Over the next weeks, I am going to share with you insights from some of the most inspiring women I know that are heavily into health and fitness. These women have all figured out what works for them, their bodies, and have overcome mental and physical challenges. My hope is that you find someone you identify with, pick up on a helpful nugget of information and are overall inspired to be a healthier individual through their trials, failures, and successes.
Here is what Megan had to say!
What is Health: Megan the Girl Who Fell in Love with Wellness
Before: I’m 19 years old, a freshman in college, and I’ve set foot in the gym by choice for the first time ever. Yeah, that’s not for me. I’ve always been a skinny girl and see no need to get a workout in. However, at that age, I am still super self-conscious of how I look and always admire and compare myself to other girls whose bodies I envy. Luckily, there are free group classes at school like Butts and Guts, and my dormmates and I love them.
Then, I’m 20 years old and study abroad for a semester in Spain. I have the time of my life! I take class, and of course my daily siesta, eat lots of cookies to cope with being homesick, party every night, and repeat for four months. My skinny body gains about 10-15 pounds. I come home from Spain and am embarrassed about how I look. Why did I do this to myself? This is the first turning point for my health and fitness journey. No longer am I the skinny girl with self-image issues; now I’m 15 pounds too heavy.
I would give anything to have the body I hated just half a year ago. So, my best friend and I decide to get a gym membership at Gold’s and work out hard for that summer. I played around with the elliptical, resistance machines, and was drawn again to the group fitness classes. At the end of the summer, I was back to my normal weight. Great!
I’m 21 years old and meet a boy. It’s one of those relationships that makes you relax, get comfortable, and stop trying. I go through spurts of working out and eating okay, but I’m not consistent with either. I gain a little bit of weight, and now I’m 23 years old, moving to Florida, and still not happy with how I feel or look. It’s amazing how a change of scenery can change your outlook, though. Everyone in Florida is so fit and good looking! Alright, it’s time to buckle down and take my health back.
At this time, P90X is all the rage, so I start this program, and actually fall in love with strength training. Never in a million years would I think that would be the case. I get stronger than I’ve ever been. I live less than a mile from the ocean, so I occasionally take a jog to the beach. Well let me tell you, this is basically the death of me. I have zero cardio endurance and basically have an asthma attack by the time I get to the beach.
I get engaged, and I finally have something to work toward. I’m going to be in the best shape of my life for my wedding. And that’s exactly what I do. I’m super consistent with workouts (P90X and Insanity, coupled with runs to the beach), I eat super clean, I drop weight and a ton of inches, and I have enough muscle definition to make me happy.
All of a sudden, I’m 26 years old, and I get introduced to an organization that will forever change my life. I learn so much about health and nutrition, personal development, purpose, support systems, and just happiness. A pivotal moment in my life. I fall in love with wellness – nutrition, mindset, exercise, friends, helping others. I gain affection for nature, for sunrise runs on the beach, for meditation. I figure out I no longer need to work in the toxic environment that I do. I figure out I no longer need to stay in my passionless relationship.
To make a pretty lengthy story short, my world was completely turned upside down, and it was the very best thing that has ever happened to me.
This was a long-winded way of saying this: Your health is a journey. It’s one day to the next. It’s a heck of a lot more than just food or exercise. It’s wellness. It’s what you put in your body, how you move it, how you think, how happy and fulfilled you feel in your career and relationships. It’s balance.
After: Nowadays, I love exercise. I feel off if I miss a day or more. I do well with structure, which for me is having a plan of what I’ll do in the gym, or doing group classes or videos. I need someone to tell me what to do and to push me to work harder. I call myself a modified vegan; I eat mostly vegan until I go out to eat. I LOVE Mexican food. I love wine. I love dessert.
The biggest thing for me now is that I listen to my body. Your body is SO smart; you just have to listen and observe. I try to stay away from foods that my body dislikes. I try to take it easy in the gym when I know I’m out of alignment. I eat green stuff when I crave nutrients. I give in to chocolate when I have my period. I meditate and snuggle with my boyfriend and pup when I’m stressed. I need balance and am working on being kind to my mind and body. I’m not perfect, but each day I get better.
Currently I’m studying with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a health coach. This has opened my world to other ways of thinking about health. There is not one path that works for everyone. I’m passionate about holistic wellness and empowering women to see their worth, find their ability to take life into their own hands, and do what makes them happy. My goal is to inspire and empower women to be the best versions of themselves.
I’m doing this by being an example – making small changes to become healthier, more fit, happier, more passionate and fulfilled in my work and in my relationships. The more small steps I take, the more results I see, and the more excited and confident I feel in my own skin. And I KNOW my worth. I no longer compare myself to other women. Don’t get me wrong, I still admire them, but they are now an inspiration instead of a source of anxiety for me. You CAN have it all. Take a small step today and see where that takes you.
Here are some tips and things I’ve learned during my wellness journey that I think everyone could benefit from:
- Take responsibility for your health. You absolutely have the power to mold your mind and body into the best version of yourself.
- Find something to work toward or someone to hold you accountable. Maybe it’s your wedding, maybe it’s summer or a race. Maybe you get a trainer or start taking fitness classes. Figure out what helps motivate you.
- Evaluate your work and your relationships. How can you find ways to love them more, or is it time to make a change? Be honest with yourself.
- Live in gratitude, positivity, and love. Don’t forget to feel these things for yourself, too.
- Treat yourself with love. Forgive yourself. Don’t be so strict that you hate on yourself for getting off track. Recognize it and move on.
Shameless plug: I would absolutely not be where I am in my wellness journey without EvolvHealth. It is the best complement for my already pretty healthy diet but can benefit anyone in whatever health goals they may have. Great tasting, clean, whole food nutrition that can reboot your metabolism and health. Not to mention, we nourish a child in need with every serving we consume. Check out b1n2.org.
Did you miss week 4? Check out Alyssa, the Kid with Unexplainable Digestive Issues take on health!