Enjoying a ‘Can Do’ Attitude

My name is Candace Stupek. I’ve been married to my husband Paul for 14 years. We have three wonderful children, aged 12, 10 and seven.

My story is probably not unlike that of many of your readers. I was that long and lanky kid in school, always active and always full of energy. I tried out for the cheerleading team every year, but was never chosen. It almost seemed as if my body would not catch up to the passion I had for athletics.

That skinny high school me was certainly not prepared to meet the 180lb mother of three I would become. After the birth of my third child, I began to experience chronic fatigue and hair loss and just assumed it was a symptom of childbirth. However, during a routine blood test my OB-GYN confirmed hypothyroidism. This, and a photo from a recent family gathering shocked me into taking action and joining a gym.

Things started to go well at first, and I lost about 20 pounds through cardio and meal portion control, but another innocent little test, this time for body fat, provided me with yet another shocker. The administrator handed me my results and explained that I was at risk of coronary problems with an excessive 30% body fat.

I realized that I needed to do more to take control of my health so I started keeping a food journal. I detailed everything. I also started an aggressive training program.

Within a few weeks of improved eating habits, I noticed significant changes; increased energy, sound sleep, and improved endurance. I distinctly remember the feeling of my body getting tighter with each passing day. The mood swings and daily “3PM slowdowns” I had felt previously, were gone.

The better I felt, the more dedicated I became. I cut out all processed foods, all soft drinks and greatly increased my water and protein intake. I went from 30% body fat to 15% body fat in six months and competed in my first triathlon a year later. It got to the point where I felt so good, I would forget to take my daily thyroid medication, and at last check my blood tests were normal and I was told I no longer required them. I finally became the athlete I always wanted to be!

Now, I’m working as a certified personal trainer who is passionate about helping others find the same quality of life I did through active living and proper nutrition.  I love helping Moms, just like me, find their “inner athlete!”

How do you now manage time between family and fitness?
I have to make a commitment to myself on a daily basis. Having a few key items (stability ball, light dumbbells and a band) can help when you are at home with children. I try to get my kids involved with counting my reps, sitting on my feet for sit ups or helping me with the stop watch while I do isolated holds.

Does your family follow the same nutritional guidelines you set for yourself?
Kids have different needs and I don’t expect them to follow my eating plan. I do however, keep healthy foods in the house for them to choose from – natural peanut butter and honey are great examples – and I do steer them towards good, lean protein sources when building a solid meal.

What activities do you participate in as a family?
We love to go on extended bike rides… sometimes as long as 18 miles. We all love to ski as well, and enjoy our trips every year to the mountains.

Please visit www.candacestupek.com for more information on Candace.

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