Growing up, I was an active kid—but that doesn’t mean I was healthy. I wasn’t necessarily obese, but I was what I’d call thick, which made me seriously struggle with body image.

I’d eat traditional southern cornbread and drink sweet tea (and opting for fast food in between), but I felt like my lifestyle worked well enough for me—until I contracted a rare (but temporary) illness that damaged the nerves in my leg. My condition made it impossible to walk, much less exercise.

The pounds piled on quickly after that—add in the fact that I had two kids during that time period, and at 25 years old and 220 pounds, I barely recognized my body.

My turning point came one day when I looked in the mirror and actually said out loud, ‘Girl, what the heck are you doing to yourself?’

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Mommy's little man

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Mommy's little man

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Mommy's little man

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Mommy’s little man

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One of the first realizations I had when I decided to lose weight was that I was going to have to ditch the idea of the food pyramid (turns out that carb-based comfort food is about as far from healthy as you can get).

I started by cutting out fast food—which meant cooking more at home.

I ditched Starbucks, too, as well as any sweets; instead, I focused on real, whole foods—chicken, vegetables, whole grains. I also cut out soda and focused mainly on water (making an exception for the occasional mimosa).

After a few months of that, I stopped drinking alcohol, along with dairy, and shortly after that, I started intermittent fasting (a.k.a., eating during a specific eight-hour period, and fasting for the remaining 16 hours). Currently, I follow a vegetarian and dairy-free diet—here’s what a typical day of eating looks like for me:

After changing my diet, I also discovered my first fitness crush: cycling.

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WARNING: Viewer Discretion Advised: picture Left- July 2015 ( 6 months after my daughter was born) Picture right- October 2016 – no supplements – no magic pills – no wraps/ jellies/ creams I’m NOT trying to sell you ANYTHING! I’m not a distributor for any company. This is raw, real, and very natural. AND… I have a FREE bootcamp starting Monday!!! Contact me to join! No gimmicks, I just want to share my passion for health with those who want to feel better!!

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Spin class was perfect for me because the room was dark, so nobody could see me. Being so overweight, I felt way more comfortable sitting on a bike in a dark room where I didn’t really have to move, just pedal.

At first, it was hard enough just to do that (I’d even fake turning the knob when the instructor told us to add resistance). But, when I kept coming back week after week, I started to see my body transform as I got stronger.

Over the next few years, I discovered many more group fitness classes I loved—dancing, yoga, barre, and kettlebells, just to name a few—and realized I had a passion for fitness. I decided to start teaching my own classes at a local gym.

Even though I was eating right and exercising, losing weight still didn’t come easily.

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Hey Ladies! My name is Courtney, I am a Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor here in the north Denver metro area. Picture Left: Feb 2016 ( 13 months after my last child was born) Picture Right: November 2016 ( 10 month transformation) I am reaching out to find a few select ladies to train for FREE in JULY ?? YES, If you are interested in creating a NEW LIFESTYLE please contact me now! WHATS THE CATCH—- > No catch, I would love to share your success story, before/after results (with your permission of course) , and a review would be ? great, BUT not necessary. All I ask is you TELL YOUR FRIENDS about your experience?? WHO AM I LOOKING FOR? Anyone who wants to make a change and most importantly WILLING TO PUT IN EFFORT ?? Contact me now if you are interested – Don't hesitate/ FIRST COME FIRST SERVE [email protected] 440-6STUDIO #personaltraining #fitness #broomfieldcolorado #denverfitness #workout #studio #gym #motivation

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Hey Ladies! My name is Courtney, I am a Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor here in the north Denver metro area. Picture Left: Feb 2016 ( 13 months after my last child was born) Picture Right: November 2016 ( 10 month transformation) I am reaching out to find a few select ladies to train for FREE in JULY ?? YES, If you are interested in creating a NEW LIFESTYLE please contact me now! WHATS THE CATCH—- > No catch, I would love to share your success story, before/after results (with your permission of course) , and a review would be ? great, BUT not necessary. All I ask is you TELL YOUR FRIENDS about your experience?? WHO AM I LOOKING FOR? Anyone who wants to make a change and most importantly WILLING TO PUT IN EFFORT ?? Contact me now if you are interested – Don't hesitate/ FIRST COME FIRST SERVE [email protected] 440-6STUDIO #personaltraining #fitness #broomfieldcolorado #denverfitness #workout #studio #gym #motivation

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Hey Ladies! My name is Courtney, I am a Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor here in the north Denver metro area. Picture Left: Feb 2016 ( 13 months after my last child was born) Picture Right: November 2016 ( 10 month transformation) I am reaching out to find a few select ladies to train for FREE in JULY ?? YES, If you are interested in creating a NEW LIFESTYLE please contact me now! WHATS THE CATCH—- > No catch, I would love to share your success story, before/after results (with your permission of course) , and a review would be ? great, BUT not necessary. All I ask is you TELL YOUR FRIENDS about your experience?? WHO AM I LOOKING FOR? Anyone who wants to make a change and most importantly WILLING TO PUT IN EFFORT ?? Contact me now if you are interested – Don't hesitate/ FIRST COME FIRST SERVE [email protected] 440-6STUDIO #personaltraining #fitness #broomfieldcolorado #denverfitness #workout #studio #gym #motivation

A post shared by Courtney Montgomery (@courtneyemontgomery) on

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Hey Ladies! My name is Courtney, I am a Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor here in the north Denver metro area. Picture Left: Feb 2016 ( 13 months after my last child was born) Picture Right: November 2016 ( 10 month transformation) I am reaching out to find a few select ladies to train for FREE in JULY 🇺🇸 YES, If you are interested in creating a NEW LIFESTYLE please contact me now! WHATS THE CATCH—- > No catch, I would love to share your success story, before/after results (with your permission of course) , and a review would be 🤗 great, BUT not necessary. All I ask is you TELL YOUR FRIENDS about your experience👍🏼 WHO AM I LOOKING FOR? Anyone who wants to make a change and most importantly WILLING TO PUT IN EFFORT 💪🏼 Contact me now if you are interested – Don’t hesitate/ FIRST COME FIRST SERVE [email protected] 440-6STUDIO #personaltraining #fitness #broomfieldcolorado #denverfitness #workout #studio #gym #motivation

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My weight loss wasn’t fast—I was dropping pounds steadily but very slowly. Dealing with this was the hardest part, and trying to find the motivation to keep going when my patience was wearing thin was so difficult.

But the more I exercised and ate right, the better I felt, and I finally realized that I didn’t have to lose five pounds a week to be improving my health (and in fact, it was probably better that I wasn’t!). It took me three years, but by 2015, I had lost 90 pounds.

I was even surprised to discover that the place I’d once been deathly afraid of—the gym—had become my happy place! Eventually, I got my personal training certification and started working in gyms full time. I even met my husband at a gym!

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‼️CHEERLEADERS + DANCERS + MAMAS‼️ . My name is Courtney & I am a personal trainer in the Denver Metro area!!! . If you are looking to lose weight, build strength and flexibility, or just feel better- then I’m your girl! Let me help you reach your goals ?? . I’m even more excited to tell you about a new program that will be launching in the spring that geared towards cheerleaders&dancers. This program will focus on: ▫️building strength & flexibility ▫️improving body awareness ▫️increasing self confidence ▫️improving teamwork & leadership skills . I will be working individually as well as with teams as a whole! . I’m so excited ? #goteam . #personaltrainer #personaltraining #groupfitnessinstructor #westminstercolorado #denvercolorado #superiorcolorado #broomfieldcolorado #cheerleading #dancer #flexibilityfriday

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‼️CHEERLEADERS + DANCERS + MAMAS‼️ . My name is Courtney & I am a personal trainer in the Denver Metro area!!! . If you are looking to lose weight, build strength and flexibility, or just feel better- then I’m your girl! Let me help you reach your goals ?? . I’m even more excited to tell you about a new program that will be launching in the spring that geared towards cheerleaders&dancers. This program will focus on: ▫️building strength & flexibility ▫️improving body awareness ▫️increasing self confidence ▫️improving teamwork & leadership skills . I will be working individually as well as with teams as a whole! . I’m so excited ? #goteam . #personaltrainer #personaltraining #groupfitnessinstructor #westminstercolorado #denvercolorado #superiorcolorado #broomfieldcolorado #cheerleading #dancer #flexibilityfriday

A post shared by Courtney Montgomery (@courtneyemontgomery) on

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‼️CHEERLEADERS + DANCERS + MAMAS‼️ . My name is Courtney & I am a personal trainer in the Denver Metro area!!! . If you are looking to lose weight, build strength and flexibility, or just feel better- then I’m your girl! Let me help you reach your goals ?? . I’m even more excited to tell you about a new program that will be launching in the spring that geared towards cheerleaders&dancers. This program will focus on: ▫️building strength & flexibility ▫️improving body awareness ▫️increasing self confidence ▫️improving teamwork & leadership skills . I will be working individually as well as with teams as a whole! . I’m so excited ? #goteam . #personaltrainer #personaltraining #groupfitnessinstructor #westminstercolorado #denvercolorado #superiorcolorado #broomfieldcolorado #cheerleading #dancer #flexibilityfriday

A post shared by Courtney Montgomery (@courtneyemontgomery) on

View this post on Instagram

‼️CHEERLEADERS + DANCERS + MAMAS‼️ . My name is Courtney & I am a personal trainer in the Denver Metro area!!! . If you are looking to lose weight, build strength and flexibility, or just feel better- then I’m your girl! Let me help you reach your goals 🙌🏼 . I’m even more excited to tell you about a new program that will be launching in the spring that geared towards cheerleaders&dancers. This program will focus on: ▫️building strength & flexibility ▫️improving body awareness ▫️increasing self confidence ▫️improving teamwork & leadership skills . I will be working individually as well as with teams as a whole! . I’m so excited 😆 #goteam . #personaltrainer #personaltraining #groupfitnessinstructor #westminstercolorado #denvercolorado #superiorcolorado #broomfieldcolorado #cheerleading #dancer #flexibilityfriday

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Still, I’ll never forget how it felt being that young, overweight girl who was intimated by the gym and didn’t know anything about nutrition. I always look around for others who are feeling that same way and try to be a support system for them. My life’s mission is to help people believe in themselves and their goals, like I learned to believe in myself.

Oh, and I still have sweet tea and cornbread sometimes—you can take the girl out of Mississippi, but you can’t take the delicious Southern food away from the girl. It’s just that now it’s the occasional splurge instead of my standard dinner.

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