Guest Blogger: Carrie Stavenger

I think back to college when the tests and papers piled up just like the weight did. Jimmy John’s after a night out was a healthy choice because it was a sandwich and walking to class was good enough exercise for me. The only doctor I saw during those four years was Dr. Pepper and the only nuts I ate were Peanut M & M’s. I would pack workout clothes to hit the gym after class, but my bed and a chick flick always talked me out of it. I wondered why I never had energy and why the freshman fifteen was still hanging around come graduation day. There came a point where I didn’t want to look in the mirror because what I saw through my eyes was an image so unflattering, unattractive, and unhealthy.

I grew up running up and down soccer fields and dancing across stages so when I set a goal of running one mile around the college track, I thought, “how hard could this be?” Ten laps around equaled one mile and by the third lap, my legs were noodles (whole wheat, obviously). By the fifth lap I wanted to hunt down whoever thought of the phrase “runner’s high” because I’m pretty sure the only thing that was high was my heart rate. I completed my tenth lap and although I met my goal, I couldn’t help but be embarrassed that I only ran one mile. This feeling of humility triggered something in me and I was determined to become a runner. No matter the miles or the pace or the number of pedicures I was going to have to get to make up for less-than-attractive feet, I was going to become one.

1 full marathon, 7 half marathons, and a handful of 10k’s and 5k’s later, I guess you can say I have that “runner’s high”. Finishing my first full marathon was and is my biggest accomplishment to date. I successfully transformed myself from a girl who could barely run a mile to a girl who ran 26.2 and that’s a pretty neat thing to say!

If you are like me, you have heard every statement and statistic about living a healthy lifestyle. Find something you enjoy doing. Everything in moderation. Less sugar, more water. Surround yourself with positive people. Begin today for a better tomorrow. While these are all fine and dandy and great to have tucked in the back of your mind, there is only one person responsible for how you live: YOU.

Sure, you can have the most supportive friends and family, the healthiest food stocked in your kitchen and the most adorable workout clothes in your closet, but if you are not willing to put forth the continuous and daily effort, than the hamster wheel you have been finding yourself on will only keep spinning.

Living a healthy lifestyle is more than wearing the tread on your Nike’s and awkwardly trying to take off your sports bra at the end of an
“I just nailed that” workout. It’s one that takes your mind and body and soul and wraps it all up in pretty sparkly wrapping paper. It has you take deep breaths when your engine is running too fast and it allows you to take time for daily reflection and journaling. It reminds you to only talk to yourself in a POSITIVE way and to spread your talents with those around you and beyond. It gives you time in the kitchen to try that “Clean Mac-N-Cheese” Pinterest recipe and takes you on a walk around the neighborhood when you and your couch need a break from one another.
I don’t know where you are in your journey but you do; meet yourself there. Take this time to be brutally honest and listen to yourself. What do you want today to look like? Where do you see yourself in a week? Why do you want to make better choices in order to live a healthier lifestyle?

Psst! Don’t forget: You are valuable, beautiful, and we are all so thankful for YOU!

Head on over to Carrie’s blog, P.S. Wish You Were Here for a chance to enter her giveaway!

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