I’ve never had a sister, but I think Lee Ann is pretty much as close as I’ll ever get to one. This girl is my person. Outside of my husband, Lee Ann is the friend I reach out to when I want to laugh, cry, or just need to be heard. She is honest and kind. She is faithful and she’s a giver. Our families travel together, Lee Ann and her hubby are our double date buddies, and we are never short on laughs. These pictures will show you how beautiful Lee Ann is on the outside, but I want you all to know she is just as beautiful on the inside.
Her transformation is absolutely incredible.
I have seen first hand how hard she has worked over the past 5 years that I’ve known her. The first time I worked out with Lee Ann we decided to train for a 1/2 marathon together. I remember going on our first 3 mile jog. We (and by we… I mean Lee Ann, because I was gasping for air and thought death was imminent) chatted the whole time. Since then she has completed more 1/2 marathons than I can count as well as a full marathon. Now Lee Ann excells at CrossFit, because whatever this girl puts her mind to she does well. Her determination has been and continues to be inspiring to watch.
We have paired up with Nate Grant of TNG Photography to feature our local Las Vegas Mom Crush Monday features in a fitness photo shoot! I couldn’t think of a more deserving mom than my Le Le!
We had a blast watching Nate work his photography magic, and while I know this is something she would probably have never done on her own, I am so glad she will have these pictures to look back on!
I asked Lee Ann to share some of her wisdom with all of us by answering a few questions.
SFM: What made you decide to make a lifestyle change & make health a priority?
Lee Ann: When my daughter was a year old I was feeling really bad about myself. I was over weight and had no control over my eating and rarely worked out. I started counting my calories on an app and started getting up in the morning to walk/run. I loved that time by myself. I started walking and then I would run a little and eventually I was able to run the full mile. I found running to be one of my favorite things to do. Even when we traveled I would get up early and run. It was such a great way to explore my new surroundings. When we moved to Vegas I started to think maybe I could run a half marathon or maybe even a full one day!! I made amazing friends who inspired me and pushed me to do more than I ever thought possible! I also loved watching my body change and new muscles show up. I felt so strong and confident and my body image changed.
SFM: How has your fitness routine changed and evolved over time?
Lee Ann: It’s crazy because it’s now been 6 years since I started this journey and what once was just a mile walk/run turned into running 12-20 miles a week and sometimes double that if I was training for a race. I never thought my idea of fun was to get up at 4:30 in the morning to run 6 miles with my friends!! Then a couple of years ago our friends managed to talk my husband into trying CrossFit. I was not sold on it, mostly because I loved running. But my body had fully adjusted to running and I no longer saw any change and I actually began to gain some weight back. So I said yes. My very first class I cried like a baby afterwards. It was a whole new way of working my body and it hurt and I was nervous and it was intense. I started going 3 days a week and slowly I was seeing major changes in my body. And again I surprised myself with how much I could do. Now 2 years later I’ve done multiple competitions and I go the CF 5-6 days a week. My kids watch and have been involved as well. I love to hear them say how strong their mommy is.
SFM: How have your eating habits changed and evolved over time?
Lee Ann: Honestly I struggle with self-control over my diet. If I have a plan I do much better. I’m from the south so I love things like fried chicken and biscuits and gravy. I’ve tried several plans like Trim Healthy Mama and Whole 30. What I love about both of these is what I learned. The importance of what you put into your body. I eat protein with every meal and snack. I know my body is very sensitive to carbs and so I try to eat healthy carbs like brown rice and oatmeal. I buy organic as much as possible and I eat a lot of vegetables. Also I say NO!! No to things I know will not be beneficial to my health and fitness. It’s not always easy and I think there has to be balance. When I go home to North Carolina I give myself more freedom with my diet but try not to get out of control.
SFM: I’ve had the privilege of watching you accomplish SO much just over the few years I’ve known you: Running a full marathon, running quite a few 1/2 marathons, starting CrossFit, and even getting your first muscle up just a few weeks ago. What accomplishments are you most proud of? What keeps you striving for more?
Lee Ann: I’m very proud of my full marathon. The race was tough but the training is what I’m most proud of. It took so much discipline to run those long distances on the weekends with my friends. What I love about CF is that there is always another goal to meet. Always striving for more and doing more than I ever imagined I could do. I was not an athlete in school I always struggled with sports and where I fit in. But at 33 I feel strong and competitive. Also my husband and I do it together. He inspires me by how hard he works and how great he looks. He’s my favorite work out partner!!
SFM: You have always been a spiritual light in my life. How does your faith impact your health?
Lee Ann: God gave me this one body and if it’s not healthy and strong I cannot do the work He has given me to do. I feel like running and CF are a lot about the mind as much as the body. My goal for 2016 was to do more than my mind says I can do. So a lot of times I have to recite God’s Word to myself to overcome the doubt and fear. One of my favorite verses is Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. I never thought I’d be able to do hand stand push ups, bar muscle ups or ring muscle ups but because of God’s Word I believe I can do more than my mind tells me I can do!!
SFM: What advice do you have for moms that might be feeling deflated or daunted at the thought of making their health a priority?
Lee Ann: Start slow. And think of it as your time for yourself. Make a plan and make goals. Don’t overwhelm yourself with crazy goals but find something you enjoy and people you can do it with. Some of my best friends are the people I ran with or CF with. It is so rewarding!!
SFM: Your body has accomplished so many things: 2 kids, breast-feeding, marathons, 12 hour night shifts, boot camps, kids field trips, CrossFit, and so much more. We’ve never talked openly about plastic surgery on the blog, but because we’re close friends we’ve talked about you wanting to get plastic surgery. I think a lot of women (me included, especially after having kids) have thought about it. You’re actually taking the plunge and doing it! Tell us about your thought process and how you’re feeling. Excited? Nervous?
Lee Ann: This is very humbling and I honestly didn’t want to share my feelings about this but as women we need to be honest with each other. My body is far from perfect. I have a lot of stretch marks and skin I just frankly can’t get rid of. I have struggled with my belly for a long time and no matter what I do I cannot tighten up that area. I am so proud of my body that God gave me and I never want my own daughter to feel like she needs to be ashamed of her body or needs to change it. But I have come to the realization that it is a real struggle for me. I’d like to say I look in the mirror and think I love those stretch marks but I don’t and so I have the opportunity to change that and my husband is supportive so I will let go of my pride and get it fixed. I’m extremely nervous and I struggle with feelings of being vain but I’ve talked to many other women who have openly shared with me and I feel like it’s a good path for me.
What a gal! There are few people in this world that I know who work as hard as Lee Ann.
I can’t thank you enough for sharing so honestly and openly with our readers. Thank you for continuing to be one of the biggest role models in my life.
If you know a Las Vegas Mom that has had an amazing transformation and that is deserving of a fitness photo shoot with Nate Grant of TNG Photography, contact us! We love to hear your stories and see your progress!!
TNG Photography specializes in creating timeless portraits of families of all sizes, headshots and high school senior portraits. Visit: www.TNGphoto.com
If you’re looking to beat the heat and get some amazing family photos taken, Nate’s running a great special.