Hello readers ! Welcome to a new series I am starting : Real life, real people. It will feature people I know, who have inspired me over the years with their healthy life styles. There are so many amazing people in our world, each with their own history and story. I have asked them all the same questions, around general fitness and food, and how their lifestyle has evolved.
THANK YOU to these fantastic women for being honest, putting themselves out there, and telling their stories. I hope they can inspire you too !
Let me introduce you to Peggy, age 52, who lives in Maine.
What is your motivation / what inspires you to lead a healthy life ?
Seeing what close friends & family members have gone through while they face serious health challenges such as cancer and dementia has changed my life. I recently began eating a plant-based diet – and am loving it – and also trying to do those things in my life that I really want to do, such as travel to new places and doing things on my own terms.
What is the ONE change that has made the most difference in keeping up with a healthy lifestyle ?
A friend brought me to a yoga class 17 years ago and I’ve been doing yoga ever since. It keeps me limber, centered and present. It also strengthens the body’s core and keeps you ready to participate in any other sports or activities. And it also helps me in my career as far as dealing with stress, breathing when I am uptight, and staying centered.
What is an obstacle you have overcome in your healthy lifestyle and how ?
One of my biggest health obstacles occurred over 10 years ago, when I woke up one day with stiff neck and within 2 days lost the use of my left arm. A mountain biking neck injury that happened 5 years previously, had caused a disc in my neck to completely disintegrate over time and required immediate surgery to fuse two discs in my spine or I risked losing the use of my arm due to nerve damage.
I was afraid I would never be able to bike or ski or do the active sports that I love, however I was also completely determined to heal myself. With the help of a dedicated physical therapist named Ryan, I spent six months regaining my strength after the operation and today – many years later, I can do any sport I used to do and have great mobility in my neck.
Yoga has kept my neck and body limber. When I go a few weeks without it, my neck starts to bother me. I do yoga classes twice a week.
When did you start exercising / How long have you exercised ? Why did you start ?
I’ve been an active person since childhood, playing on sports teams, taking swimming and tennis lessons and riding my bicycle everywhere at a young age!
Have your exercise habits changed over the years ?
I stay pretty active, but I have a new man in my life and have noticed that I am not as active as I previously was. I plan to get more active now, as he recently started working in another state, so I will resume my schedule of my single days again and get more fitness into my life, and then on weekends when he is home we will go hiking or do other fun outdoor activities!
How many days a week do you exercise ? What does your typical week of workouts look like?
3 days a week is my norm. I am not a “gym person.” I need to be outdoors or in an active class such as yoga – and I recently tried Zumba for the first time and really enjoyed it.
What is your favorite work out ? / fitness activity ?
Two things: yoga and road bicycling.
Do you prefer working out with others or by yourself ?
It depends. With yoga I have to go to a class, as I am not disciplined enough to do it at home by myself. However with biking or hiking, I like to be by myself or with 1 or 2 others.
Are you working on a fitness goal at the moment ? What is it ?
Yes, with my switch to a vegan diet nearly 3 months ago, I am actually gaining a bit of weight!? I made the change to bring my cholesterol down a bit and to feel better. However, I need to switch things up and add some new activities to get my metabolism ramped up. That’s why I tried Zumba and plan to go to that class once a week.
I think my body is fighting the diet change…after 52 years of cheese, eggs and meat… and saying what’s up with THAT???
I will admit that I miss cheese…and bacon! Longtime vegans tell me that will go away over time.
Is there a fitness activity that you have not yet tried, but would like to ?
Yes, I want to do a zipline. Somewhere way up high! I’ll try just about anything.
What is a typical breakfast, lunch and dinner ?
Breakfast is a smoothie: almond milk, blueberries, kale, oatmeal & ground flax seed. Or just a bowl of oatmeal.
Lunch is a big salad with quinoa topping, avocado, and a variety of greens and veggies. A side of hummus and some organic tortilla chips.
Snacks are fruit, almonds, and an occasional piece of chocolate!
Dinner is hearty, often a stew or soup with bread. I’ve adapted many things I used to eat to be plant based: instead of ground beef or chicken I use tofu based products that look just like the real thing and they fill you up!
Have your eating habits evolved over time ?
I’ve always been a healthy eater, my big change is ten weeks ago I went to a plant-based diet. It is a challenge to eat this way, especially when you travel and can’t make your own meals. I’ve found that while most restaurants don’t have vegan entrees, when you ask them, they are happy to adapt a recipe to meet my needs. My family doesn’t know what to do with me when I visit, so I usually bring my own food!
Do you meal prep ? What is one of your favorite, easy go-to recipes ?
I like to make big pots of pasta, soup and stews so I can get two meals of out them. I like burritos and falafel a lot. In the U.S., we have a store called Trader Joe’s that has a lot of ready to go products that are frozen or fresh, as well as many tofu-based meat substitutes.
Thank you to Peggy and check back in next week to meet Hilary !