Happy THIRD Anniversary, Happy Exhaustion!

Fit me is THREE!! I’m so big, I can blow out the candles all by myself!

Three years ago today I debuted Happy Exhaustion in celebration of officially murdering 100 lbs. Once upon a (very unhealthy) time I weighed 243.

This morning I couldn’t help but grin as I saw the scale land on the *exact* number it hit on this day 3 years ago: 142. “Should I rename this? Losing 101 lbs?”


The Year Of The Blue Hair Midlife Crisis

Last year I compared my fitness to a 2-year-old child, and Happy Exhaustion continues to age like a little human.

Know how kids are at 3?

Bossy. Freshly assertive. “Put me down! I’m big enough!”

Similarly, this year Miss Fancy Pants Happy Exhaustion got a bit too big for her britches. Instead of applying the established mechanics of Walk Then Run, she tried to swagger. “I got this. No problem. I can mess around with the machine. I’m not a baby anymore.”

Predictably, I fell flat on my 3-year-old face.

My fitness went running into the street after a ball, and my grown ass maternal side had to chase her down and bring her back to safety.

Several months ago, in full Rambunctious Preschooler Mode, I declared my intent to try new things. I was going to shake it up. I was bored with Tried & True.

I didn’t want my peanut butter and jelly, I wanted what the grown-ups were having.

I asked for suggestions and set off to scale new mountains. I was confident that I could do whatever struck my fancy without missing a beat.

I did a vegan challenge, a sleep challenge, a crazy hydration challenge, and I played with fasting. I did it all with an eye to blog posts featuring results and lessons learned.

But those posts were never written. Not yet, at least. I hope to get them out of my system and into the script one of these days, but they’re still too dark and stormy to inspire writing.

My challenges messed me up. My weight spiked up and crashed down. I lost sleep. I threw my blood pressure off.

Within weeks, I was spinning both physically and emotionally. Happy Exhaustion was back in Me Against Me land, and that’s never good.

Pushing things that didn’t feel right made my pursuit of life-long fitness feel like the enemy.

And there it is: The mother of all wellness challenges. Lifestyle Resentment.

That heavy sense of failure when someone else’s regimen that’s supposed to work doesn’t work for me.

Oh, hey there evil head space! “If it works for them and not me, I’m unfit!” You’re such a jerk.

eThe mental snarl nearly made me lose sight of the all-out joy of doing things my own way.

My Way has been undergoing finely-tuned development for years. But it didn’t take long in the Failure Zone to forget to trust myself.

I am both ecstatic and comfortably content to report that a return to *ME* righted the ship.

Back to the gym for my cardio/weights blend. Back to lean proteins. Back to strength, control, and pride.

I chose a path through flames, and I got burned. But my scars are incredibly valuable.

My scars make me a better coach.

I have coached clients towards fitness and wellness goals all year. I am lit from the inside by the victories of rockstars who trust me to help them chart their paths.

I coach everyone to focus on what feels organic to them. My own struggles this year drew bright red circles around that message.

If your approach hurts, if it makes you mean to yourself and your body,


I don’t care if I personally developed your plan for you. If it feels like punishment, then give it up. Give it up NOW. It’s not for you. Step away, turn your feet. Let’s try something else.

We each have incredibly unique thresholds, preferences, and needs. If a workout regimen makes you resist strength, it’s not your workout. If your diet makes you ‘hangry’ it’s not your diet.

Vegan was not my diet. Sleep training was not my happy place. Hyper-Hydration nearly made me lose consciousness. Fasting made me mad.

This doesn’t mean that *you* can’t have the happiest, strongest life as a hyper-hydrated, intermittently fasting, sleep trained vegan. If that makes you feel fit and well, then work it out!

The lesson of the year is Trust Yourself. No one else has to walk in your shoes, so don’t let anyone make your choices for you.

Trusting yourself takes a good deal more time and attention than anybody’s canned diet and exercise plan, so I understand the inclination to sample from the cans. But prepackaged will never last.

What will always, always last is the development of go-to recipes and staple foods that taste delicious *on your unique palate.*

What will last is the workout that feels like hard work worth doing.

Once you find those sweet spots, draw a big circle around them and plant your flag. That territory belongs to you. Own it. Tend to it. Feed and water it.

I’m sorry that I messed with you, sweet Happy Exhaustion Territory. I should have known better than to chase sparkly objects. Thank you for being the home I could return to when I strayed.

I could never have painted on this red dress again without you 😉

people 3

Loved my friends at PEOPLE featuring a 3-year-old on their cover this week!

5 thoughts on “Happy THIRD Anniversary, Happy Exhaustion!

  1. I was reading all your blogs and stories and they are SO inspiring. I was fit my entire life until I had my son and now I weigh 240 pounds. I’m a size 18 and feel bigger than ever. I want to get healthy and have started the gym part but I’m not really sure how to start the food part. Do you have any advice on recipes and what to eat? It seems like dieting or healthy eating is so expensive and hard.

    • Hi, Kaitlynn! I’m getting ready to roll out a recipe series for the blog which I hope you’ll like. In the meantime, focus on eliminating as much sugar as possible (step one: don’t drink your sugars!) and then clean up all of the processed foods. It means more meal prep and cooking for yourself, but the payoff is huge. Hope this helps!

  2. Hi, I’m on my journey to lose 100lbs and you are so inspiring. One of my fears is excess skin. Did you have any skin surgery or how did you handle?

    • Hi, April! Thank you so much for coming by, and for your question. I didn’t have any skin removal surgery, but I will always have my tiger stripes. Making peace with them was a big part of my journey.
      Whether or not your skin will sag depends entirely on the levels of collagen and elastin in your DNA. On one end of the spectrum are the Victoria’s Secret models who have had babies and their skin looks like it never stretched in the first place. It’s not just because they’re thin – it’s because they have tight skin genes. On the other end of the spectrum are the people whose skin just isn’t programmed that way. They don’t bounce back. These are the people whose images are probably in your mind when you think of the excesses you hope to avoid. If that’s where you land, then skin removal is always an option.
      I hope you’ll focus on the health and let the image take care of itself! If you really do have 100 lbs to lose, your health improvements *WHEN, not IF* you attain your goal will be worth any cosmetic issues down the line.
      Get it, girl! Hope you’ll come back around and keep me posted on your progress!

  3. Dear Katey, I’m not sure if you’ll see this, but I feel sick. I read your blog post from 2012 about your daughter, and it made me sad. My daughter is getting ready to turn 17. She is my best friend, and I think I am responsible for her being heavy. I don’t want to sound like I’m exaggerating, but my daughter has heard, watched, and witnessed, not only about my own dieting problems, but also about my terrible eating habits and my aversion to quitting. Your words resonated with me about how she watches and emulates everthing I do, and I’m TERRIFIED. She will be away to college in a year, and this is the only chance I have left to show her the right path. Because I’m weak, she’s weak. Because I’m lazy, she’s lazy. Because I love sweets, she loves sweets. I’ve tried to encourage better habits, but they’ll never work if she keeps seeing me be weak. She even copies my whining about how I try and try and nothing works. The truth is, I don’t try hard enough, and deep down I know it. I expect the quick fix, and so does she. BUT, I know if I succeed, she will see that, and she will want that too. This is my motivation. For her to go off to college knowing what is right and wrong about diet and exercise. I want her to have the tools because I won’t be there to influence her.:( I’ve tried so hard to keep her girl self-esteem intact, and I think I have succeeded in that. She doesn’t have body shame, and that is a good thing, but she is very unhealthy (almost 240lbs.). She needs me to succeed! I need me to succeed! Scared to begin, scared to fail. I feel like I’ve been here many, many times before and failed everytime. What is the secret to sticking with it? I need to know because I can’t fail again. It’s time to be seriously serious. Help us!

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