Hi all! You know who really impresses me? Teachers…all kinds of teachers. I am so lucky to have a number of teachers in my life, from early childhood to graduate school, and each and every one of them impresses me. MY teachers were (and ARE) incredible, and I would NOT be where I am in my life without their generosity and guidance. My friends and family who are teachers are some of the most wonderful human beings you will ever meet. In short, I think teachers GIVE everyday, in a way that makes the world exponentially better. I truly believe that education is the most important factor in bringing our globalized world to a peaceful, successful and respectful place, so obviously teachers are high on my list of important people!
Tonight I’m going to introduce you to another teacher I have the pleasure of knowing, Caitlin! She’s a preschool teacher (just thinking about it makes me tired), and manages to move around with her young students and fit movement into her own time. She’s a rockstar, and here’s her story!
What does living a healthy lifestyle mean to you?
A healthy lifestyle for me is living a life of balance. To me, healthy means being active, trying new things, and definitely enjoying the occasional indulgence! Depriving ourselves of the things we truly love (for me it’s sweets, I have a huge sweet tooth) is no fun. However, as long as I’m staying active and continuing to make other healthy choices, I feel I can have that oatmeal cookie or cup of vanilla ice cream. Living a healthy lifestyle is definitely creating a balance both mentally and physically.
Have you always been a health guru? Where did you pick up your healthy habits?
I don’t know if I’ve always been a “health guru”, but I grew up with a family who loved activity and being in the sun. We skied every winter, played softball, tennis, soccer and golf, and practically lived at the beach every summer. It seemed like we were always on the go and willing to embrace every opportunity we could to spend outdoors. I think I’ve also always had a good perspective when it came to food. My mother is an amazing cook and baker. She made a home-cooked meal every night and I don’t think she ever brought home a store bought cake until I was in my 20s!
A lot of my healthy eating habits actually came from my college years (I said eating habits, not drinking habits!) During undergrad, I began working in the kitchen of a restaurant that sourced all of their ingredients locally. I became a cook there and was exposed to new and simple ways to prepare vegetables that were extremely delicious. I learned what organic mesclun greens grown from a farm a few miles away tasted like and what super fresh goat cheese tasted like having only been in the goat 2 days before. Most importantly, during this time in my life, I recognized that extremely fresh and good food made my mind and body feel really good.
What’s a day in the life for you? How do you fit healthy foods and exercise into your busy day?
I am currently a preschool teacher so my days are busy and active. I’m always engaged with someone or something and I have very little down time when it’s just me and my thoughts. Work can be both physically and mentally exhausting. However, I love the fact that I am on my feet most of the day. In order for me to feel secure about my food decisions, I make sure I bring my lunch each day so I have complete control of what I eat. Once my workday is done, I make sure I get some more exercise afterward as well. I’ll either decide to walk home (my walk is about 3 miles), go to the gym, go for a bike ride, or have a catch in the park with my fiancé. Whatever activity I decide to do after work and whatever level of intensity it is, I always feel better that I made time to incorporate that into my day. Most days I come home ready to crash, but I know if I push just a little bit harder, my mind will feel at ease. Exercise definitely impacts my mood. It helps keep me positive.
What are your favorite forms of exercise? Have they changed over time, or are you a life long lover of something?
I’ve always loved sports! I don’t play a lot of sports now, but recently my fiancé and I have been really enjoying going to the park with our baseball gloves or Frisbee and having a catch. It’s a low-key way to get some really nice exercise and it’s always fun. I’m also starting to ride my bike a lot more. It’s taken me a while to muster up the courage to ride my bike on city streets (riding next to cars and buses is scary!) but now I’m so happy I can do it! It’s also just a great activity to do with another person. I’m also just a plain ole lover of going to the gym. I love cardio (especially running) and strength training. Creating time for a balance of both has become very important to me.
Do you follow any specific diets or avoid certain foods? Why or why not?
I definitely do not follow any diets. I hate the idea of diets, but I am a true believer in moderation. I think restricting ourselves from certain foods is ridiculous—and torturous! I definitely think you should go for that slice of pizza, but I would refrain for going for that slice again tomorrow. One “food thing” I sort of been living by is making sure I leave a few hours between my last meal and bedtime. I like the feeling of going to bed slightly hungry and looking forward to what I’m going to have for breakfast the next morning. And breakfast is definitely an important one as they say!
I’m in a rut. What would you advise to help me integrate healthy habits back into my life?
Walk everywhere, especially if you live in the city. Sometimes I realize how lucky I am to live in a place where almost everything is accessible by foot. So I would say, grab your headphones and just walk anywhere you can.