Mom Guilt

As a working mom, I both dread and dream for Back to School in the Fall.  I dread it because I really do love being homework free, seeing the kids behave like kids and not have to suffer through study and project stress, and I love that there is an atmosphere of calm around our apartment.  But I also dream about it because I crave routine, I find that the kids start to want to kill each other by early August, and with Back to School comes a sense of newness – new goals, new dreams, new friends, new books, new routines. It can be exciting!

And so with the kids taking on a new school year (my son entering Grade 9, and my daughter finishing up her last year of elementary school), I decided that it was also time for this working mom to start a brand new routine of her own – and I decided to call it PROJECT SELF.

Well, let me tell you – Project Self did not start off as planned, and I’m trying to determine why.  Here’s what my objective was at the onset:  To follow the PiYo® 60-day screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-11-00-05-amworkout plan – this seemed to be such a lovely goal – to workout in a less jarring-to-the-joints way, combining Yoga & Pilates with constant motion to get in the cardio, but avoiding the jumping and craziness that I’ve been doing as of late.  I felt as though this would be a great program to help me with my mind-body connection, as well as to help myself relax after long days at work.  I also decided to read a personal development book for 10 minutes a day (to begin, I cscreen-shot-2016-09-17-at-11-00-43-amhose the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey), meditate for 10 minutes a day usinscreen-shot-2016-09-17-at-11-01-04-amg an App called Headspace, and to fill in a gratitude App every morning called Bliss, simply listing one thing that I am greatly for each day.  Seemed eascreen-shot-2016-09-17-at-11-01-19-amsy enough, right?  I calculated that it would take me less than one hour per day to get all of this done.  One hour!!  In all honesty, I should be able to find one hour in my day, right?

Well, day 1 came and I was excited!  I filled in my gratitude app as soon as I got out of bed, had a delicious breakfast with my kids, and then read for 10 minutes.  After work, I fit in the 25 minute workout, and right before bed I completed the first day of learning to meditate with Headspace.  Did it disrupt anyone’s schedule?  Not at all!  Did it interfere with any part of our normal routine?  Again, not at all!  Did it impact my workday – Nope, it was done before and after!  And yet, for some reason, instead of feeling accomplished, I felt guilty.  That’s right, guilty!  I felt guilty for taking 10.5 minutes in the morning, and 35 minutes at night to do thing that made ME happy!  Did anyone in my family imply that I was being selfish?  Nope!!  Did they need me for anything and I told them to wait so that I could get what I wanted to do done?  Nope!!  This guilt was brought on by me, and me alone!  I am guessing that this is what people call Mom Guilt – the guilt that comes to moms all over the world whenever they do something that’s just for them.

My week 1 really didn’t go as planned, but it was definitely an eye opener to me that I really have to stop punishing myself for doing things that make me happy.  And why?  Because a happy mom means a happy home.  A happy mom means that my children are learning the importance of taking care of oneself – I am their role model, and so what am I teaching them if I never stop to take care of myself – that I am unimportant?

And so, starting Monday, I will begin Project Self again – not as Week 2, but as Week 1 again with a clearer perspective, and hopefully a healthier mindset.  Although I do predict that there will be moments that I’ll feel guilty for closing my bedroom door to do my PiYo (and I’ll add, this is done when Bree is in bed and Kyle is in the shower!!), I will remind myself that I’m doing this for ME and I’m doing this for THEM.  Along the way I’ll stumble, along the way I’ll have moments of greatness and moments of despair… but I’m hoping that along the journey I’ll learn more about myself, that I’ll become stronger inside and out, that I’ll have less stress and more smiles – and I promise to blog about this process so that anyone else out there on a similar journey can see that they too are not alone in fighting Mom Guilt and trying to become a Strong Mom!


Insanity – My Personal Experience

Before I can tell you about my recent experience with Insanity®, I first need to tell you what lead me to buying the program in the first place, and why it then collected dust on my shelf for 7 years!!!

Roughly 8 years ago, I felt stuck.  I was unhappy in my marriage… I was unhappy with my fitness level…. I just didn’t feel like “me”.    I’d lost 50 lbs through Weight Watchers, but I still didn’t feel good about myself. I knew that something had to be done, but just didn’t know what.  And then one night while sitting in front of the tv, I saw an infomercial for Beachbody’s Insanity® and I was completely intrigued.  This program looked crazy hard, and yet the instructor seemed so motivating, and the participants in the videos looked incredibly inspiring.  Perhaps this is the challenge that I needed to help find myself?!?  And so, even though I was broke, I called the 1-800 number and ordered the program.  While waiting for the program to arrive, I took another scary plunge and asked for a divorce from my then-husband.  I knew that I had to do something in order to provide a happy, stable homelife for my then 6-year old son and myself, and however scary doing it on my own seemed, I knew that this was my best and only option.  And so there I was – scared to be raising my son solo – scared about how I was going to pay the bills and make ends meet – and scared about the unknown – when suddenly Insanity arrived.  I thought that this was my answer in a box – my remedy!  I sat on the sofa and read the materials, and then opted to watch the first DVD through before starting.  WOW – it was scary just to watch it!!  I think that I was sweating while I sat on the sofa!!  I decided that it was now or never, got into my workout wear, and pushed play.  I have never felt so challenged in my life, both physically and emotionally!  It made me dig deep, and I remember lying in a heap on the floor, drenched in sweat, and crying by the time the first workout was done.  I told myself that I’d get stronger, and that the next day would be easier – but it was still hard, and I still cried.  From the stress of the divorce, I wasn’t eating or sleeping – and so I can guarantee that this made it all the more impossible to complete the workout.  And so, I put the box away, and told myself that one day – one day, I would be ready to take on this challenge, and that I would complete it!

And now, 8 years later, happily remarried to a wonderful man, raising my son who is now almost 14, and my step-daughter who is 11, I decided that I was ready to give this Insanity program another try.  I felt stronger somehow – both physically and emotionally – and felt as though I could conquer anything!!  It is amazing what happens when you feel comfortable in your own skin and when you feel happy!!!

First, let me tell you that I sweat – and I sweat A LOT!!  You know how women say that they don’t sweat, they glisten?  Well, that wasn’t me!  I sweat buckets!  I don’t think that I have ever done any form of exercise where I had sweat dripping into my eyes during the warmup!  And I don’t think that the workouts ever got easier – maybe I pushed myself harder over time or maybe my body simply never adapted – because it was always challenging, and I modified frequently.  (sidebar: modifying is great.  No, you don’t workout less than the person doing it full out.  Why?  Because instead of making poor attempts at jumping or doing deep squats, or full pushups with poor form, you modify using slower and more controlled movement – proper form is always the best option!).

At the end of the 63 days I felt amazing!!  My arms were more toned, and I started to see my abs again.  My energy was through the roof, and my mood and patience level dramatically improved.  I felt strong, I felt fit, and more importantly, I felt healthy.  Now with regards to the scale, I hadn’t lost that much (5 or 6 pounds), but the transformation in my body speaks volumes, and just goes to show you that the number on the scale is irrelevant!

Will I do the program again?  Absolutely!!!  But first I am completing T25, and then want to try Insanity Max 30 – then I think I’d be up to doing another round of Insanity.  It has so much variety, and it is incredibly motivating from beginning to end – you don’t have time to get bored!!!

If you are interested in trying it out, check out my website at – your body and mind will thank you for it!


Which program do I choose from when there are so many options???

This is a question that I get so often – even before I became a Beachbody® Coach.  As many of you know, I’ve always been passionate about fitness, and I’ve owned just about every exercise DVD ever made (yes, iScreen Shot 2015-08-12 at 1.10.23 PMncluding Jane Fonda in her leg warmers!!).  Having ordered many of the Beachbody workouts through the years, including Turbo Jam, Turbo Fire, P90X, Insanity, T25, PiYo, Hip Hop Abs, Brazil Butt Lift, and 21 Day Fix Extreme, I feel that I have some very useful first-hand experience of what works and doesn’t work (for ME anyways!!).

Currently, I am a huge advocate of the 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme programs for a variety of reasons, and I’m going to list some of them now, and then let you be the judge!

  1. I think that I have exercise ADHD – I get bored quickly.  So many programs have you doing the same routine every day, for at least a week, if not for 30 days.  That’s why I’ve quit early with so many other programs out there.  I don’t like repetition.  I need variety.  With the 21 Day Fix and Extreme series, you do a different DVD each day, which means that once yScreen Shot 2015-08-12 at 1.12.49 PMou’ve done a DVD on Monday (for example), you won’t see that workout again until the following Monday.  It keeps my body guessing – it keeps me interested – and I actually find myself looking forward to repeating the workout the following week rather than dreading it!  Also, you do an exercise for a minute, and then move on to the next.  You can do ANYTHING for a minute, right?
  2. Along the same lines of getting bored easily, I’m also busy.  Time is of the essence!!  Some programs promise short workouts, but in reality perhaps only one or 2 of the DVDs will be 20-30 minutes, and then the remainder of them are 45-60 minutes long.  Although there is nothing wrong with longer workouts, I just don’t have the time – AScreen Shot 2015-08-11 at 3.37.12 PMND – I get bored easily!!  I want to have high energy and motivation from beginning to end – if the video drags on too long, I get bored, and I don’t put in quite the same effort as I did at the beginning of the workout.  With 21DF and 21DFX, the workouts are 30 minutes with warm-up and cool-down included.  How awesome is that?!?  A 30-minute workout is only 2% of your day!!  To me, that is doable and realistic with my already busy schedule.
  3. Autumn Calabrese.  I can’t say enough about this single-mom who is a celebrity fitness trainer.  She is motivating, while not too much that you want to smack her!  She hScreen Shot 2015-08-12 at 1.17.20 PMas an amazing body and so is clearly a product of the product.  She has great form, and knows how to teach proper form (a rare skill if you have watched enough fitness DVDs!!). Beachbody has a great reputation at stake, and they don’t cast inexperienced trainers simply because they look good – they hire knowledgeable instructors, and Autumn is one of them!
  4. Nutrition – the color coded containers are easy to use, and you learn how to eat a balanced diet.  You don’t eliminate food groups.  You don’t starve.  You don’t eliminate Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 8.03.59 AMflavor.  It is a sound, well-balanced meal plan that can fit in even the busiest person’s lifestyle.
  1. Results – this is a program designed to show you immediate results. In my first round of 21 Day Fix Extreme, I lost 9 lbs and 11 inches!  My second round fell into my vacation time, and I managed to not gain weight – that is unheard of for me!!  Maintenance on vacation???  And I’m back at it again, and losing weight and inches all over again!
  2. 21 Days – that’s right!  One of the reasons why I love this program is that it lasts for 21 days – not 30, not 60, not 90… 3 WEEKS!!!  Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 1.19.18 PMOnce again, to me, this is doable and realistic.  We are always told to set short term goals, and having a program last for only 21 days allows you to set those goals and actually achieve them in an amount of time that is motivating.  In the past, I’ve quit challenges around day 14 or 15 because I was thinking about how 90 days seemed so far away!  21 days doesn’t allow you the time to get discouraged!

I am sure that I have so much more to say about this program – and there will likely be more blogs to follow –   but I wanted my followers to know a little bit more about this exceptional program.  Check out my site at for more information on both the 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme – either purchased on their own, or as part of a Challenge Pack with Shakeology (more to come on that topic!!).

But what you can learn from this blog is simple:  No matter what you choose to do to get fit and healthy, make Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 1.22.48 PMsure that it is something you are passionate about!  Make sure that it is something that can realistically fit into your routine!  Make sure that it is something that can become a lifestyle!  And lastly, make sure that is a sound program and eating plan – your goal is to become healthier, not sick!

Yours in fitness,

Meet Tara’s family

Milet0865I am incredibly fortunate to have been given a second chance at finding my true soulmate.  Yes, it may sound corny, but it’s entirely true!  Mike and I met a little over 5 years ago, and we each found one another’s “other half”.  I have a 12-year old son named Kyle, and he has a 10-year old daughter named Brianna, and together, we have blended and become a complete family.  We got married in July of 2013 on the beach in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and are living happily ever after!