childhood ambition? To be a Realtor (which still may happen!)

What does motherhood mean to you? Motherhood has caught me by surprise, it means more to me than anything ever has or ever will. Motherhood was that one thing I didn't know I needed

-What is your favorite exercise? Anything Stroller...

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As moms we find "Our Village" in many different ways. It takes a lot of courage to walk into a new group and meet new people, new moms, new families. Especially for new moms trying to figure it all out on their own. Stroller Strides is a safe place to find your village. We are all moms just trying to get through. Here are five moms to look out for at every Stroller Strides class and why you need them in your life.

The Over-Prepared Mom

This mom has snacks, toys, stickers, blankets and jackets for each of her children. No matter the situation to arise during class, she's got it covered. She can pull a new toy out of her bag of tricks without even missing a squat. Find this mom first. Make her your best friend. Did your son drop his pacifier in the mud? Don't worry, she has an extra for you. Did your daughter have another blow-out diaper and you forgot to refill the diaper bag? Don't worry, she has one in just the right size (even though hers have all been potty trained for months).

The Fit Mom

This mom may have been in...

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“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new.” This quote stuck with me after recently seeing it, but last week I found myself fighting the old me quite a bit. Some high and not so great moments from last week:

Working out and running have become something that I actually look forward to doing! Yes, you read that correctly. I can’t believe I’m saying this and a couple months ago if you would have told me I’d ever feel this way I would have said you were crazy, but it’s true. This is a MAJOR success for new me!! I hadn’t worked out for about 4 years before starting Body Back, and workouts were something I had always just got through, but NEVER enjoyed. Lisa does an awesome job of coming up with workouts that are different and challenging for each class. Tuesday’s ladder workout was one of my favorites since it basically kicked my ass without actually killing me, though it came close. I loved that one of the other moms in our group pushed me and motivated me to finish strong when I felt like I may slow down. That’s one...

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Week 1 is done.. AGAIN! Congrats to all the new moms.. you survived & you’re all doing amazing! And welcome back to all of us returning form session 1 who were crazy enough to sign up for another 8 weeks!

Yesterday I walked into the gym with a big goal of running for an entire hour at 5.8 on the treadmill without stopping! A part of me (old me) thought that I wouldn’t be able to finish, that I’d have to slow down half way through, or that I might actually die while doing it, but new FIT4MOM me pushed through & ran almost 6 miles in 60 minutes. Holy crap, HUGE win! 9 weeks ago that goal would have been literally impossible for me. Before my first session of Body Back, I hadn’t run at all since before having my two boys. Well, except to chase my then 2 year old who would often take off at the park & after a few yards to get him I’d feel as if I’d ran a marathon. Nine weeks ago, after my first week of Body Back session 1, I got back on the treadmill for the first time in years & attempted to run one mile at a 10 minute pace. I use to do this no problem so I...

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First let me say that I don't walk around the house talking about how much I hate my body. I don't look in the mirror and cringe. I don't avoid being in pictures with my children. My husband knows that I'm not happy with my body. I also know that he loves my body. That has certainly not changed after three pregnancies. If anything, he is more attracted to me now than ever. I understand the new movement for women to love and accept their bodies as they are. Stop hiding, stop shaming ourselves. No two women are built the same and we have to stop comparing ourselves and instead be happy with who we are.

All that being said, I do not like my mom body. I gained a fair amount of weight with my first pregnancy, and it took a normal amount of time to lose most of it. With the second pregnancy I gained less and it came off faster (possibly due to chasing a two-year-old while nursing an infant). But, the third pregnancy snuck up on me during a busy and hectic out of state move. It took me longer to lose that weight (probably due to the stress of a move and being stuck inside with...

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One thing I’ve yet to master in BodyBack in addition to a perfect plank or not hating burpees is better time management. Hence the timing of this blog post….week 6 coming at you at the end of week 7! So let’s combine both weeks and talk about their struggles and successes.

As evidenced by my delay with blog writing, making time has been hard! Making time to meal prep, making enough time to shop smartly at the grocery and making time for a good workout. I haven’t fallen off the wagon, but it’s been hit or miss the past 10 days. I really notice the difference when I don’t make the time to do these things well. If I don’t meal prep, I’m all over the kitchen while wrangling kids and that’s just a disaster waiting to happen. If I don’t plan ahead for the grocery, I fall into old habits and just grab what’s quick or what I’m used to. This week I had 15 minutes at Jewel and left with lettuce, tons of fruit, chicken and mini cupcakes (and I ate 3 on the way home). And when I don’t plan a whole day ahead for my workout, I get busy like the rest of us or tired like the rest of us...

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Usually I write about the week’s struggles and successes. This week I of course had them: finishing the neon 90s workout-heck yeah; going for a great double stroller run AND beautiful hike in the same day-high five; but celebrating that with some donuts-whoops.

This week I wanted to focus on something else-my gratitude for this group.

The phrase ‘it takes a village’ comes to mind. Usually we talk about this in reference to the efforts it takes to raise a well-rounded child. But in this instance, I’m applying it to what we’re all doing for one another along our fitness journey.

Each class I see us encouraging one another and pushing each other to make it through one more rep and finish the workouts. In the Facebook group I see us applauding one another for the work we’re doing outside of class, sharing workouts, recipe ideas and motivation. Individually I know we’re each making connections outside of class and bonding over things in addition to the workouts. Personally, I’ve had a stressful two weeks with childcare and several of you mamas jumped in and gave...

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Week 4 was a mixed bag of successes and setbacks.

Lisa’s post about week 4 being a pivotal one really resonated with me. It talked about this being a pivotal point in which new behaviors either start to become habits, or they start to fall by the wayside. In week 4, I’ve been pretty split down the middle! I feel like I’m teetering on the edge and could go either way.

Successes for the week (this is a HUGE one)-this marked OFFICALLY one full month of ZERO fast food! I’m talking about no drive through OR quick fix dinners out of a box. You guys, this is so huge for me, you have no idea! What’s crazy about this is that when I started BodyBack, in my head I absolutely said “I’m all in for the workouts, but I have zero intention of committing to the nutrition” Ha! This past week I was actually rock solid on the nutrition aspect, but not so diligent on the workouts.

Which brings me to point 2-the setbacks. Workout wise, I only got in 2 this week. 2 out of 6. 33% is not what I was striving for….but keeping it in perspective, I would have done 0 of 6 were it not for...

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“You have to start somewhere”.

That’s been my mantra for this past week and a VERY important thing to remind myself of after this past weekend.

Let me set the stage:

Hubs and I are STOKED to have Valentine’s Day reservations at Uncle Julio’s, our fave. Mind you, the reservations are the blue-hair special at 4 in the afternoon, but beggars can’t be choosers!

I’d thought about this all week: I was looking forward to a night out and an awesome meal. I got a workout in earlier in the day and had been mindful of food choices all week. I figured I’d go and enjoy, but not over-indulge as tends to be my norm with any sort of Mexican deliciousness. I remembered Kellie’s post in our accountability check-in, where she said she took out only the chips she planned to eat from the basket so she wouldn’t eat too many. Genius!

Well, that plan was all fine and good. Until 1 margarita turned into an entire bottle of Patron and I was practically swimming in a vat of queso dip. Willpower defeated! The next day I felt guilty. And hungover. But mostly guilty....

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Super Bowl 50. Whether you were watching for the game itself, your favorite player (hello, Mr. Manning!), the commercials or, let’s be honest-the FOOD, it was a major focus this past week.

This mama over here wasn’t focused so much on the Super Bowl itself, but rather on another EPIC rivalry…the Battle Royale playing out in my mind, body and stomach between the ‘Old Me’ and the ‘New Fit4Mom Me’.

Lemme tell ya, ‘Old Me’ really wanted that trophy and fought long and hard all week to tear ‘New Me’ down. But, the past 2 weeks of support from ‘my village’ and the hard work we’ve all put in so far have really paid off and at the end of week 2-‘New Fit4Mom Me’ won!

Some highs and lows this week:

Workouts-I’m loving them! Each class I’ve been a bit nervous about making it through the workouts and how I’d feel afterward. The Super Bowl workout was not only an a** kicker but a ton of fun. I love that the workouts are always different, challenging and somehow designed in a way that I’m able to max out without passing out! Each class I am surprised in a good way...

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You know it's funny- since starting the Body Back® journey with these 15 amazing moms- people often ask me how it's going and how they are all doing. One of the parts of Body Back® that I was nervous about was "the scale". I have never owned my own scale. I've never measured my fitness based on what the numbers said. So I was nervous introducing this concept to a group of women that would probably be struggling with their postpartum weight. What if the numbers didn't drop? What if they became discouraged? What if they just became so focused on that? How could I keep them motivated?

We are almost two weeks in to this journey, and I can already tell you that it's about so much more than that and it's more than just showing up to workout.

These women are all beautiful, strong, powerful mamas. So why are they taking Body Back®?

It's about change. It's about wanting more for themselves so that they can give more to their children. Sure- the numbers dropping on the scale for some is a huge motivating factor, but the numbers will never tell the whole truth....

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Week One is DONE! And I didn’t die!

Round of applause for myself and all the other awesome mamas embarking on this journey.

A week ago Sunday, I was super excited for this to start, but also super nervous. I had the ‘first day jitters’ akin to starting at a new school and wondering who I would sit next to at lunch.

Sunday morning I was running down my very long list of all the reasons I should just wait and start working out later (famous last words). Cue the sad whiney violin music as I run through my list of why it wasn’t the right time:

Husband works crazy hours so I’m an exhausted single mom 6 days a week, crazy busy time at work for me right now, our 3 year old is giving us a run for our money in every way possible and our 9 month old still refuses to take a bottle(seriously!), I’ve NEVER been a group workout person (as in, never taken a single group class before), I’m really embarrassed about how I look right now, February is coming up and I.LOVE.CHOCOLATE…etc, etc.

THEN, I thought about all the reasons it WAS the right time. I had gotten...

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