I am beyond honored this week to share with you an amazing woman with an inspiring story. This week we are featuring Trina Starke of Orange County, CA. Trina is sharing with us her experience of becoming a step-mom and how her healthy lifestyle changes have not only improved her life, but the lives of her loved ones around her.
I have followed Trina on Instagram for as long as I can remember and I am inspired daily by her drive and love of health and fitness. Trina is real, she is honest, she has a contagious smile, and she loves to share what works for her and may also work for you. Check her out on Instagram as @opgetfit
for daily motivation.
SFM: Do you work outside the home? What’s your schedule like?
Trina: I am a full-time Speech-Language Pathologist working for the public school system. I work with children with communication disorders ranging between 1st grade – 8th grade. It’s a very rewarding career! I work from 7:30 – 3:00 (sometimes 4:00) daily and I’m typically at the gym by 4:00. If I can’t get to the gym by 5:00 on any given day, I wash my hands of it and try again for the next day.
SFM: What is your fitness of choice?
Years ago I was a runner but a nasty ACL tear stopped that activity dead in its tracks. In addition to
running I’d spend an hour at the gym but my routine then was nothing like it is today. In the past, I’d spend 45 minutes doing cardio and then 15 minutes “playing” with dumb-bells. Now it’s the opposite… now I spend 45-60 minutes lifting weights and maybe 10 minutes doing cardio. Lifting weights has reshaped my body and maintained my weight-loss unlike any exercise I have ever done in the past.
SFM: What drove you to become fit/healthy?
Trina: After I married my husband in 2007 I gained 30 pounds – probably closer to 40 but I quit weighing myself. While we watched our TV shows every night I’d fiddle with my wedding rings on my finger. I noticed they were getting tighter… tighter… tighter. It reached a point that they were difficult to take off and when I was able to I was worried about the circulation of my finger. Along with that I also felt increasingly horrible about my physical appearance and self-worth. I knew something needed to change.
SFM: How did becoming a step-mom change your life?
Wow this is a complex question and one I could easily write a book about! I got married when I was 36 years old. I’d spent my entire young-adulthood in search of “the one” and certainly didn’t expect him to come with
three munchkins in tow. To say the change was easy would be a lie. It was tough, but eight years later I love those kids as if they are all mine. I celebrate when they celebrate and I cry when they cry. I can’t imagine my life without them and if I had to do it all over again, I would in a heartbeat! With regard to my health and fitness, before 2007, when I was single, a bowl of cereal or a Slim Fast shake was the norm for dinner. So was running for exercise and having a clean house. The minute I married the man of my dreams, along with his three kids, my life was flipped upside down. In a good way, absolutely, but not so much where my health was concerned. I now had a home with five people making messes and five mouths to feed. Trust me, cereal for dinner didn’t cut it. Spaghetti, burgers, bean and cheese burritos, Frito casserole, pancakes, taco salad, and pizza on the daily replaced those bowls of cereal. I didn’t “let myself go” I ate what they ate! Instead of making time for fitness, that time went toward cleaning my house and spending it with these four people I married.
SFM: What has the the experience of being a step-mom been like?
Being a step-mom has many challenges – the most trying for me is dispelling the myth of the “evil” step-mom. A step-mom is a woman that accepts, loves, and cares for some else’s child without question, expectations, or thanks. That’s what I do day in and day out. I care for them, worry about them, want the very best for them, and parent them but not in a “parenty” kind of way – they already have parents. I am their step-mom but instead of parenting I consider myself another adult relative in their life that wants the very best for them, like an aunt or a
grandmother would. I offer advice, suggestions, and encouragement. I never discipline, punish, or reward – those are the jobs of their parents. The first years were extremely hard, not only for me, but for my husband and the kids too. We all had to find our way, and sure I made some mistakes, but I loved these kids and my new little family so it was important that I learned from my mistakes and tweaked some things in order to improve the dynamics of our household. It’s now been eight years and these little kids are almost all grown up – two in college and one a junior in high school.
We each have a very deep mutual respect for one another and we have become very good friends. They make me so incredibly proud, and I am honored to have gotten to watch them grow into the amazing young adults that they are today. After eight years we’ve ironed out the wrinkles and other than the expected bumps in the road of life I foresee a very bright future for all of us.
SFM: How and why do you incorporate workouts into your busy schedule?
Trina: My goal is to get to the gym as quickly as I can after work. I’m lucky in that my work day typically ends at 3:00 so most days I can get there before the 5:00 rush. I workout 5x/week, which includes a Sunday workout. That’s a new change for me as in the past that day was always a “rest day” but now working out on Sundays allows me to take a rest-day mid-week. It’s a very welcome change as some nights are just crazier than others.
SFM: What type of foods do you and don’t you eat? Do you follow a specific diet?
Trina: I consider myself a very clean eater but I’ve never followed any diet – vegetarian, vegan, IIFYM, paleo, gluten-free, etc. etc. etc. I eat as healthy as I know how, and I typically enjoy a treat once or twice a week. For the last year and a half I religiously counted macros but I’ve recently let that go as I don’t want to be a slave to numbers for the rest of my life. It’s been a very healthy adjustment for me psychologically. After freaking out about the carbs in an apple one day I knew it was time to re-evaluate.
SFM: What’s your biggest struggle, when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle?
Trina: Unlike most people, going to the gym is the easy part. I love the feel of lifting weights. It’s incredibly empowering and I love the pain of the muscle-repair afterward – I’m a nut! It’s the healthy eating that continues to be a struggle for me. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE eating healthy. I’ve learned and created some of my own delicious dishes that I prepare for my family day in and day out – but I’m a sucker for pizza and ice cold beer and I still crave that combo A LOT! Some people are sugar freaks – not me, I’m a salty girl. Give me an ice cold beer and a plate of french fries or chips and salsa with a margarita (salt on the rim, of course) and I am a happy camper!
SFM: What makes balancing health, fitness, WORTH it?
Trina: Not only feeling like a million bucks, but also knowing I’m setting a healthy example for my family. I changed my lifestyle almost two years ago, then my husband joined our gym about a year later. My oldest step-son followed suit by joining about 9 months ago, and now my youngest step-son (along with their mom and her significant other!) joined last month! Yep, my little gym has become a great big family affair! I am overjoyed by seeing the trickle-down effect of the lifestyle changes that I have made!
SFM: What keeps you motivated?
Trina: When I first started out, seeing the changes in my body from the progress photos that I’d take kept me highly motivated. I avoided the scale for 12 weeks so I needed another way to measure progress and taking pictures was it. When I finally stepped on the scale 12 weeks later, I’d lost 20 pounds! That was incredibly motivating. That was almost two years ago. Now eating healthy and lifting weights are as natural to me as brushing my teeth or driving to work. Now it’s just a part of my daily life.
SFM: What made you decide to start an Instagram account and website?
When I was first starting my journey, while scrolling through Instagram using my personal account, I’d stumble upon fitness accounts and I found them highly motivating. I’d spend hours scrolling through
transformation and food pictures thinking “I can do that! I can make that! I can look like that!” Then I decided to create my own fitness account to track my progress, keep me accountable, and share my ups and downs. I kept my identity hidden for a long time. It wasn’t until after I met my goal to lose 30 pounds that I “came out of the closet” and revealed who I was… my face, my smile. By that time the old me was in my past, and I knew I’d never be her again. I was no longer embarrassed by my “before pictures” because I wasn’t that person anymore. What prompted my website were all the questions I’d receive via my Instagram account
. How’d you do it? What did you eat? How much did you work? But I do it, why don’t I look like you? etc. etc. Having it on my website for people to refer to just made it easier to answer their questions. I haven’t posted anything on my website in months and months – ha! I really need to clean it up and add some new recipes.
SFM: What’s your biggest piece of advice for women who want to incorporate health and fitness into their lives?
Trina: As Nike says… JUST DO IT. Be PATIENT and CONSISTENT – that’s the key. It just requires a different mindset. Eating healthy can be very delicious, it isn’t any harder than making spaghetti or tacos, and I’ve found that it’s not terribly expensive either. Soon you’ll see change and it’ll become a habit. If losing weight is the goal, my advice would be to stay off the scale! That was the biggest, most difficult, most rewarding change I made when I started my journey. Honor your body by eating healthy (stay away from processed foods!) and stay off the scale for 12 solid weeks. Afterward, step back on and get ready to celebrate, sister!
SFM: What are some of your hobbies or interests outside of fitness?
Trina: Music plays a huge role in our family. My oldest step-son is in a band so we support his passion and attend his concerts whenever they perform in LA or Orange County. My husband and I have together attended four Coachellas (one year my step-daughter and her friends came along for the ride) as well as three San Francisco Outside Land Music Festivals (again, one with my step-daughter and her boyfriend). This May we’re headed up to the California wine country to experience the Bottlerock Napa Music Festival for the first time. We’re really excited about it.
SFM: Anything else interesting or different about you that you would like to share with other women?
Trina: This year I will turn 45 years old, but I am healthier, stronger, and happier than when I was even in my twenties. Age is only a number, it’s how you honor your mind, body, and soul that determines how you feel. <3
Huge thank you to Trina for sharing her story with us! Stay tuned for our next Mom Crush Monday post! You can read about more ladies who are doing amazing things in health and fitness on our Mom Crush tab. Follow us @stayfitmomblog and @stayfitmom_com on Instagram and on our Facebook page where we love getting personal. You can also subscribe to Stay Fit Mom for healthy recipes, workouts, and most of all inspiration and encouragement!
Did you catch our last Mom Crush, Kathy?