Fit for Life Bonus: Personal Fitness Stories

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Personal Fitness Stories

Erica’s Story

(Visit Erica’s entertaining blog about motherhood!)

How I Stay Fit 

I’m thirty-nine, the mother of twin two-year-old daughters and a four-year-old son. Often when people see me out and about with my kids, they say, jokingly, “Now I see how you stay so skinny!” And, certainly, being a full-time mom to three young kids does keep me on my toes. It also means I snack more and eat fewer– and faster– sit-down meals. But I think the real reason for my general fitness is my commitment to exercise. I run for fifty or sixty minutes twice a week, work out at the gym twice a week, and bike or swim when I can. I never deprive myself of meals or snacks if I’m hungry, but I am careful with portion size at meal time. I also don’t eat meat or drink soda or eat junk food, and I try to stick to whole grains whenever I can. I limit myself to one or two drinks a week, occasionally three. I do have a sweet tooth, but I try to indulge it sparingly. When the kids and my husband eat ice-cream cones after dinner, I’ll have a small piece of dark chocolate. My big indulgence is a bowl or two of bran flakes (with raisins) and skim milk in the late evening before bed. 

I’ve been active and slim for most of my life,  although when I lived in Italy for a year and a half, I did get rather chubby. After all, I was eating cookies for breakfast and pasta for lunch and dinner. I was also treating myself to gelato twice a day. I was running then, too, but obviously not enough to counter all those extra calories. When I came back to the United States I lost the weight gradually, just by returning to my pre-Italy eating habits.  


Margie’s Story

I exercise on a daily basis, taking one day “off” per week. In the last couple of years I started running 3-5 miles and do 20-30 min of yoga. That is a large decrease in the distance I ran in my younger days but the addition of yoga has given me a sense of centered-ness and better connection to my body.
My basic eating rules are:
eat when hungry,
stop eating when full,
eat as close to nature as I can (not so many processed foods)
don’t eat late in the day (after 6pm)
I personally don’t eat meat.
I don’t always go by these guidelines but they are the basis of my way of life. I try not to be dogmatic about these things and as they are more the norm I think they keep me in a good state of health.
I am 58 years old and I have never been really overweight, but as a younger person I was always wanting to lose weight. Once I took the focus off of what I was eating and how much I weighed, my body seemed to stabilize at a lower weight.

Michelle’s Story

It is easy to sum up my “fitness plan” because it is a daily thing.  Here are the healthy lifestyle behaviors that I try to mostly adhere to:

  • I exercise at least 6 days a week -30-60 min per day- get heart rate up, take it up a notch occasionally.
  • Plus I try to do little things like always take the stairs, park far away, garden after work, walk to the mailbox, etc
  • I try to eat small portions (eat off a salad plate at dinner)
  • I try to eat 5-6 times a day (small) I generally do not eat after dinner, and when I do, it’s usually popcorn.
  • I always try to keep it balanced: protein with a healthy carb ex: low fat cheese stick with an orange/apple for morning or afternoon snack
  • I try to eat vegetables as much as I can; for  ex: I add spinach to almost anything
  • I eat healthy fats: olive oil, nuts, etc
  • I shop the outskirts of the grocery store (produce, deli, fish/meats, dairy, wine :)) and try to avoid the aisles
  • I try to think about buying local as much as possible (for global fitness)
  • I avoid any sort of sweetened drink (juice, sport drinks, soda)
  • I try to limit my red wine to 6 oz a day 🙂
  • I try to avoid the “great white hazards” : rice, potatoes, white flour products, processed foods,etc
  • I weigh myself about once a week -helps me keep tabs on my weight

Demographics: 53, female.  Have been about 15-18 pounds over ideal weight in past (many yrs ago) but last few decades, I’ve been pretty diligent about living healthy.  It’s a lifestyle.  But I do splurge, just try to keep it in moderation.

Neighbor’s Story

We have a neighbor who’s in her late 60’s.  She’s about 5′ 3″ and weighs 125 pounds.  She maintains her weight using Weight Watcher’s point system.  She used to exercise a fair amount (only cardio–treadmill, elliptical and stationary bike), but she hurt her back a year ago and has largely stopped exercise other than her back exercises and very minimal walking.  I know that she goes long stretches without eating.  And while she is very disciplined as far as eating too much junk, she does dine out a lot and eats rich, restaurant food and drinks a lot of wine. So yet another way that works for someone!