Today I welcome Kasandra to Real Into. She enjoys running and taking bootcamp style classes at her gym. She’s been in a magazine and on Shape.com. If you know anything about me you know I love magazines everything about them. Color me jealous. Of course, I’m sure being on Real Into is a game changer for Kasandra. LOL Thanks for sharing your story with us, Kasandra!
What got you motivated to move to a healthy lifestyle?
It pretty much began in the spring of 2010. I was 25, extremely overweight (let’s be real, obese) and I had difficulty even going up a flight of stairs without being short of breath. I worked for a law firm that helped people get disability benefits and I would read tons of medical records where people had a plethora of health issues due to being overweight and needing to file disability and it terrified me. I couldn’t let that happen to myself. So I got a nutritionist and a gym membership.
What types of positive changes have you seen as a result of living a healthy lifestyle?
I am much happier and confident. I used to have really low self-esteem and a lot of shame. I was really depressed (clinically, probably, looking back at it) and unhappy. Seeing what my body has been able to accomplish in such a short period of time is very powerful.
What was the biggest struggle when you started on this journey?
Food! It still is. Temptation lies around every corner and sometimes it was a struggle not to pass on the office donut. Food is hard because you need food to live. It’s just a matter of picking the right foods – and that’s not to say you can’t ever have a donut. Sometimes you got to ask yourself if you’re that hungry? Do you need it? Is this going to make me feel bad after? Chances are it’s not worth it.
Also maintenance – it’s not as easy as I imagined it would be.
Who has inspired you most on your healthy living journey?
Tara Costa from the Biggest Loser really inspired me with her dedication. I resonated a lot with her. Also other bloggers out there – some kick butt and take names while dealing with other issues, like cancer or MS. If they can do it, so can I.
What is your healthy living philosophy?
Treat your body the way you want to be treated. Be kind, be forgiving. Choose things that will make you feel good both inside and out. Take care (of yourself).
What has been your greatest accomplishment as related to fitness?
Running a marathon. I ran the Long Island marathon as my first marathon to prove to myself that I could after so many years of being unhealthy and being at a heavier weight. I then ran six months later, the NYC Marathon. Growing up, I lived along the course and when I was 5, I told myself, I want to do that one day. 24 years later, I did. It was hard and it took forever, but I did it.
What are you upcoming fitness goals?
To get back to my wedding weight, give or take 5lbs. Also to run a 5 hour marathon.
How has your food choices played a role in your lifestyle?
I used to think to be healthy, food had to be bland and gross. Not true at all. When I was a kid, I ate vegetables and fruit but then as I got older, I turned away. So when I started this journey, I rediscovered fruits and vegetables along with other foods I would have never considered before. I no longer crave junk food as much as I used to (I still have a sweet tooth though!).
Can you provide an example of what your meals might look like?
I go through meal phases… which will last for a bit and then change to something else. I get bored. Currently:
Breakfast: Purely Elizabeth Ancient Grains with almond milk and blueberries OR an Ezekiel tortilla with almond butter and a banana. And a cup of coffee with skim milk (or if it’s iced, then I take it black).
Snack: a Lara bar or a Gnu bar.** sometimes I don’t have a snack mid-day
Lunch: Quinoa with dried cranberries, grape tomatoes, feta, some spinach and an avocado.
Dinner: I have to cook for both my husband and myself, so I try to make things we both would be happy with. For example, if we make chicken parm, I will make regular pasta for him and I will have spaghetti squash in place. Or if I make a more traditional Puerto Rican dish, like rice and beans, he will have rice and I will have quinoa.
What does a typical day look like for you?
No day is typical, especially since my schedule is super crazy busy. But I’ll go to work, go to the gym at lunch for an hour, and go back to work. If I am training, like now I am, I’ll wake up early, go for a run, go to work, still hit the gym for another workout, and then go back to work.
What do you want to pass onto your children about living a healthy lifestyle?
Ignore social media and its brainwashing tendencies. A lot of children are now stating that they’re so fat, and they’re 8 and 9 year olds. They shouldn’t be preoccupied with being fat or skinny; they’re children. Also exercise does not have to be “boring” or a “chore.” Running, playing outdoors, swimming, it’s all exercise.
What are your three top tips for living a healthy life?
1. Do not go to the grocery store hungry – and shop the perimeter of the store for food.
2. Do not let the number on the scale dictate your day. I used to be so hung up on the number and let it ruin my day. It’s not worth it.
3. Fail to plan, plan to fail. Prep your meals for the week ahead so you’re less tempted to make poor food or meal choices. Want to work out in the morning but hate waking up early? Lay your clothes out the night before, so it’s right there first thing. Look at menus ahead before going out and make your choices then rather than getting to the restaurant and feeling super overwhelmed.
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- Now that the weather is finally getting nicer, will you be doing outdoor workouts?
- What is motivating you this Monday?
- Please leave comments, questions, and encouragement for Kasandra