MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many women got special treatment over the weekend as families celebrated Mother’s Day, but there’s a very valuable gift that moms can give to themselves: the gift of good health and fitness.

A Lakeville mom is sharing her story of how she lost weight and gained both physical and mental strength. She says it’s made her a better parent, and helped her lose nearly 100 pounds.

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When she was pregnant, Brianna Bernard of Lakeville gained 70 pounds.

“One little baby, 70 pounds. I literally ate for two for nine months,” Brianna said.

After her son was born, the extra pounds stayed. She admits she was not was not eating healthy and was sedentary.

“My body hurt because I was carrying around so much extra weight,” she said. “My knees and ankles hurt, Tye was getting more active and it was exhausting. I had accepted that this was the way I was going to be for the rest of my life. This was my new size, this was my new body.  I didn’t think it was possible for me to lose the weight.”

Brianna joined a gym and lost 50 pounds in six months, and then nearly 50 more. No special diet — just eating less and moving more.

“I found the stronger I became physically, the stronger I became mentally, and vice versa,” she said. “It’s more about that for me than anything.”

And she found the better she ate, the better her young son ate.

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“Instead of eating pizza and macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets, my little boy eats hummus and carrots, broccoli and salmon, and he asks for those things,” she said.

Brianna changed her eating habits by keeping a log of everything she ate and drank.

“It’s not fun,” she said. “No one is going to tell you that logging your food is fun and I’m not going to lie, but it’s what made the difference for me. It held me accountable.”

She’s now works as a personal trainer at the same place that helped her lose weight — Bodies by Burgoon in northeast Minneapolis. She also leads spin classes on the second floor of the gym at Torque Cycling.

Brianna encourages women to find time to take care of themselves, and not feel guilty about it.

“I realized that leaving for that one hour to go exercise and do something that was just for me made me a better parent when I got home. I was more patient,” she said.

Brianna used to weigh 235 pounds and was a size 16. She now weighs 142 pounds and is a size 0. She’s maintained her weight loss for more than a year now. The food log she uses is a free app on her phone called My Fitness Pal.

She says having a support system, people who encourage you and keep you on track, is really what leads to success, and credits her own personal trainers for helping her reach her goal.

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If you want to work out with her, check out her page on the Bodies by Burgoon website.