Happy Motivation Monday, friends!
If you’re joining in on the motivation monday fun for the first time you may be wondering what this is all about. The past few weeks I have been sharing readers’ journeys to health and fitness through my Fit and Healthy Feature series. Every person has their own journey and their own story to share and I can’t believe how different yet amazing each one is. We all start at different places and find different ways to move our body and eat that just “click.” I’m all about finding YOUR healthy balance and living the way that truly makes you happy, healthy and feel great.
Today, I have my first Fit and Healthy Feature submitted by a non-blogger! I want to encourage you all to participate. If you have a story that you want to share, whether you are a blogger or not doesn’t matter. Please shoot me an e-mail! We would all love to hear it 🙂
Erin’s story is a story of finding balance through injury. Through her injury, she was able to find and learn new ways to workout and it even caused her to realize that the diet she once thought was healthy was not giving her adequate nutrients. I love the positive attitude she has!! She has really looked at the bright side of this injury and it hasn’t slowed her down one bit.
I am currently a full time dental student, just starting my fourth (and final!) year. I am also currently engaged to an amazing man, Harry, who is an insurance attorney. We have decided that we will probably have no friends later in life (who wants to hang out with a dentist and an insurance lawyer?!?). Harry and I share a passion for fitness, nutrition and health. We both love running long distances, but last summer I tore my left hamstring and calf muscles pretty badly and that limited my exercise options quite a bit. This past year I have developed a major shift in my way of thinking about exercise, which has introduced me to some new, equally awesome workouts.
Before her injury
Before my injury I was running for over an hour, almost every day of the week. I felt as if I was not running, I was not truly exercising. When my leg first started bothering me, I did not want to stop running to let it heal. Finally, the pain in my leg made it so that simply walking was excruciating. I decided I needed to rest it and let it heal. After 2 weeks of that and no improvement, I finally went to the orthopedist, had an MRI performed and got some pretty devastating news. The tears were significant enough that I may not run again for 8-10 months.
My lifestyle changes were forced on me by injury, but they turned out to be a blessing in disguise. When I first found out running was not an option, I assumed I was going to gain weight, get out of shape and be flat out miserable. I started out by doing what I could, which included lifting weights while sitting down and tons of sit ups and core work.
At first, I was miserable. I was not sweating while lifting weights, so I assumed I was not really exercising. Harry often encouraged me and reminded me I was healing and would run again one day, which helped to lift my attitude. After a few months of JUST lifting weights, I was able to incorporate PIYO, and Brazilian butt lift workouts. This was exciting and I saw changes in my body nearly immediately. Now (a year later) I am starting to run again! Since the injury I have not gained any weight and actually feel stronger and healthier than ever.
The biggest lifestyle change that this injury has introduced to me is balance. I LOVE PIYO and feel that it gives me a great workout. I plan to run a few days a week from now on, and keep weight lifting and PIYO as workouts for the other days. These workouts keep me motivated to challenge my strength and flexibility in new ways.
Another change that I had to make was a dietary one. The doctor told me that my protein intake may not be sufficient for the level of exercise I was doing. The way my muscles tore indicated that to him. I was rather surprised to hear this as I had always thought of myself as a healthy eater. After thinking about it, however, I realized with my hectic dental school schedule often left me snacking on low-protein items rather than high-protein meals. I was eating a lot of portable fruits and vegetables, but not much else! The news of my dietary deficiency shook me and I immediately started implementing new protein sources into my daily routine. I now bring a Quest bar to school every morning and eat chicken or fish with lunch almost everyday. Harry also encouraged me to add protein powder, which I did and love (especially chocolate)!
I think my biggest challenge was breaking my routine. I am an extremely routine-oriented person, so this frightened me. Once I realized that it was okay to mix up workouts and even take an occasional rest-day, I became much more flexible with my workouts. This flexibility enhanced my enjoyment of the workouts and made boredom impossible!
I feel much more energetic and strong now. When I was running long distances everyday, I often felt exhausted and weak. Now that I lift weights and challenge my balance and flexibility, I notice my energy levels are consistently up! I have definition in my arms that I did not have before and PIYO makes my muscles feel long and limber.
Before her injury
After her injury
My next steps are to continue to heal and to maintain my physical fitness with a mix of cardio, strength and flexibility. I also plan to stay mentally balanced by taking days of complete rest in order to recharge. I will continue meal planning to ensure I am getting adequate protein. By prepping meals on Sundays, I will not be questioning where I will get my protein from later in the week. As a dental student, by Wednesday things are CRAZY and days are LONG, so if I have not already prepped a meal…forget about a balanced/ nutritious meal happening!
My tip would be making any change, whether it be for weight loss or just a health goal, one change at a time. If I had tried adding a ton of protein at the same time as cutting my exercise, I would have gotten frustrated and given up. By slowly incorporating protein sources and easing up on exercise, I was able to feel in control of the changes that I was making.
Another tip would be keeping to a schedule! If an activity is routine and it is written down you are more likely to stick with it.
Preparation is the key to success. I work out in the mornings, so I put out my workout clothes the night before so that I do not have to think about it in the morning. It takes one more obstacle out of the process!
An important part of health and fitness is your mental attitude! I believe you cannot truly be healthy if your mental attitude is in a bad place. Appreciating what your body CAN do, rather than what it cannot, will enhance your attitude. A positive attitude will contribute to a positive physical well being!
If you would like to share your story as part of the “Fit and Healthy Feature” series, please send me an e-mail! You don’t need to have a blog in order to participate in this series. Thank you so much for your motivating contributions!