Active Lifestyle: Turning the corner on health

Hayley Blackburn

**Cue that narrator voice in your head** Previously in Hayley’s life…I was active in high school, but then I was really unhealthy in college. After reaching 184 pounds, I started embracing an active lifestyle, and now I have lost over 50 pounds. Health is awesome.

Now that you are caught up from last week, let’s talk about the healthy side of life. After a few months of Weight Watchers, I decided that I needed to switch strategies. For as much as I applaud the program, it simply is not designed for college students. I needed something that placed me among my peers; I needed to be with other students who deal with the same dieting problems as myself. 160 pounds.

Luckily for me, I had an amazing roommate ready to help me out. Together we ran (very slowly at first, and only for a mile or two), ate (learning to cook and appreciate simple vegetable dinners and chicken) and shopped for new shoes (because.. obviously). We both agreed to avoid junk food in the house. When I went to the gym, she would get dressed to come along. When she celebrated a success, I felt even more inspired to keep going. Together we made progress. 150 pounds.

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When she moved out after graduation, I still had 20 pounds to lose before I met my goal. I feared regressing without my workout buddy. How would I do this on my own? Enter the most handsome, brown-eyed boy I had ever seen my life.

He was strapping. He was fit. He was a Hulk type gym bro. For some reason, probably my winning personality, he wanted to be my boyfriend (and then my husband).

We become the fit couple, which was a true turning point for me. He showed me the importance of tracking my meals and lifting weights. I showed him how to loosen up a little because balance is the key. In the past year and a half, I lost the remaining 20 pounds, plus change, and found my true passion in life. Living an active lifestyle is an amazing challenge. 130 pounds.

Challenge. Honestly, that’s a huge piece of an active lifestyle. I challenge myself in the gym because, some days, I don’t want to go. I challenge myself in the kitchen because eating unhealthy food is tempting. I challenge myself to become leaner and more toned even when I have passed my previously set goals. I love to challenge myself because that equates to progress.

Challenge can be a scary thing, but don’t be intimidated. If I can live an active life, so can you. I started with the small steps: walking instead of driving to campus once a week, spending an extra 10 minutes running, throwing away the chips in my cabinet. As I began overcoming these small challenges, I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Setting a challenge and beating it feels good. Setting a bigger challenge and beating that feels EVEN BETTER! This is how an active lifestyle begins: setting a small challenge and then conquering it. To get you started, I will set a challenge every week. Tweet at me when you accomplish it, and I will be your workout buddy to help you on your way. We can create the community that I’ve missed for so long.

This weekend, I challenge you to go outside and walk two miles. It should take half an hour yet will burn 150-200 calories. Happy walking.

To Love Oneself
While peering at the sunrise from Horsetooth Rock, I began a lifelong romance. (Hayley Blackburn | Collegian)

Collegian writer Hayley Blackburn can be reached at blogs@collegian.com or on Twitter @hayley_blckbrn. Leave a comment!