Every week we highlight a Rise member whose story inspires us. Allison started using Rise this spring and has revamped her lifestyle to make healthy choices more convenient for her family. In addition to getting fit, she has also discovered a new love for fruits and veggies — so now eating well feels and tastes good.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I live in Memphis, Tennessee. My youngest son is a toddler and my eldest son is five. He’s on the autism spectrum so he goes to a special program at school. I also teach at the school my sons attend now, so I’m pretty busy!

What has your weightloss journey been like so far?
I gained a lot of weight with my first pregnancy and then didn’t lose it after having my baby. Then I did the same with my second pregnancy, so I was pretty unhappy with how I looked and felt. I tried diets and Weight Watchers in the past, but for me it has been most helpful to have my coach reviewing my meals for accountability.

What was your eating style before Rise?
I wasn’t pigging out on junk food, but now I realize I wasn’t eating the right stuff. The problem was basically mismanagement of what I was eating throughout the day. As a busy mom I ended up snacking a lot, gravitating towards foods with too many simple carbs. I would end up snacking while standing up, eating crackers, cheese, peanut butter, those types of things that are easy to grab when you’re busy watching the kids.

What has been most challenging for you as you adopt a healthier lifestyle?
Given the nature of my job working with kids at school, I’m in a rush throughout my day. There’s never really a moment to sit down. Even when I plan in advance, it comes down to the moment and if healthy options aren’t readily available that’s tough.

My two kids are not very interested in food, so I’m always trying to encourage them to eat and sometimes that means serving foods like chicken nuggets. Most kids are way more into food than mine are, so that can be a challenge. I offer them fruits and veggies, but my main concern is making sure they’re eating at all. Sometimes when my kids didn’t finish their food, I would pick at it. Now if there’s extra food leftover on their plates I throw it away instead of eating it myself.

What strategies and tactics have worked for you?
Working at the school, I don’t have time to go out for lunch so I pack a lunch for work every morning. When I was a kid, packed lunches were a very traditional combo of sandwich, chips, and dessert. Now we have bento style lunchboxes that make it easier to pack a variety of healthy foods.

I pack things like blueberries, carrot sticks,grape tomatoes, greek yogurt, and a turkey wrap in my lunchbox. I make myself eat those so I don’t get hungry and devour a doughnut or whatever else is lying around at work. Prepping my healthy lunch ahead of time makes it easy to fit in those fruits and veggies because once I’m at work, what I pack is what I’m eating—it’s already decided!

I also started working out with a personal trainer at the same time as starting Rise. Making both changes at once has worked well for me. I’m able to be more capable physically as a mom — picking up my kids more easily, just being stronger overall.

People have definitely noticed that I’ve lost weight and have a lot more energy—even my kids have noticed. I’m motivated by people around me seeing changes.

How have your eating habits changed?

Before, I never thought of fruits and veggies as foods that would really sustain me. Now I try to base most of my meals and snacks on veggies, fruit, and lean protein. I can still have carbs, but now those are the extra part, they’re not the basis of the entire meal.

I really like vegetables and fruit now. That’s actually what I crave when I’m feeling hungry now, whereas before I would have wanted a chocolate chip cookie!

I used to eat a lot of fast food grilled chicken sandwiches. As a family we still go to fast food restaurants sometimes, but my coach has helped me figure out exactly what to order at those places, so I know I’m choosing the best available options now.

How have your family’s eating habits changed?
Before I felt like it was kind of a chore to offer my kids fruits and veggies and lean protein, but now that those foods are the basis of my own meals it feels natural to give that kind of food to them as well.

My 2 year old has got into this healthier way of eating at a younger age, and that’s really cool to see. When I eat a salad he’s curious about the vegetables and wants to try them.

When grandma comes to visit she want to give them sweets, because that’s what she thinks of as treats for kids. But now I ask her to offer them fruit instead, because they’ll like it just as much. It’s all about how you frame it to them.

What advice would you give to people starting with Rise?
Follow your coach’s suggestions! Even if you don’t feel like doing what they’re suggesting at first, just do it. Eventually you’ll naturally feel like doing it, because those choices will actually feel good.

You could be our next member of the week! Work with Erin Tefft, Allison’s awesome coach. When you signup with her, you’ll get $10 off your first payment.