The Wellness Spotlight Series highlights military spouses and their real world health and wellness journeys in a Facebook Live series. Below is an excerpt of Brittany’s feature.
Brittany is an Army spouse, mother of four, and the owner of Stroller Strong Moms Southern Pines. She is blessed to have the opportunity to bring her passion of nutrition and exercise to some of her favorite people, mothers.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY AS A MILITARY SPOUSE.
I did my dietetic internship near Fort Jackson and Shaw AFB and when approached by military guys, I had no interest. Ironically enough, I started dating my future husband and about two years into our relationship he told me he wanted to join the Army. I was floored. Coming from Ohio, it was a foreign concept to me, but almost 10 years later, I can’t imagine any other life.
HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED ANY EXTREME HIGH OR LOW TIMES SINCE BECOMING A MILITARY SPOUSE, WHEN YOUR HEALTH (MENTAL AND/OR PHYSICAL) SUFFERED THE MOST?
Shortly after completing his training, we found out my husband would be deploying for a year. Shortly after that, we found out I was pregnant. He missed the birth and came home when my firstborn was 10 months old. I survived that year and even had moments of thriving but looking back, those days leading up to the deployment were so sad and scary for me.
Moving always has its highs and lows, but for me, I usually try to find the good in it. I have loved the opportunity to move to new places and meet new people. Every move and relationship has shaped my life in so many ways and, while I miss those we’ve said goodbye to so much, I always look forward to new friendships and lessons along the way.
My lowest moment was when I was diagnosed with a genetic heart condition shortly after having my fourth baby. There are still a lot of unknowns, and I was given the impression for some time that I would no longer be able to exercise. Long story short, I’m on medicine now to hopefully keep my heart doing what it’s supposed to with guidelines to keep an eye on my symptoms and body cues. It was not only scary at times but challenging because I had to discontinue exercise for a good while. I’m lucky to have such a great support system and some strong friends who I got to live vicariously through while they conquered their fitness goals. And in the meantime I kept my nutrition on point and did a lot of baking (as that always makes me happy).
My highest moment was when my husband left for basic training and was doing all the crazy exercise things (or so I imagined) and I decided to get into fitness. I started doing Jillian Michaels workout videos and running—I was in the best shape of my life at that point and that experience really was the beginning of the path that led me to where I am today. Four kids later and I feel like I can do even more than I could back then and, the best part is, I’ve got little eyes watching me and learning that they, too, can be strong like their mama. I have never run a half marathon and I am so excited to cross that off my to do list this spring!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FORM OF SELF-CARE?
If I’m being honest, I don’t get much self-care. But spending time with friends, whether that is a long run together, or dinner and drinks after the kids are in bed. Relationships and communication fuel me. I also love to cook and bake and find that to be therapeutic—especially if I’m not doing the dishes. And if I can sneak away for a pedicure, I find that foot massage and chair massager to be pure bliss.
WHAT IS ONE PERSONAL HABIT THAT CONTRIBUTES TO YOUR SUCCESS?
I think that I’m relatable. I’m that mom at preschool drop off with her hair in a messy bun, flax seeds in her teeth (you know, from my healthy morning bowl of oats) and a genuine desire to hear about your day while telling you about how crazy mine has been. I think it is important to wear your heart on your sleeve, just be you, and tell it like it is. This also relates into my nutrition and fitness lifestyle. I eat cookies and I take rest days. I keep it realistic when it comes to health. I eat carbs and I love coffee and I will never be an all or nothing advocate.
IF YOU COULD SHARE A HEALTH AND WELLNESS RESOURCE WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I cowrite nutrition blog posts on www.sweatlikeamother.com and there are loads of valuable information on there! I also like www.therealfoodrds.com for a great source of healthy, veggie packed, and yummy recipes!
IF YOU COULD RECOMMEND ONE BOOK AND/OR PODCAST TO MILITARY SPOUSES, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I would recommend a cookbook! I love the “Food Network Magazine 1,000 Easy Recipes” cookbook—military spouses are busy and have a lot on their plates. And with deployed spouses in the mix, it’s not fun to cook a big meal for just one plus kids, but this cookbook has lots of delicious, healthy options that won’t leave them spending all day in the kitchen.
An Army wife and mama of four, Brittany’s journey started in Ohio where she found her passion for nutrition and wellness when working at a health food store in high school. She went to college wanting to be 10 different things when she grew up, but when a friend introduced her to the field of dietetics, she was sold. Her dream job was to teach kids about eating healthy, but motherhood and the Army life (she moved 8 times in 6 years) took her elsewhere. Over time, fitness has become just as important as nutrition to Brittany—she became a certified group fitness instructor, currently owns a stroller fitness business, and now gets to bring her passion of nutrition and exercise to some of her favorite people, mothers.