When Natalie asked me to write a guest blog on wellness, I had so many different ideas. Wellness is a quite broad topic. I figured I would start at the beginning of my journey and share some of the ways I became involved in the wellness space.
I didn’t used to be interested in fitness and wellness. I really struggled growing up. I began spirling into an eating disorder around age 10, which lasted until the end of high school. Since I didn’t feel healthy or have healthy thoughts, I really wasn’t interested in wellness practice. As I healed from my eating disorder, I went on the opposite end of the spectrum – never working out and eating pints of ice cream daily.
That began to shift my sophomore year of college. I decided I had enough of feeling bad about myself and feeling unhealthy. I started learning about nutrition – not just calories and macros, but the agricultural system and food system in the United States, as well as fair trade and the impact of food on cultures. As my thoughts around food began to change, I started opening my mind more to all that encompassed health. The summer of my sophomore year I was eating healthier, feeling better and decided to start running. Let me emphasize how much I used to despise running. Why I decided to choose that as the start of my fitness journey, I will never know. So I started running. I was interning in New York and I walked 20 minutes to the train station, ran countless stairs in subway stations, walked 20 mins home at the end of the day and then went on a run.
I’m not going to lie – I started toning up and feeling a lot better about myself. That motivated me to keep going. Once the summer ended, I decided to keep my new fitness kick up. My university gym was free to students but I bought a semester class pack so I could do barre, cycle, yoga, etc. I had never tried these classes before but I figured it was a good place to start. I fell in love. With all of them. I did barre, yoga, cycle, HITT and Zumba weekly. Eventually, I became close friends with one of the instructors and she would workout with me outside of classes. She taught me HITT, weight training and more. We even did stadium stair runs (rip my legs). She taught me so much and through her I began to understand that health isn’t just working out. She ate well, she got enough sleep, she focused on the positive, she stretched daily, etc.
I’ve now been in a consistent fitness routine for over five years. It’s changed every few months, whether that has meant a focus on weight training, BBG, running, etc. but working out is a part of my life. I typically workout about 5-7 days a week, naturally. It’s one of my passions. Slowly through the years I’ve adopted new ways of eating, picked up meditation practices, explored yoga, took up crystals, found my faith, and more. I’ve created not only a fitness routine, but an entire wellness routine. I feel healthy, happy, strong and confident. And you can too.
From my story I wanted to share the X ways I began my fitness/wellness journey.
Educate yourself on nutrition, fitness, wellness practices and more. Do not just look at one person’s Instagram and take their word for the bible. Do your own research across multiple sources to find what works for you. Health is not a one size all approach. You need to find what works for you.
- Just start
It’s the hardest thing but if you want to run, download the Couch to 5K app, lace up your shoes and just go. If you want to go to the gym, just go, play around and try new things. Take a class. Throw out the junk, buy veggies. Drink water. It really is that simple.
- Start slow
Don’t rush into all things wellness all of a sudden. If you noticed, I stated “over the years” when I discussed my story. I didn’t start with meditation and crystals and kale and sit ups. I could barely lift 5 pounds. I hated raw veggies. It started with slowing running, then I explored more workouts and eventually started writing my own plans. It’s been a five year journey and it’s still going.
- Learn the basics
Unpopular opinion apparently, BUT you should not start out doing single leg burpees. Your first workouts should focus on mastering the basics – think squats, lunges, crunches, push ups. Once you master these movements, you can build on them. You shouldn’t dive into jump squats without knowing proper squat form. Form is key!
Full circle to my first point, but once you’ve got the basics down and an open mindset, explore a little. Try new workouts. Try new foods. Try new eating styles (intermittent fasting, vegan, etc.). Find what works for YOU! Have fun with health. That’s the only way you will stick with it.
I hope my story helps show you that it is possible to change your life around. It is possible to create happiness. It is possible to be healthy. It takes an open mind, determination and a can-do attitude but IT IS POSSIBLE.
I’m open to any and all questions on my journey, fitness tips, etc. Find me on Instagram @camiliketanktop or find me at www.camilikeatanktop.com
Thanks Natalie for inviting me to write this!