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    Posted July 21, 2014 by
    Hoschton, Georgia
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Your 'Aha' weight-loss moments

    A Couples Hike to a Healthy Lifestyle!

    Scott & Whitney Carlson

    We are high school sweethearts who got married and gained 20 lbs during our first year of marriage. Dinner was cereal, Hamburger Helper or Rice-A-Roni. That was if we ate at home but most of the time it was fast food from Zaxby’s, McDonalds, or Chick Fil-A. We were both too tired to cook an actual meal and the thought of going to the gym never crossed our minds.

    Scott was working over 80 hours a week and it wasn’t until he left that job and took one closer to home working for a non-profit that he actually made time to invest in his health. He discovered clean eating and weight training and was hooked. I was too shy to go with him and the thought of walking into a gym completely terrified me so it took me a few years after Scott to really make the transition into the gym.

    My diet was pretty clean considering Scott was eating clean but when he wasn’t around I wasn’t worried about eating healthy. After doing numerous office weight loss contests (and actually winning) and counting points I realized that those may help me lose weight but it didn’t actually help me become HEALTHY. My “ah-ha moment” was when I was traveling for my job at the time in Arizona and I was hiking Camelback Mountain. There was a super fit, confident girl RUNNING the mountain and that was where it clicked. I wanted to be strong like her. I called Scott right away and told him that when I got home I would be joining him in the gym. I never had a number (weight) or clothing size in mind. I didn’t want to be “skinny”…I wanted to be “fit”.

    Eating clean and working out has completely changed our lives. Scott went from a waist size of 38” to 32” and I went from a size 10 to a size 2/4 but more importantly we are much happier, much stronger, and have so much energy! We are able to experience the world in ways that we never imaged. Last year we went on a two week hiking road trip out west where we hiked over 140 miles with an elevation gain of over 29,000 feet in 11 days, visiting 3 National Parks (Glacier, Yellowstone, & Grand Teton). In 2012, we went to Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado) and hiked over 24 miles with an elevation gain of over 5,300 feet, Zion National Park (Utah) where we hiked over 14 miles, and Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah) where we hiked over 16 miles. The trips were amazing and they are not something we would have been able to accomplish without being in the best shape possible.

    We had so many people ask us what we do that we teamed up with another couple and run a clean eating blog, www.HeandSheEatClean.com, which helps and inspires thousands of other couples and individuals achieve this lifestyle. I also have a personal blog, www.WhitneyCarlson.com, where I post about more personal fitness related topics and I also throw in some finance posts (since that is my second favorite topic)! I left my “day job” in May and I am now an online health/wellness coach and an ISSA-certified personal trainer.

    When people ask for advice or need motivation this is what I tell them: You can either change your life and live the life you have always wanted or you can continue down the path that you are on. Once YOU have decided that you want to transform and change your life you need to change the way you think about yourself. You must start thinking about yourself positively. This journey is VERY mental. You must believe in yourself and know that you can do it. It will be hard and you will want to give up but you don’t really have that option. You must continue to move forward. No one else can want this for you – YOU must make that decision.
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