When I was in high school every time summer was approaching I’d tell myself “I should really start working out so I can have a sweet beach body and look good in my bikini.” I always thought these things to myself, but I never actually made any changes. I was also trying to become fit for the wrong reasons. Of course most highschool girls go through phases where they’re unhappy with their body. So I wanted to lose some weight to look good, it wasn’t the worst mindset ever, but not the best either. My path to health didn’t even start until my junior year when I became a vegetarian and joined a gym. At this point, I cut out meat and I was doing some cardio and some strength training exercises but I wasn’t actually committed to a healthy lifestyle. I was eating a lot of bread and cheese sandwiches and honestly not a whole lot of vegetables. Then I started really cooking for myself, experimenting with flavors and herbs and going food shopping and picking out vegetables to use. I gave up chips and ate nuts instead and made some other healthy exchanges.
Now I believe I’m at the best point of my life so far. I’ve cut out both meat and dairy, I’ve limited my intake of processed foods to an absolute minimum. Junk food is not my snack of choice anymore. Of course there will be some times when I’m at a party or a friends house or some other gathering and I’ll have some chips or something like that, but when I have the option I choose something healthier. It’s funny to me because when I was younger all I ate was chicken fingers, pizza, cheeseburgers, turkey sandwiches, etc and now I would never eat any of those things again. Now I maintain this mindset that everything I eat has to have some kind of nutritional value. I choose things based on their benefits, especially when I’m out to eat. Instead of picking something deep fried and fattening, I’ll opt for something that is going to be at least somewhat healthy for me and I won’t force myself to eat it all just because it’s there. Not only have I changed my eating habits, but I’ve changed from lazy to active. Of course I still have my lazy days, and most people do. But I’ve become interested in getting fit, sweating, and making changes to my body. I want to be strong and I want to be healthy. That’s my goal. It’s not about looking good in a bikini anymore because I’ve accepted my body. Now I just want to improve upon it. I want to live a long and healthy life, without pain and without medication. I work in a retirement community, so I’ve seen many people who can hardly even walk. I always tell myself I’m going to take care of myself, so when I’m older I won’t feel older. I’ve been inspired by so many people: raw foodists, yoga masters, vegan chefs, vegan athletes, health junkies, etc. There’s so many people out there that have given me inspiration to cook and to be healthy in all aspects of life.
I’m really proud of myself right now. I’m continually surrounded by people eating unhealthy things at work, at home, or just when hanging out with friends. I don’t give into the temptations of food I used to love, and that is really a big thing for me. I’m really happy because community college worked out great for me. I took raw cooking classes, acquired so many useful kitchen tools (spiralizer, juicer, steamer, food processor), and I’ve done so much research on recipes and food and overall health. When I finally end up at a real university next year and live on my own, I believe I’ll be ready to continue to eat healthy. I must admit, I do have a little bit of a cocky attitude when it comes to food (which I’m not too proud of). When I see my friends buy an entire pizza or indulge in a greasy cheeseburger, I cannot help but to think that I feel so much better that I’m not eating those things and that I have the will power to abstain from them. I honestly also feel a bit of sadness whenever I go out to eat with friends and there will be 4 or 5 people ordering cheeseburgers and I’m the only one getting something meatless. It’s the fact that no one else cares what kind of suffering the animal they’re eating went through before ending up on their plate. Becoming a vegan has made me much, much more aware of the suffering of animals and I’ve become so much more passionate about promoting veganism and compassion to animals.
Today, I started off well. I woke up and had a delicious bowl of chocolate oats (regular organic oats, coconut milk, carob powder, tiny bit of powdered chocolate peanut butter) with hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, cacao nibs and a couple dark chocolate covered pomegranates. It was good and filling and I felt ready to get going with my day. Over the last couple years I’ve really learned how to make better breakfasts by incorporating things like flax and chia seeds, hemp, different nuts, dried fruits, etc. Having a great breakfast is really one of the best things you can do for yourself. About an hour or so later I set out to the park for a nice walk / run. I’m just starting to get into running so I start out with walking then I run for a bit, walk for a bit, run for a bit, etc. I’m trying to build up my endurance because I never really ran for pleasure before so I don’t have much endurance when it comes to running. It is marvelous outside and it felt great to be outside and exercising. I’m so happy to have gotten interested in so many different forms of exercise.
It is true that even the laziest and pickiest of teenagers can turn into vegan health freaks.
Here are some of my current health goals:
1. Cardio 4x a week
2. Yoga / pilates as often as possible
3. Eat 2 raw meals a day at least
4. Stretch everyday
5. Eat less carbs that come from bread, pasta, etc
6. Don’t pick at food all day at work
7. Eat 100% vegan (i’ve eaten packaged foods that have had small percentages of milk or another dairy product)
Tell me about your fitness journey! Where did you start, and where are you now? What are some of your goals?