Remember: You’re in the driver’s seat. When Liz, our Health Raiser of the Week, felt like her life was spinning out of control, she made the decision to do something about it. Lizzle (as she’s known around the Vitacost office) stresses that everyone has the power to change their life for the better, but you have to make choices every day that fuel that fire within. Otherwise, you’ll just crash and burn.
What does health mean to you?
To be healthy is to create habits that improve your quality of life. You’ll know they’re the right habits when you start to smile more, feel less stressed and have more natural energy.
What inspired you to start living a healthy life?
My dad passed away suddenly when I was a freshman in high school. It was a rude awakening to the fact that life is short and we have no control over which day will be our last. At the time, a lot of things in my life felt complicated. I realized the only thing I could control was my health. If I paid closer attention to what I put in my body and how it functioned, I could at least improve my chances of living a long, happy life. I’ve since discovered that taking care of my body gives me a great sense of accomplishment, and I’m completely addicted to that.
What are three things you do to stay healthy?
- I “hired” a triathlon coach, who gives me workouts every week and offers guidance to help me achieve specific goals. It’s weird to say “hired” since he’s more like family than just a coach. Training under his wings also allows me to meet and work out with like-minded people (mostly really fast, over-achieving athletes), which is a huge motivator. When it comes to sports, training up, or with people better than you, is the best way to see results.
- I meditate most days of the week. Every day would be ideal, but four days of meditation is a good week for me. I have to meditate in the morning, before my fiancé wakes up and after I’ve fed the animals. Otherwise, there are too many distractions and my brain is kicked into overdrive. Overall, I meditate to help ease anxiety, work through fears and sharpen my focus. Focus is a skill we all need more of, and this is a great exercise to strengthen it.
- I try to begin and end each day with a piece of fruit. Admittedly, this sometimes becomes a fruit tart for dessert. But, mostly, I enjoy whole fruit mixed into yogurt, blended into a smoothie or paired with a couple squares of dark chocolate. I also try to get a serving of veggies in at each meal. That one is a little tougher, but I always feel 100% healthier when I can get it all in.
What is one motivational quote that you live by?
This isn’t so much a quote as a mantra: “Breathe. Believe. Battle.” Chrissie Wellington said she wrote these three powerful words on her water bottles before racing the World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. I’ve adopted them for my own use — not just in triathlon but in many areas of my life. The breathing part is really critical.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what Vitacost product could you not live without?
I would need an endless supply of whole-grain rolled oats, because they’re so multi-purpose and nutritious. But if I can have one non-food item, I gotta have my Trigger Point foam roller to keep my muscles healthy and give myself a mini-massage.
What advice do you have for someone who is trying to live healthier?
Make better choices. If your current habits aren’t getting you where you want to be, you have to choose to change something. You have to consistently make the choice to stop eating frozen sausage biscuits for breakfast every morning (I’m totally guilty!). The power is completely in your hands.
To be certain that your decision-making skills are clear and ready, you have to put a lot more focus on the present. Letting yourself get distracted easily leads to the kind of mindlessness that thwarts your progress. So it’s important to stay in the moment and continuously make thoughtful choices. A healthier life is sure to follow.
Is there a role model you look up to?
I don’t consider any one person my biggest influencer. Throughout my life, I have surrounded myself with people who are all pretty different from me (and from each other), because I like the variety and I know I can learn from every single one of them. That being said, the people I admire most are the ones closest to my heart: my fiancé, my mom, my aunts, my grandpa, my cousins, my best friends, my coach and my coworkers.