Hi, as you may know- I’m at THE BEACH for the week. I have a lovely post from Megan, who has been my fellow blog friend and Sweat Pink Sister 🙂 I enjoy chatting with Megan about all things fitness, running, cycling..whatever- you name it! Enjoy-it’s a great post about her own fitness journey!
Hi! My name is Megan and I blog over at Run Like a Grl. When Katie asked me to write a guest post, I was thrilled since this will be my first guest blogging experience! She and I have been blog buddies for a while now and both enjoy fitness and leading a healthy lifestyle. Similar to Katie, I like to try all types of fitness, from group classes to cycling… but my main passion is running. It has become a huge part of my life and helped me become the person I am today. In the past I was unhealthy and unmotivated, but am thankful to have since put that part of my life behind me. How did I do that, you ask?Well first let me tell you a little bit about myself and my path to fitness.
I was always an athlete growing up so I was always on the move. When I went to college I stopped playing sports and fell out of my normal exercise routine, and at the same time stopped taking care of myself. I gained a bit of weight, ate poorly, and didn’t care to improve my lifestyle even though I knew it was unsustainable.
Another piece of information you should know is that I have always had back pain, ever since I was in high school. Eventually during college I had tests done and found out that I have degenerative disc disease. This is a condition where the discs between the vertebrae degenerate faster than normal and can eventually lead to severe back pain, nerve impingement, and even can require a spinal fusion in severe cases. I asked the doctor what I could do to slow down the progression of this condition. The main preventative strategy he shared was simple: maintain a healthy weight and stay active.
When I got home from the doctor’s office that day, I realized that I was putting my future at risk with my current lifestyle. I also saw friends of mine eating well, exercising, and being confident in who they were. I wanted to be like them and also wanted to be able to do the things I love as long as possible. This was all the motivation I needed. Right then and there I decided to make a change, so I started eating healthy and making the right choices. I turned down fried food and picked up veggies and fruits instead.
I also began running… and haven’t stopped since. And that has made all the difference. Running became one of the greatest loves of my life and helped me feel strong, healthy and capable of achieving anything. Since I started eating right and exercising, I have been able to lose and maintain an almost 40 pound weight loss. I don’t even recognize the unhealthy girl I was before.
Since 2011 when I began to transition to a healthy lifestyle, I have run three half marathons and countless smaller races, signed up for a 200 mile relay race, started hiking, bought a bike, and began taking group fitness classes. For me, it has been important to keep things exciting in my routine by including variety into workouts. Plus for an injury prone person like me (hello, old lady bones!), crosstraining helps to work many different muscle groups to prevent injury. I have also learned a lot about food and know that just because something is healthy doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste good!
Tips for transitioning to a healthy lifestyle:
-Read blogs and social media! Seriously, this was a major factor in helping me get and stay motivated. Becoming a part of an online fitness blogging community has helped keep me motivated, introduced me to new types of food, fitness, and running tips, and allowed for the realization that I no longer have to go through things alone.
-Try new foods. There are so many cool health food companies and healthy recipes, mix up your routine so you don’t get bored. For example, try making green smoothies!
–Explore multiple areas of fitness. I used to be an elliptical queen but I would get bored and stop going to the gym. Now I run, cycle, hike, lift weights, and attend group classes and I’ve never been bored. There’s so much to try!
–Encourage others around you to be healthier too.
It’s easier when you have help from people you spend a lot of time with, like family and friends. If they eat poorly or don’t exercise, you are more likely to do the same. Try to get your friends to workout with you once in a while as a start and support one another in your goals. Its also more fun to exercise with other people 🙂
–Don’t snack at night and get lots of sleep.
These are two main culprits of weight gain and an unhealthy lifestyle. Sleep is extra important because it is your body’s way of recovering.
–Everything in moderation.
This is important! Fad diets work for a short time but aren’t good for long-term. You CAN eat that cookie, just in moderation. Make sure to eat a balanced diet but also treat yourself once in a while to something you love. Also, if you exercise, never cut out carbs completely. You need them for energy.
–Most importantly, you have to be self-motivated.
Nobody can tell you when you are ready to make a change, only you know!
–Aspire to be HEALTHY**
Exercising and eating right to look good will help you get started but its not sustainable in the long run… it has to come from within. Aspire to be healthy and you will be more likely to change your habits in a long-lasting way.
I’m so glad to have gotten the opportunity to share this with all of you. Hope you are inspired to implement some of these strategies and make a change. Tell me some of your own tips and things you have learned along the way.