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spotlight chairI’m introducing a new feature on Health Scoop Online called “Spotlight”.  I want to spotlight some amazing people I know who have made their health a top priority, and it shows!  Spotlight is a Q&A feature with answers from real people who may have had the same struggles that you do in terms of weight loss, working out and dieting.  Some of these people are the picture of health and I’ve asked them to share their routines, tips and success stories with us.   Not everyone wanted to share their names so I’ll be using nicknames to keep the profiles anonymous, but its good information all the same.

Our first Spotlight is on someone who you’d never guess had ever struggled with her weight.  One of my first encounters with her was at a pool and standing next to her, the rest of us might as well have been wearing potato sacks.  While I wanted to hate her, she’s very sweet and as beautiful inside as she is outside.  Here is the Spotlight on “Bikini Bod”…

Q:  Do you struggle with your weight or have you struggled with it in the past?

A:  When I first moved to Dallas, about 5 years ago, I gained about 25 or so pounds brought on by stress and lack of exercise.  That was my first reality weight check.

Q:  Have you always been active or consumed a healthy diet?

A:  For most of my life I’ve always been active.  Diet is relatively healthy with a few bad habits picked up (and I think mostly kicked) along the way.

Q:  What was your “aha” moment or is there a specific event that led you to make changes towards a healthier lifestyle?

A:  I started making sure exercise was a part of my ongoing routine about a year after I moved to Dallas.  I’d always been active in something – gymnastics, soccer, marching band, walking miles upon miles to class, so when I added an 8+ hour workday, priorities shifted and I didn’t make time for it anymore.  I was also in a bad relationship, which lead to more social drinking and unhealthy eating than normal, plus it packed on the stress.  When the relationship finally ended and I was living alone, I knew I had to change a lot of things, and that included putting exercise back into my life.  I stopped drinking sodas, I started cooking more, eating out less and jogging.  About 6 months ago I started to get really serious about working out.  I wanted to strengthen my muscles and really tone up.  I also wanted to really work on my endurance for running and cycling.

Q:  How many times do you work out per week and for how long?

A:  4-5 times per week up to about 2 hours each day, depending on what I’m doing.  Sometimes I just run, which is up to about an hour.

Q:  What is your favorite method of exercise?

A:  Running and cycling, but I also love my kickboxing class.  Things to get my heart rate up.  Though, I haven’t done it yet, I think I’d also love yoga.  That’s next on my list.

Q:  What is your least favorite method of exercise that you do anyway?

A:  Weights – especially free weights.  I worry that I can do them incorrectly, though I know that they can offer a lot of strength benefits.

Q:  How do you stay motivated to work out, even when you don’t feel like it?

A:  I set goals.  First it was probably weight loss, then it was toning, then it was incorporating races – 5Ks, 10Ks and now a half marathon!  Also pretty motivated by bikini season 🙂

Q:  What diets have you tried in the past and were they successful?

A:  Have honestly never dieted.  I used to be afraid of veggies, but now I make sure and incorporate them into all of my meals.  Aside from that, I just try to stay relatively healthy in the decisions I make when I eat.

Q:  Briefly describe what you typically have for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner (include any snacks or calorie drinks as well).

A:  Breakfast is usually a Carnation Instant Breakfast or bagel with some kind of meat (turkey sausage).  Sometimes on weekends I incorporate eggs.  Lunch is usually leftovers or a Smart One and dinner is usually a lean meat (chicken or pork), carb (typically pasta) and veggie.  Not very adventurous in the kitchen.  Snacks include goldfish or baked chips and nuts and sometimes candy.

Q:  Do you have cravings for sweets or salty snacks and how do you handle them?

A:  Yes – I still struggle with the sweet craving.  If I have candy in my drawer I’ll probably eat it.  I really try not to buy it, but I usually break down when it’s that time of the month.  I have goldfish and nuts that I munch on during the day – usually around 3 in the afternoon.  I don’t like to eat before I workout because then I’m at the gym too late, so I try to eat enough of that so I’m not starving by 6.  I’ve also tried to quiet the tummy by having a cup of green tea in the afternoon.

Q:  How many hours of sleep do you get at night and how do you think it affects your health positively or negatively?

A:  I usually get between 7 and 8.  I’m a lot more active in these last 6 months, though, so I do feel more tired than ever.  Other than that, though, I feel relatively healthy.  I managed to make it through the winter without being sick, so hopefully that carries through flu season!

Q:  How do you handle or manage stress in your life?

A:  Ha.  Lately I think I just cry 🙂  Running has become a huge stress reliever though. 

Q:  What is your greatest health (fitness, diet or wellness) related accomplishment?

A:  It was losing those horrible pounds I gained when I first moved here, and running my first half marathon!

Q:  What advice would you give someone looking to make a healthy lifestyle change?

A:  Start slow and set reasonable goals.  Having an exercise partner helps – someone that can be there to motivate you and hold you accountable.

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