A Podcast Companion Blog
Every other week, FITREC releases a podcast that’s intended to bring you the best resources, information, and tools to keep you on your fitness journey. This past week, we kicked off our first in many features in the Spotlight Series. The Spotlight Series aims to bring you the industry’s very best personalities, so that you might take your fitness and health to the next level. This week, we bring to you one of FITREC’s very own, Laura Choy.
GETTING TO KNOW LAURA
Laura isn’t just your average fitness enthusiast. Not only is she a wife, a mother, a women’s health advocate, she is a certified health & fitness trainer, as well as, FITREC’s Events Coordinator. She is the one who is responsible for bringing the very best race and fitness events to a location near you! She is currently working very hard to put together a compelling event calendar for 2019. So, stay tuned!
But before she became FITREC’s master coordinator, Laura grew up in rural Pennsylvania. When it comes to healthy habits, it was something that she learned early on. Her mother is a diabetic, so their household grew up limiting the amount of sugar was present in foods. They were a big gardening household, securing fresh fruits, vegetables, and other produce from their own hard work. Lean proteins were a staple of their diet, again, securing it on their own. Believe it or not, Laura and her family are hunters. Other integral aspects of their diet was the inclusion of whole grains, particularly in any breads found in their meals.
Her healthy habits also included a very active lifestyle. Their family was always out and about, having a healthy appreciation for the wonders of nature. Even still, Laura’s personal journey into taking her health and fitness seriously began when she started having children.
After having her first three boys, she continued with the healthy eating habits she had learned growing up. At this time, she also explored the arena of fitness, establishing a consistent exercise routine. She began running regularly, even if it wasn’t initially enjoyable. However, it wasn’t until she had their daughter, some seven years later, that she realized she wasn’t going to “bounce back” like she had with her previous pregnancies.
During that time, she struggled, particularly with cravings and having self-control with her eating. The things she had done in the past did not seem to have great effect this time. She knew that she needed to take a step into new territory and learn what it meant to eat healthy and exercise with intention. She knew that she needed to do something different to get somewhere and to get somewhere on purpose, instead of just going through the motions of exercise and not making any gains.
The Power of Authenticity
So, Laura began her fitness journey. But she didn’t do it alone. She documented her journey on social media. She put it all out there. She made no bones about where she started, where she was, the highs, or the lows. Along the way, she brought others along with her, conveying empathy for those out there that thought their health and fitness journeys couldn’t possibly begin. As she encouraged herself, she encouraged others, without setting unrealistic expectations. For Laura, there was power in being “real,” of being truly authentic, as she advocated for fitter and healthier lifestyles.
In impressing the value of authenticity, she discovered a resource and rhythm that worked for her. Although it was not without struggle or imperfection, she learned (and encourages) that fitness is not about the destination, but the journey. “Completing a class or program is great! Getting to your desired weight/size is great! But what then?” Laura asks. Does our fitness journey end when we reach a particular size or weight? In order to have a sustainable, healthier lifestyle, Laura gives us the following key aspects:
Establish Your “Why”?
Goals are great. However, goals tend to have endpoints. Endpoints are not a sustainable practice for something that ought to be a lifestyle. For example, let’s say you want to lose weight; you’re 250 lbs. You set a goal of reaching 190 lbs, for a net loss of 60 lbs. You’re super disciplined, and get down to that weight quickly. Now what? This is why trainer and YouTube personality, Jeff Cavaliere, says, “I don’t like diets. You get on a diet because you inevitably get off a diet.” Hence the term, “yo-yo dieting.” Sometimes, setting and hitting a goal can create a false sense of accomplishment that gives you permission to go back to an unhealthy lifestyle. Establishing your “why” is intended to create a more sustainable goal. For example, “I want to lose weight and get healthier so that I can keep up with my children.” Or, “I want to lose weight and get healthier so that I can create a good example for folks I often encourage.”
Have a Plan and Process for Reaching Your Goal
You cannot leave results up to random chance. Remember that habits — good or bad — are established by discipline. You’re either disciplined in creating bad habits — e.g. when you’re hungry, you reach for the Twinkee. Or, you’re disciplined in creating good habits — e.g. when you’re hungry, you reach for a nutritious apple. Whether you utilize a resource FITREC provides, search the web, or, even better, consult a health and fitness professional, a uniquely tailored plan can help you stay on track with your health and fitness journey.
It’s not just the FITREC slogan. Consider any challenge in life. It is often easier to get through life’s challenges when we’re doing it together with others. Surround yourself with support and encouragement. Encouragement is going to get you through the days when you don’t want to do it. Support will keep you going when you’re killing it!
Consider Your Impact on Those Around You
Laura found it immediately advantageous to pursue her fitness journey as her daughter began emulating her during her workouts. It is more likely that your fitness journey becomes a lifestyle if your health gains aim to include the impact on those around you.
HEALTHY LIFESTYLES: EATING
A month ago, we did a podcast talking about diets and dieting. The question we posed was, “Are diets a fad or a fact of life?” We arrived at the notion that what we really mean by “dieting” is adopting a healthier lifestyle of eating. It isn’t even sufficient to just look at foods from the standpoint of calories, because not all calories are made equal. Three-hundred calories from 12 greasy potato chips isn’t as good as 300 calories from a few ounces of good protein, fruits and veggies, and some whole-grain source of carbohydrates. In that episode, we mentioned that Laura believes in this truth: “Treat food as fuel.”
Here’s what she said about that:
“Yes, I am really passionate about this because I see so many women struggle when it comes to eating. There are so many diets out there. For a lot of them the focus is primarily on how to lose weight. Often these diets include extreme changes in eating to lose weight quickly. While these diets may have their place, unfortunately, it usually doesn’t end in a sustainable healthy lifestyle. Our bodies are so much more than a number on the scale. The scale doesn’t tell us how healthy we are. The number on the scale doesn’t determine our heart health or our energy level or how well our body is functioning overall.
Our bodies need all different nutrients to function optimally. In order to get that diversity in nutrients we need a balanced way of eating. A way that is sustainable for life. This is somewhat of a mindset shift. Instead of just eating for pleasure or satisfying cravings, we view food in light of what it is going to do for our body!! Unfortunately a lot of the processed foods that we generally eat are designed to satisfy our taste buds but leave us wanting when it comes to giving our bodies the proper nutrients and energy we need. You can see the downward spiral in this.
The good news is we can retrain our minds and our taste buds to find true satisfaction in real food. Fueling your body contains several components:
- Balanced intake of macronutrients (carbs, lean proteins, healthy fats)
- Portion control
- Eating throughout the day
- Cutting out the sugar and cutting out processed food and find a replacement”
Beginning your nutrition journey is just as simple as your fitness journey. Laura says, “Start with your why!” Having a more meaningful goal other than size or weight will help you sustain a healthier lifestyle of eating. Create simple steps towards achieving those goals, using each step as a milestone. Enjoy reaching the short-term milestones, and celebrate those long-term milestone achievements. And here are some simple practical steps from Laura herself:
- Drink more water. An easy rule of thumb is drink half your body weight in ounces. So, if you weigh 200 lbs, drink 100 ounces of water a day! That’s just about 12 cups, everyone!
- Meal plan and prep. Guard against overeating but also succumbing to the temptation to go out for fast food when you don’t have time to cook! Meal planning and prep work will take the guesswork out what’s for dinner!
- Replace refined sugar. Skip the donuts and pastries and replace them with fruits, yogurt, or a healthy smoothie.
- Mix it up. Try a new recipe this week. Nothing will derail us faster than the same old, same old.
WOMEN’S HEALTH AND ADVOCACY
Lastly, we talked to Laura about her passion for women’s health and advocacy. Her desire to see women adopt healthier lifestyles was borne out her own personal journey. As Laura discovered what worked for her, she felt compelled to share it with others in the hopes that they might benefit or even join her in the journey! She began to realize how many women live lives held back by their own insecurities about how they look and how they feel. While she believes that emotional and spiritual health are vital for an overall healthy life, exercising and eating healthy is a basic place to start to begin gaining confidence and energy. She absolutely loves to help other women discover this for themselves.
And when it comes to women, it is especially moms that are on her heart. Moms have a tendency to give so much of themselves to others and sometimes neglect taking care of themselves. There is an energy and overall confidence that can be had when women start to embrace living a healthy lifestyle. When we take the time to invest in ourselves, we can show up, unhindered, to invest in others.
If you are interested in getting in contact with Laura to join her in her fitness journey, you can find her on Instagram at: @laurachoy