Spotlight is a Q&A feature that highlights some amazing individuals and their history, successes and advice on health and fitness. Many readers have struggled with weight, diets or working out and are encouraged by the tips, routines and success stories of others. Each Spotlight profile offers some great insight and I hope you are inspired!
This month’s Spotlight is on a woman whose nickname should be Superwoman!
Q: Do you struggle with your weight or have you struggled with it in the past?
I have had two pregnancies in the last 2.5 years, gaining 50 lbs with each pregnancy – this has been really tough on my body. I work full-time as a Physician Assistant, I am a mother and a wife. This leaves me with so little time to care for myself. I also needed to have my thyroid removed recently due to thyroid cancer. This has been a struggle to get my thyroid levels under control. Being hypothyroid tends to make you fatigued and tends to make you gain weight.
Q: Have you always been active or consumed a healthy diet?
Not always. I was named “Biggest Eater” in High School. I ate everything and anything I could get my hands on. A whole pizza in one sitting was no big deal. I exercised very rarely. This lifestyle continued with me through college, and in addition to the unhealthy eating habits, like any college student, alcohol added to my unhealthiness.
Q: What was your “aha” moment or is there a specific event that led you to make changes towards a healthier lifestyle?
When I turned 30. I was 8 months pregnant and I was so ready to make some changes after I had that baby. I realized that I was no longer 20 and I was going to need to work to get my body back into shape. I ordered an exercise program called Chalean Extreme and psyched myself up to starting the program after I had the baby.
Q: How many times do you work out per week and for how long?
I work out 5 days a week, 30-60 minutes a day.
Q: What is your favorite method of exercise?
I love lifting weights and I also love cardio kickboxing.
Q: What is your least favorite method of exercise that you do anyway?
SQUATS. They are so hard, but you really need to do these. If you have strong legs, you are going to be more effective at all of your other exercises.
Q: How do you stay motivated to work out, even when you don’t feel like it?
I picture how I feel AFTER a workout, and how much better I am going to feel the rest of the day if I just get up and do it. Some mornings I literally have to talk myself into it, but after I do I am so happy.
Q: What diets have you tried in the past and were they successful?
I have never been big on ‘dieting’. What I have found to work has been tracking my dietary intake. I like sparkpeople.com to track my intake. If you can see what you are putting into your body, you will realize that every calorie actually does count.
Q: Briefly describe what you typically have for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner (include any snacks or calorie drinks as well).
I eat every two to three hours. I start my morning at 5am with a ¼ scoop of Results and Recovery Formula before I workout. Then at 7am I have chocolate protein drink called Shakeology mixed with 2 cups of skim milk. I find that if I start the day with something healthy, I am more likely to make healthier choices throughout the day. At 9am I have a yogurt, cottage cheese, or a piece of toast with a cup of tea. At noon I have a sandwich with veggies or a Lean Cuisine. Around 2pm I have a snack like fruit or a beef stick with a cup of tea. At 5pm we have dinner. This is usually a lean meat or fish with rice or other starch and veggies. I usually have a snack around 7pm too, low-fat popcorn, toast, or cheese.
Q: Do you have cravings for sweets or salty snacks and how do you handle them?
Of course! My chocolate shake in the morning helps with my sweet cravings. I have a teaspoon of sugar in my tea, which also helps the sweet cravings. When I want salt, I try to have something low-fat like pretzels or an apple with salt.
Q: How many hours of sleep do you get at night and how do you think it affects your health positively or negatively?
I try to get 8 hours, but I usually get 6 hours of sleep (due to the babies!). I absolutely notice a change in my mood and my energy if I get less than 6 hours of sleep.
Q: How do you handle or manage stress in your life?
I try to keep a to-do-list daily. This helps me keep my goals in sight. Exercise helps me enormously with my stress levels. If I don’t exercise, I feel worse, and then it is a downward spin.
Q: What is your greatest health (fitness, diet or wellness) related accomplishment?
I weigh less now than I did in college after I had two children. I am so proud of myself.
Q: What advice would you give someone looking to make a healthy lifestyle change?
Write down your goals, track your diet and fitness progress, and be accountable to someone other than yourself. I can help you achieve these goals, I do offer free fitness consultation and support.