What I do to stay in shape - living a healthy lifestyle

Recently I got a question asking me what I do to stay in shape. Here's my answer - I will start by stating some easy rules that I have regarding health/weight.

**Note: I'm basing all of this on my experience and acquired knowledge.
  1. I don't believe in diets and I have never been on a diet.
  2. Knowing your healthy weight is important and essential. Note- I'm not saying follow your BMI. This is especially important for women of color as we naturally have body shapes that will tell us we are "obese" by BMI standings.
  3. Staying in shape is really about living a balanced, healthy lifestyle.
Facts about me:
I'm 5'7", shoe size 9, slim bottom half, busty top, and a healthy weight for me is between 135-140 pounds. I currently wear a size 6 in the waist and a M/8/10 in tops and dresses. I currently weigh 140 pounds. I was 160 pounds in college in 2004. Therefore I have to work to maintain my healthy weight - I'm not the type of person who can do nothing and maintain my weight.

My healthy lifestyle journey:
When I turned 23 in August of 2009, I recognized that I did not live a balanced lifestyle. Before August, I ate whatever I wanted and worked out once/month. I decided that I wanted to make a change. I started off slowly by signing up to run an 8K (5 miles), this led me to run once a week. After the run, I joined a local basketball league and that was my workout. I had made some changes, but I still wasn't fully committed to being healthy. In March 2010 I fully committed myself to changing my lifestyle. I started by eliminating meat from my diet. Additionally, I kicked my work out schedule into high gear during the summer of 2010.

What I do:
I am very conscious of what I eat. I stay away from fried foods and I eat balanced meals. I don't drink soda or juice. I will splurge and break these "rules" every now and then. However, I don't eat these things regularly. I eat these types of foods 1-2 times/month. SN: I have a sweet tooth, and I do normally eat dessert 3-4 days/week. It's something I can't shake. Dessert = one Snickerdoodle cookie from Whole Foods.

I eat 3 meals a day, and have 1-2 snacks most days. I NEVER start my day without breakfast. Breakfast = peanut butter oatmeal with raisins & brown sugar or cereal or a waffle with honey and applesauce or cinnamon raisin toast with greek yogurt and an apple. My lunch varies, since I work in sales, I do a lot of entertaining for lunch. Thus, I have to be very conscious of what I choose to eat because my healthy options are limited. Snacks = hummus & celery or an apple. I post my dinners on the blog, I make a variety of meals including pastas, soups  and veggie cakes. I take one daily multivatimin.

I stay active. Throughout the summer and fall, I ran outdoors. I would run 3 miles - 3 days/week at a pace of about 9.30 min/mile. Total week workout time = 90 minutes and I would SWEAT! LOL Since it's gotten colder and the sun sets at 5, I joined a gym for the winter months. I don't have a set schedule, but I plan on giving my knees a break. I will focus on Arc Trainer machines for cardio and introduce some weight lifting into my regimen. I also still play basketball once/week in the local league.

Finally, I have an active lifestyle. I live in Philadelphia and I ride my bike or walk to most places in the city.

So, that's it! What do you do? Are you proud of your lifestyle? Do you have plans to make any changes any time soon?


  1. I applaud your efforts and your choices! You are really doing it up!!! Hello, I'm Libby. I'm 34. I used to walk. I used to jog. I used to belong to a gym. Do I need to make lifestyle changes. Y-E-S!!! Have I found what works for me and my schedule. N-O, but I'm open for suggestions. :-)

  2. LOL, Libby you're hilarious. The change starts with you, admitting a need for a change is a big step. Next I would try refining an area you think is reasonable. It may be diet, or exercise. Whichever it is, make sure it's easy and works with your schedule. Start off small and eventually it will blossom to something bigger!

    Maybe it's that you join a gym, or a local sports team. Or maybe it's that you add one raw veggie to your dinner every week. There's lots of options - do what's best for you!

  3. I'm glad JC gave you a shout out. I definitely need a lifestyle change but don't know where to begin. I buy videos, and I go to the gym (that my lovely tuition pays for during school times), but all of it eventually stops. My theory is that I get bored easily and can't do things for long by myself, but I also will feel uncomfortable joining a class with other people. Tons of excuses I know. Good thing is, I drink water the majority of the time now, and DB wants me to jog with him when the weather gets nicer out. One small step at a time. O.o

    I will definitely be peeping your blog when I get an apt with a stove though! I love to try new things.

  4. @ Treece - Getting started is always one of the hardest things to do. Start off with whatever will be easiest for you. For example - I've never been a gym person, so I knew if I started by joining a gym, that wouldn't work. LOL. I do however LOVE to run outside, which is why I really kicked things into high gear during the summer.

    Your water intake is a great start! Perhaps you can move from there and jog with DB once a week. Or, did you ever play sports? That's also a great start - see if you can find an intramural team to play with. This also worked for me! GL & thanks for stopping by!