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Exercise and Nutrition Change My Life

As I grew up, the active lifestyle was always a way of life, and I even spent most of my time outdoors letting my imagination run wild. Even throughout high school I was constantly balancing my school work with multiple sports, but let’s face it, I had a fast-working metabolism so I ate whatever I wanted without the slightest care in the world.  I was even fortunate enough to beat the Freshman 15 my first year of college, despite eating snacks upon snacks and crummy cafeteria food.

But as I began to work my junior year and take an immense course load, exercise and nutrition went to the back burner. In hindsight, I can describe exactly how a lack of priority for my health made me feel; the first three words that come to mind are sluggish (physically), foggy (mentally) and downright terrible (emotionally). I didn’t realize what I was doing to my body until I decided to make a change last summer.

I spent a month of the summer in northern Wisconsin predominately outside swimming, running and biking. I vacationed in a beautiful area with wonderful temperatures, and I couldn’t help but spend the majority of my days outside. I can definitely say that this was the beginning of my transformation. When August rolled around and school picked back up again I decided to step it up a notch by adding weight lifting while focusing on proper nutrition.

As a Kinesiology major I already had the resources to begin my journey, but the hardest part was getting myself going. I dropped sodas from my diet and the majority of fast food and sugary products like candies and cakes, and added leafy greens and grains to my diet. The first two weeks were very difficult; my whole body was sore all the time and I struggled to find the proper balance of eating healthy throughout my busy schedule to escape the feeling of hunger. But after about a month, the process became routine and being sore was no longer a problem. After about two months, I began to notice the mental and emotional changes. And nearly three months later, my friends began to notice the physical changes.  

My mind became sharper, and my emotional state fluctuated less and less despite an increase in stressors; mind you, exercise and nutrition don’t remove the stressors that constantly plague us, but they do make them more manageable. Along with the physical changes of a firmer more toned body, I noticed my sleep habits changed; falling asleep became much easier and I typically woke up more refreshed than the months before.

Now 7 months later, I’ve dropped nearly 25 pounds, I’m closer to my goal weight than I ever imagined, and working out has become a habit. The benefits of working out and a proper diet far outweigh the temporary pain that accompanies a short workout and time commitment (which is almost nonexistent if you get 30 minutes in each day). My diet is not perfect; I still eat a burger and fries occasionally, but more importantly I focus on moderation and filling up on fresher meals. Our bodies are temples that deserve the utmost care each and every day because we do put them through a lot, so I challenge you to give the healthy lifestyle a try for at least three weeks, and notice how it affects your overall mood and emotional state. I’m convinced you’ll be thoroughly content with the changes, and decide to continue on your own journey toward a healthier lifestyle.

*Not sure where to start? Come back in a few weeks for more info*

Brittny is a Graduate Student of Stephen F. Austin, with a passion for the sciences and medicine. You can't have a million dollar dream with a minimum-wage work ethic.
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