I am Nardia (@fitdastruggle) 34 years old, mother of 2, fitness instructor, and coach. I love everything exercise, I enjoy helping, motivating others and letting them know that we all struggle with living a fit and healthy lifestyle. Some may make it look easy and it can be, however, for the mass majority it isn’t. Myself being an athlete, U.S. Army vet, and fitness instructor, it doesn’t get any easier when you add kids to the mix.
In 2010, I was training clients part-time and going to school full time with my first daughter, Nylah. Then in May 2014, I became a full-time working ( Sheriff’s Officer) mother of two, now 7 years old and 3 years old, full-time wife and full-time homemaker. After my second daughter, it was hard for myself to get back into fitness. I was working nights and coming home to a newborn and a 4-year-old. I felt like a zombie. My support system was my husband, however, he was gone for weeks and months at a time due to military duty. We had recently bought a house which moved me away from my clients and my group classes. I then reach out to people via social media to offer support and accountability to each other, doing free fitness online through a variety of social media platforms. Deciding to use social media (mainly Facebook and Google Hangouts) to help hold me accountable because even the best of us need a little push. That little match became a flame. I then saw that small group of two us grow to too many that Google hangout could not support. Because I had a newborn and due to my work schedule, working out at home was best. I’ve never been a gym goer, therefore, I promote investing in yourself for a healthy lifestyle and exercise at home and outdoors. Not letting the fact you don’t have a gym stop you from getting fit, being fit and staying fit.
I chose the social media handle “da struggle” because of everything I was dealing with. A not so perfect marriage, working nights shift, new baby, a toddler, depression, not liking my weight gain. It was rough. It was a struggle. My struggle since having my 2nd child…. Even if I just motivate one person with my story I’m ok with that. Let me just say sorry for the length but I wanted you to get the full picture. When people are looking from the outside in I’m sure they mostly think, “Nards you don’t know what it feels like to struggle with weight all your life!” And you know what they’re half right, I’ve always been athletic. However, I’ve had my own struggles as I’ve gotten older (life happens)… injuries and illnesses from my Army days, bad back, screws in my feet–everyday pain or swelling, arthritis in my Achilles, plantar fasciitis, PTSD, depression and internal health issues like hypothyroidism, high prolactin from my pituitary gland– makes it so difficult to lose weight. But I’ve been a fighter and a no excuses type of person.
In 2014, after the birth of my second child my life changed so drastically —new baby (a little postpartum depression of dealing with another child), we just bought a house, started a new shift at work (11pm-7am) and the extra 35 pounds of insecurities—I was overwhelmed. As strong as we think we are—yeah I just pushed this baby out, no meds, no help, yeah I did that—the mind can break you down. Postpartum is something we hate to admit as women. It made my insecurities more emphasized; this isn’t me I was seeing when I looked in the mirror. Whose body is that anyway?!! And even though my husband is like, “babes you look good, you just had a baby”. He had no freakn clue! It’s not they are the ones experiencing the body change. Having a child changes your body, it changes you and not everyone bounces right back. And let’s be real its just isn’t the same anymore—gravity and breastfeeding …urgh! Not to mention taking care of this little person while trying to take care of yourself can bring you to your knees. And as “working mommy”, you are already doing so much more.
When I just had the baby I lost 13 pounds right off the bat and I was amped and started exercising 4 days later. But as soon as I went back to work 6 weeks later, I didn’t last more than a week. I had no plan, no time management, and no motivation. One of the hardest things was to adapt to the shift change to overnight. My reason for the shift change was financially or little family couldn’t afford childcare for 2 kids. It was and still is the most difficult adjustment. I would work from 11pm-7am, come home have the baby, hubby took our oldest to school and I would just pass out, most days not even eating much. Then I would get up and pick up my oldest from Preschool at 2:30 pm and from there be up until the next day to repeat the cycle. But as the baby got older she slept less, less sleep for mommy.
Wishing I could drop her off somewhere, a family member a daycare, something just for some sleep. New Jersey is expensive, average daycare is $1100 a month in the area we live. Ridiculous! Not to mention my oldest was still preschool age and that wasn’t free either. The best option for baby is to keep her home.
It’s hard being a fulltime working mom by itself and finding time to do everything: work, cook, clean, laundry, grocery, take care of miscellaneous things, homework, take care of a baby, spend time with the family, and then now to add time to get back in shape. There isn’t enough time in a day. Make me a clone dayum! On average I would 2-3 hours sleep Monday to Thursday. That doesn’t include when I work overtime or doubles.
It took me about 6 months after going back to work to start back exercising. I started at the beginning of Nov 2014 and said I’d lose the weight for my birthday but that didn’t work. I had no motivation. It took a month of trial and error, not to mention falling off the wagon a few times to get right. It wasn’t until December 5th that I went all in. What changed from November to December?? That Thanksgiving pic of myself I saw…did not like it at all. This time around I had a plan, I had motivation—my body—and my mind was right.
Life can be so crazy that it’s easier to just not do anything. But I needed the exercise! It kept me sane, helped me relieve stress and makes me feel so much better.
During my journey, I had to do lots of changes/reassessments along the way. Mainly trying to find an eating routine for my crazy schedule. How do you eat when you’re up for 20 hours of the day?!! I’ve tried different patterns of eating to get it right and I’m constantly adapting and making changes as I go. Protein shakes and homemade smoothies as my meal replacement have helped me eat less and still get the nourishment I need and I don’t feel like I’m overeating.
One of the things that help me is having a workout at home/outdoors. My little gym may not be huge or have all the equipment you find at your average gym but it has everything I need. It saves me time. It’s convenience when all I have is 30 minutes. I can run downstairs or even outside and get it done and not waste that time to get to the gym or trying to find a sitter. An investment in myself because the best project you’ll work on is you, body and mind!
Fast forward to almost three years later. I have grown my social media following to help other women and men too, on changing their lifestyle and becoming more active. I now offer online coaching, personal training meal plans, Live workouts on Instagram (fitdastruggle), Facebook and have created an online Free Fitness channel via Youtube (BodyLabTV).
Family, friends, and fitness keep me going. I love living and I’ll do anything that will help boost this life of mine. Exercising and motivating others does that for me. Exercise to be fit, not ‘skinny’ Eat to nourish your body, living is worth the #dastruggle.