Developing My Grit.

April 19, 2016

April 17, 2016

I created this website over ten years ago because I wanted to start telling my story.

Since I was little my shyness was perceived as snobby, my confidence was considered arrogant, my honesty was viewed as abrasive and my passion was seen as aggressive. Even if I didn’t have direct contact with a person, I was already judged, misunderstood and criticized based on the limited information they had, whether it’s how I looked or a single altercation filmed and edited for national television.

So I made a promise to myself – something that I would recently break…

I would stop letting people tell my story.

I wanted people to know that I struggle with depression and anxiety. My passion to help people stems from watching my mother struggle with poor health, even preventing her from attending our wedding day. I struggle with my weight and decided seven years ago to start a free mom workout group that has expanded to hundreds of groups throughout the world. I married a Marine, who suffered a traumatic brain injury from a car bomb while serving as a private security contractor in Iraq. We started with very little money and through hard work, sacrifice and vision, we made a purposeful life. He volunteers as a Regional Deputy Fields Operations Manager with a veteran organization, Team Rubicon, and I lead an incredible organization, No Excuse Mom.

When my Fitspiration photo went viral, I saw how morning show producers filmed pre-taped interviews and asked me 30 questions just so they can get a one-sentence sound bite that matched the story they wanted to depict. I witnessed cinematic magic as a nighttime show distorted the sound of babies crying while I covered my ears to protect it from the cold air. Most recently, I watched astonished as a popular, unbecoming portrayal of me was used to increase ratings and enhance the viewership’s emotional response.

I don’t live a regretful life. I’ve been very open about my challenges and marriage struggles – even writing about the wake of a hurtful revelation and private pain experienced last year in an ambiguous post titled “the show”.  Ever since those dark moments, I feel like I’ve clawed my way back to being enthusiastic about waking up again. Despite some harsh public criticism and feeling alienated from a group of colleagues – I’m still trying, still striving…I’m still here. And I’m still writing.

I’m not going to let the world define me.

I define me.

Every experience helps you to evolve. It teaches you persistence, resolve, tenacity…GRIT. Don’t ever be scared to do something because of how you will be perceived or judged. Somebody is going to dislike you regardless of what you do. Somebody is going to bring you down, because it makes them feel higher. Somebody is going to hurt you, because they are hurt. Somebody is going to say you can’t, because it affirms their belief that things are impossible.

Don’t let the fear of people’s opinions prevent you from doing something they lack the courage to do themselves.

Live a life of courage.

You define you.


Tess is 103 years old. Whatever you are enduring, it’s only a small journey in your life.
There are many more mountains to climb that will give you more perspective on your life today.


I love this image while at Arches Park, Utah. We had an amazing roadtrip with the family for Spring Break.

In 2007, David and I took a cross-country roadtrip and visited Arches park. We couldn’t wait to take our future children back there one day. I genuinely love traveling this world and this life with this man. Marriage is serious work and we haven’t thrown in the towel yet!

I am two weeks away from running my first marathon. Here I am running in Williams, Arizona. It’s been an incredible 12 weeks of training!


  • Reply Jen April 19, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    I’m not in the public eye but I’ve gotten that people think I’m snobby because I’m shy, so I try not to care so much what people think, what does it matter to me what keeps them up at night. Now I do what I want and figure they’re mad cause I’m doing what they want too! And that’s most likely the case with your haters!

  • Reply Aleni Zavesky April 19, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Your blog reminds me of us getting a behind the scene look into your train of thought. Kind of watching you pick yourself up after a set back. In your vulnerability, you’ve related to me and I can identify with your struggle. Keep learning and growing, thats true strength. #Strong

  • Reply Michelle April 19, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    You have inspired me. That is one more the the person sitting on their couch criticizing you. Keep doing you Maria! Sooner or later those who are negative will catch on and realize how much better it is being positive, ambitious and confident!

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