Tell us a little bit about yourself and how your health & fitness journey began…
I grew up eating sugary breakfast cereals and the like. I had a poor diet and as a result of being guided by my taste buds, I had poor health and felt groggy. In high school, I fatigued in sports practices and in my after school job. It wasn’t until 11th grade when I started learning how certain foods affected my body. Many biology and chemistry classes and a Bachelor’s Degree later, I am a 2nd year Naturopathic Medical Student in Seattle pursuing my passion for vibrant health—inside and out!
|I learned to really love and appreciate myself as an internally strong, fit women!
I knew I wanted to pursue medicine when I saw the incredible benefits in my own life in improving on my Determinants of Health, a concept in natural medicine. I revamped my diet in late high school and into college, eating more greens and vegetables as well as lean protein. Craving an active life to get out of my ‘studious mind’, I began running high intensity interval training (HIIT) and lifting weights with my brother. I started to fuel myself well—mentally and physically.
I learned to really love and appreciate myself as an internally strong, fit women and I lived a more empowered life as a result.
What is your training philosophy and how do you like to move your body?
My training philosophy is: Athletes eat and train, they don’t diet and exercise. Refer to your workouts as “It’s time to train” and your meals as it’s time to fuel myself” and it’s full of intent, reward and appreciation for self. This mindset allows meals to be a fill up, fuel up time instead of a deprivation time. Also, motivate the mind, the body will follow.
One current motivation is become increasingly more flexible. I have the speed and weights incorporated into my schedule, but more frequent Yoga and other stretches would be a good calm balance to intense workouts.
|My goal for the next year is to do the splits (I’m close) and learn to do a handstand.
What are your beliefs about nutrition? Can you give us an example of what your daily diet might looks like?
I can sum it up in 4 letters, 4 words: JERF. Just Eat Real Food. Consume as much lean protein, healthy fats and vegetables as you need to feel satiated and energized.
|Eat unlimited amounts of vegetables. Stuff your face. Really.
And you will not gain weight. Why? Because your body knows how to process it. The fiber fills you up. It’s nutrition dense. But you can eat a donut here, a peanut butter cup and over time…weight gain. Why? Because it’s processed and poor in nutrients, calorie dense that your body freaks out and stores it! For me, it’s been eating real food in small meals throughout the day keeps me energized and helps to keep ‘hanger’ at bay.
Also tune in when you eat. So often we tune out. Awareness and mindfulness, big buzzwords in the nutrition world, are essential because eating while feeling stressed out can be harmful for your health! It can cause malabsorption and actually cause you to NOT get the full benefit of the food you are eating. It can decrease enzyme secretion and cause other issues. Being mindful (fully there, aware) for each time food is consumed is vital to overall health!
How do you stay focused, disciplined and committed to your healthy & empowering lifestyle?
I know that if I don’t spend time caring for my body by exercising, cooking good meals, and mindset time that I experience lower effectiveness in my daily life.
|It’s not about how I can fill my day, but how does my day fill me?
If I’m spiritually not cared for or physically not cared for, the vigor and effectiveness of my day is lower. i.e. I’m not as motivated. Caring for myself keeps me at the top of my game, in peak state! It keeps me revitalized to offer myself powerfully to the world on a daily basis, which allows a deep sense of satisfaction. Self-care is one the most underused and unappreciated sources of rocket fuel.
What is your biggest achievement when it comes to mind-body health so far?
I survived year 1 of medical school with no ailments, sickness or adrenal issues or emotional trauma! It was an intensely stressful year, but making deliberate choices to move and eat to fuel myself appropriately through it was a huge contributor to my success and never having to remediate a class.
I also had to learn to care what the right people think in my life. And learning to let go of what the greater whole of the world may think. After all, when my head goes to the pillow at night, I have to be the one completely satisfied with how I’m living my life. There are 7 billion people in this world.
|Stand on what you believe so strongly and don’t let naysayers bring you down. Easier said than done. But it brings such freedom!
What are your current and future health & fitness related goals and projects?
Currently I’m building a blog and platform called Thrive + Well which speaks to busy students and young professionals who are putting their health in jeopardy for the sake of their achievement (that was me!). I didn’t know how to deal with stress when I first moved away from home, moved across the country alone and entered medical school, so I want to create resources and a platform I wished was there for me when I was going through the struggle. I want to revolutionize the way stress is dealt with.
|Stress can turn on and off different genes in your body—those for disease or those for longevity.
In the future, I have a vision to write a book about how I’ve both struggled and succeeded through stress in my own life. Stress can turn on and off different genes in your body—those for disease or those for longevity. Even living in a state of internal fear can have profound effects on us—affecting our energy levels and our emotional experience to other human beings. Learning to offset and process mental-emotional stress is one of the most impactful skills I’ve gained in my lifetime. They don’t teach those tactics in school! But, it’s so essential to make choices for the benefit of your long-term health.
What advice would you give to people who are struggling in staying committed and reaching their health & fitness goals?
Tune into your calling or mission in life–it doesn’t even have to be based in your career path, per say. Do you want to be a voice to children experiencing obesity or speak to young woman who hate their bodies? Recognize how taking care of your body by taking time to cook and workout really does play into your overall mission. If not for the sake of being a good example to others, then for your own energy levels to improve so that you can devote effective time to your life’s passion.
|By taking care of you, you can better serve others!
Also connect what you eat, how you sleep and how active you are as a way to positively or negatively affect others. Your energy and emotional availability can be such a gift, and when your body is confident and you are soulfully strong, you can better offer that to others. By taking care of you, you can better serve others. Allow this mindset to fuel you! Start stewarding your time accordingly.
What are your top 2 favorite exercises?
- I love doing Les Mils pump classes. I can feel the burn. The burn equals fatigue, the fatigue creates the change!
- I get such a rush and feel so powerful running HIIT (interval training). It also has produced excellent results for changing my body composition.
What’s your all-time favorite food?
Avocados! So creamy and delicious. They add flavor and fullness to meals or can be eaten for a quick snack. How cool would it be to have an avocado tree in a backyard someday! It’s a #dreamplan.
Can you give us 3 Fun Facts about yourself?
- I moved to Seattle, Washington at 21 years old, having never been to my medical school or knowing a soul here. Bold move?!
- Jesus is my homie.
- I once competed as a vocalist in the Minnesota State Fair talent competition.
Stay tuned for next week’s Food & Nutrition post by Amber Krogsrud!
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