Welcome to part three of my REAL Stories series!
If you missed the first two posts, let me introduce the series a little. This 6-part series is all about Relatable, Everyday, Amazing Ladies that inspire me every single day. They’re all living proof of the power of real food, positivity and a healthy, balanced lifestyle. They’ve all been on their own journeys to discovering what works for them and that’s what they’re sharing during this series.
For todays post I’m so excited to introduce my friend, Angela from Eat Spin Run Repeat. Angela and I have been blogger buddies for quite a while now and she’s constantly motivating me with her beautiful, healthful eats, clean eating recipes, fitness posts and all around amazing attitude towards life. I also love her monthly goal update posts on her blog. Seeing her work towards her goals, no matter how large or small always motivates me to sit down and work on my own goals. Angela inspires healthy living in everything she does and I’m so grateful I was able to connect with her through the healthy living blogger community.
I know you’ll enjoy her inspiring story, so let’s get to it! Enjoy!
Guest Post by Angela Simpson from Eat Spin Run Repeat
My name is Angela and I blog at Eat Spin Run Repeat. My blog just turned 4 years old, and every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I write about my biggest passions – nutrition, recipes, goal setting, fitness, and living a fulfilled life. I’m thrilled to be guest posting today for Deryn, and I’m looking forward to getting to know some of you too!
Outside of my full-time job, my part-time fitness instructor gig, and my blogger role, I’m also a personal health coach. But don’t be fooled, because health has not always been my strong point! Back when I was 13, my family moved from Edmonton, Alberta to Bahrain, a small island in the Middle East. The purpose for the trip was for my dad’s job, and I ended up living there for 5 years before returning to Canada for university.
As a kid, I was super active without even realizing it – I played soccer in the spring and summer, basketball in the fall and winter, and swam competitively year-round. I didn’t think of it as exercise – it was more just play, and an opportunity to hang out with my friends. While all of that was great, I never thought twice about the nutritional value of the foods I put in my mouth. As an extremely active kid with a fast metabolism, those calories were never in my body for long. I pretty much ate whatever I wanted.
It wasn’t until we moved abroad that things changed. A combination of culture shock, needing to make new friends, a new school, missing my friends from home, and far less physical activity led me to pack on the pounds. As you can imagine, that did nothing to improve my self esteem!
At my heaviest (when I was 16), I tipped the scales at 200lbs. Even though my 5’10” frame carried it better than, say, someone who is 5’5”, I still felt uncomfortable and self conscious, especially amongst my friends who tended to be much shorter and leaner than me.
One day my mum caught me trying on pants in my room and watched me (the way mums do – without you knowing) getting more and more unhappy as I realized that nothing fit. She suggested that I join a local weight loss group similar to Weight Watchers, and in my desperate, insecure state, I agreed.
In the months that followed, I learned that I could still eat enough food to satisfy my huge appetite, as they were the right foods. I taught myself to cook, swapped out calorie-dense, nutrition-devoid foods with heaps of fruits and veggies, lean protein, and small portions of whole grains. I also started exercising more, and discovered my love for running. Within about 1½ years, I’d lost 60lbs and felt better than ever.
Making healthy choices in my late teens set me up for success as I moved back to Canada for university. I dove head first into fitness; I joined my school’s varsity cross country team, became a certified fitness instructor, ran a bunch of races including my first marathon, all while eating clean. Shortly after, I became a certified health coach, started my blog and business, and haven’t looked back since.
I’m 25 now, and it’s been nearly 10 years since I struggled with my weight. I’ll always remember what it was like to feel so uncomfortable in my own skin, and one of my biggest goals is to help other women in situations like mine prove to themselves that they don’t have to feel that way forever either.
You can take control and it’s never too late to start!
Now you might be thinking, “Hmm… eating clean and working out regularly? That’s a lot easier said than done”, and I agree with you – often the choices that are best for our health are not the most appealing! However, I’ve got 5 top tips to share with you to help you along the process.
5 Tips for Making Your Healthy Lifestyle Stick
1. Get clear on your goals.
I’m a huge goal setting nerd and I love challenging myself to new ones, especially when they’re a little on the scary side. One of my keys to creating goals that stick is to ensure that your motivation is rooted in YOU, not in the desires of someone else. Trying to make a change for someone else can lead you to falling off the rails, but if it’s something that you truly want, you’ll be more likely to do the hard work to get there.
2. Prep and plan where possible.
One of the keys to making healthy changes in your lifestyle is not trying to overload yourself and take on too much too soon. Let’s pretend one of your mini goals is to stop eating out so much, and you decide you’re only going to allow yourself 5 non-homemade meals this month. Just the thought of having to cook dinner every night for a week can be daunting, so why not make it a little easier by preparing healthy, big-batch meals ahead of time? (I’m a huge proponent of doing Sunday meal prep!) This way, you can avoid spending tons of time in the kitchen when you get home from work each night, and you’ll be less likely to snack on everything in sight when you arrive home feeling hungry.
3. Surround yourself with support.
This one is huge! Friends and family can be a great source of motivation and support to keep you on track with your healthy habits, but you can be creative too. Because I’m a big visual learner, I like to have a bunch of motivational images posted around my house, including my vision board which I create each year. You can also find support and motivation in online communities, by subscribing to health and wellness-related magazines, following inspirational people on their social media channels, and spending as much time as possible with people who make you happy.
4. Never stop trying new things.
Although routines are excellent to have (self-labeled creature of habit here!), variety truly is the spice of life. When it comes to clean eating, there are so many wonderful, delicious healthy foods that you probably haven’t tried yet, and incorporating a variety of whole foods into your diet will not only keep your body in top form, but it’ll also make your clean eating lifestyle more fun. Nobody wants to eat the same boring salad every single day! And on the fitness front, changes come when we do things differently. Our bodies are super clever and adapt quickly, so switch up your workouts to keep the positive results coming!
5. Keep stress under control.
This is a key that I’ve discovered to be one of the most important over the past year. In 2013, I found myself struggling with a ton of digestive issues, and after visiting a number of specialists and trying a plethora of supplements, I discovered that the #1 thing I could do to keep my tummy happy was to manage stress more effectively. When your body is in ‘fight or flight’ mode, less blood flows to the stomach so digestive processes aren’t as efficient. Therefore, if you’re eating and feeling on-edge at the same time, you might find yourself dealing with cramps shortly after. Stress also means an increase in cortisol (a hormone our bodies produce), and high cortisol is a big contributor to weight gain. So, do yourself a favour and take a nap, do yoga, practice deep breathing, go for a walk, take an extra long shower, or engage in any other activities you find relaxing on a regular basis. Your whole body will love you for it!
Thank you again so much to Deryn for having me here on Running on Real Food today. If you’re looking for healthy recipes, workouts, and goal setting tips, feel free to come on over and visit me. And before you go, I’d love to hear from you:
What’s one of your top tips for staying on track with your healthy lifestyle?
Talk to you soon!
Angela is an avid runner, fitness instructor, foodie, healthy living blogger, and owner of her business, Spin 360 Health Coaching. Having been overweight, unhappy and insecure as a teenager, Angela took control, changed her unhealthy habits, and adopted a clean eating lifestyle that she continues to maintain today. Her goal is to support, inspire, and motivate others to improve their health and be their best. You can find delicious recipes, workouts, and tips for living your best life on her blog, Eat Spin Run Repeat.
Did you miss part one and two, as well as my contribution to the REAL Stories Series? Catch up here:
Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below and on social media with #weareREAL. We’ve got 3 more amaizng ladies to go, stay tuned for posts from Lindsay of The Lean Green Bean, Sarah of The Balanced Babe and Courtney of Treadmill Runway.