I never really thought I would be someone who had a set of ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos to share. But here I am, with said set of photos, talking about my journey to health. For a number of reasons, college really wasn’t my favorite stage of life. Growing up I was a habitual early-riser who kept a full schedule of activities and had a gym in my basement. The college routine of late nights, a less than stellar diet and inconsistent exercise didn’t suit me. Sure, I knew a lot about fitness and nutrition, but I wasn’t really applying to my life or treating my body the way it deserved to be treated.
During my college ‘dieting years’ I tried to stick to no more than 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day, deriving most of my calories from whole grain carbs, animal proteins and a few fruits and veggies thrown in along the way. I was exercising, and even trained for a half marathon, but was inconsistent with trips to the gym and never bothered to weight train. Slowly, throughout college, my weight crept up to 160 pounds (I’m just shy of 5’10). Although I was by no means unhealthy, I didn’t feel like myself and wanted to make a change.
Shortly after college graduation and moving into my own apartment, I made a number of changes to positively impact my health and well-being. My sleep schedule became more regular, I renewed my love for and commitment to exercise (mainly in the form of cardio) and decided to give vegetarianism a try, forcing me to focus on building meals around more veggies, fruits and whole grains.
Most recently (about 6 months ago) I started to incorporate weight training into my fitness routine three to four days a week to build muscle, burn calories and tone my body. The difference I’ve noticed in my arms and abs in particular is amazing. Between the weight training, vegetarianism, commitment to cardio and increased caloric consumption, the extra pounds fell of. It was as if my metabolism ‘light switch’ had been turned on. Today, I am no longer in the process of trying to lose weight now that my body has settled at my ‘happy weight’ of 145 pounds.
I am, by no means, an expert on the subjects of diet, nutrition and fitness, just someone who is passionate about the topics. If you’re unsure of how much protein, calories and other nutrients you should be consuming, the USDA has a great website to guide your diet which can be found here.
Here’s to living and maintaining a healthy lifestyle!