Motivated to Move

Four women take a journey toward healthier living

Many women experience it. As the years go by, the number on the scale creeps higher. Hormonal imbalances kick into gear, making the struggle to lose weight and keep it off even harder. One pound turns into five and then into 10, 15 or even 20.

After hearing this story time and time again, Yellowstone Valley Woman decided to partner with four women who were Motivated to Move their lives in a new direction. We want to point out that this isn’t a weight-loss competition. It’s an opportunity for women to join forces with both fitness and nutrition experts to make small changes that could add up to a lifetime of benefits. We hope you’re inspired along the way!

Orangetheory Fitness, Lynn Harper & Nutrition Coach Kristen Ballard


5’7 Tall
34.7% Body Fat
49 Years Old


What has been the biggest challenge when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight?

I have been very fortunate through the years to have kept my weight somewhat manageable by just being active. When I hit 45, however, the weight challenges started to come. I couldn’t eat and drink what I wanted without gaining a pound or two. My weight was going directly to the stomach area and voila! I now have a muffin top. It isn’t as easy to take the weight off — not because I don’t try, but because my body is changing hormonally. I also have had some transitions recently. We moved away. My husband and I changed jobs midway through our careers. With that, we ate out more often since we were traveling back and forth from the Hi Line back to the Billings area. Through the years, I have tried fitness gyms, spinning classes, 30-minute training with a group of hard cores, road biking, Weight Watchers. My biggest struggle right now is aging gracefully and taking care of me — finding a weight that I feel good at and eating sensibly.

What are you looking forward to most about this challenge?

I am looking forward to the transformation, trying Orangetheory Fitness for the first time, seeing the friendships that I will make, getting to know my health coaches, and seeing the wisdom that I will gain during this journey. I want to be able to share my story with my daughter and with other women, showing them that you can age gracefully.


* To become more physically active daily

*To believe in myself that I can age gracefully and live a balanced lifestyle

*To learn portion control

What’s the game plan for Lynn’s fitness?

Kailee Hanson: The game plan for Lynn is to get her in the studio at least three times a week and to really work with her on her form, not only on the weight floor but also on the water rower and treadmill to make sure she’s getting the most out of each workout.   It’ll be important to set some smart goals that she can reach and feel successful to keep moving forward. I can’t wait to see the physical and mental changes that take place. Exercise is such a positive and powerful tool to lead an amazing life!

What’s the game plan for Lynn’s nutrition?

Kristen Ballard: We’re going to focus on getting her nutrition from whole-food sources. Right now, she’s getting sufficient calories, but not enough nutrition within those calories. With a history of low-fat and processed foods, eating out too frequently, and some medications that are known to rob the body of important vitamins and minerals, our goal is to replenish those areas she’s deficient in. We want to help her prepare meals at home that the whole family will enjoy. We’ll also work on stabilizing her blood glucose and insulin. Right now, she experiences some pretty big swings and she experiences reactive hypoglycemic symptoms. By teaching her body how to use its fat stores for energy instead of being reliant on dietary carbohydrates and sugar, I think she’ll find that her moods will be more stable, her energy levels will increase, and her appetite should naturally self-regulate.

Kinesi Coaching Studios Owner, Rebecca Douglas & Jennifer Nieto


5’9 Tall
33.8% Body Fat
47 Years Old


What has been the biggest challenge when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight?

The biggest challenge for me in maintaining a healthy weight is time. I have a freshman at Billings West who is playing volleyball, a seventh-grader at Ben Steele who is playing softball, a husband that teaches, coaches football and softball and instructs drivers ed. Did I mention I have a Carroll College graduate and a senior at MSUB?  In addition, we live with my mom and three dogs.  That is a total of seven humans and three canines. Between driving to and from practices, private lessons, games, two different schools, orthodontist appointments, coaching softball myself at the middle school, grocery shopping and working for a nonprofit, I have no time.  The time it takes to prepare healthy meals has been a luxury I haven’t had. I take care of everyone else first, which usually leaves me pretty empty and tired at the end of the day. Now that I am 47 years old, pre-menopause is what my doctor says I am facing now.  On top of the body issues I already have, now I am facing mood swings, night sweats, hormone fluctuations and yes, weight gain! This is it! This is all that this mom can take.

What are you looking forward to most about this challenge?

I am so eager to be part of this challenge because, for the first time in my weight loss journey, I don’t feel like I am going through this alone. My kids and my husband are supporting me and truly see that I need and want this and they’re willing to do it with me. I am looking forward to becoming more confident in my own skin, not necessarily because I may lose some weight, but that I can take the time to work on me.


* To be able to walk into a store and try on some jeans from the rack and have them fit!

* To wear shorts in public!

* To help my family change the way we think about food and portion sizes

* To learn that is okay to make myself a priority

What’s the game plan for Jennifer’s fitness?

Rebecca Douglas: We asked her to show up a minimum of three days a week so that we can be as efficient and effective as possible. We want to set the habit for movement. As her body gets used to the workouts, most people start to crave the workout. We let people come five or even six times a week as long as they are feeling good. The workout is 30 minutes long and it’s considered high-intensity interval training. We are able to modify the workout to match a person’s athletic and movement ability. When we find that Jennifer is making a burpee look really easy, we are going to add a progression onto the burpee so that her body is challenged again and never plateaus. With our 30-minute workouts, we time everything so that it is the most efficient and effective to burn fat and build muscle.

What’s the game plan for Jennifer’s nutrition?

Rebecca Douglas: The meal plan starting now is going to be more about rebalancing everything. We need to make sure she’s getting enough food, not skipping meals and making sure that breakfast is a solid meal. More times than not, most of my women don’t eat enough food to lose fat. She is going to be eating three times a day — breakfast, lunch and dinner and two protein-based snacks. Jennifer has good muscle on her. She’s got a good foundation. We want to maintain and build lean muscle so her body will be more efficient and effective in burning the fat.

Billings Athletic Club Fitness Coach Angie Seifred, Julie Koerber & Big Sky Nutrition and Wellness Registered Dietician Beth Hall


5’4 Tall
38.1% Body Fat
47 Years Old


What has been the biggest challenge when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight?

Plain and simple, I think it is this false idea that I can’t make time to focus on my health. Two years ago, I went on a huge fitness kick, hired a personal trainer and lost 20 pounds. My body fat percentage was in a healthy range and I felt amazing. Since my husband and I bought Yellowstone Valley Woman magazine, my workday has become longer, my drive to dedicate time to me has dwindled, and slowly over the course of close to a year, the weight has crept back on. As a result, my blood sugar has been out of whack thanks to refined foods and an unhealthy lifestyle. I feel like the stress of operating a new business has wreaked havoc on my body. I know I can do this but I’ve told myself, “You don’t have time!” Honestly, when the editorial team dreamt up this series, I didn’t plan on being a part of it. It was only when we were pitching this series to the Billings Athletic Club, asking them to partner with us, and talking to Angie about choosing someone to take part, that she looked at me and said, “I choose you.” I was a bit taken aback and my knee-jerk reaction was to say, “No way!” After thinking about it, however, I figured, why should I ask other women to step out of their comfort zones if I’m not willing to walk alongside them? So, here we go!

What are you looking forward to most about this challenge?

I am really looking forward to building fitness back into my day and making sure this is a non-negotiable. When I work out, I’m more productive, I’m happier, and stress seems to bounce off me just a little bit better. I also am really hoping to tap into Beth’s knowledge of how to properly fuel my body so that I can maintain whatever I end up losing. Bottom line, when you’re run down, not eating well and not getting that heart pumping, you don’t exactly feel like taking on the world! I want that to change.


* To fit fitness into my day at least four days a week

* To figure out how to properly fuel my body – no more fast food or eating out as a crutch for my lack of time

* To reduce my body fat percentage by at least 10%

What’s the game plan for Julie’s fitness?

Angie Seifred: We are going to get Julie feeling better, feeling healthier. We want to get her on a program where she can be successful. She’s going to be a part of our Alloy Training. Alloy is group circuit training for all fitness levels. It honestly works every muscle and is a great combination of cardio, upper body, lower body and core. We’ll really monitor her heart rate to make sure she’s getting the most out of every workout. We’re also going to get her to try our new social cycling program. It’s great cardio, great lower body and a super fun workout. She’s also going to be doing some one-on-one training with me, which will incorporate some of her more specific goals — definitely core training and getting that strength she’s looking for. When we first met, I just had a great connection with her. I thought, “Why don’t we help you?” We are all real people with real issues that we are struggling with. That’s honestly why I am in this industry — to help people.

What’s the game plan for Julie’s nutrition?

Beth Hall: Basically, we are going to replace a lot of Julie’s carbohydrates with protein and then we are going to provide her with all the fruits and vegetables for her nutritional needs. We are going to trigger her metabolism to burn fat in the abdominal section. This approach can’t be long-term, but it is really going to trigger the fat burning in the abdomen and off the liver. After we reset, we are going to focus on what Julie eats on a normal basis to maintain good health and truly optimize how she feels. Our goal is to get her feeling the best she can feel, creating a healthy inside and a healthy outside. That’s our game plan!

YMCA Health and Wellness Director Kassia Lyman, Ana Mayorga, YMCA Healthy Eating Everyday Facilitator Tania Stevens-Klein, YMCA Health and Wellness Coordinator Jennifer Miller


5’4 Tall
55.5% Body Fat
21 Years Old


What has been the biggest challenge when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight?

I think honestly my biggest challenge is myself. Up until a year ago, the idea of changing the way I looked on the outside terrified me. I think it is because I don’t want people to treat me differently. I know that I have so many awesome qualities. I grew up with a family that’s heavier and in an environment that didn’t necessarily foster healthy eating habits. About a year ago, my sister got engaged. My sister is smaller than me. She is just gorgeous — I love her to death. In the video of her now-husband proposing, I was in the background and I was mortified by what I saw. For six months, I had a personal trainer and worked really hard. I lost 60 pounds. But then, my life fell apart. I was working two jobs, going to school full time and just trying to support myself. My car died. My apartment flooded and I became homeless for about three months. I ended up moving back home, got back into all my old bad habits and ended up gaining back 30 pounds.

What are you looking forward to most about this challenge?

I am so excited about this opportunity. I feel so strongly that the “Y” is such a family. They love their members. Everyone is so welcoming. Everyone helps everyone else be accountable. I don’t think I could do this anywhere else. I personally need to be accountable to someone. I know I need to nip this in the bud, sooner rather than later.


* To lose 50 to 80 pounds during this challenge, that’s half of my overall goal

* To run on a treadmill for more than a minute and a half and not feel like dying

* I would like to sit in a chair that has armrests and not have to ask, “Is that chair hip friendly?”

 What’s the game plan for Ana’s fitness?

Kassia Lyman: Right now, she’s trying to do 30 minutes of physical activity a day — Monday through Friday — and trying to add circuit training into the mix. We are increasing her heart rate, then allowing her to recover to really increase that metabolism. We will increase to 40 minutes a day to really mix it up. A lot of people struggle with trying, failing, trying again and really failing. This time it is going to be different and it’s different because she has a whole team behind her to support her. I am so proud of her. She is going to find out what she’s capable of.

What’s the game plan for Ana’s nutrition?

Tania Stevens-Klein & Kassia Lyman: We are going to do the Healthy Eating Everyday 16-week class. We meet for one hour every week. Each week, we’ll present new nutrition information and a new technique to help change a habit. The homework will be to focus on those things that week. Ana will also take the Family Meal Prep class in mid-September and then the Hungry Holiday Hankerings class. The holidays aren’t a time to give up on goals. The class offers healthy solutions to help her stay on track and still get all the flavors of the season. We are going to get her drinking more water, watching her sugar intake and using My Fitness Pal to log all her meals.


What our Motivated to Move fitness gurus love

ROCK MY RUN, Kailee Hanson

This app syncs with your heart rate monitor to give you musical mixes and playlists that react to your body. It’s workout music that literally moves you and keeps you going strong.

MY FITNESS PAL, Rebecca Douglas & Kassia Lyman

Whether you want to lose weight, tone up, get healthy, change your habits or start on a new diet, this free app helps track food with a database of six million foods. It also offers a barcode scanner and a recipe importer, making it easy to log every bite. The app keeps track of daily nutrients, your workouts and even water intake. Connect with friends to have built in accountability partners on your journey.

MY ZONE, Angie Seifred

Myzone tracks every ounce of effort you put into exercise by the beat of your heart. Thanks to a chest strap, it offers 99.4 percent accuracy. It doesn’t measure speed, cadence or the weight lifted, it measures effort. This levels the playing field so that beginner can exert the same level of effort as the elite athlete with real-time feedback during a workout. The Myzone smartphone app stores data in the form of a logbook which helps to set and attain goals.


Motivated to Move
Behind the scenes

Want to keep tabs on all four of our Motivated to Move women? “Like” Yellowstone Valley Woman on Facebook and Instagram and follow them using our hashtag #yvwm2m.

More from YVW