Nicole’s Story: How I Lost 20 Pounds in 3 Months

I often post about the amazing, life-changing transformations that my clients make. Today, I thought I’d let one of these wellness success stores speak for herself. Here’s Nicole to share her story, so far…

I first met with Adrien at the beginning of March this year. I was at a breaking point. I was constantly over-stressed, eating poorly, not sleeping, and generally not making myself or my health a priority. I was terribly unhappy with how I looked and I couldn’t figure out how to turn it around. I felt like I’d tried everything, like, all of my “go-to” strategies (spin more and eat less), and nothing was working. I’m 45, a working mom of an active 7-year-old boy, and I care for parents who live far away.

I couldn’t figure out how to start.

After first meeting with Adrien, I wanted to believe that I could make all these changes that she spoke about, although I was very skeptical. It didn’t seem realistic to go to bed earlier since I felt like I never completed my work and needed to answer all of those evening emails before I went to sleep, usually around 11pm. She said eventually I would be in bed by 9/9:30pm. No way! Then, it seemed insane to wake up an hour and a half earlier each morning for what she called “my time” and to “win my day” at 5am. Then, she said my number one exercise strategy was to walk more steps per day, eventually getting to 10,000. To put this into context, the first day we met, our appointment was at 4pm…and I had only walked 2,500 steps by then. But I was willing to try. After all, I was feeling desperate to feel better and this approach seemed less restrictive and more paced since it is a six-month to year-long program.



Adrien taught me habit change takes time, so approach it in small steps. I started getting out of bed 15 minutes earlier each week, and am now waking up at 5am. I call it “my time,” even lighting a scented candle, and took my time getting into this routine. Over the past three months, I have developed a set of about five “go-to” activities I complete well before my husband and son are awake and out of bed. I can’t imagine not having this time to myself every day. It’s my own self-care.



I started walking to work instead of driving. I map out meetings each day and cushion my day leaving ample time to walk to most meetings while carrying a change of clothes in a cute backpack.



In order to get enough water each day, Adrien suggested I drink three glasses before I leave the house so I’d have a “head start” on the strategy each day. So I started by I drinking one glass of water before anything else in the morning.

Slowly . . . I was forming several “small” habits that resulted in me feeling like I controlled my day, AND I LOST 20 POUNDS!

Soon, I started to be tired by 9pm and would just go to bed. I felt confident doing that because I knew I would be fresh in the morning and would have some quiet time of my own to get that one email out, or draft that memo. The one glass of water became three glasses before I left for work.



My morning time with my son is better because I am not trying to check my emails during this time because I’ve already completed those high-priority emails long before he awakens.

I hate vegetables. Soon, I found I was looking for ways to make them and eat them for breakfast. I’ve found those I can stand and am so proud of myself.

I had many moments when I thought that breathing 20 times between events, as Adrien suggested for stress tolerance, is not going to help me lose weight. I felt like everything I was doing really wasn’t “doing anything.” But then when I would tell someone about my new routine, I was amazed of all the “little things” I’ve added to my life that I can confidently say are habits I’ll practice for the rest of my life:



  • Wake up at 5am, completing five of the same things every day
  • Have a meal plan for each week and adjust each day
  • Drink three glasses of water before I leave the house
  • Home / travels / workout planned and completed
  • Make breakfast that includes vegetables
  • Make lunch with vegetables
  • Walk my son to school and then walk to work
  • Walk between meetings as much as I can
  • When I travel, I plan a long morning walk in advance
  • Review menus of restaurants and have a plan before I go
  • Go to sleep by 9:30pm (still working on this)


I feel like I still have a long way to go on this journey of wellness, but I feel like all of these changes I’ve made are changes for life. I don’t feel like I’m on a diet and I don’t feel like I’m restricting myself in a way that I’m unhappy.

I wanted something that I could LIVE, not just DO for a period of time and I finally feel like I’ve found that.

I am still in the place where I am not comfortable showing photos of me. When I reach my goal of feeling better, lighter, and even more in control, I’ll write again WITH photos!


Contact Adrien at
if you, too, are fed up and ready for real lifestyle change that works!


  • The latest from Adrien
Adrien founded Fitness on the Run in 2004 out of her home after a successful career in policy and public affairs communications. After spending 15 years developing her own personal definition of wellness and watching thousands struggle with theirs, in January 2019 Adrien founded Alexandria Wellness, the home for the Concierge Wellness Program and Corporate Wellness with Adrien Cotton. Over the course of 15 years, “FOR” was home to more than 2,000 clients, 30 instructors, and hundreds of inspirational success stories. Adrien is now, more-than-ever, passionate about helping women view their fitness as a journey, not a quick fix. Adrien’s recipe for success herself has evolved from a rigid training plan of sweaty and heart pumping workouts to some days getting in her 10,000 steps, consciously breathing, her 7.5 hours of sleep, and her beloved 5-Minute Flow. Adrien believes the most important ingredient is making small changes for big results, even if it’s one new habit formed each month. Still passionate about fitness, Adrien’s clients appreciate her ability to make sessions seriously challenging without a “beat down,” a healthy mix of strength and metabolic (cardio) work and ultimately helping her clients gain real strength in mind and body. She believes we all benefit from being curious about our bodies and that change, or improvement, is within reach despite what your “inner voice” or others may tell you. Adrien is bubbling with excitement to help women learn the importance of a comprehensive approach to wellness, weight loss, and contentedness with yourself, and that every person has the right to feel good about themselves. Most days, you can find her helping clients with their wellness, listening to success stories, and bragging about her twin 13-year-old children and “fittest man in Alexandria” Bill Cotton. Adrien prides herself on her practice of mindfulness, meditation, and putting it all into perspective.

Alexandria Wellness offers achievable answers for anyone who is tired of chasing fitness and health without a clear plan, someone who has struggled and is not satisfied with their fitness and wellness or someone who is open to maximized healthful longevity and fitness along with healthful weight loss. Adrien and her team offer help with food guidance, body acceptance, sleep and stress issues, and insist you have fun along the way.

Schedule your free 30 minute consult here!

Alexandria Wellness
215 North Payne Street
Alexandria, VA 22314




  1. Avatar Megan Brown says:

    So awesome Nicole! Thank you for posting this about WALKING. Walking is the most underrated exercise method. I am so happy to hear about your success. ~mbb

  2. Thanks, Dr. Brown. Walking is a key strategy resulting in success in our concierge program. Everyone can do it!

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