Caitlin Hilger: Healthy Lifestyle, Beautiful Soul

Do you have someone in your life that is just refreshing, always positive and putting you in a good mood? If not, you need to meet Caitlin Hilger. She is an inspiration on many levels: academically, in everyday life, and in fitness.

Her Campus WSU: What motivates you to live a healthy lifestyle?

Caitlin Hilger: I grew up in a rural, small town where every meal my family ate consisted of red meat or a hotdish and where potatoes were considered a vegetable. I was very involved in sports in high school so staying active was never a problem. However, when I got to college, I realized I was quite the novice on how to live a healthy lifestyle.

During my freshman year, I experienced some pretty bad health habits on both sides of the spectrum, from eating chicken alfredo and ice cream for every meal first semester to over-exercising and undereating second semester. At the end of my first year at college, I didn’t feel good mentally or physically. This was when I knew I had to change my lifestyle for good.

Initially it was difficult trying to be healthy all the time, and I resented it. I saw exercising and eating healthy as burdens. However, after reading several blogs, I began to realize if I wanted to live a healthy lifestyle, I not only need to change my habits, but also my mindset. I read an article that talked about how you are only given one life to live and one body to live it in, so why not fuel your body with good foods? It is this mindset that motivates me to live a healthy lifestyle. I never want to feel like I have to limit what I can do in my life because of my health.

HC: Where do you find your recipes? What do you do to make them your own?

C: I get a lot of ideas for my meals from blogs and articles I read. Pinterest is also one of my go-to sources for recipes. However, the recipes I find are usually only the base of my meals, because I like to put my own twist on them. Salads are one of my favorite meals, because they are easy to meal prep and allow me to get creative. Usually I find ideas for salads from my favorite restaurants. For example, I have made a lot of copycat salads from Panera Bread with a little help from Pinterest. Furthermore, I also make recipes my own by adding additional spices to them or adding/substituting in my favorite fruits or vegetables. One of the most important things I have learned after changing my lifestyle is that just because I eat healthier now does not mean I have to sacrifice the recipes I love. I am always googling recipes to find healthier alternatives or ways to make my favorite foods better for me. For example, pizza made with cauliflower crust or pancakes made with bananas and eggs are two of my favorites.

HC: Any blogs or articles you read to stay up-to-date on healthy living? How do they inspire you?

C: I follow a lot of health figures and health magazines on Facebook. My favorites are Kayla Itsines, Emily Skye, and Women’s Health. They all post great articles about tips to stay on track with your goals, new workouts to try, and numerous recipes. Furthermore, they inspire me because they are a constant reminder of why I chose to pursue a healthier lifestyle. My favorite pictures and articles they post are the transformation ones. It is amazing and inspiring to see women completely turn their lives around through healthier eating habits and regular workout routines.

HC: What goals do you set for yourself?

C: My current goal is to get accepted into a P.A. program. However, my long-term goal is to stay on track with my healthy lifestyle. In order to do this, I am always setting smaller goals for myself such as running a little faster on the treadmill this week or drinking tea instead of coffee.

HC: What inspired you to choose the major you did?

C: I always enjoyed science and helping people, so pursuing a career in the medical field was a no-brainer for me. I chose the cell and molecular biology major because it covered most of the prerequisite courses I need for P.A. school. However, I also chose this major because I find learning about what happens inside the body to be extremely fascinating. It helps me to make connections about how people’s lifestyles can truly affect their quality of life.

HC: What extracurricular have you been/are you a part of here at WSU?

C: I have been a part of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority and WSU Chemistry Club. My friend and I also recently started a Pre-Physician Assistant Club. Furthermore, this past winter break I went on a medical service trip to Peru with the WSU MEDLIFE Club. Last semester I was an S2I leader for organic chemistry, and currently I am a science tutor. I also volunteer once a week at Kids First.

HC: You are very busy; what drives you to stay positive and keep going strong day-in and day-out?

C: I am driven to stay positive and keep going because I have a vision of how I want my life to be, and I strive to make this vision a reality every day.