Healthy Balance
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How I Balanced My Love For Food and Fitness

By January 11, 2017Live

Balance is everything.

Think you’re a foodie? I’m sorry, but I most likely have you beat. Living in Boston, there is always a hot new restaurant, festival or event, plus a seemingly limitless quantity of classics like Mike’s Pastry, and I love them ALL.

I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and any excursion into the city oftentimes revolved around food. I grocery shopped and cooked for my family often, and my parents instilled the fun of trying new cuisines and the value of a night spent with friends around the dinner table. Through high school, my friends and I dressed up for nights out for dinner in the city, spent hours in our favorite diners and wore PJ’s while baking cookies.

As high school went on, so did many vicissitudes of my health and body image. Embarrassed when I couldn’t run the mile during my freshman-year gym class, I trained and ran a seven-minute mile during my sophomore year and beat the rest of my class. While the mile was not a big deal to my classmates, I had trained and worked my ass off for this moment.

I lost nearly thirty pounds via Weight Watchers my sophomore year, only to travel to Spain and gain it all back. I started running cross country my junior and senior year and cried before every race. Working on my fitness and health was not yet a desirable action for me, and every feat was a tortuous and emotional fight to the finish.

 

Young scrappy & hungry @hamiltonmusical

A post shared by Lauren Folk (@lfolk) on

Fast forward to my freshman and sophomore years at Northeastern University, where I treated my body just about the same as I did during high school.

I ate anything and everything 75% of my time, and enjoyed my time in a new and incredible city like Boston. The other 25% I ate INCREDIBLY clean and healthy, but often had breakdowns, hating how I looked and felt. While I wouldn’t take back these years, I knew in the back of my head that my lifestyle wasn’t sustainable and the best for me long-term. Forcing myself to make that change? I’m still working on it.

My epiphany came when I found the type of exercise that inspires me. I’ve consistently “worked out” since I was thirteen, which meant going on the elliptical and then MAYBE doing a few minutes of weights. Unsurprisingly, my body had not changed in years, and I was getting tired of the monotony of dragging myself to the gym. I’ve tried barre, spinning, yoga, and just about every other type of workout class out there, but nothing stuck and seemed like a workout I would consistently want to do.

I started my first co-op this summer. One day, I happened to get off at the wrong exit and drove by CrossFit South Shore. I had always been intrigued by the style and intensity of CrossFit, and on a whim, I signed up. It was one of the most impulsive things I’ve done, but after doing CrossFit for five months I’m finally starting to understand what I need to stay motivated and excited about my fitness and health. CrossFit got me back into running, and I just ran my first 8k turkey trot with a faster mile time than I ran 5k’s in high school. I became a dog runner and run a pooch named Hazel three times a week, which keeps me accountable. Plus, hello, dogs!

Finding a fitness routine that I enjoy has helped me establish and value the connection between my body’s performance and what I fuel it with. I’ve slowly started to realize that some type of change is necessary for me, and although I’ve had many setbacks, I’m on the right path to finding a healthy balance between enjoying Boston and enjoying how my body looks and feels. Over the past few years I’ve gained weight, but the first step comes with being more selective, specifically with my time and food.

The biggest change I’ve made? I’ve tried to revolve less of my time around food. It hasn’t been easy, given that for me, the best time is around the dinner table, but my friends and I make an effort now to try out new workout classes around town and go on walks. I also signed up for Weight Watchers again with a friend (check out our Instagram @TheBuffChix!), and although the weight isn’t dropping like it did in high school, it is a step in the right direction in my health journey.

I honestly would feel deprived and left out if I said “no” to all of the activities my friends invite me to, but there are many choices that aren’t worth it anymore. If I know I’m going to a great Italian restaurant, that means I should prep the rest of my food for the day. Then I enjoy company and eat pasta at the restaurant and LOVE IT! Teaching myself to be insightful with my choices will help me make the #gainz I want through CrossFit, run the times I’m aiming for with my 10k, and also eat the food I’m drooling after when out with my friends. I’ll never be able to eat clean all time, but right now, I’m working on doing that most of the time, and that’s the most anyone could ever ask for.


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Author Lauren Folk

Lauren is a 3rd year student at Northeastern University who loves dogs, brunch, trashy reality TV and Crossfit (not necessarily in that order). When she's not studying for her Industrial Engineering classes, she can be found wandering around Boston or cooking for her friends. Follow her on Instagram at @lfolk or @thebuffchix!

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