Hi there! I am Arielle Namenyi, and this is my transformation story. I first want to thank the many people who have loved and supported me throughout my journey. I really appreciate it and you guys have helped way more than you know! Hopefully this story will in turn be able to bless and encourage others. Cheers!
Before any pregnancies I was experiencing fatigue and digestive issues, with many doctor visits and tests yielding no results. I tried everything, from an 11 day water fast to eating only raw foods. I felt I was feeling my best when I was exercising regularly, getting enough rest, and eating strict (I was eating mostly fruits and vegetables and gluten free free grains). I would exercise about 1.5hrs a day (approx. 10hrs a week) a mix of cardio and weight lifting. I made sure to also take vitamins and probiotics... even with this strict lifestyle I was feeling my "best" but definitely not optimal. I was still struggling with fatigue, felt hungry, and cold most of the time (also experiencing brain fogs and anxiety and just all around a struggle!)
Because of my health my husband and I were not actively trying to start a family. After some time (about 6yrs of marriage) we both had peace about having a baby and I became pregnant with my daughter! I was a little nervous about pregnancy and giving birth since my health was already not up to par, and indeed pregnancy was super hard for me... I felt horrible! After becoming pregnant I still exercised regularly but started literally eating everything (those cravings were so bad!)
After giving birth to my daughter, everything was so new for me as a mom, and my new baby was so difficult and barely slept! She was crying most of the time and I had the best luck of getting her to sleep by going on walks with her in the carrier. I went through some pretty bad "baby blues" (aka "My life is over!!!") and after several weeks I tried to pickup exercising again... but I was exhausted and couldn't find time to exercise like in my single days for over an hour a day! I tried to go back to my old diet but I was an active nursing mama and felt like I was just not getting enough calories (I ate almost a whole watermelon and was still hungry... I was like "I'd have to eat all day if I want to nurse and eat like this, but I don't have time, my baby is soooo needy!").
Anyways, we went through other life changes and I put my health on the back burner and tried to raise my little girl. She started to experience some skin rashes at around 5 months that I thought was related to food, so I was cutting out some food from my diet and noticed I was losing some weight... I also tried to do about 10min of HIIT exercises I downloaded for free a much as I could.
I noticed the HIIT workouts were slowly helping me get more defined and I loved them, and my changed diet helped, but I was still much heavier and out of shape than before I got pregnant.
When my daughter was around a year old I became pregnant with our son, and I was a little nervous because I knew how much I gained from being pregnant and nursing from my first pregnancy, and I knew mentally it would be rough to not care for one child but two (and I had a really difficult first time experience with a newborn!) But I knew it was worth it, I figured I would find a way to be fit after recovering from birth.
Well I gained A LOT with my pregnancy, and even more while nursing (I almost feel I gain weight more nursing than with pregnancy). I kept gaining and gaining, was not actively exercising, and was going through major postpartum depression.
Making The Choice To Get Fit
It got to the point where I was so fatigued I could barely walk up the driveway to my car without huffing and puffing. I was depressed, tired all the time, weak, my mind was in a fog, and all around yucky! I saw what an effect it had on me and everyone around me, and I knew I just couldn't be there for my family feeling this way. So I decided I really needed to do something about my health! My second born was already one and even though I was still nursing, I tried to do my old routine from before I had kids. FAIL. Still felt like I needed more calories, and I tried to do some HIIT workouts but was so out of shape and exhausted I only did a few minutes here and there.
I actually struggled to look at past pictures of myself. I felt so bad of how far I've come with my health. I used to look at old pictures of myself and think "I didn't think I looked that great back then... what was I thinking? I wish I would look like that now!!!"
One of the hardest times is when us bridesmaids went to try on dresses for my sister's upcoming wedding... I couldn't fit ANY of the sample dresses! Some of the other bridesmaids had to use clips on theirs because the sample dresses were too big... I couldn't even zip mine up! I definitely was feeling really fat, ugly, and down that day... especially when I was told what size of dress to order.
Maybe it was time to try something else? I looked into "Trim Healthy Mama" a couple times... some of my mama friends were doing it with success, but every time I looked into it I started to feel overwhelmed. I looked into different diet types, but none of them suited my current situation. I downloaded free workout apps but didn't have a real workout schedule. Nothing really worked. I remember just thinking, "I wish I had a personal trainer that would work with me and just give me a specific workout and meal plan to follow... someone who knows what they are doing and someone that I can see is teaching me how to be fit because they are also fit... but who can afford something like that?"
Finding "Radiant Me"
One day I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and saw an ad my friends liked called "14 Day Metabolism Reset". Now for me, I rarely (and I mean RARELY) click social media ads because they just scream "scam" to me. But the ad intrigued me because it was a "Metabolism Reset" not just a "lose weight magic" thing, and the fitness trainer noted that she does this exact same program when she gets ready for a photoshoot (at this point I think we most likely know this was Marina Santos). I was thinking "This girl looks amazing, and everything she says about health sounds legit and I LOOOVVVEE that she does HIIT because I love the fact I could get a good workout in a short period of time with no equipment! And there's a workout plan and meal plan... and a money back guarantee. If this is a scam I can always call the credit card company, but if it's not, it's worth a shot!"
So I did it. I bought the 14 Day Metabolism Reset and threw in The Body Sculpting Series during checkout. I was ready to start to get my life back on track.
The 14 Day Metabolism Reset
I did all the prep for the reset and was excited to start. I'm not going to lie it was hard at first! I was so used to eating everything I struggled with craving my "usuals"... bad. I could barely finish the workouts and had to modify all of them, but I still tried my best and did the best I could. I was pretty consistent with exercising, although I did slip up a couple times on the eating part (for instance, ate some Goldfish crackers with the children, etc..).
I worked so hard during the reset, and although logically we don't change in a day of being healthy, I would look at myself in the mirror every day and think "I'm working so hard and I don't see ANY change!" But I wanted to give it a chance and I'm glad I took measurements and before and after pictures because after the 14 days even though I didn't look too different in the mirror, I was feeling amazing and lost inches!
After The Reset
I really wanted to try the Body Sculpting Series, but I knew I still wasn't fit enough to start. So I just continued the exercises from the Reset (not the recipes) and tried to eat "clean". At this point my son stopped nursing so that helped a lot with me trying to eat less. At this time Marina was coming out with her new recipe book "Radiant Clean", so my goal was to do the workouts from the Reset and then start the BSS as soon as Radiant Clean came out (that way I would have new recipes to follow during BSS!).
A few months after started the Reset, I started the Body Sculpting Series (and actually didn't use any of the recipes from Radiant Clean, but I DID use the tips for making clean choices which was worth its weight in gold because it got me on the groove of thinking to how to eat clean and not following specific recipes).
The exercises were tough but I wanted to see it through and not give up... I had to see if this program worked and in order to do that I needed to follow it. I also thought about the other girls on our Radiant Me Facebook member page... I'm sure they wanted honest results and feedback of these programs, and I couldn't share that with them if I didn't complete the program 100%!
Well the 12 Week Body Sculpting Series went by fast... and by the time my sister's wedding came along I had to get my bridesmaid dress altered a few sizes down! I was feeling so good... I had to buy new clothes because I was too skinny for my "fat" clothes but too big for my old "skinny" clothes. I almost threw my pre-pregnancy clothes away because I thought I would never be that small again, but now it seemed like it could be a possibility!
So that became my goal... to fit into my pre-pregnancy "skinny clothes" again.
After The Body Sculpting Series
I felt amazing after the Body Sculpting Series, and lost sooo many inches and was fit and strong and my mental clarity was huge! These programs to me were like a training for a lifestyle change, not a temporary diet, so I decided to just keep repeating the Body Sculpting Series and eating clean (how I learned from Marina... 80% lean proteins and fresh stuff and 20% everything else) and I just kept losing and losing and getting stronger and stronger. Losing weight gradually was amazing for me... because it's a lifestyle change it STAYS OFF!
After about a year since I started The 14 Day Reset I was able to fit my old "skinny clothes", and went from a size Extra Large to Extra Small. I always dreamed I could have a before and after picture of my fitness transformation... and on the anniversary of the day I started the Reset, I did it! It was amazing to reach so many goals in only a year! I remember I would look at weight loss transformations for inspiration, and a lot of them were after a years time, and I was thinking "A year? I don't want to wait a whole year to reach my goal!!!!" But yessss it's worth it! I'm so glad I started when I did because I am so thankful for where I am now! If I didn't make that choice to have a lifestyle change I would still be where I was back then... or most likely worse off.
And yes, lifestyle training gets easier and easier! I still crave junk sometimes, but most of the time I don't even desire the yucky food because I just know how gross I feel after, and exercising has just become a part of my schedule. If we do something enough, it becomes like a routine. And I eat waaaaayyy less than before because my stomach can't fit as much inside at once any more. I have more energy and am much stronger... and I can walk up to my car without huffing and puffing plus beyond the hills... and I don't feel like I'm going to faint every time it's over 80 degrees outside!
Tips and Tricks To Stay On Track
The mind is a powerful thing... first comes first, you need to put it in your mind that you want to do this. If you don't want it, it's not going to happen. There are going to be days when you are working so hard and don't feel like you're getting the results you want, but if you put your mind to it that you will see it through and not give up you will get results. So many people give up within the first few weeks because they don't see the results they want. Before you start, put it in your mind that you are going to stick to it.
In the beginning I would often look at other people's successful weight loss transformations and that would encourage me to know that I could do it too!
I really appreciate the private Facebook group that I got accepted into after purchasing Radiant Me. I didn't think I would care for it, but it helps so much to have other women around you that are fighting for the same thing, sharing their struggles and successes (and you sharing too), and trying the same programs you are. A community like this helps so much with motivation!
The Base Of My Motivation
The base of my motivation is definitely my faith. I try to learn and encourage myself from the Bible every day, and the teachings in there about spiritual health definitely translates to the physical. I believe health and fitness are not only physical, but mind, body, and spirit are one and each need to be taken care of to reach optimal health. Without a strong mind and spirit, I would never be able to accomplish what I have with my physical body.
Another motivation is definitely my family and friends. Being unhealthy, I wasn’t able to live up to my full potential of taking care of my family as a mom and a wife and having enough strength and energy to be there to help others.
If my motivation was just to lose weight and look good, I would have failed a long time ago. My motivation runs much deeper than the surface, and that's what helped keep me going.
Finding The Courage To Share My Journey
I was thinking to share my fitness journey for a while now... but I kept getting held back because even though I went through an amazing transformation I was still struggling with different things in my life and not always making the best health choices. Then I realized... I am human, I am going to not always make the perfect choice, and if I wait until then to tell my story, then I'm never going to tell it! I just want everyone to know that I definitely DO NOT take care of myself 100% the way I should, and I'm not afraid to admit that. I do my best, and when I mess up, I don't give up but get back up again and keep going. Doing my best and not being perfect has definitely yielded results even better than I was hoping for. The main thing for anyone is DO NOT GIVE UP. Don't be perfect. You can't be. Do your best, and your best will get you there. I am sharing my story because in case there is someone out there that may be going through similar things that I have, maybe my experiences can encourage them. I used to read success stories all the time during my weight loss to encourage me... for some reason, seeing someone being successful and sharing their story and realizing they are a human just like me encourages me that I can do it too... I just need to put my mind to it. I'm not special by any means... I am just like you... human. If I can do it, you can do it.
You got this!
The Story Continues...
By The Way... Got Pregnant Again!
Click Here To Read My Journey Of Trying To Keep Up My Fitness During Pregnancy and After The Birth Of My Third Child! >
“I used these programs not as a temporary diet to lose weight, but as a personal fitness trainer for lifestyle change.
It’s tempting to just want to see a big change in a short period of time, but little by little is the key to training, discipline, and keeping the weight off. After time, you will be thankful you started when you did.”
“I’ve had all kinds of people make comments about me, but in the end what you tell yourself and thoughts you allow to replay in your mind is really what will effect you the most. Thankfully we all have the choice to choose what we allow into our thought pattern.
What do you think about yourself?”
Special thanks to Marina Santos / Hudson for her programs literally changing my life. Thank you!
Got a little extra time to read? Below are some valuable things I learned so far that helped me so much on my journey.
I hope it helps encourage you too.
DON’T RELY ON WEIGHT: I can’t stress this enough… NEVER EVER rely on only your weight to track progress! So many fall into this trap… and weight is so deceiving and may even be discouraging despite you making progress. I didn’t weigh myself at all during my weight loss. The most effective way to track progress for me is MEASUREMENTS. Pictures help a lot, but even those can be deceiving depending on angle, pose, etc. I personally like to use both MEASUREMENTS, PICTURES, and how old CLOTHING FITS to track progress.
DON’T LET NEGATIVITY BRING YOU DOWN: This goes along with what was previously said about other’s comments and what kind of thoughts you replay in your mind. So many people I know have given up on their goals because of the negativity of others. Honestly, I do think people mean well and they don’t intentionally want to discourage you, and even I sometimes say things without thinking and don’t even realize how it really affects the person. If you are being thrown some negativity, DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY. This is your story and no one can make decisions for you but you. Love ‘em, know they most likely mean well (even if they don’t still think they do lol), and go about your business and feed your own mind positive and encouraging thoughts. We can’t rely on others for happiness… happiness is a personal choice we make for ourselves.
STOP COMPARING: Ugh, I still fall into this trap on a number of levels, but there is a difference between being inspired by someone and comparing myself to them. When I bought the Reset, I looked up Marina to see her background and saw many beautiful shots of her. I was thinking “Man, I wish I looked like that.”
News flash… I’ll NEVER look like that. She’s like almost six feet tall, nice slim features, tan skin, very fit hourglass shape, beautiful brown hair, (and may I mention AMAZING abs)! Me on the other hand… I’m 5’3”, round features, pear shaped, blonde hair, and fairly fair skin. And it’s great!!! We’re all unique and our bodies are absolutely an AMAZING gift. I’m never going to look like Marina, or anyone else. I am me, and I want to be the best me, not somebody else. And that goes for being a wife, mom, friend, etc…. life is so full to be surrounded by different people with different personalities, opinions, and experiences. It makes life so colorful!!!
SAY YOU WANT, NOT CAN’T: A little mind trick I played on myself (especially in the beginning of my transformation) is instead of saying “I can’t eat this” and denying myself, I say “I don’t WANT this”. Then I decide I will “treat“ myself to something that’s good for me. Psychology is so powerful… it’s all about perspective.
FOOD IS FUEL: Food is fuel, not an enemy. I had to retrain my brain on this, because in my younger years my health was so down that it seemed like everything I ate made me sick, I felt the best when I didn’t eat, but I can’t survive not eating! Soon food began to feel like my enemy. But like a car, we need fuel to run, and if we use cheap fuel our cars will have more problems down the road… but if we fill up with the good stuff our cars will last so much longer and perform so much better! Because food is fuel, empty calories is a waste… if we want our bodies to run well we need to fill up on what our bodies need.
And like a car, if it sits around for years without being started it will start to develop problems. It needs to be used to keep up performance… same with our muscles. Exercising keeps up our strength while we fuel up on goodness to keep the energy running.
COUNT THE COST: Everything in life you need to give up something to get something. The saying is true that “nothing is for free”. The big question is “what is more valuable to you?” Even when you go to the store to buy something, you need to decide what is more valuable to you… the money in your pocket or the item you want to buy. If the item is more valuable, you will leave the money and take the item. If the money is more valuable, you will leave the item and take your money away with you. This rings true even with what we choose to eat… by counting the cost of eating something that will taste good for 2 seconds and then you feeling horrible after, or eating something better for you and you feeling great after, you need to decide which is more valuable to you. Taste or health? Feelings of defeat or victory? Is it worth it?
DON’T OVERTHINK IT: With exercising, don’t overthink it (aka “I’m too tired” or “I’m not sure I have enough time”, etc.). Just jump in like a cold pool… there’s a higher chance of you jumping out of the water using the stairs than jumping right in.
Just say “I’m going to exercise right now” and do it without giving much thought. You will feel so great and refreshed after, trust me.
MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU: I realized I needed to find a fitness and diet plan that fit MY lifestyle and my personality. Just because something was working well for someone else, doesn’t mean it’s right for me (and just because it works for me doesn’t mean everyone else will like it too). Some of my friends liked exercising by doing their own thing… some dancing, some Zumba, some yoga, some going to the gym, etc. Diet-wise some were doing keto, or trim healthy mama, intermittent fasting, counting calories, high carb, low carb, vegan, and the list goes on and on. If you are lost in choices like I was, give it some time to try out things and see what works best for you, your body, and your lifestyle.
For me, I found my favorite way to exercise was HIIT with no equipment… good workout in a short period of time and I can do them anywhere. I am all about routine so I don’t mind doing the same 12 week exercise plan repeatedly. Food wise, I’m not a recipe person so I just learned what “clean” eating meant and applied it to my random “whatever I have around the house” meals… in addition to that, there are still a lot of foods that Marina has in her programs that I don’t feel well when I eat. It’s okay, I listen to my body, and eat what makes me feel great.
Listen to your body, pay attention to how you feel, and find your own personal preference. It’s okay to be different than your friends. As long as you maintain your body with exercise and fuel up with good stuff for you, that’s the main goal.
KEEP IT SIMPLE: I am blown away by what I hear from people who want to be fit… so many people are doing stuff that (for me) is downright SO COMPLICATED! I actually became discouraged because of this when I was trying to figure out how to lose weight, because nothing was simple or practical enough for me. I knew from experience that if fitness is complicated, I will last for a bit and then lose momentum after a while. But if it’s simple, I can carry it on and include it in my lifestyle to bring lasting changes.
What I did during my transformation (and keep doing) is HARD, but it’s simple. HIIT workouts at home and eating clean/listening to my body. That’s it. No counting calories, no counting macros, no food pairing, no special purchases, nada. And simple has helped me to not stress about the details, enjoy life, and still get results over time.
CELEBRATE THE LITTLE VICTORIES: At least for me, I had unrealistic aspirations about weight loss. I was impatient and wanted to lose weight fast. When I did the 14 Day Reset, I was hoping for a bigger change. But when I did my measurements and saw I lost inches, I celebrated my little victory. I finished the 14 days and lost inches, hooray. Then I kept going… I kept celebrating the fact that I was working out every day, making healthier food choices, feeling better and better… regardless of me working so hard but still being far away from my goal size. And then after a while, it happened… I reached my big victory (and beyond) by reaching my pre pregnancy weight and being the most fit I have ever been in my life. And the big celebration was made up of all the little ones along the way.
DON’T TRY TO BE PERFECT: I’ll say it again… you’re never going to be perfect. Sorry, but no one can be. The goal should not be perfection anyway, the goal is being the best YOU and living a life that is beautiful because of it.
DON’T HAVE EXPECTATIONS: Throw away your expectations… have goals instead. So many disappointments happen on a number of levels just because things don’t turn out the way we expect them to. Have goals, work toward them, and treat it as an exciting journey. For instance, I have a goal to be fit and bounce back faster after having my third baby than with my first two. I don’t expect it to happen, but it is my goal and I will try and see what happens. And if it doesn’t work out, it’s okay. It's still worth it.
IT’S NOT A PUNISHMENT: I really had to train my mind (and still remind myself) to think of exercise and healthy eating as a positive thing and not a punishment. I am being good to myself and taking care of me.
DON’T BE HARD ON YOURSELF: There will be good days, and there will be bad days. Be gracious to yourself. You’re an imperfect human, and that’s ok. I am too.
DON’T SAY “I CAN’T”: Anyone who has been successful will tell you it didn’t come easy, and there were A LOT of failures and difficulties along the way. Just don’t give up. If you have an ailment, work around it, and figure out how to be the best you. Then tell yourself “I CAN”… and do it.
IT’S HARD: Yes, I worked my butt off training my body through discipline of healthy eating, exercise, (and that includes mental and spiritual as well). It was hard… it is still hard. But I learned in life the more we work for something, the more value it has. How valuable is your health to you?
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE: I’ve seen people start exercising for the first time in their 60s, or maybe it’s a mom like me that just let her health run down so far it’s too late to even try to change. It’s never too late. The best time to start is NOW.
HEALTH IS AN INVESTMENT: “I wish I looked like you after having two kids!” News flash, I wasn’t lucky and it didn’t just happen. I naturally do not have a fast metabolism, lived a very unhealthy young life, have a hard time losing weight, gain so much more while nursing, and have a slew of health problems. But I invested time and energy toward my health, and even though I didn’t get results right away, little by little the investment started to “bear fruit”. So many things in life are an investment… relationships, faith, raising children, health, learning something new, etc… the pay back doesn’t happen right away, but oh how happy we are when it does.
NO EXCUSES: For fun I tested myself to see if I really had good enough excuses to NOT do my fitness routine… some examples:
Special Events… For my sister’s wedding I picked out the meat and salad and had fruit for dessert. I’m sure the wedding cake and all those homemade European sweets were good, but I was able to enjoy the wedding way more feeling great than enjoying the not so healthy foods.
Holidays… those are actually easy because there is so much food I just pick and choose what will make me feel good.
Crazy Days… if I know I’m going to have a crazy day I’ll purposely get up early and get my workout in before the day starts. If I really end up missing a day I just make up for it on my rest day.
Menstrual Cycle… every time… I crave junk and definitely DO NOT feel like exercising. But I just do it and feel so much better after. I still need to work on eating junk this time of month (most of it is like I eat my 20% when I’m on my period) .
Traveling… honestly, I love I can do these exercises anywhere! I’ve exercised in hotel rooms, kitchens, closets, basements… even on our two week road trip I would always get up an extra hour early to get a workout in before a busy day. One hour less sleep with exercise is more energizing than one hour extra sleep with no exercise.
Food wise, for traveling I usually pack a lot of healthier dried fruits, meats, and protein bars to snack on. At people’s homes, there’s usually something I can eat. Most people ask if I have food sensitivities before we come, but those that don’t, I make it work (like scraping the breading off fried chicken and cutting the meat off and eating it with a salad… chicken salad!) If they really don’t have ANYTHING I can eat I will eat what’s there just try to watch my portions.
Breaking My Back… Literally… I broke my spine last year (2021) and had to wear a back brace for three months and wasn’t allowed to bend, lift, or twist. Its okay I worked around it… I did a lot of jogging and arm and leg HIIT exercises and I didn’t lose any muscle mass during this period.
Being Bedridden… ended 2021 and started 2022 battling three horrible viruses (while being pregnant) that lasted for THREE WEEKS… and my husband and kids were sick too. I literally barely ate and could barely get out of bed. Still, I maybe missed two days of cardio during those three weeks. I was lying down so much I became so stiff and sore, I actually CRAVED exercise. So I did them… just VERY SLOWLY and with more breaks, but I did them. And I spent A LOT of time reading up on fitness stories and healthy recipes (and scrolling through the Radiant Me Member Page and commenting on like every post lol) while I was in bed so when I finally started getting better I was excited to start eating goodies and exercising normal again.
Getting Pregnant… I DO NOT have easy pregnancies and definitely didn’t feel like I have motivation and energy to exercise (especially in the first trimester). But I still did because that wasn’t a good enough excuse for me to stop. And while I gave in to some cravings, I still try to make healthy choices and not say “I’m pregnant I’m going to gain weight anyways.” It’s not about the weight ya’ll, it’s about maintenance for the body. And I bought a special prenatal HIIT workout plan to make sure I do more good than harm when it comes to exercising.
TRUTH IS, there will ALWAYS be an excuse to not exercising and eating healthy… that one more baby shower that will be coming up, that big trip you have planned, some type of physical ailment, etc. It never ends, and it shouldn’t. Lifestyle change is incorporated into your everyday life, busy-ness and all. If you wait until an opportune time, it’s never going to come. Just do it. START NOW. You won’t regret it.
This is my story. We all have different stories, some similar, some very different. No one will have carbon copy experiences like me, because we are all unique. You are unique, and you matter. So…
WHAT WILL YOUR STORY BE?