The Very, Good, Beginning.

27 Nov

Hi everyone and welcome to my blog!

First time fishing in California, August 2012.

My name is Natasha and I’m a 22 year-old recent college graduate. After feeling inspired by several other bloggers, and fantastic women, I’ve decided to take the plunge and start my very own fitness and health blog “Look Good, Feel Good, For Good!”

Although many of my friends joked throughout college about my “rabbit food” habits and gave the “you would’s” to my enthusiasm about new healthy recipes or tough workouts, I didn’t start out this way.

Growing up I had a fear of trying foods. I’m not really sure where this came from, no traumatic incidents come to mind, but I was a stubborn kid who stuck to what she confidently knew she liked. This consisted of bananas, cottage cheese, Eggo waffles, applesauce, Kraft Mac N Cheese (NOT Annie’s), dinosaur chicken nuggets and spinach tortellini’s, my one colored delicacy. As you can see, I was what they call “a white food baby.” When it came to ice cream: vanilla. Every time. I did not like to venture outside of my comfort zone. Instead, my parents would line up everything I would eat on the counter and I would pick my meals based on which I wanted to combine this time. Sometimes it was healthy, sometimes…not so much. However, my parents never pressured me to change my habits or choices. Instead, they always encouraged me to choose. They gave me the power to decide what I wanted to eat, I think that was key to how I ended up being the way I am today. Sure, the occasional push for peas or corn took place, but my Dad quickly learned his lesson when I staged this dramatic gagging incident to try and avoid finishing my corn. Natasha 1, Corn 0.

Throughout elementary school, I began to develop “the belly.” I was always an active kid – dance, swimming, basketball and soccer, but my eating habits were still mainly consisting of white foods. I began packing my own lunch in the 3rd grade, and since it was my choice I rarely choose fruits or vegetables as staples to my brown bag diet. I remember having wheat bread, “brown bread” I called it, but other than that it’s all a blur of my favorite school lunches and more white foods. Although I was active, I wasn’t putting the right balance of foods in my body.

The summer before sixth grade my family took a trip to France. In the morning, our hotel served us breakfast and each morning my brother and I tore through the 3 croissants they brought to the table. By the 3rd day of our vacation, the waiter would bring me my very own basket of 5 croissants – and I would eat them all!

I didn’t start even attempting new foods until sophomore year of high school. I had my first bite of lettuce and a hamburger, until then it was only hot dogs. Then came a boyfriend junior year of high school and with him I felt comfortable trying some new things, specifically chocolate ice cream. However, this new shift didn’t exactly balance out to health quite yet. I loved routine and ate the exact same thing for lunch every single day of high school. I was a more intense athlete now with swim practices totaling up to 3 miles. I knew what worked and I stuck to it. Bagels, almonds and raisins, crackers and cheese and apple and peanut butter. Pasta parties were full of carbo loading and dessert diving, but I had finally started to thin out. I weighed under 110 lbs and had some level of core and upper body strength.

College was when I really started to try new foods. My roommates were astounded at my lack of bravery and experiences and were constantly having me try things. This was a great way for me to start exploring with my body and my relationship with food. I found out – it was a very on or off thing for me. The summer before I was working out on a strict regimin and found myself eating very routinely. I cried 3 days before leaving for college over not being able to have my Kashi Go Lean waffles in my freezer.

Throughout college I fluctuated. I became very thin the summer before my sophomore year of college, but throughout the next couple years I was all over the place with my eating, my mindset and my body. The summer before my senior year was the worst – I was having intense stomach and intestinal issues, was on and off the BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) diet, and couldn’t exercise due to total lack of energy. Once this issue finally seemed to stable out I had gained almost 10 lbs, felt bloated and out of touch with my own body.

Senior year I really began to take my health more seriously. I was in a new relationship, but was in an entirely new place in my life. I had to prepare for the next year that had no plan, no one to give me one, and no idea where to start. I first turned to my boyfriend for fitness. Kevin’s a varsity athlete at the college we went to together and had a wealth of knowledge on weights – something I was always way too intimidated to try alone. Kevin began to write me workouts, many of which I still have. Before I went to the gym on my own, Kevin introduced me to everything and gave me little tutorials. When I would swing by his apartment to pick up my workouts, he would show me each move, go over it in detail, tell me how many reps of each exercise to complete, and even drew stick figures on my workout sheet so I had something to refer to once I got there.

I’ve gotta be honest, these workouts really changed the way I looked at fitness for myself. I began to want power, instead of a lean body, strength, instead of a flat stomach, and knowledge of how to use all these muscle groups I had ignored for the majority of my life thus far. These workouts even replaced my training for my very first road race due to an IT band injury – as a result of overworking my legs and not using my butt. Needless to say, on April 1st, 2012 I ran in the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Race with Kevin in 1 hour and 28 minutes!

Since then, I’ve completed a half marathon and, most recently, a 10k Turkey Trot. But I don’t want these races to just be something I train for, work towards, then achieve. Instead, I want to be constantly working towards being strong, always achieving new milestones, and learning how to make all of this a permanent part of my life. That is why I am creating the blog. I want to make my health and fitness one of the biggest priorities in my life, something I will always be working towards.

The idea of “look good, feel good” is something my friends around me began telling me at the start of my Senior Year. My biggest struggle was not feeling at home in my own skin. My body simply didn’t feel like it belonged to me. I felt disconnected from my soul, from my mind. The person I felt I was simply did not seem to be the one I was looking at in pictures or the mirror. It was extremely difficult for me to feel good about myself when I couldn’t feel connected to what I was seeing. I began to start to think about small steps I could take to begin to close the gap between my mind and my body – eating only when I was hungry, being able to appreciate each meal, building in time to push my body physically, balancing out each meal. Slowly but surely, I began to feel the best I had ever felt. I finally felt the work I was putting into myself  was paying off. So many friends began complimenting me – how great I looked, how thin I looked, but the best comment I got was from my friend Ryan. “I was going to say you look thinner, but you look really healthy.” Bullseye.

As I continue to make that feeling a constant state of being, there are still many other aspects of my life I will be working on: where I want to move next year, where I want to go to grad school, what kind of job I want to have, and when will I retake the GRE? I may not have everything figured out right now, but this is a journey. This blog is something I am confident that I want and am ready for. However, that doesn’t mean I know everything, I’m always open to comments, questions, suggestions or advice so please feel free to email me, tweet me, or leave a comment!

Thank you so much for reading and going on this adventure with me.

Until next time,

Natasha

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