Sweat Ambition

I love to sweat!

Yes, my motivation for those little drops of salty goodness will have me try almost anything! Lifting weights, Mud runs, running, flipping tires, and even standing on my head to earn a shirt decorated in moist shapes! It wasn’t always that way though. Motivation didn’t always come easy.

What’s your back story?

 Did you know there was a day I didn’t sweat at all?! I mean, like never. Even when I did workout, nothing. It wasn’t because I didn’t drink enough water, it was because I didn’t put enough effort in. I got to the gym (with a mocha in hand) and got on the elliptical. 30 minutes of lack luster movement, 3 times a week so I could say I worked out. This was my routine for the 9 months I decided to workout, out of 10 years. I know that is kinda scary, huh? Over 8 years of seditary life, filled with food and drink choices that my now self cringes at. I was no more unhealthy than someone who was morbidly obese, I just weighed less.

Lifestyle is everything, no matter what size you wear. Truth is there is a whole generation of skinny fat people who mentally influence people struggling with a weight society considers unhealthy. For some reason we feel inferior to people who are having similar health issues. Society says skinny is healthy. Not true, health isn’t a size of jeans, or a way a bathing suit fits. It is healthy fat to lean muscle ratio, consistent physical activity, and positive mental choices. Well rounded wellness creates healthy people. I was living proof of the stereo typing that swore health was a body size. I was 5’7 113 lbs. of skinny fat. My body fat was 17%. So I know you are calculating that and saying 113? 5’7? Anorexic? Nope. I ate all day every day with absolutely no weight gain or purging. Can you guess why? Because I was malnourished. A life of soda, coffee, processed food, and minimal activity can mimic obesity health issues, but create nutritional deficits. I ate nothing with value, every calorie was empty. I was slowly starving to death with a plate full of food. My body craved sugar and salt, and my immune system was running like someone army crawling through mud and under barbwire. Low and slow. If there was a bug I caught it, and antibiotics became my drug of choice.

 What changed? 

 Many days I sat at my desk and typed away at my college papers, while I nursed a newborn baby. Seditary, comfortably miserable, I couldn’t stay focused because I was exhausted with anemia and lack of sleep. I was 190 lbs and my baby wasn’t gaining weight. My mind was else where thinking of how she could be so sick when I nursed and had quit smoking over a year before. All the things society said would make us both healthy, but neither of us were, we were constantly sick and on medication. We became pin cushions, having tests ran bi monthly to check for cancer, on both of us. Funny thing was, no one did this to me when I was skinny and sick all the time, no one cared because I looked the part. Add 70lbs and omgosh! You are obese and your weight is making you unhealthy. Hmmm. Maybe it was really because of our diet and our world record time of couch surfing. My kitchen was jam-packed with pantries of processed products, and a fridge of fake food.(like what I did there?) I fed my kids sugar filled cereals for breakfast, prepackaged lunches, and frozen meals for dinner. I microwaved everything and we all ate while we watched tv. The most we moved was to get into the car to go for fast food. Ding! Ding! Ding! We found the problem. 

 I got the wake up call of my life when they deemed my 4 month old failure to thrive. I was the reason, my milk had no nutrients. I was failing at the one thing I my body was built to do, and now I had to stop. My lifestyle was spilling over to my kids. I was scared enough to change. My sweat motivation started with fear. 

What did you do to start?

I watched the biggest loser…really. It took months to work up the courage to take a garbage bag through my house and unload the crap food. I had to mentally bully myself to throw my favorite treats away. I put notes up so I could remember how fat I was when I went to eat and my skinny pictures on my mirror to remind me of the failure I had become. The notes often said things like “You are so fat, quit eating”. Finally, one day I cried hard enough and felt low enough to clean out my house. Then I started to watch food network to learn how to cook. I sat for months writing down recipes and going to thrift stores to find healthy cookbooks. The food got better! But the portions didn’t, so neither did the weight loss. And that is how it stayed for 2 years. Negative self talk and sitting in front of a tv for motivation.

What happened next?

I decided I wanted to run a mile. I don’t know what triggered it, maybe my college health class. So I downloaded a couch to 5k, this specific one to be precise. Click here. I got a pair of running shoes and made a christian workout playlist (find it on pandora). I started walking my son to school every day and hit the track by the parking lot. I decided to be faithful to my commitment, because that’s how I roll. (if you know me in my private life you know the depths of that statement) I followed the plan, and it worked. I promise I had extra weight, bad knees, a heart murmur, migraines, a new baby, and plenty excuses to hold me back, but my passion had me like GOOOOOOO! I also started joining a local fitness group, ran by another army wife. Oh crap, I forgot to tell you during all of this time I was an Army wife, living on an Army base far from family and friends. Another time, another blog. I can’t remember how I found Kim, but she changed my life forever. She wouldn’t let me negative self talk, and she was so kind when I struggled. I remember crying after the first class, because the reality of the journey I had ahead of me was so heavy. I knew it wouldn’t take months to lose the weight, it would take years of changing my lifestyle. I went as often as I could and ended up bringing almost all of my friends to class! I got a month free every time someone I referred joined, that is motivation. Kim is the kind of personal trainer I want to be. Money isn’t the motivation, motivation is the focus. I was living and breathing growth. I didn’t see the scale move mountains, but it sure was inching away at my waist. Sadly, it came to a screeching hault.


In the military that stands for end of time served. My husband got medically retired, we joined the civilian world in Seattle area after 5 days traveling across country (fast food). Though that sounds easy, I swear it was turmoil. Really hard stressful, we didn’t know who we were anymore confusion. Not only did we have mental stress we had no place to live and no money coming in. Thankfully we had family who let us stay with them for a month til we got our first retirement check. Once we were in our apartment (house wasn’t ready to close, and didn’t for 7 months) we had little to no ability to cook. The movers refused to deliver to an area smaller than our load, and thankfully let us continue to store it on the base for free. But we had no furniture, kitchen ware, or belongings. Seriously just a box each with clothes in it. Depression set in. Along with crappy eating habits. Ramen, mac’n’cheese, and pb& j’s were all we could afford. So life wasn’t exactly the environment we had been accustomed to and we fell back into seditary life and old weights for a few months. I eventually got so depressed I picked up my Bible, that sounds bad, but let’s be honest God is typically someone we only want when we are in trouble. And I was. I got so hungry for spiritual food, I stuffed my proverbial face. I read all day everyday until one day I finally listened to what I was reading and I said “What the crap are you doing? God gave you all you need to succeed and you are wasting it” (I had a full conversation with myself, I may or may not have been a tad lonely). So I once again packed all the crap food and kicked it to the curb. My friend Lexi got me signed up on a women’s fitness community called What’s Beautiful (it was painfully obvious to others I was lonely too lol) and I decided to join #Sweataday on Instagram. I took it one day at a time, until felt comfortable standing on my own. I was humble and eager to be taught. I had built up the trust and now I was ready to take the real walk of faith and rely on God to provide.

What does that even mean?

I had to take the struggle out of the mix, and work with what I had. I used the apartment gym, hunted for a track, and made freezer meals in the crock pot. And guess what happened next? I got deemed my husband’s legal VA caregiver. And we closed our house! Do you see the provisions? I didn’t apply and I couldn’t make a house close, I kept the faith and he answered big time. (*If you aren’t a believer please understand I will never push you to believe, only you can do that for yourself. I will only share my testimony any time I can but never will I condemn you.) Not only did things start getting better financially but we got moved into our house and finally got our belongings! Including all my home gym equipment.

Please tell me this chick makes friends!

I decided I was sick of having no friends and got on facebook and searched for local groups. I found another mother who wanted to get some mommy time and lose a little extra cupcakes too! Hi Misti!!! She became my bestest buddy and her little guy became Celeste’s first real best friend. We met up pretty much daily (I was always late, she was punctual to a fault) to walk the trail in our town and eventually turned that to running. Yep. Two girls, two strollers, and a whole lot of clumsy. We were quite the pair. I was an injury machine and Misti, she was still always on time. I mean what the crap?! We took on Sweataday, 5k’s, 10k’s, and a mudrun! We motivated each other and kept each other loaded with sugar! I make the cakes she made me bread!  We didn’t lose any weight, but we sure had great tasting hangouts! When summer hit we mastered the art of activities with 6 kids in tow. It was a blast. Some of the best memories of my life. We even started training for our first half marathon together. Cue the sad violin,  Misti moved to Colorado. It was quite a heart-break for me, but we used it, we found our selves in fitness.

Yoga became my miss Misti workout. I found the gym in my town had a great teacher and I started practicing. My fun with What’s Beautiful and #Sweataday had led me to win a few swag bags from Under Armour as I progressed through my set goals. I also found a few sisters along the way, my team, the Beastmode Beautifuls. We became bonded through a UAWB challenge and found it was great to have girls to challenge us to be better. I was so motivated by them, I decided I wanted to kick my fear and go for some goals that were huge. Bigger than anything I had ever done, strength yoga and distance running. I knew both would require time and training. I hired my yoga teacher at the gym to teach me private yoga so I could work on head stands and proper alignment. Hi Georgina!!!  She became one of my friends and still to this day challenges me to find myself in my practice and to set intention. I also learned to love paddle boarding/ sup yoga from her. I feel like God has gifted me friends for divine purpose in my life. Even if they are only here for a season.

You are enough!

Here we are. Sweat and motivation. Goal smashing and growth. I can’t even tell you how many times I cried writing this blog, remember in the pain it took to get to who I am now. This girl who shares pictures on instagram, she is real. I have overcome struggles, loss, I have failed and back tracked (a few times) but I am still standing. I am still fighting, and still learning. My only hope is you can see this mess and realize we all have excuses, and setbacks, but it is time for us to comeback strong. I pray that this blog has a purpose someday and that if I can help even just one woman stand up, learn to love herself, kick the self bullying, and fight for herself then it accomplished its mission.  I can’t do it for her but maybe I can be honest with my story. As clumsy as I am, I am just me. Bad grammar and good intentions. And that is good enough.

xoxo Carleeh

Sweat til you SHINE!


  1. As I sit here crying, laughing and remembering that one time ..I miss you more then words can say. I feel so blessed to have you in my life. You opened doors for me, opened my eyes to bigger and better things. When I didn’t believe in myself YOU believed in me. My cup runith over my friend. A heart felt I Love You .


    • Truly the blessing was mine, you were a God send when I needed a friend the most in my life. I can’t wait to watch you excel in your running and I swear I am coming to your first marathon! Love you too girl. And those boys!


  2. This post brought tears to my eyes! I share similar sentiments as you – being honest with our stories and hopefully helping others along the way. After all, community, and really BELONGING is what life is all about. Great first post, Carleeh! You’re well on your way. 🙂


  3. OMG, I love your honestly and I love the way you are writing!
    I was a skinny fat girl, unhappy, never satisfied, powerless and since 1 year I realized (through ClassPass) how important is to live a healthy live. I gained weight, build some tiny muscles 😉 and ” Strong is the new skinny! ” You’ll not help just one girl, I’m pretty sure, you’ll help a lot of girls who are looking for motivation for real people! I’m one of them. Thank you so much Carleeh! Can’t wait for your next post!


  4. I’m so stoked that your blog is up and running! Very often I say “I wish Carleeh was here to motivate me” but the truth is that you have the ability to motivate me from a distance…literally across the country. You’re a constant source of motivation for me and more importantly one of my best friends in the world. The way I see it, Misti and I are pretty dang lucky! Love you!


    • Awe Jilly, this touches my heart. Trust me everyday I wish you were near! Could you imagine if you, Misti, and I all lived in the same place?! We’d be some running, fit chicks! I say we all meet up for a girls trip. It would be hilarious!

      I absolutely love having you as my best friend, you are the most loyal friend ever. Even through all my struggles you never once judged me or made me feel less worthy. I love ya.


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