Get REAL and LOVE being REAL!

Last weekend, I was informed a fellow Girls Gone Sporty and FitBloggin’ rockstar was asked to be a Success Story in Shape Magazine. Woo Hoo one thinks upon hearing the honor. Thoughts of “Others can hear my story! Maybe I can motivate some people who don’t believe to BELIEVE in themselves! Maybe my story will give them hope that they can make changes and become healthy! If I can do it, they can do it too!”. However, it is not what happened…initially.

You see, Brooke Birmingham- of the blog Brooke- Not on a diet was asked to share her story about her incredible 170 pound weight loss and highlight a REAL woman SUCCESS story! YES, a BIG SUCCESS STORY! These stories inspire other women to not just talk about losing weight, but do something. To be inspired by someone they might relate to, who made their dream of weight loss and healthy living actually HAPPEN. Success Stories aren’t models, they aren’t actresses, they aren’t fake. They are the woman in line at Target buying toilet paper, the woman at the swimming pool who you see working on her kick, the woman whose child is on your soccer team …the women you see every day get healthy by making significant life changes. The focus behind their stories, that share the triumphs and failures, are to be relatable.




Brooke is all of those.

Brooke lost 170 pounds and her body is forever changed…mentally and physically! She has a brand new body. One can’t lose that much weight without having physical reminders of their former self. Those reminders shouldn’t be hidden; but embraced. They are reminders of the hard work, the sweat, the dedication, the belief that they CAN make a change, the MOTIVATION to BE THE CHANGE, the LOVE for themselves, the love for the ones they love since they made changes to LIVE LONG AND GET HEALTHY.

Brooke sent the writer her story with her before and after pictures. When responding to each other, she was informed her after picture should be covered up instead of in a swim suit. That it wasn’t “policy”. Why? Going back and forth with the writer, Brooke decided this was an issue. How come they would show other Success Stories in their swim suits, but not Brooke, with her incredible strong body showing weight loss scars of loose skin? She decided to stick to her guns and withdrew her story from being published by Shape. And now her story is viral! It is creating positive change.

Brooke Birmingham Rocking her Success Story photo!

Brooke Birmingham Rocking her Success Story photo!

As a trainer and mother to three daughters, I can’t help but applaud her from the highest mountain top.

Why? Because she stood up for what she believed in. She showed that there is no standard women should mold into. No body is the same, we are all beautiful.

Brooke made a statement by NOT being in the magazine that she is PROUD of her body and should share it like every other Success Story. To open the pages and show a young women struggling with weight issues, who now has a new lease on life gives hope.  Brooke’s story has highlighted how PEOPLE SHOULDN’T HIDE! For all to BE proud of the ONE body you have, be as healthy as possible and LOVE yourself along the way.

Own up to each scar, stretch mark, muscle, laugh line and any other

“life mark” that makes you unique. 

As a trainer, seeing the shift in body acceptance blows my mind in a positive way. A huge part of my job is motivation and retraining people HOW to think. To help them shift their inner voice from saying “I can’t” to “I can and I will!”. The diet and weight loss images don’t always share the true story behind the success. They don’t highlight the mental component to weight loss affecting how one must love themselves in order to lose weight. That is a SIGNIFICANT part of the weight loss process and why 78% of people give up. It is the incredible psychological shift that ranges from telling oneself “Give up, you can’t do this because it is to hard”,”You aren’t strong enough for this” to possibly “You are a quitter, so why try again?”. When the shift happens, the inner voice changes to…

“YOU are a rockstar!”

“You have run 2 miles today- keep on it!”

“Each day you workout and eat right is one step closer to your goal, pat your back girl!”


“You are BEAUTIFUL by being YOU! Strong, empowered, determined, life-changing YOU!”

That is what will hopefully come from the many waves of Brooke’s story.





Throughout my last pregnancy, I documented the process of being a Pregnant Jock. I had never done this before; being a trainer I had felt before that I had to be “perfect”, especially “uber mama while pregnant” when working specifically in Pre & Postnatal Fitness. That is a bit hard on a short 5’1″ body… heck on ANY body it is hard! This time, I knew I would keep it REAL! As real as a Fit Mama Jock is.

Thus,  I shared about the shifts in body image and being excited about each change. I wanted people to see REAL pregnant jocks, not airbrushed photos of models with perfect basketball bump bellies in tiny tanks. My goal was to encourage and motivate other women to feel EMPOWERED, STRONG, LOVING THEIR GROWING SELF and NOT GIVE UP feeling active and GOOD along the way. I promised myself I would keep on it after having the baby too. I would not hide but share a REAL Postnatal body that went through 3 C-Sections. One that isn’t a typical definition of “perfect athlete” and is actively getting back to be strong again. I promised myself I would not worry about numbers, talk to my daughters about how STRONG I feel each day with each postnatal workout and NEVER talk ill about my body. Why? Because I did for to many years before having kids and want them to only know our BODIES are all BEAUTIFUL. We should love what they can do and are capable of! And I haven’t! I have not worried about wearing only a one piece during this postnatal time, but worn a two piece every swim in the pool. I think, “Hey, I feel GREAT! I exercised  hard in my pregnancy, and enjoyed it. I am a real Mom whose stomach, loser skin and stretch marks are incredible! They are what make me …ME.

My “Life Marks”.

Finley Love- 4 Months & Me! Happily celebrating my body along the postnatal journey! 5.8.2014

Finley Love- 4 Months & Me! Happily celebrating my body along the postnatal journey! 5.8.2014


Each pregnancy was a shift on my core, currently another 9 pounds until my “pre-pregnancy” weight… but love my ONE EMPOWERED body. No hiding!

If Brooke’s story can help others feel EMPOWERED and strong in their one body, than progress is being made!! IF we can take away only having images of perfect pictures that are not showing our “Life Marks”, than we are giving the next generation of women (and men) a gift. A gift of love and acceptance, that help us further our individual paths becoming as healthy and confident as possible. To LOVE the one body we’ve been given…And the great news is, as I just finished writing this, Brooke and Shape Magazine’s Editor were featured on the Today Show. Hopefully the times are changing and my daughters, in addition to all other impressionable women in in the world, will all embrace their wonderfully strong and beautiful bodies too!

Jumping into the future of feeling GOOD and strong!!

Jumping into the future of feeling GOOD and LOVING their BODIES!!


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4 Responses to “Get REAL and LOVE being REAL!”

  1. Carla Says:

    I love love love that phrasing.
    Carla recently posted..Don’t tell me you’re proud of me.My Profile


    • Erin Kreitz Shirey Says:

      Thanks bunches- I actually started writing a bit more about them… Life Marks. There are many variations of the word that shape us as people ;) We have told Makenzie her scars from her surgeries were life marks, and to never hide them but be proud of her journey. Works that angle, in addition to weight loss, life surgeries, survival from sickness and good ol’ life! What is your favorite Life Mark on your body Carla?


  2. Ceara @ Ceara's Kitchen Says:

    I love this post and that you and Brooke are both out there showing your life marks and changing the monolithic image of women projected in the media!! Thank you for this inspiring post!
    Ceara @ Ceara’s Kitchen recently posted..My first 15 km race in Bruges & Getting over ‘Silly’ Goals!My Profile


    • Erin Kreitz Shirey Says:

      Thanks Ceara, I appreciate your words. It is interesting being in fitness, an industry helping people to get as fit and healthy as possible, practice lifestyle and then hiding some marks that make us “us”? That is just silly in my opinion. ;)


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