If I had to describe my fitness journey in a few words, I’d say: it’s taken a complete 180-degree turn.

As a young kid, I was probably one of the laziest of the lot. My friends could be running, jumping, and skipping all around me and I’d be perfectly content sitting, watching the world (and my friends) run right on by. I generally came in last place in every short sprint race and made any (and all) excuses possible to get out of swimming lessons.

Even at parties, I’d tap my toes while everyone else was throwing their hands up in the air, shaking their hair around, and well… just being kids. I realize that at this point, I’ve made my kid self seem like a loser. I wasn’t completely lame… but when it came to physical activity, I preferred to sit out.

swimFast-forward a few years. I finally learned to swim – through lots of forced lessons, I must add – and even began to enjoy it. In third grade, I found myself signing up for the swim team. But still, I lived for the days the lightning siren went off. I used to live in a tropical climate and the siren meant practice was called off for the evening due to the weather. And even weather permitting, I went to the minimum number of required practices and was primarily motivated by the chocolate muffin my mom may have brought me to eat on the way home. I’ve always been a “foodie”, you see.

Shift forward another few years. I started running here and there, picked up a bit of tennis, dabbled (not for long) in golf, and kept on swimming. I went on to be selected for the varsity swim team. There, I swam the long(ish) distance events, travelled around for competitions, and started to feel a real sense of comfort and exhilaration from being with my #swimteamfam.

One thing led to another, and eventually I began running on the weekends. I also would do hour-long sessions on the stationary bike at the gym to be “fit and healthy”. And to some extent, I was—but not necessarily for the right reasons. Exercising just felt like something I had to do. It was an escape from SAT practice. Fitness was a big part of my life, but in hindsight it wasn’t my conscious choice. Rather, it was just a passive following of what I thought “being fit” looked like. And I was doing it all wrong.

Which brings me to where I am today: now I workout because it feels good. What’s the point if it doesn’t? Health is as much, if not more, about happiness than all the other typical nutrition and fitness stuff that goes along with it. I really do love getting sweaty, moving around, feeling the fresh air, hitting the gym with friends, going for runs in the park with my dad, and even taking the stairs instead of the elevator. I stay fit when and how I want to.

Who wouldn't love this post-run view?

Who wouldn’t want to stop and enjoy this post-run view?

Sometimes, I may not do a real workout for a month (*gasp*) and other times I work out six days in a row. And for me, this just works. Some days I eat like a nutritionist (or let’s just say mostly healthy) and other days I eat cake for breakfast, ice cream sundaes for lunch, and pizza for dinner. PS. My body craaaves veggies the next day.

YES, you can eat this and still be "healthy".

YES, you can eat this now and then and still be “healthy”.

Because all in all, healthy and fit are two words that equate to: #balance.

About The Author

Tanvi is a student at the University of Cambridge across the pond in the UK! Family, friends and food are her favorite things. She is obsessed with all things chocolate, strawberry and nut-butter and even has a food blog called Strawberry Chocolate Concoction. A black belt in karate and former competitive swimmer, Tanvi loves staying fit and encouraging others to do so as well. She’s happiest when surrounded by the people she loves - a sprinkling of yummy food and sunny weather wouldn’t hurt either!

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