We all get that feeling that there’s NEVER ANY TIME, right?
You feel like you’re juggling everything life throws at you, afraid of something falling or breaking, just trying to stay afloat instead of managing it on your own terms. I’ve always found that the more I focus on overall wellness and being active, the better equipped I am to handle life. But what if you haven’t started that journey yet, or you’re unsure of how or what to do to move forward?
I was recently introduced (virtually!) to Meredith Atwood from Swim Bike Mom and was inspired by her journey from struggling mom of two kids, trying to advance her career while dealing with the added frustrations of a long commute (ugh, I will never forget those days of my 4 hours/day commute!) to confident triathlete who took charge of her life and ended up with a stronger sense of self.
Her writing is engaging, insightful and relatable, and I can’t get enough of her storytelling. Like me, she writes a lot about fear, overcoming obstacles, and empowering ourselves and those around us.
I thought she’d be the perfect fit for a feature here on the blog and was thrilled when she agreed to do a mini interview. She has some great wisdom to share – enjoy!
Meredith, what was your “aha” moment for change? I’m often asked, “How did you get into triathlon?” or “What was the moment that everything changed for you? When you knew you wanted to change?” I had what I call “The Spark”…the thing that changed inside of me and how it happened. How I decided I would get off the couch and make a better life.
Was it easy? Did it happen instantaneously? Nope… But it did happen. And it continues each day.
This is how I started. Pale, fat, tired…with two small babies, a rigorous legal career, and a marriage (barely hanging on) in tow. I was also pretty angry. The change came on September 11, 2009. I didn’t decide to take on triathlon until a year later…but that day was the beginning. This post is an edited part of my book about the two days that changed it all for me. It all started with cookies and a “lunch and learn” event.
You say you “lost your sense of self”…what steps did you take to go from that period of your life to now? I didn’t try and change everything. I just went to the gym. I started there. I made the decision that I was going to start and change, even though I had no idea what to do. I didn’t clean up my eating and nutrition until about a year ago, and even that is a work in progress. I think we start with what we CAN do, and then we are consistent with that. Make small and sustainable changes, and go from there. Next, I think it’s very important to find a sport or an activity that you like – something that inspires you and you look forward to doing. For me, triathlon was so great because it was a massive challenge–and deep down, I needed a challenge. That was what I was missing.
What would you tell people who want to get healthy in the new year? I think first and foremost, we need to realize that health is not all about how we look. There are fantastically outwardly beautiful people who probably have rotten insides from the unhealthy lifestyle of cigarettes, too much coffee and no vegetables. The most important thing is to do it to feel better. I had spent SO much time worrying about how “fat” I was or how “slow” I was, it never occurred to me just how badly I felt. When I focused on the right questions, I received better answers. For example, “will this food make me feel good today? Will I feel better when I have this smoothie instead of that muffin?”. Little changes like that make big differences with consistency.
Meredith is the author of “Triathlon for the Every Woman,” a certified triathlon coach, an IRONMAN triathlete, and co-founder of Tri*Fe, a triathlon clothing line for women of all sizes. She is also the co-founder of Swim Bike Fuel, a revolutionary nutrition program for female athletes.
What’s your advice for people who want to get healthy?