Everyone say hello to Laura Godlewski! Laura is one of our original BBP Online Members. This University of Wisconsin graduate is one of the sweetest, strongest ladies we know! Over the next 4 weeks, we’re handing the blog over to her so she can share her story, her adventures in becoming a marathoner and her experience with Brave Body Project. Take it away, Laura!
In this day and age, eating right and exercising can be a challenge for most, regardless of age. Schedules get hectic, food is everywhere, and while definitely not impossible, it can be difficult to make consistent, healthy lifestyle choices. throw in the newfound freedom of being a freshman or sophomore in college. For the first time, you are completely in charge of how you treat your body. No one is making you dinner or telling you what to eat, you don’t have scheduled sports or PE and temptations are everywhere when it comes to food and alcohol.
Side note, I have quickly learned that this does not end once you graduate college.
It can be really tough to maintain a healthy lifestyle in this atmosphere and saying “no” when everyone is doing something is challenging. Having just graduated college, I can tell you firsthand that this is something that I and many others struggle with, and unfortunately, it doesn’t get any easier once you get to the “real world” as I’m sure many of you know.
I entered college at the University of Wisconsin leading a relatively healthy lifestyle and throughout my four years at school, I learned the hard way that (surprise, surprise!) a steady diet of fried food and beer without any physical activity doesn’t lead to a healthy body. Sophomore year was a huge reality check for me when I realized I had slowly gained 20 pounds and had effectively cut exercise out of my life. Besides the fact that I was at an unhealthy weight and did not physically feel good, mentally and emotionally I was completely frazzled and unhappy.
I constantly felt anxious, moody and unmotivated. I made excuses for why I couldn’t work out, one being that the gym was too far of a walk from my apartment. You know things are bad when you avoid going to the gym because you don’t want to walk there.
Towards the end of sophomore year, I decided to make a change and took control of my health and life again. It wasn’t easy, but by adjusting my diet and incorporating more exercise into my schedule, I lost the weight I had gained and felt renewed mentally.
Throughout the three years since I committed to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, I’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t work for me when it comes to exercise, eating right and treating myself well. While I realized a lot of these ideas in college, I think they’re truly takeaways that any person at any age can gain some insight from.
1. Find a workout you love
What got me back on track with working out was finding something I truly enjoyed doing. For me, that was spin classes. I looked forward to going to these classes, which in turn, made it much easier to show up and made working out feel less like a chore.
2. Don’t be too hard on yourself
It is still possible to eat delicious food and go out for drinks while maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you just have to make sure you’re balancing it all out. Depriving yourself of certain foods or working out too much usually doesn’t end with a positive outcome. Give yourself a break if you need one and listen to your body and what it needs. Get in your workouts, but also find time to enjoy the good stuff in life!
I can still enjoy dessert and cocktails, but I just have less of them. For me, this was especially hard in college where it seems like junk food is everywhere and there are deals at every bar encouraging you to have more (turns out half-priced margaritas don’t have half the calories). But once you establish some habits and learn how to say “no,” it gets much easier and you realize you don’t have to deprive yourself.
4. Find some workout buddies
I think this is one of the best ways to hold yourself accountable to showing up for a workout. You have someone who’s counting on you to be there and who is also a cheerleader when things get tough during the workout. Plus, it’s more fun to work out with a friend! And if you can’t find someone who wants to get fit with you, Amber and Lindsey make great long-distance workout buddies ☺
5. Be consistent
What I’ve experienced so far is that consistency is the most important aspect when it comes to working out and maintaining a certain fitness level. It’s so much harder to get back into the swing of things once you start taking a lot of time off from working out, both physically and mentally. My rule of thumb is not to go more than two days without some kind of work out. I’ve found that when I’m consistent with my workouts, the results I get from them are faster and the workouts get and stay easier, which we all love!
Sticking to these tips helped me not only maintain a healthy lifestyle during my last few years of college, but also helped me enjoy doing it! If you’re at a point in your life where you don’t know where to start, all I can say is, just start. It takes some time to figure out exactly what works for you, but if you keep putting one foot in front of the other, you’ll find success.
Check back next week to hear about Laura’s first marathon experience and how Amber and Lindsey helped her cross the finish line. Want to commit to a program, get real results and change your life? Join Laura and our amazing Brave community by joining the Brave Body Project Online Fitness Membership!