Real people. Real stories. Just like you.

Jill - Santa Rosa, CA

When I started the Stretch Goal Challenge I thought it would be a good way to get re-committed to getting on the mat regularly and to drinking more water. (It was!) I was sure that I wasn't going to do the reset. I had tried it over the summer for about a week, but I was sure that none of the foods that I had eliminated would give me any reaction. I never had any gastro-intestinal symptoms to track, only periodic migraines that I couldn't figure out. Over the fall, however, I got a rash on my chin and I could tell that some foods were irritating it -- but what? I had no idea, but now I had a visible sign of what was working for me and what wasn't. I read the reset again. I considered it. I looked at the calendar - three weeks until Christmas, four weeks until new year's, five weeks until my birthday. Bad timing. But I jumped in anyway. This time around I had a different attitude. I was much more faithful to the Reset as written. My rash is gone. I've lost 8 lbs. My headaches are still hanging on, but I'm hoping to see them lighten up and disappear as I balance my hormones through my diet. Thanks, Tandy, for getting me on the mat with M&K. Thank you for doing and living the research that went into the reset so I could follow along and benefit. And thank you, for connecting me to such a supportive community as I figure out how to navigate toward a resilient and healthy body.

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Megan - Canesto, NY

Watch a video testimonial  from several of the 2014 challengees

I applied for the M&K Fall Sessions on a whim. I knew I needed a big change and help to do it! I'm 36 years old and I felt like I was getting to the point where I was letting myself go. I was gaining weight gradually and just feeling run down in many ways. My diet was terrible and even though I had already been on the mat with Tandy for four months I wasn't seeing the results I wanted.

I almost pulled my application the night before Tandy revealed her choices because I was so terrified of the 5 Day Food Reset! I loved junk food and was definitely addicted to sugar. I had never really stuck to a diet and I was afraid I'd let myself, Tandy, and my fellow applicants down if I was chosen and then dropped out! I was not confident that I could choose a healthier path and follow it to completion!

After I was chosen I sort of jumped right in and never looked back. I learned so much about why and how I ate before and about how much better real food can be! I expected to be hungry, but I wasn't! I could really eat whenever I was hungry! The difference was that it was veggies instead of a package of processed junk! I have also  always counted calories as part of any diet I've ever done.  I rarely even looked at the calorie part of the nutrition label for the whole 8 weeks!

Two of the most surprising parts of the fall session for me were finding out that I was sensitive to gluten and alcohol and finding out that the "sessions" are never really done! I started out with November 9th as the date I had to make it to in order to prove that I could finish this diet! Now, on November 9th, I don't feel done at all. I've made the choice to continue eating the PYM way because everything about it is better than what I was doing before! I feel like for my lifestyle, an 80/20 balance of clean eating/eating with other people will be doable! I'm more mindful of what I put in my body now because I feel so much better than I did 8 weeks ago...I don't want to go back!

My main goal was weight loss. I was stuck at my heaviest weight ever. The average weight loss in the first week of the reset is 6 pounds. I lost that and could've been done then and happy with my results! I was a size 6 or 8 to start, so I kind of thought the most I'd really lose was 10 pounds. I did NOT expect to not count calories, open up my menu as foods were added back in, and still lose weight! This morning as I took my after picture, I was at 19 pounds lost!!! I haven't been able to do that with any other plan EVER!

I even went so far as to join Tandy's stretch goal challenge after the fall sessions were done. I love the feeling of being accountable to a group. I also feel like my journey can help others. I'm just a person who sucked at being healthy before and now I'm fully on the PYM bandwagon! I still have so much more to learn and I'm convinced that Tandy's way is the best!

This was such an amazing journey with a group of amazing people! I'm so proud of all the changes I witnessed in the last eight weeks...mentally and physically...in myself and my fellow applicants. This experience was such a life changing and enlightening one. It was definitely worth every bit of effort that I put in!

Once you go PYM, you never go back!  Thank you for all your guidance Tandy! I look forward to many more times on the mat and in the kitchen with you!

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Katie - Saint Louis, MO

 

I learned that I never stuck to videos because they get boring and lots of times annoying. I can honestly say Tandy gives the best cues, but doing the same videos over for 9 weeks made me realize how much I love getting a new video every three days. There are many that I favorite and will come back to because they kick my butt--all time favorites Spidey Power, Tickets to Show, Tandy's workout, Against wall and Flip flop roller(love the roller and circle workouts) If you don't have roller, circle and bands --you need to get them!!!! You are worth it!! By the way you are worth $32 a month. Your health and body will thank you for being kind to them.

 

I learned that stretching is very important and most of us do not do it enough or give it enough credit that it is as important as a workout. Since one of my goals was tightness in neck and a hamstring issue--there were days that I did 2 stretch workouts and that was my workout. This was at least once a week!! Did I lose ground, did my body not change --no it just kept getting stronger and leaner!! This was hard for me, a runner to be ok with just doing a stretch for a workout. But I promised to do what I was instructed for 9-10 weeks and I did!! I am a rule follower by heart, lol.

 

I had been so frustrated with not being able to lose that last 10 pounds that I would hear those commercials on radio for Commander go pack--the "magic pill". Of course I was too cheap to go explore and see what it was but also because I knew deep down that there is no magic pill. But what I learned that there is magic in food, in eating clean. What clean means to you is for you to find out, it may be no dairy, or no gluten. Hopefully you will read and explore why we want to be eating organic and do it as much as you can afford. We have sat back long enough and let big industry tell us that it is ok for our bodies. I learned that I am responsible for what I am fueling my body and if I fuel it well I feel amazing!! I have far exceeded my goals, not only did I lose 10 pounds but since December '13, I have lost 24-26 pounds (you know those 1-2 pounds you fluctuate with). I am so happy with how my body has changed! I share M&K with whoever is interested because I love it and want everyone to be healthy, fit and happy!! Thanks Tandy for sharing your incredible knowledge with us!! 

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Jenna - Sebastopol, CA

I started a fall challenge with Tandy Gutierrez and M&K and this is the result of exactly 2 months.... I'm grateful for newfound strength as I know I need it now more than I ever have. ♡ in honor of Jasper James I am committing to helping myself and others be their most healthful self.'

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Hayley - Milwaukee, WI

I completed the Stretch Challenge because I said I would. I am a busy, working mom and it makes perfect sense to do M&K AND I got tremendous results! I am sticking to the water drinking and, now that Christmas cookies are out of my life, I am getting OFF the sugar. I gave it up during the Challenge and I can't believe how much it affects me (and how easy it sneaks back in after giving it up for so long!) My mood, my focus, my weight, EVERYTHING is adversely affected by sugar. It is my biggest weakness and I WILL get it out of my life for good.  I am taking what I learned from M&K and I am fitting it in with what works for me. You are a remarkable woman, Tandy and I LOVE what you are doing for so many people. And what you did for me! I will sing your praises to all that I know and try to get as many people as I can to join M&K. I love you, girl and I am so proud to call you a friend. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.

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Taryn - Los Angeles, CA

I've been an athlete my whole life and, if I'm being honest, Pilates used to be a real mystery to me. Working at Lululemon for several years I had friends who worked for their certification and talked about how hard it was. I would sit in classes and roll like a ball, stretch my spine forward, and pump my arms like crazy in hundreds and still walk away saying, "I don't think I'm doing it right." I wasn't. I just wasn't in touch yet with creating my own resistance. I wasn't tapped into my powerhouse. I hadn't made the connection yet that any time you want to generate any power it all comes from your core. Even though I'd already started to appreciate how tricky it could be to tap into your core and that Pilates was a great tool to unlocking great power, the summer session really helped me start to feel the way the practice of Pilates can totally change your body. Almost every week I was finding more mobility. I could do more things more efficiently and tap into the right muscle groups simply because I was able to move properly. The end result is that I'm growing stronger and you can see it. Looking at my before and after photos I realize the change is subtle but totally noticeable. Every time I raise my arms in the air I catch a glimpse of the growing definition in my arms and it still surprises me. It's one of the things I talked to Tandy about - once you've done this work, crossed over the hurdle of breaking through that beginning stage with the inevitable plateau and reached the other side I can already feel that going backwards would be really hard. It's like once you have access to the right muscles you'll keep using them the right way because you can. It's a feeling that's hard to describe but when you're in it, it feels like super powers! In addition to finding new physical strength during the summer session, I was also given the opportunity to explore my emotional life and the relationship I have with food. I started to notice just how often I craved the chance to reward myself with food. This was definitely the most challenging part to me. Having a discussion with myself about how I did a great job and actually trying to FEEL that great job rather than dampening the feeling with a sweet treat was interesting. It's that whole thing that - sometimes it can be just as hard to let yourself experience happiness as sadness or anger. Also I noticed the way cravings seemed to come on when I was exhausted. "Go home and put your head on the pillow, Taryn. You're so tired!" I'd say to myself.

 

The bottom line is that there isn't a way to go through with a session like this and not feel changed and get results of some kind. More awareness in your body and your mind is basically the only outcome. I'm so grateful for the opportunity and for the way I feel in my clothes and my bathing suit. ;) 

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Gina - St. Louis, MO

I’ve been a runner my entire life, but in September I realized that I hurt…..my back hurt, my legs hurt, my feet hurt.  And, running wasn’t fun for me anymore….it was a CHORE.  To top it off, I recently turned 50, and didn’t like the changes I was seeing in my body….no longer toned and not very flexible.  Since the stretch challenge, I have been committed to getting on the mat 5-6 times a week, and really enjoy my time with Tandy!  Even with my crazy work and travel schedule, I like the convenience and diversity of M&K workouts.  I have seen a transformation in my body in recent weeks as clothes are now fitting differently.  What’s interesting is that I did not start M&K to lose weight, but have lost 6 pounds, just by being on the mat.  I did not complete the reset, but have totally changed the way I look at food.  I have eliminated almost all sugar and caffeine from my diet, and have been eating much healthier fruits, vegetables, nuts and meats.  I’ve also been drinking ½ my body weight in water.  While challenging, that alone has curbed my appetite for bad foods. The old cravings for cookies and candies simply aren’t there anymore.  I really don’t miss these things and what’s funny is that I’ve had a “sweet tooth” my entire life.  I feel amazing right now, and will continue to make M&K a priority in the new year!  Can’t wait to see where this body is headed in 2015.  Happy New Year everyone!

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Heidi - Seattle, WA

I'm so glad you decided to have this challenge and I'm so proud of myself for participating in it! No, I was not perfect but I did the best I could each day. I did great on my hydration and most weeks I did all four workouts. There were a few weeks that I didn't finish all four. I love how my body feels when I get on the mat. I have more energy and strength.  I also love having the accountability of the challenge. It was great to see and hear from others that were participating. I enjoyed your assignments each week. It kept the challenge exciting and new. That's what is so wonderful about M&K, it's always a new workout. Looking back the one thing that I wish I would have done better is my eating. I have always been someone that can fluctuate 20 pounds in no time. I can lose weight fast but it goes on even faster. The key for me, and I assume most people is my food intake. When I eat clean and healthy my body knows it. I know what I need to eat but it's always been one of my biggest struggles. So, I didn't see as many physical changes as I was hoping for during this challenge. The important thing is that I know why and I know what I need to do to fix it! I honestly don't care what the scale says but I know my body feels and functions better at a certain weight. I'm not quite there yet but I WILL get there! I'm looking forward to next years challenge and I know where I'm going to focus my attention next year.  Thanks so much for all you support Tandy..you are the best!!

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Tracey - Hamden, CT

Here's what I learned:  that I SHOULD TRUST YOU!  Although, honestly more correctly, I should state you have gained my trust.  You always had it on the mat, where I have always known you has an amazing amount of expertise.  But you also know what you are talking about with food, mostly because you put us on a path that will allow us to figure out what works for us individually.  I do research for a living and it's part of my nature to want all the facts and research before I try something.  And so I am especially skeptical of nutrition/eating plans without seeing the science to back it up as there are a lot of bad science surrounding food.  However, I'm so excited to do the reset again in January and really nail it.  Because I could see for myself the difference in following it almost correctly.  And I have some food questions I really want answered, mostly around dairy. What I love is that you have freed me from counting calories, which I have done seemingly endlessly, but didn't trust myself enough, nor did I have the support to stop and really just eat right.  Your challenge to not look at the scale for 3 weeks was similar, it taught me to trust what I was doing without being obsessive as to whether it was "working".  Separately, I also love that when I am having a bad day, I look forward to getting on the mat with you, your message/chatter/even cuing during the videos is kind and friendly, and always cheers me up.  

 

 

As far as what didn't work for me, it's pretty minor and related to my life, not the challenge.  I realized that given when I have my teenaged boys in the week, trying to get on the mat on Mondays and Tuesdays is very very unlikely.  And that's okay, because there are 5 other days of the week where it is pretty easy for me to get on the mat.  Anyway, there is so much more I can say, but I've rambled on enough.  Thank you so much for this opportunity.  You are amazing and a blessing.

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Kara - Adrian, MO

When I started the Stretch Goal Challenge I hadn't been exercising at all. I've been signed up with M&K for quite some time. I would do it for a while, then something would always come up and I would get "too busy" and end up going several weeks without doing it. I decided this was the perfect time to try to get myself in the habit again. I started out great.  I did 4 times a week for the first several weeks, then as time went by I began to struggle more.

 

I admit that my busy life began to get in the way as well as just being tired. Some days I pushed through, but others I gave in ton ot doing it. I realized pretty quick that if I don't do it in the mornings, I'm not likely to do it later. On November 19th, my dad went in for what should have been a routine surgery that should have only kept him in the hospital 1-2 days. 22 days later he was released from the hospital on a feeding tube, with a picc line and 2 drain tubes. He wound up with a hole in his stomach and an infection.  By the time he left he couldn't swallow and no one can figure out why.  Needless to say since November 19th my life got a little hectic and busy.  He was in a hospital an hour to an hour and a half away. I didn't go every day, but I took over his real estate clients and trying to help my mom when I could as well as working on our basement. There have been some emotional days throughout this and still are. 

 

I am a true emotional and stress eater. While I have given in to my chocolate "needs" I have started trying to do some batch cooking throughout this just so I could at least have some good veggies on hand.  Before all this happened I had decided not to do the Reset. I knew that I would put too much pressure on myself and stress about it all, from the time dad went into the hospital, I didn't do as well. I ended up with only 3 days a week. I didn't complete the challenge as intended or instructed, but I started moving back to a healthier me.I am trying to keep it up. I am also trying not to beat myself up too much for not doing it like I think I 'should'. I always feel better when I do, I just struggle to get it all in.  But I am realizing that it really is creating a habit. A few days I planned to do 15 minutes because that is all I had time for, and next thing I knew you were thanking me for getting on the mat with you today.

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Janna - Clarkson, GA

The challenge was definitely harder than I expected. I started strong but I did not maintain the same level of commitment throughout. However, I feel like this is the beginning of my transformation.  I did not stick with M&K 4 x week, but I drank lots of water and read the 5 day food reset. The biggest change that I accomplished was cutting down my portion sizes by becoming much more aware of being hungry instead of eating out of boredom. I have gained a higher consciousness towards nourishing my body rather than filling an emotional void. 

 

My next step is to make M&K a habit. I plan to work out consistently every week, not boom or bust like I've been in the past. I am creating a space in my home for working out and meditation, away from kids and other stimuli. The after pic is a slow start. It's not reflective of all I am capable of doing, but I wanted to be honest with myself about what I did and did not accomplish in the first challenge. Thanks,

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Julie - Apex, NC

When the Stretch Goal Challenge came up the latter part of the year, I was happy to jump in -- not because I wanted to catch up on anything I had resolved to do for fitness at the beginning of the year.  I'm not actually much of a New Year's Resolution kind of girl. If I need to change something, then I need to change something. Waiting for January 1 is just postponing something that should have happened earlier, and I would have missed the benefit of the change in the meantime.  But when I took a realistic look at the rest of the year, with holiday travels and just the busyness of life that goes along with having a full-time job, a husband, a 2nd grader and 2-year-old, I knew that dedicating 6 days a week to working out over the next two months was just not going to happen.  But I did want to establish some good habits that could carry me through to a time when things should get a little less hectic.  And hopefully, the accountability would at least keep the scale steady through the season of cookies and fudge and whatever other junk "foods" that make their way into my office this time of year. 

 

Water!  I love being hydrated now.  I haven't had much to do with soda in years.  Except for my morning coffee, water has been my drink of choice for a while now.  But I wasn't as intentional about how much I drank.  When I accepted the challenge, I began carrying my 16 oz cup with me to work and refilled several times during the day.  When the weekends came around and I was off-schedule, I wouldn't drink as much, and I'd feel like crap by 3:00 in the afternoon.  A low-grade headache might come on, or I'd feel sluggish.  So I've learned that I have to be really aware about hydration over the weekends.   

 

I thought 4 times a week for the workouts might be a struggle for me.  And sometimes, it didn't happen.  I learned that early morning workouts are best, when I can focus and be mentally present.  But because they don't require lots of space or prep/cleanup time, it was often possible in the afternoons even with the kids home and awake and running around me.  ("Often", not "always".  Sometimes they just need me.  And that's fine too.)  I loved that the schedule was forgiving.  Four times a week just meant four times a week.  I wasn't committing to four specific days, or even specific workouts.  When my shoulder acted up, I could skip the current workout and choose another that didn't aggravate the joint - and I wouldn't feel "behind" in a program because of it.  And the workouts are so gentle on the body that doubling up on the weekends was possible when the weeks just got crazy - like when my car was in the shop for 3 weeks and I was doing all the dropoff/pickup duty for the kids AND the hubby. 

 

We recently had a facebook exchange where I said that I never feel guilty about what I eat.  It's true.  Regret is really just not in my makeup.  Things are as they are.  I don't need to spend emotional energy on something that can no longer be changed.  But I do have a whole lot of defeatism.  If I can't do something at 100%, I'll quit.  Or if I think 100% isn't possible, I won't even try.  I've found a far more forgiving state of mind with M&K.  Sometimes 50% effort is all I can afford that day or week.  But on those days, I can tell that whatever I have in the tank is infinitely better for me than the nothing that I might have done for myself before. Thank you!! 

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Stacey - San Jose, CA

 The summer sessions have gone amazingly for me. After week 10, I felt accomplished and proud. I was able to stick to a goal and do it well. I was a little apprehensive in the beginning, I thought for sure I would get bored doing the same workouts every day- again, I was wrong :-) Tandy thoughtfully chose each workout according to my goals. It was rather simple for me in terms of the food, since I've been following a clean eating diet since I began M&K, however honestly, there were struggles here and there. I kept in mind my goals and toughed it out. In the end, I feel wonderful. I feel happy and confident and strong. I do see visible changes as well as feel them. And this is exactly the reason I chose to be a part of the summer session to begin with. M&K has done wonders for me since the very beginning and will continue to do so because I am choosing to get on the mat daily. Tandy is an excellent trainer and mentor and I am beyond lucky to have found her and Mat & Kitchen!  

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Robin - Sebastapol, CA

This has been nothing short of an amazing adventure.  I call it an adventure because I never knew what was going to be around the next corner of the process.  I have learned so many things during the last two months.  I know listen to my body and how it communicates to me. I now know I have a lot of gut issues and look forward to healing them.  I now love cooking pretty colorful foods. I am so in tuned with how I feel everyday. I now read labels like a crazy person. Having said that who “are” the crazy ones?  


What has changed should be what hasn’t changed.  Everything has changed, most importantly is waking up happy, without a headache and ready to see my children with a eagerness.  Before this adventure I barely could get out of bed and when I did it was to hurry up to get my kids out the door so I could go back to bed until I had to pick them up from school.  Now I have crazy amount of energy.   My house has changed and it’s energy has changed. I can honestly say I have not really cleaned it for 5 years.  It’s been picked up and surfaced cleaned but not deep cleaned.  but Windows, carpets, cubbords,  shine like new.  We have a brand new heating system with a wonderful Ionizer on it. The house smell fresh and clean at every turn. My friend and Father-in-law came in the house and said “WOW” the house seems so different.  It shines and feels new. My Mom lived with us for the last years of her life and passed away two years ago this August of Lung Cancer.  It was a very difficult time.  Not just the cancer but living with her in general.  We had a very hard relationship and it took a toll on me.  She move in with us so she and her grandchildren could be part of each other lives.  IT WAS HARD.  So, how has things changed is so vast it is hard to even fathom. Physically, I am getting stronger everyday.  Each time I get on the mat I can do just a little more. To be perfectly honest I never even got or like pilates.  It took you Tandy for it to all make sense. What comes next?  Well I will continue this wonderful learning adventure of getting my gut back in order.  I will continue healing from the inside out and reap the benefits.  It will show itself with a wonderful transformation on the outside. 

I FEEL AMAZING.  

 

Thanks Tandy for the inspiration and the path you have chosen.  Your process has benefited all of us.  Can’t wait to meet you in Sebastopol with Jenna. 

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Beth - Los Angeles, CA

I consider myself somewhat healthful, in that I have almost always had some form of fitness in my life and grew up in a family where fitness and an active lifestyle were a part of our family culture.  I’ve also been a vegetarian for more than 25 years, don’t smoke or drink (I’ve been sober and in recovery for 11 years) and tend to be pretty aware of what I put in my body.  That said, my anxiety and obsessive personality have sometimes “run riot” and I have gone through periods in my life where I’ve vacillated between emotional eating and strict food control, leading to latent anorexia.  I give that history, only because it makes my experience with the M&K Fresh Start Challenge that much more impactful.

 

When I opted-in to the Fresh Start Challenge, I was in a place of frustration.  I felt that I hadn’t been able to get a fitness routine going that worked for me.  I’d had fits and starts with M&K and periods where I could see change and then life would get busy and I’d get out of my routine again.

 

I am 47-years old and have worked in my recovery to become more balanced and grounded – to find some real self-love and acceptance emotionally AND physically.  It’s been a long journey that I expect to continue for a lifetime.  A part of that shift has been a desire to mold my physical self into the healthy body that will carry me for the rest of my life (hopefully another 47 years!).   Suddenly, I’m not as focused on being the skinniest version of myself but the healthiest version of myself…  I want strength, flexibility and suppleness, good posture, and hormonal balance.  THOSE are the things that will make the difference in my health in the coming years.

 

The Fresh Start Challenge has been a game changer for me.  It’s as if I was missing the last few pieces of a puzzle… then the Challenge came along and dropped in the final pieces to make a beautiful and complete picture.  Here’s what’s happened:

 

What’s changed?

I have watched and felt myself get stronger.  When I’m on the mat, I can do plank positions that I couldn’t do before and feel very solid doing them.  My upper body strength and my ability to do push ups and wheels has improved drastically.  My core has gotten stronger and I feel connected to it more than ever.   The BIGGEST change has come in my day-to-day existence.  When I’m standing, I am now so conscious about rolling my shoulders, squeezing my glutes and sucking in my belly to support my back.   I sit and stand taller and stronger and feel as though I am supported by a little internal girdle and my whole body is grateful for it.   I notice it in my joints, too.  Sometimes I have to run to catch a train and instead of my hips and knees feeling like they’re taking the force, everything feels tight and supported.  It’s been YEARS since my knees have felt like that!   Also, I am SO much more flexible in the areas that used to be difficult (hips, inner thigh).  Parts of my body that used to hurt (lower back, neck and shoulder stiffness) are drastically improved.  My clothes are fitting differently, so there’s definitely been some loss in inches, too.   Lastly, my energy level is better and more consistent.  I feel more calm and my days start energized, hydrated, and positive.

 

What’s transitioned?

Getting on the mat 5-7 times each week is just what I do now.  I cannot imagine going long periods without M&K, because it would just feel physically unbalanced and well…  crappy.  Doing stretch routines is also something I don’t think I could live without at this point.  And while it wasn’t a part of the challenge, I purchased a rebounder and LOVE it – I feel like I now have a form of aerobic exercise that’s fun, impactful and works with my schedule.  Another major transition has been the commitment to doing 2 minutes of my power pose each day.  I have incorporated it into my morning reflection and meditation and it’s marvelous.   Lastly, sharing the journey is new for me – it’s really reinforcing to take on something new with a group of supportive people with similar goals.  Fitness and wellness has always been a solo endeavor and I’ve really enjoyed taking it on with a group.

 

What’s Next?

I will stay the course and will invest in some additional exercise equipment to do my stretches more effectively (hello, yoga blocks and foam rollers!).  I honestly feel that this is just a beginning and that my health and commitment to it will deepen in the days ahead.  I am also looking forward to the Superhero Challenge!

 

How do I feel?

Healthy, vibrant, strong, and more confident!  This is so much more than just a physical change.  I welled up with tears when I read on the Challenge page, “you are the proud owner of a fresh start each day.”  That is just so powerful to me on many levels.  It takes me out of being “perfect” and keeps me focused on the bigger picture.  It also speaks to my ability to commit to my health and wellness.  Today, I was looking at a picture of myself at 5-years old.  In it, I was oblivious to the camera and lost in the reverie of holding a kitten.  When I looked at it, I thought, “we did okay, kid.” This challenge was an important part of getting on track and taking good care of myself.  I honestly feel like I deserve it.

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Spring - Auburn, ME

What I learned

My body needs more water. Using allergy meds always left me so dehydrated I think I had given up on hydrating well. Weeks 4 and 5 my water intake totally went back to pre-challenge levels (again allergy meds, boo) and when I put my 1/2 gallon jar on the counter and looked at it and said "I HAVE to drink this all, TODAY," it went from " a health goal" to a "prescription for wellness" and I could feel the difference in my head as much as in my body (what a difference!) I also learned skills, like on a crazy week, how do you recover? I learned doubling up on a weekend day is possible (and kind of fun!), and helps avert the feeling of failure and "why bother." I learned a week of stretches not only feels amazing (I would do all stretches all the time I think! lol) but it's GOOD for me. YAY I'm so happy about that! I learned that a slow long even stretch with my roller and bits from various stretch videos makes me sleep SOOO much better. It's a gift to myself. I won't give it up! I also learned that pilates improves my piano playing, my housework, and anywhere else I need to use a muscle (umm.. LIFE!) Most of all, I learned that the amount of time I have is ENOUGH for real change, and that I don't have to feel exhausted or sore or beat up in order to get stronger. THIS IS AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! With my adrenal issues, exercise always ended up making me worse instead of better. I LOVE M&K!!!

 

What has changed

I had to take one pic with my hands on my hips because my used-to-be-fitted shirt is now baggy in places, and I am so EXCITED about my sides that are tightening. I feel the shrink-wrap affect you talk about, every time I put my hands on my hips. It's working its way from the top down, and the bottom up! LOL I know the tummy will tighten as I heal my gut.  Also, I HAVE BICEPS!! I also eat new to me foods now and LOVE them, that I have never eaten before. And I found other people encouraged by my efforts and that was very fulfilling. I also find I often get EXCITED about my mat time, it's my me-time. I have NEVER looked forward to exercise in my life, altho I have usually tried to be doing something. I have found myself taking the time I need for me, knowing my family will be better off, instead of feeling like it has to be at the bottom of the to-do list. Despite the health issues I am battling, I am stronger and taller and more capable than I was before. I am so thankful I babystepped into M&K after Christmas, with my 5-10 mins on the mat, in my jeans, because the challenge was perfectly timed for me. I also TOUCHED MY TOES and the FLOOR for the first time in years!!!! And I felt brave enough to try a dance ministry (we'll be performing in some local nursing homes) tho I haven't danced in over 20 years!

 

 

What's next

MORE M&K! My personal extended healing reset. Participating in challenges as they come up, being deliberate about the M&K community on the fan page . Continuing to improve my practice, and ENJOYING the things my body can now do! I really wasn't going for body change, my goal was to improve my routine for getting fitness, and some new foods, into my life. Goal completely achieved. With some bonuses. I feel so much happier in my body. My step is bouncier. Just wait til I get my tummy healed and my immune system calmed down!!! I CAN'T THANK YOU ENOUGH Tandy... you are a total God-send.

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Kelly - St. Louis, MO

So, I have been with Tandy and M&K since nearly the beginning- I was a little late, but only a little. Once I joined, I was hooked, and immediately started waxing poetic about Tandy's genius to my family and friends. Many embraced it too; my aunt even became an ambassador! My Aunt, Katie Meyer (The Ambassador, as she's now called by my family) has transformed with M&K both physically and spiritually in the most beautiful and inspiring way. Having seen this and so many other amazing M&K stories, I had no doubt I'd be staying on the mat indefinitely. Still, I am an incredibly stubborn person, and I didn't always listen to Tandy like I should. I skipped stretches (what an idiot! Now I can't live without them), I ran more than necessary, I refused the reset, etc. etc.-you get the drift.

 

Well, illness and necessity finally broke my stubborn spirit. A couple of years ago I had my first real gut issues. It started with an acute bout, of I'm still not sure what...but I had intense pain, and was out of commission completely for two weeks. It got better....than it got worse...up and down...When this challenge began, I was at my wit's end. Through tears and with support from Tandy and Katie, I was ready to finally, really dig in. I started the reset, and when it didn't work for me (I still can't touch a sweet potato), Tandy convinced me not to give up, and helped me adapt things as I needed. While the reset for me, was not typical, and will ever be a process; I'm a believer. When Tandy says she's here to support you, coach you, champion you- she is. Believe that. I still don't know how she juggles it all.

 

So, how do I feel at the end of the 60 day Fresh Start Challenge? So. Much. Better. When I think about how I felt just before the start of the challenge, the very day Tandy came to town- then think about how I feel now? It's staggering. Getting on the mat, stretching, hydrating... I was already there at the start. But as Tandy said, you can't out Pilates your fork. Word, man. I always thought I ate well...and I did eat 'well,,,' I just didn't always eat well FOR ME. And now I'm starting to really know what that means. I have finally drank the koolaid, or the hot water with lemon, as it were. Yet another thing I can now not live without. Many thanks to Tandy and the amazing M&K community. Onwards and upwards, friends!

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Kristen - Reno, NV

I have completed the fresh start challenge and feel great! I have learned a lot in the past two months...  

 

The way I think about, prepare and enjoy food has been the most drastic change for me. I am so happy I decided to read about the reset and embark on the journey of clean eating. The recipes are delicious and batch cooking works wonderfully for my family. I no longer crave gluten grains or have the sugar crashes that came along with those for me. I am proud of the fresh, organic whole foods that I eat and prepare for myself and my family. I believe the clean foods has also improved my skin-I have not had any breakouts/ pimples that I used to prone to. 

 

I am almost six months post partum now and doing fresh start challenge workouts helped me get my strength back. It feels nice to have a healthy, active, functioning body that isn't pregnant or recovering from giving birth. I feel strong, although I know I still can only improve my strength and flexibility from here on out.

 

My plan is to continue the workouts and clean eating just as I have been doing for the past two months. I listen to my body and know when I need a stretch day or a true day of rest and recovery. The M&K workouts fit so nicely into my life as a stay at home mom with two babies under the age of two. I love that I don't need special workout clothes or shoes and don't get too sweaty. I simply press play and get my workout in while the babes play or nap. The M&K lifestyle truly works for me. Thank you Tandy for all of your help and support. I am looking forward to continuing this journey.

 

 

Annie - Shoreline, WA

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This was my first challenge and I really needed it! My abs still haven't come together after having my second child in October of 2013. My OB recommended Pilates to help fuse them back together. I don't and have never owned a scale. My goal for this challenge, other than fusing my abs together, was to get me started on my way to build strength. One gym trainer called me a skinny softy a few years back. I already feel so much stronger and with better posture than 60 days ago! Thank you for your amazing program and supportive, positive vibe! I'm excited to continue with 4 days on the mat a week.

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Kate - Minneapolis, MN

I was fully expecting my “after” pictures to look the same or worse than my “before” pictures. I was very pleasantly surprised! But I also don’t ‘feel’ like the pictures look. I was flexing my stomach muscles as hard as I could, but I did that in all my other pictures too, so something must have changed, but I haven’t been feeling very stellar in my skin lately. I think this is partially because the M&K challenge this time around was something I did (I met my mat and water goals pretty much 100% of the time) but it was in the background of a lot of other life events, injuries, illnesses etc. Every time I felt well enough do a harder workout, the challenge for the week would be “Do all stretches!” LOL! My digestion issues continue to plague me, but I am working on some dietary/emotional stuff on my own right now. No reset, thank you ;)

 

In all, I am looking forward to the next challenge more with the hopes I’ll be able to give more into it and hopefully get even more back. I also plan to bike to work 3 times a week through the summer, so this will help my fitness, but also my mental calmness. If nothing else, this picture/experience may be a testament to how sneaky Pilates is after all. Who knew I needed to see so much today? I've been having a pretty rough few weeks and know I need to get back on track and seeing this gives me some motivation. Side by side there really is a noticeable difference! You can definitely post them. Can you add that I lost exactly zero pounds during this time as well? That was the most motivating part of a previous M&Ker's before/after pics because I have always been so focused on the scale (like so many of us are) and since I've stopped looking at the numbers my fitness has been able to progress more rapidly. Crazy. I am signed up fort he next challenge and am trying to get a co-worker to do it too. I'm looking forward to the slightly different format!

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Judy - Springvale, ME

Tandy this has been another amazing experience with another group of amazing people. Each time I do a challenge with you I feel this unique little community building which you have created for us.  It is about our own personal journey with the love and support.  A place where we can feel comfortable and grow individually and support our growth from the inside out. I've never experienced such an amazing community before.
After 2 years of dipping my toes in the M&K pool I'm glad that in the last 5 months I have finally jumped right in. Then doing the reset a couple times and finally getting my insides better managed. I finally feel more connected to my body and even though my outsides have not caught up with my insides I feel better then I've ever felt. The small victories are adding up. I seem to walk taller and with more confidence now which surprisingly I had lost when I lost a lot of weight. I feel the strength and flexibility getting better and continue growing personally. 

 

I'm so grateful to you for this wonderful experience, guidance and teaching all with love that you give to each of us.  Thank you for being a wonderful guide and opening the door for so many of us.  I could not think of a better person to hold my hand and teach me how to connect better with me.  Fostering a place of growth and never giving up on us slow bloomers.

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Sarah - Austin, TX

I finished my third M&K challenge around my birthday and I learned something that I haven't yet learned in all my years of trying to get fit and healthy. It was probably the best birthday gift ever. In the past, it was always about outcome. Getting down a few inches, pounds, or dress sizes. In this challenge, I had a grandpa die, health obstacles with major allergies, and stressful projects at work. I couldn't commit the way that I wanted it to. It was great reading all the stories of other people in the challenge going through similar experiences and able to just start again and having success. What a great reminder that what I was going through was completely normal. In the past, it would have been so frustrating to go through an entire challenge and not see much of a difference in the end. I would have thought about giving up. Instead, I look at my body and accept it for all its imperfections as well as know that I can always pick myself up and start again. Now I can see the positive changes, not zero in on areas of improvement.

Never in my life have I just accepted my body as it is. If I gained a few pounds and had a belly, I would have obsessed over it and felt ugly. I would have had this self shame over the state of my body. Not this time. While I have a ways to go to where I want to be, I still believe I am beautiful. What this challenge taught me was that all of this is a process. All of it. And no matter how tough it gets, I can laugh, pick myself up and go, and at NO time will I negatively judge myself for being a human being. I will always want to do some kind of fitness challenge. Life would be so boring if you didn't push yourself to reach a goal. However, sometimes what seems like a setback is actually moving a few steps forward. I feel like I have taken a giant leap! Looking forward to the next one!

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Julie - Apex, NC

My Fresh Start Challenge experience seemed less about the workouts than about the M&K lifestyle and mindset.  It really kind of started with the first mini-challenge of 2015 of getting on the mat 26 times during the month of January. I jumped in a little late on that, so I knew I wasn’t going to get 26 sessions in.  But I wanted to see what I could do.  I’ve always struggled with finding time to fit in a consistent pattern of exercise.  And forcing myself to try to do something every day showed me where my time was open and where my energy levels were just not going to work for me. I already knew I prefer early morning sessions – the house is quiet and no one needs me yet.  But, no matter what, I realized Monday mornings wouldn’t work.  I just couldn’t reliably get myself out of bed on time.  But I could squeeze the workout in in the afternoons – even if it meant a 2-year-old monkey would be climbing on me the whole time.  The same thing would happen on Fridays, but I wouldn’t muster up the energy for the afternoon workout, especially, if I’d managed to workout 4 days prior.  So, this was how I was able to find the pattern for my FS challenge. I was so glad for the first homework assignment to block it out on the calendar – I already knew what my goals were going to be.  Then I bought a purple marker to check off the days when I completed a session.  It was so satisfying and motivating to see those boxes fill up with my check marks.  Looking at the calendar now over the last two months, there was only one really “bad” week where I only got on the mat once.  I don’t even really know why.  I just had nothing to give.  At the time I felt bad about it, but really, one inconsistent week out of 2 months is pretty dang good. By the time month 2 rolled around, I decided to start adding a little bonus cardio.  Nothing major – just 30 minutes of some old videos I have in my home library.  And if I didn’t finish it, I didn’t worry about it.  If I didn’t get to it, I didn’t worry about it.  I focused on my posture, instead of “pushing through”, wore my invisible crown, and knew I didn’t deserve to be yelled at by the guy who had no idea how hard I was breathing.  I took my water breaks, went at my own pace, and felt confident enough to make my own modifications.  I know a lot of fitness professionals would say I was half-assing it, but I now like to say “Half-ass is better than no-ass.”  Or, as Tandy says, “Better is better.” 

But the lesson through all of that is I do have an hour for my fitness most days of the week.  What?  Where was that time the last 3 years of my life when I swore I couldn’t fit that in?  The beauty of M&K is that it fits into whatever pockets of time you can manage.  And whatever little pockets of time you can find for it, does bring improvements. Consistency brought confidence.  I quit spending my energy and emotion on comparing myself to other mothers of multiple kids who run 16 miles every day and look like they last ate a donut in 1979.  Instead, I worked on what I could do for me.  Their miles logged don’t do anything for my waistline. 

 

I feel like my body has “woken up” in this challenge.  I work at a desk all day, but I find the need now to get up and move around throughout the day.  I’ve incorporated a few minutes of foam rolling several times in my week just to keep things from getting cranky in my back and neck.  I reward myself with walks outside instead of Starbucks.  And M&K makes me less of a road hazard, as my visibility has improved since I can really twist around to go in reverse in my car now! Thanks for this challenge and all you do for us.  I look forward to seeing all my purple checks on my calendar for the rest of this year.

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I can't even describe the inside changes M&K has done for me. It's given me a confidence I've lacked for a very long time.  You truly have a gift of bringing out the best qualities in people. .You gently coach, without judgment.  I remember when I first talked to you & felt like I could only do once a week & you just said to start there!  

 

I started doing M&K faithfully in October 4-5 x a week occasionally 6. I have been a member almost 2 years. I have talked to Tandy a couple of times, I went to an event in Kansas City, MO but I was on that aerobic roller-coaster. . When Tandy said to quit that for awhile I just couldn't get on board, but in October decided to, 51, overweight, unhappy and so tired. All I can say is Wow! I tried reset earlier and didn't make it. In December made it to day 27 & a light bulb went off!!.. I felt like I had ate pretty healthy before & I had but found out what Really works for me in now batch cook every week. NOT PERFECT every week but so much better. I feel so much more connected mentally,  physically, emotionally.  People keep asking how much weight I've lost! ! Yeah! !. Just about 10 lbs, but pilates has shrink wrapped me. I'm not done. I'll continue w/ M&K.. It's been slow & steady for me, changes I can live with. Thanks Tandy. Thanks for all you do.

 

Renee - Nevada, MO

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Nancy - St. Louis, MO

First of all, I want to tell how much I enjoyed doing the challenge. I LOVED it!  It was just what I've been searching for!  I am kind of a private person, and I'm not too comfortable with Facebook, so I didn't really post much throughout the challenge.  However, I did enjoy seeing everyone's posts, and all the encouragement and photos of the food.  I did not do the reset, although I've radically changed how I eat, using a lot of your M&K food advice, recipes, batch cooking, etc. 

 

My friend Sally Drazen, introduced me to M&K back in January.  I saw her at a friend's house, and noticed that she was looking great!  I asked her what she had been doing, and she proceeded to tell me all about M&K and invited me to her home to do a workout with her.  I did that a couple of times, and enjoyed the workouts.  She is kind of pushy, and just what I needed!  She "made" me subscribe for a month and invited me to your St. Louis M&K event (which was great!)  I did another workout with her that week, and she really encouraged me to do the Fresh Start Challenge. 

 

I have kept up with the challenge, and followed your instructions. (Well maybe not so much with the power stance - although I do see the benefit, I guess I just feel silly doing it -- loved the Ted talk video, though.)  The water alone has made a huge difference!  I work at a computer all day long, and had been getting headaches in the afternoons.  I also had a lot of stiffness and achiness in my shoulders, neck and upper back.  That has all greatly improved!  The headaches are completely gone (I must have been so dehydrated - and I also always started eating "junk" in the afternoon, which I've stopped.)  The neck/shoulders/back issues have gotten better, I know because of my awareness and the workouts. 

 

I love the M&K workouts, especially since I can do them anywhere, anytime and fit them into my schedule.  I have purchased some of the props, and listened to your advice.  I've also noticed changes in my body, and have become much more aware of my posture throughout the day.  Sometimes I even hear your voice in my head... shoulders down and back, pelvis tilted forward...  :)!  What I love about your workouts is that you encourage us to just do what our bodies are telling us to do, and that it is OK.  At 51 year old, I was searching for a "kinder" workout, and am so glad to have found it.  Even though I have experienced soreness throughout the challenge, it was bearable, and you give advice on how to deal with it.  I LOVE the stretches, and especially the ones for shoulders, chest and neck.  And I definitely feel that I am getting stronger, although there is still much room for improvement! 

 

I have found that my clothes are all fitting better, and I look forward to this continuing to improve.  I finally got on the scale yesterday (this was a challenge for me), and was happy to find that I had lost 10 pounds.  But I am even happier that I have found a fitness/wellness routine that I can continue with in my life and will help me feel better.  During this challenge, my 75-year old mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, and my sisters and I have been helping her navigate the process and what lies ahead.  Her surgery is scheduled for this Tuesday, April 7th.  My dad is also suffering with increasing dementia, and is also a challenge to deal with.  I have found that in taking care of myself, I am able to better deal with everything, because I am feeling healthier and stronger.  I think that is why I haven't been "cheating" with food, because I have found that I feel so much better when I am eating right.  Your M&K food section of the website has been very helpful.  Even though I haven't done the reset, I've been doing batch cooking each week, using some of your recipes and doing my own research.  I've discovered new foods that I love (i.e., beets, sweet potatoes, COCONUT OIL!), and am still trying new things.  My family has even come around a bit to more healthy ways of eating.  Thank you!!

 

I think what I loved the most about this challenge was that you continued to tell us that it is OK to mess up, to not beat yourself up, and that it is a PRACTICE, not a PERFECT.  I love that!  I needed to quit being so hard on myself, and now that I have found something that works, I am so happy.  I will continue to keep up with my M&K subscription, and plan to do the next "challenge", because I need something like that to keep me motivated. 

 

Thank you again, Tandy!  I have thoroughly enjoyed this challenge and the change it has made in my life! 

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Erin - Monticello, IA

I go back to my three words we wrote down for what we want to become (Consistency, Defined, & Beautiful), and I definitely hit the nail on the head with consistency.  I am very proud of myself for getting on the mat and other cardio workouts 5 times a week with the exception of one week I was only able to do 4. I think and feel like I am much stronger than 6 weeks ago - which goes with the defined.  I know that will only get better in time with my ability to stay consistent. The Beautiful goal is going to take a lot more time.  I wrote that word down because all my life I have never thought my outside body was beautiful.  I have struggled with the image in the mirror - no matter if the frame was 100lbs, 110lbs, 120lbs, or the current 130lbs.  I also feel like it is really hard to be beautiful inside when you don't feel it on the outside.  However, there are many positive things I have learned by committing myself to M&K over the last 60 days that have/will help change the 'image' in the mirror:

 

-Your constant encouraging words - and especially 'It's where your body is today'. 

-Throw out the scale - this one was difficult for me but I think and know I will get much farther by going off of how I feel and not the number.

-Stop counting calories - on my roller coaster of diets/workouts/very unhealthy living by getting too thin I have always counted calories.  It consumes me and really makes for a not very 'beautiful' lifestyle.  Instead - I eat clean, eat simple, and cut out the processed junk.  With the exception of my occasional cheat meals, as I feel by doing this it actually keeps me more on track than not.  

 

Lastly - you have made it easier to be consistent, to get defined, and to make the image in the mirror beautiful.  If it is a day that I don't feel like doing anything, I think to myself at minimum it's only 30minutes.  And boy do you make the 30 minutes fly by because I don't think about the end - I think about what is happening at the moment and how it effects all parts of my body from your words. I am so thankful for Katie getting me going on M&K due to her month gift to me, and I am equally thankful for the challenge to make myself get on the mat consistently.  Here's to a lifestyle change and not a roller coaster ride (though I do love actual roller coasters :-) ).  Initially I never thought I would share these pix,  but I’m proud and happy to now! Much love, 

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Chelsea - Topeka, KS

(omg!) I have muscles for the first time. Lol. M clothes fit differently and I have muscle for the first time ever.  I wasn't hoping to lose weight, but I did lose a little, however, I'm building muscle!! Changes under the clothes- things are getting tighter and clearing up.  No more red face every afternoon.

Inside changes. My bowels are getting more regular. I actually get nauseous if I don't have all 60oz of water by 9pm. My posture has improved. Less lower back pain and if I do hurt, I make sure I stretch 1-2 times a day,  however I can, to feel better. Overall mood is better. I'm at peace with not always getting 30 mins on the mat, but know even if I can roll around for a few minutes, it's better than nothing. My taste buds are changing.  Komucha is super yummy now, as well as other new foods. My energy level is higher. I'm just all around better! :) THANK YOU!

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Kristin - Arvada, CO

So wow!  Looking over the last two months I have learned that I am stronger than I thought both mentally and physically.  I have learned so many valuable "tools" to take with me on this journey.  For example, I am constantly inhaling to "scoop my belly button underneath my ribcage and exhaling as I knit across my ribs everywhere I go.  It's amazing how much a difference that makes in your core!  What's changed is the way I view my body.  My last three goals for my body is 1. Strong 2. Lean. 3. Balanced and I feel as I continue getting on the mat these goals will be accomplished.  What's transitioning is my nutrition and confidence in myself.  I feel so much better after starting this challenge and plan to make M&K part of my everyday life!  I am so genuinely grateful and thankful for everything you have instilled in my life, and so ecstatic you are with us all on this journey!  I'm looking forward to the next challenge "How to feel like a Superhero."  This is by far the best thing I have tried for me physically and mentally!  Thank you so much Tandy!!!  "Doing Wonder Woman pose" :) 

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Candice - St. Louis, MO

 I learned was that Im much more capable of waking up and getting a little M&K in before a 12 hour shift that I thought. And over time how much better I began to feel. It would always be hard to pull myself out of bed before, but once I got in a good routine it was easy and enjoyable. It helped make me feel better all day long- physically and emotionally. I hate that I have such a sedentary job, which we've discussed before, but when I got up and took that time for myself 1st thing in the morning, I could feel so much better about my whole day! How I feel on the inside is connected. I had that "light bulb" moment during this challenge and it all started to make sense to me. The moves, the mind to body connection.. I can tell when I'm doing something during the day I'll have a "pull your belly button up, knit through the ribs" moment and smile, feeling much better. So you've taught me soooo much and I have truly enjoyed this whole process. Thank you Tandy ;)

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Megan - Salem, OR

I am so happy that I was able to stay motivated and finish this challenge strong! I have learned so much about my physical body and what it can accomplish through the last 60 days, including some surprises. For example, mermaid crunches aren't so bad anymore and my hips and SI joint need a ton of work and TLC! Most importantly I think I have learned that I am capable of accomplishing new techniques and skills with my body just the way I am. I have learned to talk positively and encourage myself to push through and stretch my abilities. My attitude about my curvy body is changing to love it the way it is, and even though, yes, I would like to lose some inches around the tummy, I value the strength and beauty I posses. Purely physically speaking, I have noticed changes in my collar bone opening and my posture improving. This has helped my constant back pain and I have come to LOVE my foam roller! Also, the hubby has noticed my legs and arms are more toned and defined. What comes next?...more M&K! I have been hooked through this challenge and as a new subscriber I can't wait to see where these lifestyle changes take me. I feel proud of my body and the work I have put in through the last two months. I set out to accomplish a goal, and it turns out I am changing my daily life by adding in consistent exercise which includes the mini tramp I now use too! Thank you Tandy for your genuine excitement and support for my continued journey of health! I can honestly say I never would have done it without you!! After pictures...my apologies they are not in the exact location as my before pics. The lighting was horrible in the first location at 7am in the morning! xo,

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During this challenge I have learned to accept my body and push myself to become stronger from the inside out. I have always had low self-esteem but have tried to out on a game face for everyone else. I have been able to really look at myself and be okay in my skin, so to speak. I have changed my outlook on how to be healthy and realize that what I put in my body as fuel really does make a difference.  I have started the reset but am hopeful to in the near future. I have been more aware of what I am eating and why I am eating. And then there's the water!  Holy batman, I have needed to drink more eater for decades and just now am understanding why!! I feel so much better, hydrated, not as hungry for snacks, and my skin is better (I have always had acne. My skin is terrible!) I plan to keep hitting the mat 5-6 times a week...I am addicted to M&K! I absolutely love your enthusiasm and your encouragement during the workouts. I appreciate meeting my body where it is and going from there. I'm not overweight but am working on toning up and becoming stronger with what I have. I struggle with my stomach area due to being a mommy. I literally have too much skin that hangs and I can feel my ab muscles beneath but cannot get rid of my skin!! It has been discouraging to me for years but knowing that I am really working on my core and my mentally of my body as a whole as helped a lot. I am going to keep drinking 1/2 my weight,  hitting the mat, doing some cardio throughout my week, and thinking about my food choices.  I have already signed up the the next superhero challenge and am looking forward to it. Thank you SOOO much for being you and sharing yourself with all of us 

 

BTW here are my after pics. I'm fresh out of my shower and had to have one of my kiddos take them before they left for school so my hair is wet, I have NO make up and don't even gave my glasses on. Lol I can't tell a huge difference by looking but I can tell that my clothes fit a little better and I feel a little more firmer in certain areas.

 

Again THANK YOU! I'm so glad I did this with you and all of our other M&Kers.   Hey! Two more things I forgot to mention that are super duper important and have changed for me... #1 I now pay attention more to my posture and the way I am standing and breathing. And this is a huge life changer..#2 since I started this challenge I have not counted calories AT ALL! I used to live every day counting and weighing myself. So I thank you for opening my eyes to a new way of living! I feel much more free!!

 

Karen - Barnhart, MO

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Jill - Santa Rosa, CA

It's the last day of the challenge and I feel great. There are so many things that have changed for me in the past 60 days in subtle and obvious ways. In no particular order, here are some things that have changed: I've gone down a solid pants size. I am now able to eat eggs without a reaction. I am doing my homework regularly - shoulder exercises to help me with incredibly tight trap areas. I am regularly rolling before workouts. I am in the routing of drinking at least 72-oz of water a day. 

 

What I've learned is that I need a written plan in order to stick to a workout. At the beginning I committed to a workout plan and then realized that I wanted to add in a strength day. Then, a month into it, when I had another migraine around the time of my period, I made a written plan to do the homework exercises to see if that helped. The big, exciting news is that, so far, it HAS! I have had a full cycle with no headache. I realized that I feel pretty good most of the time. Not superhero level good, but solidly good. What I came to realize is that before doing the reset and regularly getting on the mat, I was doing things that made me feel bad (bloated from eating sweets and processed foods, stagnant from not working out). I guess what has transitioned is that my baseline of how I'm feeling is much higher than it was pre-challenge. What comes next is that I continue to do the homework. I'm going to try to add in some foods to see how they work for me and see if I can get some old friends back (eggplant, peppers, some grains, maple syrup). And keep on eating what works for me. Thanks for this challenge. I've really enjoyed it and look forward to the next one!

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Tandra - Wheaton, IL

As someone who has been a M&K member for a year,  I wanted to participate in this challenge for different reasons than most participants did. At the time of the challenge,  I was in a funk. I have always battled with depression and was definitely in the midst of a down cycle. I knew I needed something to keep me focused and motivated to help pull me through, so I chose this challenge.  In the beginning of the challenge, I was struggling with making the right eating choices,  it was purely emotional eating.  But, my exercise never slowed and my "emotional eating" was more controlled than I have ever accomplished in the past. As the days continued on, I started realizing the cause of said funk was due to things I was putting in my body, specifically new birth control and worse eating habits (especially after having great eating habits for a long time). So I went back to what I knew worked for my body, a lesson I have learned from M&K. The down cycle ticked up, the 5 pounds I gained came back off, and I'm back to a physically and emotionally healthy place. I have learned to truly listen to my body. It will always tell me what it needs. I have also learned that I have become someone who really enjoys and needs exercise to be happy.  I will take these lessons,  with gentle nudges from Tandy (whom somehow is in all of our heads all the time knowing what we need to keep going) and continue on my journey to remain happy and healthy with M&K always on my side.

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Rachel - Quakertown, PA

First of all, thank you so much for all that you do and your commitment to helping people change their lives. This is really long but I feel that I have learned so much throughout this process and am looking forward to continue to learn and grow as I implement even more changes in my life!

What have I learned:
- To not beat my body up both mentally and physically. Throughout my whole fitness life I always bought into the idea of no pain, no gain. I would always keep pushing my body even when I knew it was screaming "NO!".
- The mental component of health is so much more than I even realized. I knew there was a mental component but I never realized how strong it was and how hard I am on myself.
- Props are fun! Especially love magic circle workouts!
- The importance of stretching and how awesome it feels! I never put much emphasis on stretching, maybe a minute or two after a run. Now I love stretching and only wish I had more stretch videos on my account! A lot of days I will double up just to add a stretch video because I love the way I feel afterwards. I have even taught my high school students the forearm and thumb stretches to help them when their hands cramp up during their essay tests ;)
- That I need to make food changes, as hard as they are going to be and overcome my strong food aversions and the mental blocks I have when it comes to changing my eating habits.

What changed:
- My body has begun to change. I know it will even more once I address food. I am sooo much stronger in such a short amount of time. I am so impressed with how much more my body can do that when I first started M&K I never thought I could do. Everything is starting to tighten up even if I haven't seen a dramatic change in the way my clothes fit yet.
- I enjoy my workouts. I look forward to getting on the mat. Even if I don't feel like working out I tell myself 5 minutes on the mini-trampoline and I always end up doing the full 20 minutes.

What’s transitioned:
- My schedule & Fitness routine: I have found a way to fit my fitness into my new normal. I had a routine when I was a stay at home mom with my boys but struggled when I went back to teaching this year. My old fitness regime did not fit in my schedule any more and my stress levels were through the roof now that I was working full time, writing my curriculum (1st year is always the worst) and doing it all with taking care of my boys and keeping up with all their stuff. I struggled to find a way to balance it all and as I stopped working out on top of it all my energy dropped and I started to get down and beat myself up as the weight went on. This challenge was what I needed to get me on the mat consistently and once I got my mini-trampoline I felt that was the last piece I needed to give me a workable, well-rounded routine that worked with my "new normal". I don't even think I am going to go back to the YMCA this summer when I could...I love the new workout so much better!
- My thought process about food: I always was one of those "I work out so I can eat what I want" people. It worked for awhile but as I have gotten into my 30's I am finding it doesn't work anymore. In addition, having my gallbladder out with complications and I developed thyroid issues that messed up my system as well. I am now way more affected by the foods I eat. My digestive system is a wreck. I know I need to figure out which foods are not good for my body but I also have a very picky pallet. I have strong gag reflex and aversions to many textures in food. I know in my mind that I have to make changes, but I am struggling to make that a reality. I need to find a way to force myself to eat the way I need to even if I don't like it.

What comes next:
- Food changes: I know what I need to do. I have a plan but now I need to follow through. I signed up for the next challenge I am going to make some serious food changes. I am going to cut out my indulgences and try to focus on eating "clean". I also plan on doing the M&K reset once the school year is over. My workload and stress is so much right now that mentally, I just cannot add one more thing. I know it is going to be a struggle and mental journey for me so I want to be able to do it when I can really commit wholeheartedly to it. I plan to make the food even if I do not like it and tell myself I either eat it or wait till next meal. I know I need to identify my trigger foods to feel better.
- The Super Hero Challenge: Looking forward to the continued accountability and encouragement that comes along with being a part of the M&K challenges. I am hoping to continue to see changes to my body and hopefully even more as I add the food element.

How you feel:
- So much better mentally and physically. I have much more energy and cannot tell you how happy I feel that I now have an effective workout program again.
- Grateful: For all your coaching, encouragement and willingness to invest in others. Thankful that I heard about M&K from Angela Schill and that I decided to take the plunge and join the challenge!
- Optimistic: That I will continue to see changes and Lord willing overcome the struggles that are preventing me from making the food changes I need to be the healthiest version of me!

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Tina - Gonzales, CA

 

             to be nobody-but-yourself in a world which is doing its best,

night and day,

to make you everybody else

means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight,

and never stop fighting.

--e.e. cummings

how i am learning to love me (again)

my m&k journey begins and ends with a love for running borne of devastation. not a competitive running intended to outpace others, nor a naïve running focused on impossible societal body image. it’s a peace-of-mind, me-focused running. i first began running to celebrate what my body could do rather than fixating on what it couldn’t: namely, my body’s failure to achieve the one thing society dictates it should—grow babies.

so i ran.

and a miraculous thing happened. i began forgiving my body’s limitations, stopped comparing myself to other women, became happier, and began loving me for me. i was enough...

except that, i wasn’t. although I had run for nearly 2 years, my spiritual connection still wasn’t grounded despite frequently incorporating yoga, trx, and pilates reformer into my race training. my physical therapist urged me to engage in—nay, prescribed—a stricter pilates regimen to increase strength, alignment, and better form.

enter fresh start challenge and Tandy. uncharacteristically, i grasped the opportunity. and what a chance it was. i began to learn from others how to clean my system from the inside-out and surrounded myself with positive, health focused women with meaningful stories. in particular, one m&k’r will never know the gratitude and encouragement she inspired after explaining her chosen power stance: the silhouette of a beautiful woman wistfully cupping her pregnant belly. as I grew stronger, I became more forgiving and more self-aware, realizing that my love affair with running was merely an effort to outrun demons. with m&k, my passion for running became 

grounded focused spiritual aware.

then an amazingly unexpected thing happened: while cleaning my gut and mental cobwebs, i managed to conceive...and lose...another child. and i was devastated. again. but, i was also emotionally stronger and better equipped to handle the loss.

 

which brings me full circle. while i initially joined m&k to become physically stronger, the m&k lifestyle proved to be a journey into becoming a more balanced human being, not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually. the last 60 days have been filled with exhilarating highs and shattering lows...overflowing with crises and triumphs of confidence. i am learning that i am ever-changing; how to accept me from day-to-day; and that i am better than ok and more than enough.

but mostly, i am learning to be open to unexpected, kind, and encouraging voices and to shutter out noise. thank you, Tandy:

 

 

 

we do not believe in ourselves
until someone reveals that
deep inside us is something valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust,
sacred to our touch.
once we believe in ourselves,
we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.

--e.e. cummings 

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Eliza - Andover, NY

My life is pretty normal and chaotic. I live in a very rural area in Western New York with very limited natural food options, and a family that isn’t necessarily ready to eat fresh. We are working on that. As the food preparer in the house the kids and husband will begin to adjust to a clean eating lifestyle. I have been struggling with my weight and my obsession with food for years….YEARS! I have been done, WW, Atkins, South Beach, Advocare you name it I have tried it (or it at least seems that way) with varied results but they always ended up back at the same place overweight, unhappy and obsessing about food. A great friend of mine had told me about M&K and I signed up for a free trial in December 2015 and didn’t even do one work out. Very disappointing I know, I had all the excuses; illness, job stress…blah, blah, blah. The “gym” and cardio machines were my friend I thought! I reached a personal low in April 2015 when I topped the scales at 200 lbs, at 5ft tall. 

I saw the Superhero Challenge and thought I really need to do this. So I jumped in with both feet, I joined the private Facebook group and I decided to do the Food Reset. Let me tell you the food reset is not for the faint of heart, leaving sugar and caffeine behind were really hard for the first couple days but the incredible thing is after a few days you don’t miss them at all. The food is good and batch cooking helps keep you in food, the menu is great because it takes the guess work out of it. There will be questions for sure but there are enough people and Tandy to keep you on the right path, daily.

M&K has great workouts that make me remember there are muscles under the soft exterior, that I am still working to get rid of. I started doing 2 days on the mat, 1 day off and now I do 3 days on the mat, 1 day off; I workout #onthemat 5 to 6 times a week with M&K. I am working on rebuilding myself from the inside out and I do have to remind myself that it isn’t going to happen overnight. To quote Tandy “it doesn’t have to be big to be good” my external changes are going to take longer than others to be visible. I can feel it in my energy, my mood and my clothes fit better than they have and I am feeling better every day. 

I have taken 6 total Advil in 28 days I used to take at least 2 a day. My body doesn’t ache like it used to and my headaches are gone. My overall wellbeing is much better. I am adjusting my life to the new found freedom. I am looking forward to sharing my 60 day photos and my 120 day photos with more excitement. This is not a diet, or a quick fix this is a new way of life with great delicious fresh fuel for your body and 30 minute workouts for your busy daily life. I am looking at food differently in the sense that it isn’t used for enjoyment, entertainment or reward. Food is fuel for your mind, body, and spirit and it shouldn’t be looked at otherwise. Calories don’t need to be counted, weighed or measured; your body knows what it needs!

Thanks for the opportunity to share my story I look forward to sharing my continued progress on this journey. Thanks to Tandy and M&K for sharing your passion and vision with those of us who need guidance." 

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Jesi - Nashville, TN

I really enjoyed being part of the SG challenge because it gave me the motivation to get on the mat when I otherwise wouldn't have. The goal was 4X/week and 55oz water/day, and I wanted to watch my food as well. All in all, I averaged out to about 3x/week on the mat, and didn't change my food near as much as I wanted, but managed to get my 55oz in every day but just a few. At first I was a little disappointed in myself that I didn't get on the mat more - there was a week or two I only made it on the mat twice - but I felt noticeably better from the hydration and definitely got on the mat more than I would have without the challenge, especially with all the other things I have going on right now. I was really surprised with my results looking at the before and after pictures, and I'm really looking forward to the next challenge coming up in February :)

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Makayla - Austin, TX

The M&K Food Reset was surprisingly my favorite part! The food was AMAZING and the recipes were easy to follow. As someone who struggled with food allergies for a long time, the reset truly healed my gut and helped me identify even more trigger foods such as peanuts which I ate regularly. I no longer deal with bloating, gas, and an upset stomach on a daily basis or  experience mood swings, chronic fatigue, and digestive issues. Everyone around me has noticed a change and asks me for food advise all the time which makes me so happy.

 

I love Tandy's workouts so I feel this was the "easy" part of the summer sessions; however, it wasn't really easy. I worked out 6 days a week and doubled up on workouts most days. I accomplished my goal of a 2 minute plank in only 7 weeks!  I've gained strength, self confidence, improved my posture, toned up, and deepened my understanding and relationship with food from these summer sessions. I can't thank Tandy enough for improving my quality of life. Thank you Tandy for this amazing opportunity. It was truly life changing :) With love from your ambassador.

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DeeDee - Queens, NY

The M&K summer sessions came at the perfect time for me.  Due to an injury in the spring, I had barely been on the mat.  When I'm not on the mat, I don't always make healthy choices.

The summer sessions were the kick in the butt I needed to get back on track.

 

The easiest part for me was getting back on the mat.  Tandy hand picked the workouts for me and put them on a schedule.  I had to get a little creative about when I did them since my schedule was different in the summer, but the motivation was there since this started just as my physical therapy ended.

The workouts she chose for me were perfect for easing me back in and building strength in my shoulder again.  My favorite part was the Homework’ Tandy wrote for me. I am still doing those exercises regularly. Thanks to M&K, my strength is coming back and my shoulder feels much better.

 

Then there was the food.  I had been wanting to do the reset since April and dreading doing the reset since April.

A lot of the foods on the reset were out of my comfort zone and I do not enjoy cooking.  The first batch cooking was overwhelming and I panicked a little so Tandy connected me with another ambassador starting at the same time.  That really helped me through the first couple weeks of the reset. I'm not going to say this was easy. It wasn't. It took work, willpower, support, and a desire to learn.

 

I learned:

- I feel much better on the days that I start a smoothie. They fill me up and ones I went into the reset thinking I'd hate, I have grown to crave.

- I really enjoy the soups.  I love how easy they are to make and that one batch lasts 2-3 meals (more if the hubby isn't home).

- It helped that my hubby did the smoothies and dinners with me because it took away the urge to want to cheat.

- I feel better when I'm properly hydrated.

- I never really enjoyed coconut before and now I'm kind of addicted to coconut butter.

 

I have learned how my body reacts to food.  Period.

 

In addition to food and mat, Tandy got into my head too.  She gave me book recommendations and reminded me to give myself permission to take "me" time.  She helped me to see the connection between mind, body, and food.

 

M&K Summer Sessions have helped me become physically and mentally stronger and healthier.

I am accountable to myself for how I eat and how I feel.

I take ownership in knowing I CAN have certain foods that irritate my body and if I CHOOSE to eat them, I go into it knowing exactly how I will feel later.  Sometimes it is worth it, sometimes it is not.

 

As for goals, I rehabbed my shoulder, I lost 8 pounds, and I feel good in my clothes.  And just because the 10 weeks are over doesn't mean my work is done.  I will continue to work towards my goal and make new achievable goals.  I'm inspired by my fellow participants and what they have achieved.  Next up for me, a headstand and a 2 minute plank!

 

Thank you, Tandy, my trainer, my guide, and most importantly my friend!

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Emily - Seattle, WA

When I first started the M&K Summer Session, custom-designed for me by Tandy herself, I was not totally sure what to expect.  Yes, I did several M&K workouts a week.  Yes, I was eating MOSTLY clean foods.  Yes, I was overall relatively healthy.  But there were some areas of my life, like stress and anxiety and difficulty sleeping, that I have for a long time attempted to address.  After my car accident in April, everything felt out of whack.  So I figured it couldn't hurt to try out the Summer Session plan as a way to get my life back in balance.  My goal for my Summer Session, then, was hormone balancing…which, admittedly, can be a tricky thing to do and measure.  I figured it was worth a shot— and for ten weeks, I could try almost anything. Right off the bat I noticed some differences, mainly in my sleep habits, which I attribute to the changes I made in diet— namely, I dropped grains of all kind, stopped "cheating" occasionally with dairy (I knew they made me sick), and learned that the food plan that fits my gut needs best is actually the Auto-Immune Protocol (AIP), a stricter version of Paleo.  At times it feel like I didn't have many options, but as I started to feel better, I didn't care as much.  I was eating DELICIOUS food, and LOTS of meat (all grass-fed) and fish (no chicken— grain-fed!), and vegetables, and a little fruit, and really, I did not end up "missing" the foods I used to eat all the time. 

 

As I started to feel better in my gut, I started to sleep better, which made managing my daily stress levels easier.  Historically, I am an anxious flier- but I noticed on our trip back East this summer that there was a certain edge off the anxiety I normally feel when flying.  And I found a lot of coping strategies that made it even easier (like listening to music and meditating).  I started meditating about ten minutes a day most mornings and noticed THAT reducing my anxiety levels even more.  I even tried to reintroduce a few foods (eggs and seeds) and realized that I may need to wait a little while longer before those become a successful part of my diet.  And while I do miss eggs in the morning, it's really been okay (See?  I'm not stressed about it!).

 

Most amazingly, my palate has totally changed.  The other day, the food I craved was roasted kombucha squash slices with pink salt!  And yes, while the food takes some preparing ahead of time, by batch cooking it all at once on a weekend or an evening, it makes the rest of my days and dinner preparations for the family SO easy.  As easy as reaching into the fridge to pick out a tupperware and putting it in the microwave to reheat.  Easy, simple, and HEALTHY!  Eating out was a challenge at first, but I've gained confidence in asking for what I need, and most restaurants have salad and bacon.  Two foods I eat a lot of right now. 

 

But the best effect of my participation in the M&K Summer Session is the impact it has had on my immediate family.  First, my husband, in an attempt to lower his blood pressure, started working out with M&K regularly and cut gluten and sugar from his diet.  His Blood Pressure dropped 20 points and as an added bonus, he lost 25 pounds.  He looks ten years younger too.

 

My other favorite family effect is that my kids now regularly drink smoothies with gelatin (they can't tell it's in there as it is flavorless), which has done wonders for our hair and fingernails (!), and Max, my 6-year-old, now REGULARLY asks for bone broth as a snack.  I am so grateful to Tandy and M&K for having an impact, not just on me, but on my entire family, as I know that this is now no longer a "ten-week" thing, but a "whole -life-long" thing.    Thank you!!!!!

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Rebecca - Sunnyvale, CA

I consider it a huge win that I am wearing this shirt in the after pic. My friend bought this shirt when my oldest was 6 months old. I was breastfeeding and the name of the shirt was "Partly hungry skies". Unfortunately,  I have never liked how tight the shirt fit across my belly, revealing all my mommy flab. So in the six and a half years I have owned the shirt, I have worn it maybe five times  (and usually in the privacy of my home). After taking this picture I decided I looked alright, changed into jeans, and headed out to run errands and help at my son's school.

 

Overall during the challenge I lost 13 pounds (I've lost 23 pounds total in 2014). I also appear to have lost two sizes (my size 16 jeans have been moved to the donation box and my size 12 jeans are out of storage and back in my dresser drawer).

 

I resisted the Food Reset for almost a year, but finally decided to try it. I surprised myself by succeeding, and my family surprised me with their support. While I didn't discover any real food sensitivities, I do notice I get sluggish and mentally foggy when I eat too much sugar and too many grains. So I make sure to limit those which makes more room for veggies. Right now I definitely feel more alert and desire to be more active.

 

I think my favorite part of completing the challenge is that I feel a bit more in control. Sure, some days are harder than others, but committing to practice has been awesome. I think, in part because of the word "practice". Mentally it helps me to see this as a long-term journey instead of a short-term diet with a fixed goal. I also loved knowing that there were others on the journey with me. The Facebook group was awesome, and I love the community we created and the way we supported each other.

 

I'm so glad I did this, and I can't wait for February's challenge. Until then, I will still shoot for 4x a week on the mat, staying hydrated and eating clean. I think 2015 is going to be a good year. :)

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Judy - Springvale, ME

There are several things that I loved about this challenge.  First, I loved being in a group where you are all cheering each other along through the awesome days and the not so awesome days.  Personally, I like it being set up like this because I need the accountability piece to it.  We had homework, we checked in and as always you were there with advice and knowledgable insight.  You were incouraging even when we were not perfect students.  I have always had a hard time not beating myself up when I would fall.  And like I told you, although I don't see a difference but I am my own worst critic, I feel a difference and knowing that my journey has just begun.  I feel more aware of my breathing, my posture and even though it was not mandatory I'm more aware of my food.  I am looking forward to starting the reset.  I have been feeling very bloated over the past few months and it just might be food related. Only time will tell. Thank You again for doing what you do and sharing it with all of us.  I look forward to the next chapter!

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Katen - Minneapolis, MN

As you know, I was no an automatic convert to pilates. Even now I really see pilates as a means to an end rather than an activity I inherently enjoy. Of course I also felt this way about running for several years before I really started liking it, so who knows? I joined this challenge to determine if I should keep my subscription or move onto something else. Plus, I love challenge/ competition which was something that was otherwise lacking in just practicing on my own. I didn't really make any major changes to my food, but I found as the challenge went on I was able to stick to healthier eating and have really begun to make smarter food choices. This often involves me saying, "You don't need that, Kate" out loud. Lol! 

 

Most often when I have experienced weight-loss etc from other exercise programs I have engaged in self-sabotage within the first few months. This time I don't feel the need to do that because I feel stronger in my inside, if that makes sense. Of course I'm not only doing pilates. I also participated in a "maintain, not gain" challenge at my gym that involved a once a week intense trx/kettle bell class. The challenge is still continuing and I fully expect to get my $25 back because I've lost about 6-7 pounds thus far. I also religiously wear a fitbit and aim to walk 10,000 steps a day. I've also found this really motivating in a positive behavior modification kind of way. I still do a circuit class, an interval class, and a yoga class once a week. Most of this is stuff I've done in the past, so I really attribute the pilated to my change in shape over the past two years. It's also helped me improve my form for a lot of exercises, which is great, though sometimes frustrating as I can't do as much now than when I did it the 'wrong' way. :) There were some ups and downs throughout the challenge. Sometimes it can be frustrating because growth isn't linear, so having support to move past those times and stick with it is awesome. 

 

I plan on keeping up with the four times a week regime and regularly drink much more than the recommended water intake. I am ready for the January challenge!!!

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