I love to share my health and fitness journey with all of you, and I will continue to share with you the things I learn and what works out for me. One of the things that I have learnt while on my health and fitness quest that has been integral to my learning and growth is how very individual’s journey is personal and unique. I really love hearing from others about how they are doing, what they are doing, and why they started to focus on their health, fitness and happiness, and for me it is actually one the most motivating reasons to keep going and keep pushing myself.
While on my own journey I have had the great opportunity to be introduced to so many wonderful people, at my gym, in our Gingersneezes Run Club, during our Gingersneezes Anniversary, at the Farmer’s Market, etc. There are so many wonderful people out there who are just emanating positive energy and I think the more you are able to find that positivity in yourself the more other positive people seem to come out of the woodwork. You get back what you put out right?
I have had the chance to meet so many amazing and inspirational people I wanted to take a moment to highlight one of them today. She helped me to caringly nurse my knee back to a healthier state about a year ago, is a dedicated running buddy and a pleasure to have beside me in a yoga class, she has even helped me to experiment with the workouts I post on this blog. Her name is Susan and I would like to take today to talk about how awesome, inspirational and dedicated she is.
I feel like I need to start off with saying Susan has always been completely amazing, her awesomeness is not new; she is loving, caring, supportive and would go out of her way to do anything for anyone else, she is adventurous and for as long as I have known her has done what she could to stay active. Like anyone else she has had ups and downs in health and fitness, and for the past several months has become very dedicated to building her own happiness, health and fitness.
Instead of just gushing about Susan for 10 pages I figured I would put her in the hot seat and ask her some questions about how she feels her journey has been going. She has been sweet enough to share her struggles and successes throughout her journey. So here we go with my interview with Susan:
1 – When did you start focusing on your health and fitness?
Like many people this has been a long ongoing battle for me. During my last couple years of University and shortly afterwards I was very into running, ate relatively healthy for a young 20-something, and I was comfortable with my body. This balance lasted for a few years, I maintained my weight and exercising half-heartedly, then life started to change. I started dating someone and my focus went into building that relationship, as it does sometimes.
As my relationship progressed I slowly started to forget about myself. I didn’t take the same time and effort to take care of myself, putting personal goals on the back burner and slowly stopped doing many of the things I enjoyed. The combination of lack of activity, making poor food choices and my decreasing self-esteem culminated into gaining a great deal of weight, losing myself more and becoming isolated from those I had once been very close with. After a couple of years the relationship ended, but even then it was incredibly hard to pull myself out of that negative space (mainly because I can be a little stubborn and guarded at times and well I wasn’t emotionally or mentally ready to try to change).
Eventually I started to do things for myself again, I decided to go back to school and started to focus on my health and fitness a bit more. Once I started back at school I was active here and there throughout the year, but having been out of school for 5 years getting back into the routine was a bit of a struggle and I found it difficult to find “me” time. Once school was done, and I was working a job to pay the bills while looking for something in my field I realized I was frustrated with my situation.
One day I just got to the point where I was so sick and tired of feeling so awful, physically and emotionally and I decided I no longer wanted to feed into the frustrations and negativity around me. I slowly started to get back into running, and eventually Brittany and I started back up as running partners. I was also doing some at home workouts and focusing on eating healthier. These small changes added up and made for some incredible differences and then winter hit.
It was this past spring when something clicked – I didn’t want to keep living my life feeling uncomfortable and unhappy and it was within my power to change these things I got to work. I have to say the past couple of months have been truly amazing, I’ve been running with great friends, participated in a bootcamp with an amazing trainer, and am getting hooked on eating clean, wholesome foods. This has been an incredible and eye opening experience and I am so happy with the changes I’ve noticed so far (emotionally, physically, mentally). It is a great beginning.
2- What inspired you to focus on finding a positive balance of happiness, health and fitness in your life?
It was a switch to wanting more positivity in my life once I made this decision I found that balance sort of naturally began to occur in my life. After a 2 week cleanse/ personal “experiment” to find out what (if any) food sensitivities I had, my mind felt so much more clear and it just felt easier to focus on the positive. I have found that when I focus on my health and well being I’m happy and feel wonderful, and when I’m happy I want to put that effort into maintaining it. The balance or cycle of health and fitness I have found for myself helps to perpetuate my happiness and I feel pretty lucky because I have found something that works.
3 – What are all the crazy things you have tried? And out of all of it if you could save someone the trouble what would you recommend?
While I’ve tried several fad diets (South Beach, Fat Smash, The 4-Day Diet) and they all result in a few lbs lost quickly, that didn’t last. Luckily I’ve always been too freaked out to try over the counter diet pills – those things can mess your body up.
The best thing I have ever done is take the time to figure out what foods work for me and my body (even if it means having to drastically limit wheat from my diet now) and focusing on giving my body clean, whole foods.Since cutting out processed foods it has been crazy to see how I feel when I eat highly processed foods (feeling bloated, low energy levels, etc.). Now this is not to say that I won’t be having some wine or pizza any time soon, but for me it’s about creating a balanced lifestyle.
So, my advice would be to give it a try and cut out the overly processed stuff and eat real foods to see if you notice a difference.
4 – What motivates you to keep going?
Seeing results has definitely been a huge motivator to keep going. The longer I am into this way of living, the more I love it. I want to surpass where I was last month, whether it’s holding my plank longer or running faster and not feel like I’m dying, achieving these goals makes it easier to stay motivated (and a little bit of competition never hurt anyone).
Although seeing results is a big motivator the changes have been beyond the physical ones, and it is these changes that are a big deal for me. It’s often very easy to get swept up in the negative (and who doesn’t from time to time – jobs, relationships, families, finances can all be very stressful), but it is just more pleasant to feel happy – who doesn’t love being happy?
5 – What is your favourite clean food?
My favourite clean food – now that’s a tough one. There are just so many tasty things that come to mind. I’ve been semi-obsessed with oatmeal, banana and peanut butter for breakfast or as my evening pre-workout meal (yup, oatmeal for dinner – it’s that good). I’ve also made some delicious falafel patties to have on salads, or throw in a wrap, or as a snack. I could literally eat them every meal, every day.
6 – If you are going to indulge what would you treat yourself with?
If I am going to treat myself I will likely grab some pizza – that cheesy goodness is too hard to resist. Top that off with a glass (or 3) of wine and I’m a happy girl.
7 – How do you deal with setbacks? Is there anything you do to keep your mindset positive?
Setbacks can be extremely frustrating and depressing, but I think the most important thing is to remember that everyone has them and you are not alone. Surrounding yourself with supportive and positive people has been extremely helpful. Taking the time to talk to a friend or family member has been something that has always helped when I feel like I’m in a “not-so-great” place. It’s taken me a good chunk of my life to learn to let people help, and it has been so incredibly worth it!
I am also a super cheeseball and love all things motivational. I post them around my apartment (note my inspiration board above), I also post them as the background on my computer and my phone. I will even write a little post-it and put it on the mirror so I can see it as I start each day. Sometimes all it takes is a little reminder to remind yourself of just how wonderful and amazing you are.
8 – Out of all the things you do to keep you healthy and fit, what is the one thing you don’t think you could live without? The one thing that you feel helps you stay on course.
The one thing I couldn’t live without when trying to stay healthy and get fit are my people.
I’ve said it already, but having a great group of people who have been encouraging, supportive, inspiring and are just all around awesome has made the most difference in my life. Going through anything alone can be trying, having those people in your life just makes it so much easier. They are there to talk to whenever you need it or even if it’s just let out a little cry, they can help see you through to the other side or just quietly offer some tiny bits of motivation. I am so thankful and grateful to have such wonderful people and they are definitely what helps keep me going!
In Conclusion…..For the past two months Susan has been busting her butt to make herself into the happiest, healthiest, most optimal person she can be. She continues to work hard to find a happy balance between life, fitness, nutrition, happiness and self-appreciation. In just two months all of this hard work and perseverance has turned into the incredible loss of 13.5 inches and 11 lbs. Besides her incredible loss in weight and inches she has also developed an amazingly positive outlook, she can’t seem to stop smiling, and she is always up to find new challenges. Her mental and physical changes have been amazing and I am so happy she decided to share her ups and downs with us today.
Can you relate to Susan’s story? Has health and fitness been something you have been improving yourself? How do you keep yourself motivated?