Fitness

My Road to a Healthy Mind and Body

My sophomore year of college, I gained 25 pounds (a solid Wisconsin winter coat!). At the time, I placed blame on the freshly baked pastries in the sorority house kitchen and the two-mile trek to the gym in frigid temperatures—seriously, it was a -20 degree walk to workout! But, let’s get real for a sec. There was more to it than chocolate chip cookies.

 

Looking back, my sophomore year in college was a huge turning point. For the first time in my adult life, I was lost and uncomfortable in my own skin. I lived in a house with 30 women on a campus with 40,000 people, yet I felt very alone. I can’t say I know what triggered the emotions, but I can tell you what helped: food and hours of cardio. Yes I know that combination sounds a bit odd. After all, didn’t I gain weight?!

The truth is, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. I overrate and dragged myself to the gym for hours on end to burn calories. I skipped social opportunities, woke up extra early to run on Game Day (I was usually cheered on by other students pre-gaming), and pre-planned by class schedule to ensure I had enough workout time in the mornings. This wasn’t a healthy routine. It was only later through counseling I learned I had exercise bulimia, a lesser known eating disorder.

Why would I share this story? I think it’s important for you to see that even I have struggled to find “balance.” At one point in my life, fitness was a form of punishment. But today, fitness has become an avenue for strength, empowerment, community, and self-love. Connecting with others through a shared passion for sweat brings me such joy, and I have met incredible people (including my husband).

SanDiegoHalfMarathon
San Diego Half Marathon

In 2007, I decided to run the Chicago Marathon. Instead of letting exercise own me, I would own it. Training for 26.2 miles was a huge undertaking, and for the first time that year, I had a healthy achievable goal. I remember long runs along Lake Shore Path in Madison, as well as discovering a foam roller for the first time. I also remember race day. My mom flew all the way to Chicago to cheer me on. I’ve never felt so proud.

Erica Friedman-ChicagoMarathon

Training for a marathon was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. Through running I rediscovered my love for fitness. I lost weight (the healthy way) and worked everyday towards a goal. I joined a community of runners offering training tips, support, and camaraderie. My mindset shifted, and suddenly exercise become something I wanted to do versus something I had to do.

My road to a healthy mind and body took time, and it’s a work in progress everyday. My goal is to motivate and inspire you to live a happy and healthy life. Exercise is simply one way to make that happen. I am here to be your training buddy, support system, and friend. Always remember that everyone (even me) is at a different stage in their health and fitness journey, and you are NOT alone.

Today I encourage you to write down 5 goals for the remainder of the year. Some ideas: run a 5k, walk the dog every morning, try a yoga class, etc. Create a vision that is going to make you want to jump out of bed in the morning. Big or small let’s tackle these goals together!

Now…let’s get started.

HealthyMindandBody

Share Your Thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. I always love reading your posts. You’re right — exercise should never be punishment. I’m so thankful it’s let me meet so many amazing people too!

    1. Thank you for the feedback Courtney!! It’s been a very long road. Fitness has made me so happy in so many ways, and I have met incredible people. LIKE YOU!