My Top 5 Health and Fitness Decisions


I saw this post on Renee’s blog (forever ago) and loved that it was fun and introspective.  She has made a lot of healthy changes and is a huge inspiration!  It was tough to pick just 5 meaningful healthy moments in my 30+ years, but here it goes…

1. Joining Junior High Cross Country

Okay, so in all fairness, this was not really my decision.  It was my mothers.  She sent me to school on the first day of 6th grade with a bag and proclaimed ‘You’re on the cross country team’.

Jen Cross Country 001

I was lucky to find that some of my friends’ moms did the same thing (along with some of my soon to be friends).  Together we tackled 6th grade cross country, chatting through most of our runs and learning how to push ourselves and compete.  Although few of them showed up for cross country on the first day of 7th grade, I was hooked.   And as they say…the rest is history!  (I really did do a post on my running history and lifelong love of running from here to now that’s a fun recap of the years since 6th grade)

2. Listening to my Stomach

In high school, I started really struggling with my stomach.  Sure, there had been signs before then that dairy was not my friend but in high school, it was at it’s absolute worst.  I even remember one day declaring that I was ‘allergic to all food’ because everything I ate disrupted my stomach.  It was here that I learned what I could and could not eat (yes, peanut butter I’m talking to you) before exercise and cross country meets.  Although I can’t tell you the exact day that I became fed up and ready to listen to my body, eventually I did.  I learned what worked for me and what didn’t and changed my diet accordingly.  I was able to go off the meds I’d been taking daily and no longer had to leave a restaurant mid meal to curl up in the car because my stomach hurt so bad.  It was empowering!  Although there have been bumps along the road (I was less conscious in college and had a huge flare up in grad school), overall I am much happier and healthy since listening and respecting my tummy!

3. Buying a Bike

When I lived in Tennessee, I talked about wanting a bike but really didn’t have anywhere to ride one.  Fast forward to my move back home and life in Evanston.  With great access to the lake shore path and plenty of places to ride, I bought my first bike since elementary school and rode it everywhere.  I did Bike the Drive with my family and my first triathlon.  I rode some of RAGBRAI with my mom and then purchased a second (faster) bike.


There is much fun and fitness Ode to My Bike…and many more bike adventures to come!

4. Committing to 8 Hours of Sleep

Yes, you heard it…I get 8 hours of sleep a night (most nights) and make a point to get myself into bed with enough time to read and unwind before falling asleep.  Although I can’t always get the full 8, I rarely get less than 7 during the week and try to stock up as needed during the weekends, napping when necessary.  Adequate sleep is important for me to function at my best.  When I am well rested, I make better food and health decisions, stay healthy, and manage my stress….all good things!

5. Taking Rainbow Kids Teacher Training

It was on my mat one day at a studio in the city with my mom and friends that I decided that I wanted to teach kids yoga.  Not just incorporate it into my treatments, but really learn how to teach kids yoga. I announced as much to my mom and set out to make it happen.  June last year, I took my training in New York. 


I loved every moment of it…spending three straight days with like minded yogi’s (some of which who also work in health care) was unbelievable!  I learned so many techniques, games, and ideas that have guided my teaching throughout the past year.  It also encouraged me to push myself to be more creative, energetic, and fun with every session.  I have much more to learn but this definitely sent me down the path of becoming a kids yoga instructor, expanding my therapist role, and reaching my goal.

What are some of your best health decisions?

Honorary Mentions

Adopting Cooper

Flossing my teeth daily

Giving up fast food

Drinking more water

Taking my first yoga class

Cleaning up my diet

Wearing daily SPF

Committing to strength training

Giving up Crystal Lite and (almost) giving up diet soda

Running a marathon (then two)

6 thoughts on “My Top 5 Health and Fitness Decisions

  1. Love this! What a neat way to reflect… may have to do the same 🙂 Teach me your sleep secrets! I’ve been trying to get better about it, but I’m lucky if I get seven during the week.

    • It’s definitely a commitment and I don’t always get it right. I think the best thing I can offer is to give yourself built in time for all the ‘last minute’ things that come up before bed and to read without the screen. Can’t wait to read your post! It’s fun to think about it!

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