MICHELLE

"Since, I'll be turning 60 years old this coming July, I wanted to try this new way of eating clean and simple. My daughter suggested it to me, and she was excited to have me join her on this journey. I have seven children and nine grandchildren, and I wanted to have more energy to keep up with all of them. Ever since I had my last child, who is now 21 years old, I have been struggling with my weight. I have been on every diet imaginable, but I have never really changed my eating and exercising habits. Exercise was always something that I dreaded and didn't have the energy to do consistently. The past few years, I decided that I will never be able to go skiing, play tennis, run a 5K, or even play at the park with my grandchildren because I was not physically fit

However, since participating in the CSE Winter Challenge, I have learned to incorporate healthy food choices and exercise into my daily life. I have realized that eating clean does not mean sacrificing taste or quantity of food. Also, I have more energy than I've ever had in my life. Healthy eating is not just about counting calories; but about cooking clean and feeling good about everything that goes in to your mouth. The positive effects of this program are amazing, too. I love to wake up in the morning, eat my protein bite and go exercise. It seriously is what gets me out of bed! I enjoy preparing the recipes for my family and teaching them to eat healthy, too. 

The most exciting results that have come from doing this challenge are the changes I have made in my life. I am training to run a 5K the end of April and a 10K on July 24 with my daughters, who have also been doing the challenge with me. The CSE challenge has not only changed my life, but it has given me back my life. Thank you for this wonderful eating and exercising plan! I'm looking forward to doing this the rest of my life!"

- Michelle


Helen

"The last 40 days have been life changing for me. 4 1/2 years ago I was having a phone call conversation with my mom. She had to get off the phone because someone was at the door. That person at the door was a police officer telling her that my big brother had tragically passed away. She called me back and painfully told me what happened. That phone call changed my life. It began a downward spiral for me of unhealthy habits. I had so much pain and sadness...so I turned to food. I was drinking soda everyday and going through a drive-thru at least 4-5 times a week. I tried the CSE challenge 3 times previous and always gave up after the 1st week because I would make excuses. Towards the end of December 2016 my husband took me on a romantic getaway for our anniversary. He took me shopping and it was a nightmare. I sat in the dressing room and cried because I knew my body was unhealthy and I was poisening it every day. He took me to lunch and instead of ordering my usual soda...I ORDERED WATER!!! I committed that day that I was going to change and fight for my health. I haven't had soda since. I knew this go around doing the challenge that I needed to do things differently. No more excuses!! A group of us at the Crossfit I go to created a Facebook group to motivate each other. Having this tribe has made all the difference! I have also focused on meal prep and taking supplements from XR Nutrition! I try to attend Crossfit 4 times a week. The growth I have experienced mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically has been life changing!! I feel more confident and really believe in myself. Trust me, I still wake up a lot of days and really miss my brother and long for him....but instead of grabbing a soda or going through a drive thru and binging on unhealthy food..I go to the gym and kill it at the workout or make my favorite mug cake from the meal plan!! I have INNER STRENGTH instead of relying on artificial things to make me happy. I feel like I'm getting my life back and I am excited to continue the Clean Simple Eats meal plan and continue the journey!! Thank you Erika and JJ for everything! You two are incredible and have been such an example and support!"

- Helen


Jared

My journey using Clean Simple Eats:

In short, I was dying.  Quite literally, every day was a challenge to just get out of bed.  I would try going to gym, but my body hurt so much, all of the time, that going to the gym would make me want to cry.  I couldn't get out of bed without pain.  i couldn't walk up the stairs without pain.  My whole body hurt.  All of the time.  I would try going to the gym, but I hurt so much on the inside that I couldn't face adding hurt on "the outside".

To make matters worse, or maybe I should say, "the real problem is...", I struggle with depression, PTSD, and thoughts of self harm - every day.  Why worry about the food you eat when you're not sure that you are going to be around much longer?  I know, that sounds morbid, but welcome to me.  I take anti-depressants, anti-anxiety pills, sleep pills, etc.  the cocktail has worked, most of the time, but it's been terrible.  I've been so unhealthy for so long that I really had no idea how to move forward.  Or even if I could move forward.  Quite frankly, and I think this is important share here, in this forum:  I was abused as a child - in every way you can imagine.  It left a mark.

Honestly, it's been terrible.  I would try and "push through".  I tried gyms, diets, church, therapy - everything.  I met and married the love of my life, but I didn't tell her about this hole inside of me, not until it almost destroyed our marriage, and I promised her that I would do something about when we moved to Bluffdale.  So I got a membership at CrossFit and then never went.  For four years I had a membership and never showed up more than once every three months.  That's not really "pushing through", but that's all that I could do.  I hurt so much, physically, mentally, and emotionally, it was the best I could do.  I would try and diet, and my stomach hurt so much, or my body hurt so much, or I would have migraine headaches - I just couldn't do it.  I had no idea what I was doing, and no idea why things "just worked" for other people, but never for me.  Was I broken?  Was I 'special' in all the wrong ways?  Was i just a total loser and I needed to embrace that my lot in life was to just suffer, and be miserable, and then just, well, be done one day?

About 6 weeks ago I pretty much made a cry for help to CrossFit the Point, and I was introduced to JJ.  Not going to lie, I'm getting choked up writing this, but I think that JJ saved my life.  I finally met with someone who actually cared about my health, and didn't just prescribe another pill.  He cared enough to tell me which supplements to start taking, and when I asked him about diet, he kept telling me the same thing, "A clean simple eats challenge starts the first week of January..."  So I decided that I would try this - JJ seemed really nice, and he was super fit and happy, maybe some of that could rub off on me...  Maybe...

So the challenge started, and I weighed 221 lbs.  I hurt all of the time.  I was miserable all of the time.  I had heart burn all of the time.  I had migraines, back pain, joint pain, a big fat belly, and fat armpits.  Who has fat armpits!?!?!  *This guy*  This guy has fat armpits.

First thing I did was take pictures - that's fine, that sweet lump of a man is what I see every day.  Then I got on the Facebook page and joined the Group Chat (Thanks to Helen for setting that up), and I met people who cared - at first I thought it was all just a show.  No one could really care about what food I did or did not eat.  I mean, JJ seemed to care, but that couldn't be real - it had to just be a job to him.  But... I was going to give this a try, in spite of my misgivings, and lack of faith, I would give this a try.  I printed out a copy of the guide, went to the store (well, 4 stores because I didn't know where anything was), and started out.

Food.  Lots of Food.  Healthy food.  How in the hell can there be this much healthy food?!?!?  And so yummy.  yes, I'm a 40 year old progammer, and I say "yummy".  I regret nothing.

The first thing I noticed - I hurt less.  then I hurt even less.  then, one day, I actually felt good (yes, I'm actually crying right now while I write this).  I ran into JJ at the gym, and he was nice to me.  Why in the hell would someone as awesome and good lucking as JJ "I'm a professional model" Peterson talk to me?  I ran into people doing the challenge and THEY were nice to me too.  What was happening!?!?

I then noticed that I hated myself a little less.  I felt stronger.  Maybe not physically stronger, but mentally, and emotionally.  I was stronger.  I had more endurance.  The medication I was taking seemed to be working better... and when I slept, not if I slept, not any more, but when I slept, I slept more soundly - this made everything better.  Made everything easier.

And I enjoyed being around people.  People at CrossFit, people in the group chat, it's been paradigm shifting.  People are good.  People care.  People wanted me to succeed.  They really, actually meant it.  Here's Helen, being super supportive, and JJ, giving free advice and helping people understand what supplements to take (yes, I bought all of them), and Erika giving more and more hints and tips about how to prepare the food, and what substitutes to use - and all for free.

I gained 15 lbs at one point in the last 40 days, and then I lost 3 of those lbs.  I went from 221 to 233 as of this morning, and I can't remember the last time I felt this good.  I can't remember ever feeling this good.

Clean Simple Eats, while a diet, and that's been good, has been far better as a community.  It is a community of people that actually and truly give a damn about fat, depressed, suicidal bastards like me that has made this work.  This may sound hokey, and it may sound like I'm trying suck up, but dammit, it's true.  I feel like I have somehow stumbled onto good, honest, kind people, who care.  And somehow, for some reason, you guys have let me tag along.

I realized a few nights ago that life is hard enough, and we are alone enough, that we need groups like this.  We need support.  And it doesn't make us weak to admit that we need it.  JJ looks like Captain America, and I can't thank him enough for letting me latch onto him and his awesomeness.  He listens to my stupid questions and gives me great answers.  Erika, you've given me a community of people who are just plain, ordinary people.  Good people, who care.  

Erika, thank you for doing this.  thank you for putting in the time, putting together the meal plans, and for putting yourself out there to help people like me.

I feel like you, JJ, and the people who make up the CSE community, saved my life.  I don't mean that figuratively.  

Thank you."

- Jared

"First, let me say thank you so much for living a healthy lifestyle, designing this "program" and choosing to lead so many. 

We bought our first recipe book less than a year ago and it was the start to a big change in our lives. My husband literally grew up on chicken fingers and french fries. After we were married, I tirelessly snuck veggies into our chili, only to be caught. He slowly started liking healthier foods. However, it was your program that was the catalyst to his palette expansion. I remember after we had spaghetti squash he said, "Babe, this is literally the first time squash has ever been in my system". He eats Kale, Spinach, Avocado and the list goes on. We're changed people; refined and healthier! 
We're signing up at the gym tomorrow and will continue to use our three recipe books to cook from. Seriously, I pray God blesses you exceedingly abundantly and that countless lives are forever changed by your program. We also appreciated the additions of a coffee smoothie and cake/hot cocoa snacks. 

Blake works full-time, I'm part-time mama working from home. We're a one car family with financial goals. I found some tricks to keep our budget at $100 a week, with a Costco trip around $100 a month too. I picked 3 or 4 recipes offering two different types of proteins a week for dinners (i.e., Chicken and Salmon). I tried to use the same ingredients throughout each week. Then on the next week (so we wouldn't get bored), I switched it up on the dinners/lunches. Snacks were pretty much the same and breakfasts were different everyday. 

Thank you for allowing us to be a part of this challenge. We'll forever be a part of this community as long as it's on social media."

- Kassidy & Blake

"I absolutely LOVED this program! I had my second baby ten months ago and have been trying to "get my body back". My goals have changed from getting thin to wanting to build muscle! This has been extremely challenging and I felt like I hit a wall with my progress. I've tried counting macros before and did well but eventually it became too much and I hated having to plan every single thing every single day. Well this plan was just what I needed to start making progress again! I know I probably haven't made the most visible progress but I am doing things I never thought I'd be able to do...I'm finally starting to actually build muscle (something my arms have never seen before, ha!) and my stomach is becoming more defined which has been my most stubborn area!! I also feel great. I loved that everything was planned out for me and interchangeable. This plan made eating healthy SO easy and it has transformed healthy eating from being a daunting task to something I really enjoy and look forward to. Thank you SO much for this!! It has honestly been a huge game changer for me and I can't wait to see what other progress I can make as I continue to apply what I learned during this program!!"

- Danielle

"This challenge has helped me so much!  It has taught me that I can still eat delicious food and lose weight! I used to think that depriving myself of calories was the only way to lose weight! Because of an eating disorder I had years ago, I still struggle with body image and fear certain foods. Recently I started tracking my macros but still felt like I was too obsessed with calories. By following your meal plan, I actually felt freedom from all the stress of tracking everything I was eating. I feel like I am in a much better place now and am more determined with this process and my goals! Thank you!"

- Melissa

"I can’t say enough about the Clean Simple Eats Challenge!  This is my second time really following the meals and workouts in unison with the whole group.  I had a fantastic experience the first time, too, but this time was even better!  A little back story: I was working out consistently for almost 2 years and ate healthy most of the time.  I didn’t watch my portions or anything, but I made pretty good choices as far as the food I was eating.  Sure, I still wanted to make some improvements, but I felt satisfied with where I was at.  Then my family moved out of state.  Two months after moving I found out I was pregnant (squeee!) and it was a high risk pregnancy.  After going through 4 consecutive miscarriages previously, two in the second trimester, I was left feeling terrified of exercising at all.  So I didn’t.  Thankfully, the pregnancy progressed healthily without issue…that is until I went into labor 4 weeks early.  I was completely unprepared for baby to come early and it felt like my (already not put back together life) had been turned upside down! 

Then about 7 months later, I started a new job, and a few months after that we unexpectedly had to move again.  Needless to say, I was completely out of my groove and had been for a while.  I was constantly stressed.  I felt like I was always trying to catch up and spread too thin.  I had so many things I was doing, and I wasn’t doing any of them the way I wanted to.  Exercise had become a thing of the past and I was edgy and anxious constantly.  The holiday season rolled around and I felt gross inside and out.  I was the heaviest I’d been in years and I can’t really explain it any better than to just say I felt sick.  I knew I wanted to change and I knew this challenge would be exactly what I needed. 

My husband was on board!  This made a big difference this time because, while he doesn’t cook, he could help with prepping snacks, chopping, etc.  I also knew from participating in the challenge the first time that I probably wouldn’t have the time to prepare a new meal every single night.  Not a problem! I simply adjusted the meal plan so that I was preparing just 3 different meals a week and staggering them so no one got bored.  My family has loved it, and so have I!  Besides the benefits to my own health, I love that my kids have been happily eating healthy food along with me.  It doesn’t feel like a diet, because it’s not.  It’s a lifestyle of real, healthy and balanced foods and an awareness of what you are putting in your body.  The food in these meal plans is delicious.  I don’t feel like I’m going without at all.  I for sure love having a “cheat” meal, although I prefer the term “treat” meal. Once a week I choose to indulge, completely guilt free, in whatever I may be craving the rest of the week.  That being said, it’s been interesting to see how my cravings have changed and how my body responds differently to foods I could so easily binge on before. 

In short, the past 6 weeks have left me feeling empowered again!  I have lost a little over 6 lbs. and have made huge strides in my mobility and strength.  I started to do things (headstands, L-Sits, etc.) that I haven’t been able to do since I was a kid!  I’ve felt like I have reclaimed my life and am no longer flailing from one thing to the next.  I’ve changed my approach to planning, shopping, and preparing meals for my family (which is huge when you are responsible for what and if your family eats 7 days a week).  I’ve changed my daily routine and now know what works for me to be consistent and fulfilled exercising. Having a plan and carrying it out confidently with my diet and exercise has liberated me enough to be able to begin taking control of the other aspects and responsibilities of my life.  I’m still busy, and I still have a lot on my plate, but I can handle it.  I have the mental and physical wellness to take my day one step at a time and find the balance that works for me and my family.  I can’t thank Erika and JJ enough for all the time and effort they put into these plans.  The tribe they have built on Facebook is priceless.  To have a group of like-minded people in your corner and as a resource is a game changer.  I absolutely love it all and I’m not stopping here!"

- Rebecca

"That was the best 40 days of my life!
I've struggled with poor health for years. I was serving my mission in Florida when I first got sick- and in a nut shell got sent home, saw 12+ doctors, and 6 years and many diagnoses' later, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease (along with a myriad of other things.) My diet has always been a big part of my healing. I believe food is medicine, but sometimes it's too much work mentally to plan and eat right while staying on top of medications and mom life.
I was hesitant to do the challenge because I would be starting 1 month PP with baby number two. With the adjustment to another kid, (a newborn and a two year old) and unpredictable health- I almost didn't take the plunge... but I am SO glad I did!
The last month has been the best I've felt in YEARS. I know it was because I've been eating the right things, managing stress, and drinking more water- that was HUGE! I loved how everything was already planned for me, the food was clean and fit within my diet limitations, and most of all EASY. I didn't have to think or stress, and was able to make small modifications as needed. I was never left feeling hungry or deprived of anything. I actually ended up eating more than usual and was still able to drop the weight. My goal was just to eat right and stay consistent. (The weight loss was an added bonus! ) I saved so much money and time doing meal prep! I fit in the exercising as often as I could and did my best to move every day!
It's the best for nursing too. Once I started the challenge I had way less nursing headaches and my milk supply got much more consistent. My toddler and husband ate all the recipes with me and loved them! This has made life so much easier and I seriously am going to be doing CSE for life!
Thank you so much helping me on my path of continual healing!"

- Karli

"Hi, I'm Stephanie. I'm a full-time mom of two, a part-time accountant,
and I have a newfound obsession with Bai Bubbles Waikiki Coconut Lime.
I was always confident about body until I got pregnant. I was a
marathon runner and loved to work out, but while I was pregnant I
gained 50 lbs and felt like I was living in someone else's body. The
second baby came quickly after the first, so the whole cycle started
over again. With 2 kids under 2, I entered survival mode. Bottles,
diapers, nursing, and lots of diet coke & chocolate. My health and
body image didn't make my to-do list. After my youngest turned 1, I
tried to get back in shape. I joined a gym, tried to eat healthier,
but after a few months I wasn't seeing any results. I then struggled
through a miscarriage where I felt my body had failed me. It was then
that I realized I needed to make a change, a big change, to get my
body back. --> Enter the CSE Challenge! This plan was the perfect way
for me to make a healthy transformation in my life.
I lost 8 lbs in the past six weeks. I lost 3 inches in my stomach, 2
inches in my buttocks, 1 inch in my thighs, and 1/2 inch in my arms.
But more importantly: I feel happier, healthier, stronger, and I have
more energy to keep up with my two littles.
Thank you for teaching me a healthy lifestyle I can continue to enjoy
far beyond the six week challenge.
Thank you for helping me restore confidence in my body and myself.
Thank you for giving me my body back."

-Stephanie

"I loved this meal plan! After a particularly stressful 2016 where the stress had taken a toll on my body and my eating habits, I'm so grateful I found this meal plan. I lost 6 lbs over the 6 weeks but I also lost chest, back, and face acne I'd been battling for a year. I sleep better, I have more energy, and just overall feel better. I never felt deprived (sometimes had a hard time eating as much as I should) so that stopped any binge eating or cravings. I also love that I have more time to spend with my boys because dinner is laid out for me. I don't have to wonder what's for dinner and can prep in advance. The meals were quick and my whole family enjoyed them (and I have two picky little boys). It got me back in the kitchen and out of the drive thru making healthy food my whole family could enjoy. There are so many recipes from this plan that will be on our regular rotations from now on, especially the turkey meatballs, which my husband said, "are like restaurant food!" Thank you for making such easy, delicious meals, teaching me how to fuel my body to function its best and for providing a wonderful community to be a part of."

- Ashley

"I have always been passionate about fitness and I love to cook healthy meals. But this program really brought me to a different level! I have a son who is 3 and I was 6 months postpartum when starting the program, so I decided to do the build and burn program, since I was a nursing mama. I don't feel like nursing has really helped me lose weight like some moms. If anything, it has hindered me and losing weight. Just holding on to those extra pounds! I cut out the pre workout snacks to lower my calorie intake. It was such a great program! And sooo delicious. I loved that i knew what I would eat everyday.
I have always struggled eating clean on the weekends. This really helped me hold myself accountable and then I would look forward to a weekend treat. My family loved all of the meals and so this made it easier. I won't sit here and say I was 100%, but I noticed that I would make smarter choices when put into difficult situations with food. I'm also a "bored" eater, and so this helped me in knowing I couldn't just throw chocolate chips in my mouth 4 times a day😉. Those calories add up!
I did a previous program, but didn't finish because I got pregnant and couldn't even think of eating the things I normally did the first 12 weeks. One thing I loved about this time around was that you did leftovers for the next day. I loved that! And it was more simple. Same breakfast all week... that really made it easy.
Im going to continue to follow this program and see if I can lean up more! I lost 7 lbs, which doesn't seem like a lot, but I really noticed a difference in my body and energy level!
Thank you thank you for being passionate about what you do and creating these amazing programs!!"

- Megan

"I began doing your challenges with the Summer 2016 plan. I have bought the plans and followed them--not faithfully-- but enough that I am able to see and FEEL a difference in my body. I have struggled for several years with my body image and trying to lose even a pound!! I have gone to doctors and even a Naturopath--no real results. Just a lot of frustration and tears. I am pre-menopausal and have hashimotos, so trying to lose weight is a REAL struggle. I am so happy to say, that as I have followed your plans, I finally have found a place where I don't tell myself EVERY. day. how "fat" or "unattractive" my body is to me. Thank you for all the time you put in to these menus. I know it takes a lot of work! 

I finally can be happy just being me. I know if I followed the plans more closely--;) -- I would see even more results.

These plans have definitely been an answer to my prayers."

- Janet

"Some insights into how the last 42 days have impacted my life and well being. 

1. I was suffering from migraines on a consistent basis - I have a COSTCO size bottle of Excedrin Migraine in my desk drawer at work. I would draw the blinds turn off the lights and close my door for days on end. It was a rough way to navigate the work day for sure. As a leader my team members were quick to ignore me and walk the other way when I was coming. I haven't had a single migraine since the beginning of the challenge and find myself interacting with my team far more than ever. Ironic, right?!

2. I was the ornery, angry dad that was struggling to cope with the stresses of work, family and church responsibilities. My favorite word to my kids and unfortunately my wife was NO. I was the what we called the fun suck in our home. Ava - our only daughter and legitimate princess said something in passing a few weeks ago, "the skinny dad says YES way more than the FAT dad." Say NO to NO apparently... be happy and say YES! (unless it includes Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn) :-)

3. As I have been more disciplined in my eating and activity level I have found that it has empowered myself to be more disciplined in other aspects of my life. The early morning wins of a hearty bowl of delicious oatmeal and a good solid workout alongside my wife set me up for success each and everyday. I am coming home earlier and engaging in my life as a husband and father. I am also more eager to focus on others and found myself feeling less sorry for my circumstances and surroundings. The clarity in thinking and ability to focus on the variables that I control has been enhanced as well. I am also way more forgiving of myself as I have recalled what grandmother Cutler said many times these past 42 days - "Do what you can and can the rest."  -Carma! 

4. My relationships have been WAY BETTER! As I have turned outward focused I have identified how I have not been a great example of love and compassion in the recent past. It is a difficult thing to describe and I do struggle to articulate it but it as if my mind, body and soul have been more aligned and I literally feel the difference in the way I have been LIVING. I am alive and I love the feeling.

For the record - I am okay not winning as I feel I have already won - thank you for this opportunity to make a change and be held accountable. I couldn't have done it without my sweetheart Carolyn. JJ too has assisted a ton. It's been great - can't wait for the next one!"

- Chase

"Before we started the challenge I was so excited for Chase, my husband to do this challenge, I was beyond ready to help him prep, workout, and stay focused, but I didn't need this for me. To say I was a bit judgmental and snobbish I think might be the understatement of the century. I workout daily, try to watch what I eat and would say before the challenge I was "pretty healthy", or "health conscious". Chase then informed me that I would be doing the challenge as well, I thought I was initially only getting the Dexa Body Scan and I didn't need the challenge because I was already "healthy". I wanted to get the scan to prove to my husband that I was doing great on my own, (sheesh!!!).....what did I know??

Well, lets just say my results on my Dexa Scan were not anywhere near what I thought they would be, NO WHERE NEAR!! I realized quickly that I wasn't going to be some sideline cheerleader while I watched my hubs work towards his goals, but that my "healthy" self would be diving right in along side him. 

Over the last 40 days my attitude has drastically changed, I'm realizing daily that there are goals to be met and crushed, muscle to be gained and fat to be lost. But more important than the numbers changing my life has changed, my relationship with my hubs has changed and only for the better, I see us working together towards common goals, strengthening our family through healthy habits and conquering fears and frustrations hand in hand. 

Yes, I've lost weight, 7 pounds to be exact, if we are going there. But when I look in the mirror I see muscles, I see strength, I see a body I haven't seen in over a decade. The work doesn't stop here, I can't wait to see what my body can become and do, the strength I can gain and confidence I can find."

- Carolyn

"I really enjoyed this challenge and learned so much! For a little over a year and a half I have been struggling to lose infertility treatment and (happy!) pregnancy weight. I was still in maternity clothes and at the point where I was buying larger clothes with loose fitting shirts because I was uncomfortable with how my clothes fit. 

 Besides exercise, I had been counting calories and while that had worked to a point, I wasn't progressing and seeing results like I hoped. And I was hungry ALL the time! The introduction to macro counting was a game changer for me!!  I felt strong, nourished, FULL and satisfied- the food tasted amazing and I loved knowing my body was getting everything it needed to be strong and healthy. My body is already becoming a better fit for my life! I can't thank you enough for your efforts!!"

- Whitney

"These challenges came into my life when I needed a change. I have family history of obesity, heart disease and high cholesterol. My doctor never told me to make a change, but I felt that I needed to really look into taking care of myself and my family. I have lost 10 pounds since I started in June. With this winter challenge I have noticed I am beginning to bulk up since I am now "feeding my muscles," as my husband likes to say.

I am beyond happy with the changes I have made with my eating habits and physical activities since I began following the CSE Challenge this past June. I no longer crave junk food. I stick to my shopping list at the store. I look forward to the next meal. I enjoy trying new recipes. I now love foods I wouldn't eat before. When each challenge ends, I repeat it since the food is so good. The work outs are a great way to get my heart rate up and they push me in ways I never thought possible. I even get up to work out with my husband from time to time. It's a great way to start the day and I wouldn't want it any other way. 

Thank you so much Erika and JJ for sharing your talents and knowledge with the rest of us. You have made such an impact on my life and I am so very grateful."

- Kim

"Starting he challenge I was a little overwhelmed with all the ingredients I needed to start. I also never really have prepared/cooked a whole bunch of different meals before so I was also nervous for that. However getting started and sticking with it was way easier than I thought! The meals were so delicious. That was what surprised me the most actually. I was thinking the recipes would taste bland or be filled with a million veggies that I don't like but they were delicious and so easy to make! There were a couple of recipes that I just had to make more than once cause they were so good. I'm so glad I decided to do this challenge. It has not only changed a lot of my unhealthy food habits but also my mental habits. I cringed and would point out every flaw on my body every time I would look in the mirror. From realizing I can make healthy choices it has brought positivity and more self love than I thought it would. I no longer get upset with myself after eating a treat every now and then. Thank you for paving the way and helping me find a new love for eating healthy! This challenge goes beyond the 40 days for me and I'm looking forward to keeping this healthy lifestyle up!"

- Melissa

"I can't even tell you how thankful I am that we did this last 40 day challenge!!! It was such an awesome experience. Our before and afters may not be impressive or noticeable, but we can definitely tell a difference in our bodies and our outlook! We weren't able to do nearly as much exercise as we hoped/ planned for, but we were so amazed to see what just diet was able to do for us. We are generally health conscious people and weren't looking to lose weight, but wanted to focus on better nutrition and making healthier habits (and toning up in the process!). We have been wanting to start a family for years, and through all the treatments and efforts, the one thing we haven't given a 110% effort on was our diet and cutting out sugar. This plan came at the perfect time and has been such a blessing! In the 40 days I ended up losing 6 pounds, and 6.5 inches!! Robbie lost 3 pounds and 1.5 inches. (He is hoping to add more exercise and start gaining weight and inches now, ha!). The best part for me has been seeing how effective planning and preparation are. In the second or third week of the challenge, our lives took a big turn and things got extra stressful and busy. At a time when I would have so easily justified pulling through a drive through or eating a frozen pizza (or even skipping a meal or two), I was able to continue making our health a priority and fueling my body. With a plan and commitment in place and preparations made, we were able to get through some of our most exhausting and overwhelming weeks without sacrificing our health goals. It was such a great realization for me; that no matter how many 10 hour work days, or basketball games and errands in Honolulu, or holidays, or crazy to-do lists I had, I could do this!! About halfway through the challenge, I would dream about chocolate chip cookies or couldn't wait for day 41 so we could eat out and I could make up for lost valentines chocolates (🙈) but I can honestly say that on day 42, I have lost those cravings and only have a stronger desire to continue building on these healthy habits!! Robbie and I are planning on starting over and just using the guide as our daily recipe book! We are still a little overwhelmed, but extremely humbled and grateful and excited to announce that we are adopting a baby, due next month!!! This was such an unexpected miracle and I am so happy that we started this healthy foundation and can continue making clean eating a priority as we start our family and raise our first baby!! Thank you again so much for putting so much effort into such a perfectly planned guide that made our job so easy! Your recipes are delicious and have definitely become staples in our home! You and JJ are so inspiring and we hope to be a healthy and fit family like you! THANK YOU!"

- Michelle

"Thank you for your food plans, they have made a world of difference for me. I've never done the healthy eating thing as well as I'd like to. When I went to college it got especially bad, instead of freshmen 15 I gained probably the freshmen 25 or 30. I included a pic of me right after my freshmen year at the beach.
A couple years after I got married I was pregnant with my first baby and found out I had gestational diabetes. I remember going to a training about how to take my blood sugar and what to eat. They presented a video with scare tactics that included telling me my baby might die and telling me of the high risk I was for type 2 diabetes.
I ate ok during my pregnancy, regulating my carbs but not always allotting my carbs to the best choices. When my baby was born I went right back to my old habits but I started lightly exercising. I found I loved that part and ended up finding a love for running, kick boxing, dance cardio and lifting over the next few years, but my eating hadn't changed. I would justify junk food by saying I had worked hard at the gym and deserved it. I wasn't building much muscle but my cardio health had improved and I didn't have diabetes with any of my other pregnancies.
About a year ago a friend of mine introduced me to your plans. This is the first time I've submitted my pictures though. I still have work to do, years of bad habits is taking time to work off. I also have hypothyroidism and PCOS, both of which predispose me to holding onto extra body fat. I know this fight won't ever end for me but I finally feel like I have the tools to do it right.
Thank you for everything you do and for creating something that works for my whole family!"

-Becky

"I made some pretty big changes in my life during the Winter Challenge and couldn't be happier. I went from 223 lbs to 188 lbs. I feel stronger, I don't have trouble sleeping anymore, and I have more energy.  Before the challenge I drank a lot of soda, snacked all day long, and ended every night with a GIANT bowl of ice cream.  This challenge taught me to eat healthier snacks, plan for my meals, and got me exercising again. I was active in sports my whole life and I'm feeling like my old self again.  I'm so happy that I did this challenge."

-Chad

"I loved the challenge and the recipes were to die for! Overall I think I was able to maintain a pretty great commitment to it. 

 I was able to start my journey to eating better for myself and also my family me and my husband both lost 5 lbs. But scale aside, I feel better, have more energy, and haven't been sick at all since eating these healthy meals. I am excited to add of favorite meals into our regular routine. After each meal I would have my family rate them from 1-5. 5 being the most delicious. I was shocked at first when most of the meals were getting between 4-5's from my husband, 13 year old and all the way down to my 4 year old! By the end I was surprised if they didn't get 5 stars.  

I still have work to do and am excited to try out other meal plans from you. Keep up the awesome work!! 

Thanks for the guidance to help get me on the right path for my family. I've even been sneaking these healthy recipes to my in laws without telling them first.  My father in law who is one of the most unhealthy eaters I know, had no idea."

-Jana

"Thank you for creating such an amazing, simple meal plan to follow. My wife and I have been doing your challenges for over a year now and it has changed our lives and how we eat. When eating healthy I feel like I can push harder and do better in my WODs. I am excited to see more changes come and I keep on staying consistent."

-Scott

"I have learned so much in the last 40 days about nutrition and clean eating. I have never followed through with one of your challenges although I have 2 other cookbooks. This was the first time I followed through with all of it. I lost 15lbs but gained so much more confidence in myself. I realized how much I was just starving my body and not fueling it with the right foods. Thank you for putting together these recipe books and challenges, it really has changed my outlook on food and healthy living.
> This is a lifestyle change for me not just a 40 day challenge. Thanks for helping this busy working mom by making shopping and cooking healthy doable. Win or lose, I feel like I am a winner for accomplishing this challenge and working out daily. My posture is better, my back rolls are going away. I am tightening my core after having 2 babies and seeing the transformation starting to occur. Not to mention how much healthier and happier as a family we all are."

-Sharee

"I had a great experience on this challenge.  I wasnt perfect but I was really really good.  I found it easiest when I was prepped.  If I went out I tried to eat something that would work in plan calories and hopefully have good macros. I'm not sure how to do those on my own yet. I'm excited to be down 10 and lost 2.5 inches on my waist. Thanks so much you two for all the support. I'm not where I want to be,  but I'm a little closer."

- Holly

"I started the #CSEChallenge when I was about 6 weeks postpartum with my second baby girl. and oh my goodness. For the first time ever, I have felt in control of what is happening to my body. I want to be able to empower my two girls with knowledge and the example of a confident, healthy mother who doesn't stress about food and exercise because it has become just another part of my everyday life.  And I am well on my way! The recipes are so yummy I can make them for my whole family. I often tell my husband as I'm going to sleep how excited I am to eat tomorrow’s lunch of tonight's leftovers--and I usually hate leftovers.

I don’t look the best I have in my life--but I. FEEL. AMAZING. It doesn’t matter to me that other people may look at my after picture and say “welp, she still has a long way to go.” and THAT! That alone tells me that my own self love has increased dramatically and I am ready to raise girls who understand what health and wellness truly is. It’s been a physical change for me, but more importantly a mental transformation. Getting healthy is about you in the most selfless way possible. YOU deserve to feel good about yourself. YOU deserve to feel in control. You need that positivity in your life so you can bless the lives of others in the way you’re supposed to.

I know this is a little long-winded, but I really just wanted to put into context, even just a little bit, how amazing these last 40 days have been. I’m SO grateful for all I’ve learned. This was an absolute life changer for me. I feel in control of my health, which helps me feel in control of every other aspect of my life. I can fit into my pre-second-pregnancy pants, and am well on my way to fitting into my pre-first-pregnancy pants. And this was only the first 40 days!!! Can’t wait to see what happens as I continue your plans"

 

Original weight (Jan. 7)- 209 lbs

 

Current weight (Feb. 17)- 182 lbs

net weight loss= 27 lbs (!!!!!)

Percentage of weight loss = 12.9%

- Hanna

"As I reflect back on the CSE challenge I find myself somewhat stunned, very amazed, overjoyed, and confident.  I had some basic ideas on what was clean eating and how many meals and calories I needed to consume each day.  I was trying to convince myself that food was fuel instead of entertainment like it used to be.  I was so wrong.  Food can still be so enjoyable and still be clean.  I had a few recipe's and was eating basically the same thing every single day.  How boring!  With Clean Simple Eats I have learned how to cook, and I thought I knew how before. I made my first casserole, I did all kinds of baking that I never did before. See I love cooking and am so glad I am now able to utilize all the tools in the kitchen.  Some recipes were challenging to make and took me some time, others were so easy they blew my mind.  Still there was temptation, work pizza parties, burger joints seemed to pop up out of no where. At times I got a little emotional wishing I could eat whatever I wanted, however much I wanted, and whenever I wanted to. I used to consume somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 calories a day. I used to eat my feelings, and I was depressed so it happened a lot. I used to eat for entertainment. I am now satisfied with the meals and how good I feel from them. The weight loss from this whole thing has been incredible.  I have lost 20lbs. I went from 260 to 240. I did not take measurements, because I was not really in this to win anything other than a happier healthier me. In fact I didn't know it was really a challenge I just thought it was a great meal plan. I have noticed a big difference in clothing now though.  I had to buy a new belt as I went down 4 notches and it no longer fit. I can fit in a 38 waist pant. (I have not been able to do that since I was a junior in high school.) I was in 42's before. 2XL shirts now drown me and XL fits very well.  Not only that but my strength has still gone up. Every single WOD is way easier, I do not finish last anymore, I do more weight, and even RX some of them.  I can do jumping bar muscle ups, which I could not do before.  My clean went up 5lbs, my bench went up 20lbs, my squat went up 30lbs, overhead squat up 30lbs, snatch up 10, and I can go on. I cant believe all the compliments I get now. It's every day and makes me blush, and feel so proud. One of the things that touched me the most is that people said I inspired them.  ME? I inspired someone else in the fitness world? I struggle every day, its the hardest and most rewarding thing I have ever done, but it is a struggle every single day. It really surprises me.  I am so thankful for the group that was created. Doing this with others has helped so much. Seeing others struggle too helps me not give up. Giving up is something I have done so many times in the past. It is so much easier to give up on yourself when doing something by yourself. When other people are watching it is hard to give up, because you want to do it for them.  I want to be successful to show that it can be done. I realize I have changed a bit in that way. Now that I know I can inspire I want to do it more. After this plan, I know there is a better way and I will continue to eat clean and use these recipe's for life.  Also, I hate coconut, but somehow every recipe with coconut was amazing. Anyway, I think that's it. I am a better me than before and that is what I will continue to strive for."

- John