Hi friends, are you as pumped as I am about understanding sober fitness? First, I’d like to introduce an incredible inspiration in the recovery community. She overcame her substance abuse disorder and completely transformed her life.
Now she mentors women to gain confidence, find their inner strength, and become the women they deserve to be in sobriety. Please welcome our badass sober fitness coach, and guest, Chelsea Defina.
First, please tell us a little about your period of drug abuse and what led you to the path of recovery?
When I was 14, I started drinking as a freshman in high school, hanging out with the wrong crowd—anything to be accepted and liked. I started using hard drugs shortly after that; cocaine, dust, E, molly, pills, you name it.
In my junior year, I tried taking my life twice and landed in a psych ward each time. Barely graduating high school, I went to college and would drink every day until I blacked out. At 25, my drinking had gotten so bad that it had started affecting my job.
As a director in my position, I would be up for days partying until finally, my boss saw my cry for help and took me to my first AA meeting. I didn’t get sober then, but it started becoming apparent that I had an issue. I moved in with a boyfriend I started dating, continuing to blackout and make bad choices until finally, I went into Detox for 5 Days.
I came out and was sober from alcohol, but I was introduced to Crack ten days later. For a year straight, this went on with no drinking, only crack, suboxone, and Klonopin. I went from 140 pounds to 98 pounds and finally hit my bottom. I called my mom and went down to Detox and Rehab in Florida.
I completed a 60 Day program, quit my job I had put in FMLA, and moved into sober living. I then met my now-husband. We were together for about two months when he relapsed; I thought I could save him and planned on us moving back north. Then in a moment of weakness, I relapsed too.
We went on a two-month run together as we moved back up to Connecticut. Drained our accounts, and we were living in my mom’s house. It got so bad that I kicked him out after a bad car accident. He moved to NY. I planned on never speaking to him again, and two weeks later, I found out I was pregnant.
At that moment, on 4-14-15, I made a vow that the next day would be my sober date, and I never looked back. Has it been easy? Hell no! Has it been worth it? ABSOLUTELY!
What inspired you to start working out and start Sober Fitness?
Three years into my sobriety, I had an 18-month-old and three month old, and my husband relapsed. Locked in a motel room for seven days, drained all of our accounts again. I was the heaviest I had ever been. I remember looking in the mirror and saying, “this is my life; I have to return. Who would ever want someone like me.”
I had zero confidence, zero self-worth, zero money, and I felt STUCK! I had to pick up a waitressing job at night to make money. I brought my kids to my mom’s house and picked them up after a closing shift at midnight.
Then, I saw a friend I used to party with posting on social media. She was happy, glowing, looked terrific, and had this glow about her that I wanted to have. I messaged her to ask her what she was doing, and at that moment, I used the last money I had on an about maxed-out credit card I signed up.
I started working out daily, learning clean eating, and diving into personal development, and for the first time, I had a purpose; I began to feel FREE myself!
What does experiencing exercise euphoria or workout high feel like compared to using drugs?
For so long, therapists and doctors would tell me to exercise, that it raised natural endorphins, that it would make me feel good. Did I Listen? NO! Were they right? YES!
Leading up to the workout, I am not motivated, but I remember how good I feel when it’s finished. That feeling of accomplishment, that natural high. If I can get through a hard workout, I can get through anything!
Did you change your diet when you started exercising in recovery?
YES! I was a binger by nature, addicted to sugar. So when I started moving my body, I knew I had to fuel it too! I did a seven-day sugar detox, followed by a portion-controlled meal plan that did not deprive me of my favorite foods.
It just taught me I had to incorporate them healthily. I had a significant increase in energy. I wasn’t sluggish. Sugar no longer controlled my life! I felt incredible
How important is gut health when trying to get fit?
EVERYTHING! 70% of Americans suffer from undiagnosed food sensitivity that can cause inflammation in the gut, showing up as different symptoms such as bloating, gas, IBS, chronic fatigue, headache, anxiety, and more.
I suffered from headaches and chalked it up to the stress of being a mom. I had NO idea my gut caused it. When I started focusing on gut health, seven days in, my headaches were gone—coming to find out that dairy was one of my sensitivities causing them.
That and my caffeine addiction. The less caffeine I took, the more energy I had, and the fewer headaches I experienced.
What have been your most significant benefits of exercise in addiction recovery?
It was finding my self-confidence and my self-worth. Learning who I was and how to love who I ultimately was. Yes, it started with Health and fitness, but what it turned into was so much more.
Pushing myself through these workouts, being surrounded by a supportive community, and diving into personal development; all led me to true healing. I started becoming more honest in therapy. I started pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and I dug myself out of a financial hole!
My Doctor called me a model patient, and I lowered my cholesterol. Furthermore, I went off all of my mood stabilizers. I am finally FREE! Sober fitness for the win!
Please tell us a bit about your Virtual Gym and how you help instruct sober fitness for moms?
I run monthly and ongoing groups for all women. Most of my clients are sober fitness moms, but sobriety is not a requirement. All are welcome! I pair them up with a fitness program they can follow at home or the gym: a nutrition program that best suits THEIR lifestyle and weekly meal plans and recipes.
We focus a lot on mindset, daily readings, podcasts, and YouTubes; you name it. Also, you begin to believe it because of what your mind has heard. I offer optional zoom sessions each morning where you see other women pushing themselves out of their comfort zone, letting go of excuses, and working on becoming the best versions of themselves!
Honestly, the private groups are fantastic places! We support and motivate one another and show everyone the importance of consistency. These groups changed my life, and I LOVE passing it on to others to help them change theirs too!
Check out my upcoming groups at Chelsea DeFina Fitness. Thank you for having me and I look forward to working with you! Choose to thrive living a sober lifestyle!
Interview Final Thoughts
Stay sober. Thank you Chelsea for sharing your incredible story of triumph in recovery! You are a badass. Thank you for reading this exclusive interview with Sober Fitness Coach, Chelsea Defina. Do you have any stay sober fitness mom tips? Please add them to the comments below.
All images are used with Chelsea Defina’s permission and are not permitted to be duplicated.
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