I love watching and hearing about how many of you are pushing outside of your comfort zone! One of my favorite ways to challenge each of us is to become inspired by others on similar journeys. This young lady is part of our community and oozes life, joy, and happiness. I simply had to find out more regarding her wellness journey! I am pleased to have you meet Morgan!
I first met you at the gym and loved your smile, attitude, and go get ’em attitude. Over the last several months I see you more than ever. Tell me about how your level of commitment has changed, and what the catalyst was for that?
This fall and winter I definitely have been working out harder than ever! Since the winters are so long in Chicago, I wanted to focus on healthy hobbies that were going to make time fly! Usually I gain weight in the winter because I turn a bit lazy and eat yummy foods, but NOT THIS YEAR! My overall goal is to lose weight, (30 lbs) and to be at my goal before April! Right now I’m only 6 lbs. away! To keep motivated I signed up for my FIRST ever Triathlon coming this June. I also started thinking about exercising as a hobby rather than a chore! Oh and fell in love with Pinterest healthy recipes and grocery shopping!
In relation to your wellness, health, and fitness, tell me a little about the old Morgan, the Morgan you are today, and the Morgan you are looking forward to.
I think there’s a strange period for a lot of young men and women transitioning from college into the working world! I never realized how much sitting I was going to be doing, and how easy the pounds can show up. So after 2 years and gaining about 20lbs, I decided to balance out my bad habits! Last summer I weighed 165 lbs and now I’m at 141! So I’m totally moving in the right direction, but it’s been a battle. So many ups and downs on the scale. I finally realized that the ups and downs are good, because that’s life, and that’s how you have the end result stick! Last year I used to go out to lunch every day at work, eat out and drink a lot on the weekends, and maybe workout 2 times a week! Now I ALWAYS bring a lunch, eat way less starchy carbs and more veggies and fruits. I pick one night a week to have alcohol and the other nights plan something else fun. Going forward, I want to lose a bit more weight, but more importantly make the healthy habits I’ve transitioned to STICK, which means find what exercises and healthy foods work best for me!
What are some of your top tips for getting into shape?
Find which workouts make you happy and make them a priority! Not a priority in a “chore” way, but in a I know going to HIIT class is going to make me feel amazing after, and I’m going to make sure I don’t make plans on Tuesday nights so I can go! Instead make plans on a Monday or Wednesday! Balance! It’s the small changes that make the biggest impact! Like always having my gym bag in the car, scheduling time for grocery shopping each week, and keeping track of what I eat. For me I had to do a BIG overhaul on my diet, and writing it down made me realize how many unnecessary times and things I was eating! Even when I thought I was being healthy, I was eating 6 pieces of fruit a day. This was just too much for me. I encourage you to find eating habits and schedules that work for YOU to lose weight, because it’s different for everyone!
How has your diet changed?
I have found a bread I love that is 35 calories a slice and tortillas that are 50 calories each! And I will never say no to desert, so I make sure I choose healthy desserts! Fiber one makes amazing 90 calorie brownies and breakfast cakes… and Special K Baked Chips are seriously my jam! They are my go to for a party with a fresh salsa. (Side note; you can eat 30 chips for 100 calories!) I’ve just founds healthier alternatives that are important to me. Also, I never feel like I am on a diet. Oh, and I NEVER miss breakfast. I always eat right when I wake up, which I swear by!
You are a young beautiful career woman. Is it difficult to get out the door each day and stay committed to your healthy goals?
Not at all! It’s so much easier to stay focused and healthy during the week, it’s the routine I go through 5 out of 7 days! The weekends are what throws me off. It goes back to prioritizing: of course work is a priority, but I have a list of priorities for ME, regardless or work. My gym bag, pre-work out snack, iPod, headphones and water bottle is always ready to go if I leave work at 4:30 or 7:30!
What does your support system look like, and do you think having one is important?
Definitely! My family and friends are the most important:) My family are all pretty active! My brother, sister and I all played sports growing up, so I can always count on them to say “YES” to a race, triathlon or physical activity! A lot of my girlfriends are health conscious too. We love to do Fly Wheel in Highland Park/Gold Coast together for a splurge of a workout, and one of my best friends from high school is always sending me links to new races to try. It’s fun to have experiences with friends that are mentally tough, like a Spartan Race or something new!
What are some of your favorite ways to be active?
Oh my gosh there’s so much! For average weekly workouts I love to do quick 30 minute treadmill intervals, HIIT classes, and hopefully the dog park on the weekends with our fabulous little golden retriever! For extra fun activities I love Fly Wheel Spin classes, which are out-of-this-world amazing, any type of 10k or 15k race, running downtown Chicago on the lake in the summer/fall, soccer and umm… shopping?! Ever since I started using a jawbone/pedometer I realized how fantastic shopping can be for your steps! You can literally walk so much in the shortest time!
What is your favorite healthy recipe?
Favorite Lunch or Dinner Salad- Spaghetti Squash Salad with cherry tomatoes, fat-free feta, fresh basil and a bit of olive oil and lemon juice.
I can’t be without my snacks though! My favorite home-made snack is any take on ice cream! I love to take a frozen banana blended in a food processor with cinnamon. Maybe put a fiber one brownie with it, or some dark chocolate chips and fat-free cool whip…YUMM!!
How do you stay good when you are out with friends?
I honestly don’t always! If I’ve been working out and eating healthy all week, I feel I can totally let loose for a night of a few drinks and order whatever I want on the menu. I just make sure when I wake up the next day, I am back to my healthy routines. I usually notice though, when I have been healthy all week, I actually crave health foods—so instead of going out and getting pizza and beer, I might get wine and sushi!. (And if you do order pizza and beer, don’t feel bad, that’s life!:)
Do you view your success as being holistic, and if so, what things other than diet and exercise have you embodied to stay well?
Totally! If I don’t have a healthy balance or work, friends, hobbies and family I won’t be as happy and won’t make good decisions! But not every day is great. Therefore, instead of looking forward to the future getting better, I try to make the present better and say It starts NOW, versus I’ll start tomorrow, or on Monday, or the 1st day of March! Now is always better!
Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions?
YES! Live an overall healthier life in mind, body, and soul. Exercising helps all three of those stay on track! I try to stay positive about everything and focus on my health, because if I don’t no one will!
What advice do you have for someone who is sitting where you once where?
Make a plan! A workout plan, an eating plan, and a splurging plan! Wait, that sounds so easy… I’m still trying to lose weight and be healthier, but it’s so important to be mindful of what’s going into your body and how much you are moving! Track your steps, food, and workouts for a few weeks until it starts to come naturally. Book your workouts into your calendar; literally! Then you will never forget. Personally, I used Weight Watchers to help straighten out my eating habits and that was a great program for me.
What an inspiring journey this young lady is on! Her joyful spirit is contagious, and I am honored that she opened up with us. May we all use a piece of this story to infect our own lives in a positive way! Thank you Morgan!
Your Trainer and Friend,
Cassie and Morgan