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Did you hear? School is out! Yes – already. Usually this is the time of year we’d be sitting down to write out our summer bucket list, but this year we won’t be doing that.


I know, it surprised me too! You can read all about that on my latest for Kansas City Mom’s Blog – Why We Won’t Be Making a Summer Bucket List. It’s worth the click over!

Know how else this will make this a simpler summer? I’ve committed to not working as much in June and July. I’ve scaled the schedule way back, in favor of making more memories with my kids, and making summer truly more about relaxation and less about stress. I’m hopeful this will also enable me to catch you all up more often on here!

Summer plans include a trip to New England (the first in 4 years), and we’re all so excited about that! Aside from that and a couple of short summer camps for the kids, our summer plans are nonexistent. This will be all about spur of the moment, simple fun.

So here’s to a Simple Summer, and more sharing here on the personal blog!

Simple Summer

I’ve been on quite the up and down, hot and cold, on and off, journey to health in the last 8 years. I’ve tried the gym, I’ve bought DVD systems, single DVDs, the Wii Fit, even training for a Half Marathon last year.

The gym was always fun (there was one M-W-F class in particular that I loved), and I did trim up a bit, but it was pricey, and I thought “I can do this at home”, so we didn’t renew.

The Half Marathon training was largely not fun, but the race day itself was exhilarating! While I saw my endurance improve (obviously), I didn’t notice any weight or inches lost benefits during those long months.

The DVDs have always been hit and miss with me. Always. I’d start something, all excited and ready to do it, and by week 3 or 4 I was usually fizzling out. Last summer I did better when I pre-printed 3 months worth of calendars, filled in my workouts, and checked them off as I did them. I think I made it 6 weeks or so into that one.

Needless to say, I’ve experienced a lot of frustration over the years. I’ve always been focused on the number I see the scale, and my desperation to not only trim my tummy (thanks, kids) but to also get back to my pre-triplets weight of 149. That’s really all I wanted, and was it really so much to ask?!

Guess what?

The number on the scale is just that… a number, and it doesn’t mean a thing.

I mentioned several weeks ago that I was in the middle of a 90 Day Challenge, and that it was going well. I’m thrilled to say that I completed Day 90 yesterday!

Before & Afters, after completing a Bikini Body Mommy 90 Day Challenge

I wish I could show you another set of before and afters, because WOW, sadly I’m not in appropriate attire 😉


Total Inches Lost: 16.25!

Tremendous Strength Gained: Abs, Legs, and Arms

Clothing Sizes Lost: Unknown, but I suspect at least one, given how many belt notches I’ve moved!

Plus, you guys, I’ve been keeping around this pair of favorite jeans, in hopes that some day they would fit again (we all do this, right?). For the last 8 years, I haven’t even been able to get them halfway on. I just tried them again this morning, and not only could I wiggle them on, but if I lay down I could button them! Obviously they aren’t even close to fit for public viewing, but my gosh – I pulled those suckers on! This. Is. Huge.

Did you notice I haven’t mentioned my weight yet? There’s a reason. The biggest, most important lesson I have learned during this 90 day challenge is that the weight doesn’t matter. I need to stop being so wrapped up in that number, and so focused on my end result being a certain number. If I had only been measuring my challenge success by the scale number, I would have given up by week 6. My total weight lost, after 13 weeks of busting my butt and carefully choosing (most of) what I ate? 3 pounds. For real.

What I Learned {and maybe tips for others}

Measure, Measure, Measure! 

When Briana says to take your measurements and take those embarrassing before pictures, do it! Seriously – if you skip this step, you’re going to miss out on a ton of information that will help keep you motivated in the future.

Write Down Your “Scores”! 

When I tried a BBM Challenge last fall, I didn’t write down my “scores” for each move, like she said to. I brushed it off and thought “no big deal”. This time I went ahead and ordered her Success Journal. Right away I saw the error of my ways from the first time around – writing down those scores for each and every move helps push you harder the next time! It’s hard to push to improve if you can’t even remember how many of that move you did 2 days ago, so having a journal to flip back through is key.

Because of that journal I know that I went from only 18 seconds in a kneeling plank on Day 1, to holding a plank on my toes for 1:40 by the end of the challenge! Because of that journal I know I could only do 10 tricep dips in 50 seconds on Day 1, but on Day 90 I was able to knock out 35 in those 50 seconds. Seriously – write your scores down!

Counting Calories Doesn’t Do Much For Me.

For much of the challenge I was diligent about logging my food (and even measuring it) and staying within, or close to, my calorie goal for the day. According to the number of times the site said “if every day was like today, you’ll be ____ in 5 weeks”, I should have lost more like 10-15 pounds, not 3. I mixed it up – tried eating more, tried eating less, tried less dairy, fewer carbs, more carbs, more protein, more fiber, etc. I played with it a lot, especially from about 6 weeks on when it was clear I wasn’t really losing weight.

Do you know what did finally do a little something for me in the weight loss category? Only tracking how many servings of fruits and veggies I was getting each day. I made myself a little check-box chart for the week, and was shooting for 7 servings of veggies and 4 servings of fruit each day. Typically I was eating 4-5 servings between the two total, so this was a huge increase for me. Know what? The week that I hit that veggie goal 4 out of the 7 days was my biggest loss week, but more important than that, it was also the week I felt the best.

So I’m done counting calories – I’ll just keep my chart up on the fridge and shoot for filling myself up with lots of F&Vs and eat other stuff in moderation. Far less stress!

I Love Bikini Body Mommy the Most! 

Know why? Because she’s real and relatable to me! She’s out of breath, just like me. She needs to pause for a few seconds sometimes, just like me. I watch her transform slowly, just like me. I’ve had enough of the trainers that don’t break a sweat and seem to enjoy Burpees (sickos!) – give me someone who is also working out in her living room, using just a mat and a set of weights, who needs to catch her breath, and sweats buckets just like me!

So you want in?

Her system is ultra simple. 6 workouts a week, and each workout is only about 20 minutes total (including warm up and cool down) – who doesn’t have 20 minutes to carve out?!

Workouts can be found on her YouTube Channel, or by joining her website platform (click Join Now at the top). Yes – that means her workouts are free!

I recommend starting with 3.0 or later – these results were from 3.0.

If you want a little extra, join her website for only $1.99 a month – then you’ll have access to some extras, like her 5 minute ab series! (Note – I didn’t start adding in the ab stuff until about week 3… I was too sore in the first couple of weeks!)

Find a journal – either order hers, or pick one up at a store. Just find a place to write down all of your body measurements every 15 days, and those all important scores!

Find a buddy. I feel like this is super important! About 5 or 6 weeks into the challenge, a friend and I were talking online about how so many of the ladies that had started with us on January 4th had already dropped out. We decided right then to send each other a picture of our scores each and every day, as a way to help hold each other accountable. Because I knew she was waiting to see my score, there were many times I would force myself to workout at 8:30 or 9 at night! If it wasn’t for the accountability, I’m sure I would have missed far more than 6 workouts total.

What if you miss a day? Well that depends. There were a handful of times I chose to just double up on my workout the next day. There were a couple where I just skipped it and picked up where I was supposed to be, especially back in February when I missed 2 days in a row due to a conference I was helping at. There is no shame in missing one! Don’t stress about trying to catch up – just focus on today.

What’s Next For Me?

I’m a work in progress, so I’m certainly not done! Plus, I have this burning desire to start completely over with my wardrobe, and I can justify that more if none of my clothes fit. {wink}

While we wait on Briana to start the 5.0 challenge (she’s only 6 weeks PP, so not quite ready for filming), my friend and I are going to start her 6 week mini-challenge. If 5.0 is announced while we’re in the middle the 6 week challenge, we’ll just switch to the 5.0, because it’s more fun to workout with thousands of others!

Note: Bikini Body Mommy doesn’t know who I am, nor was I compensated in any way for this. I just love the program and want others to know about it! Plus, I’ve fielded a lot of questions about it in recent weeks, so thought one, insanely long, blog-post was a good idea.

  • April 3, 2016 - 10:20 pm

    Renee Fasteen - Way to go Helen! You look wonderful. I might have to check this out, but rename to bridal bikini challenge!!!ReplyCancel

  • April 10, 2016 - 3:39 pm

    Angela Lindfors - Great job! I’ve also been feeling better with my workouts (mma 2x per week and couch to 5K) but haven’t seen the scale move. I know I should take measurements, but it feels like so much work, haha. might give this a try after my 5k next month. Very inspiring!ReplyCancel

  • April 23, 2016 - 6:01 am

    5 Habits of Fit Moms | Kansas City Moms Blog - […] Bikini Body Mommy 90-day Bikini Mommy Challenge. Free workouts, meal plans, success tracking tools and inspiration. KCMB contributor, Helen, loved it. […]ReplyCancel

  • April 28, 2016 - 6:45 pm

    Emily Janz - I’ve been feeling the need to do something. I lost my baby weight really fast but since going back to work I’ve put it all back on and am not happy. I was searching online for what to try and I remembered this post. I’m going to give it a try. This looks do-able and not too scary!ReplyCancel

The school my boys attend, and that Lily will attend beginning in August (what?!) needs some help with a project, so I’m turning to my blog here to keep people updated on their progress this week! Each evening I’ll update the totals below, so that you can watch the boys’ progress and chip in as needed! 

The Project

Playground Project

The playground the 2nd-5th graders use is in desperate need of replacement. Pieces are rusted, broken, and missing. Gravel needs to be re-dispursed for safety, and these kids need and deserve a fun place to run off energy during their 7 hour school day!


This video is one we made this fall, when we launched a GoFundMe page for the project, and since the making of that video, even more pieces have broken and been removed – there are zero tire swings left! Here’s where we stand today….

Playground Needs

Pretty sad, isn’t it? The school has been trying to raise funds for a few years now, and it’s been slow going. See, we’re a Title 1 school, with a high population of our population qualifying for the free or reduced lunch program. Where schools just 10 miles from us could raise the $40,000 needed in one big auction night, we’ve been chipping away at it, through walk-a-thons, grant applications, and restaurant nights.

At the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year the PTA committed to all fundraisers going towards this project, because enough is enough and this playground needs to be fixed! The year started out with about $8,000 in the playground account and we’ve more than doubled that already this year, which is awesome!

The Fun Run

We’ve now come to our big, final push of the year though… a Fun Run! Our hope is to raise enough money this week to be able to break ground on the new playground this summer! The kids are excited and passionate, more and more parents are catching the vision, and the teachers are all in. Let’s do this!

Starting last week, the folks from Apex Fun Run started visiting the kids’ classrooms to teach them some outstanding leadership and character lessons, while simultaneously getting the students excited about the fun run. My boys have come home excited each day, and been able to tell me the leadership qualities they’ve learned (so far the lessons have been “Dive In”, “be Resourceful”, and “Elevate Others”).

The Goals

Jackson, Ty, and Chase decided to set a goal of raising $1,200 between the three of them! They have to raise funds on 3 separate web pages, so it’s a little different from last year’s walk-a-thon, where they could raise their money as a team.

The kids will run laps, with a minimum of 26 laps being done and a max of 36 laps. Of course my boys are aiming for the max, and they shouldn’t have a problem hitting that (it’ll add up to just over 2 miles)! People can pledge a per lap donation, or make a flat rate donation that then gets added into the lap average.

If you’d like to give, we would love to have your support! You may give to just one kid, or all three – either is amazing! If giving to all three, maybe click through and see which kid is lagging behind and pitch in on that one, just to help ease the angst here {wink}


Chase’s Current Total: $482 ($16.07 per lap)

You can see Chase’s 15 second pitch here on Instagram.

Donate to Chase by clicking here.








Jackson’s Current Total: $487 ($16.26 per lap)

You can see Jackson’s 15 second pitch here on Instagram.

Donate to Jackson by clicking here.







Ty’s Current Total: $504 ($16.82 per lap)

See Ty’s 15 second Instagram pitch here!

Donate to Ty by clicking here!







Plus another $450 so far on the GoFundMe page! WOW!

If you’d like to chip in on the GoFundMe page instead of the fun run pages listed above, you can do that here, and if you’re a member of the Kansas City media and would like to run the story, get in touch and I can get you connected! Let’s get this playground project finally funded!

Meadowmere playground-1

3.15.16 update!