Hi, there and thanks for stopping by! I’m Carrie, a 22-year-old recent college graduate who loves to write, sweat, and eat healthy (most of the time!). Currently based in New York City, I’m hoping to break into the world of digital health and wellness journalism. This blog covers my journey of working out, healthy eating, and job searching.
The Young Athlete
From a very young age, sports and fitness have been huge factors in my life—whether it was playing kindergarten kick-a-bout (soccer was not my calling), taking swimming lessons during the summer, or signing up for recreational softball as a third grader.
As a high school senior, I participated in three varsity sports—field-hockey, basketball, and track and field. I won’t bore you with the athletic accolades these teams racked up (like numerous league titles and sectional championships), and I loved being on these successful squads … Not to mention I learned important life lessons like dedication, discipline, and time management.
You know how we each have “our thing”? Well, basketball was mine for 12 years. I first picked up the rock in third grade, and I was instantly hooked. Attending basketball camps (yes, plural) comprised my summers, and my work ethic paid off—I made my high school’s varsity squad as a tenth grader. I also played AAU basketball for a Syracuse travel team, and I even competed for two years at my alma mater Hobart and William Smith.
Competing at a high level—William Smith is a Division III team—taught me further dedication and discipline. Between guzzling protein shakes after lifting sessions and waking up 6 a.m. for off-season conditioning workouts, how could it not?
During this time, it was scary to see what was happening to my body. You know the dreaded freshman 15? Let’s call it the basketball 30. Yep, that’s right—I gained about thirty pounds in two years. A few of those lb’s may have been from my newfound love of adult beverages and buffet-style eating at the dining hall, but the majority of the weight I put on was muscle. I was on rigorous workout regiment, which included attending normal practice, lifting weights, and drinking protein shakes. (Just to give you an idea, I’m 5’10”, and I was squatting 215 lbs. and benching 185. Nuts, right?!)
Life After Basketball
During one away game my sophomore year, I had an epiphany of sorts. (If you’re interested, I can tell you exactly where I was standing, what I was doing, and the specific straw that broke the camel’s back.) I began questioning what constituted my college experience and how these aspects would help me achieve post-graduation goals. This new outlook caused my priorities to change, and I “retired” from basketball after my sophomore season. Since I wasn’t spending three-plus hours doing basketball-related activities anymore (I kid you not), I began to get involved on campus in other ways: I served as the Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper, The Herald, for two semesters, participated in a slew of extracurricular clubs, and studied abroad in London.
After my “retirement,” not only did my academic and post-college outlook change, but my eating and fitness philosophy also changed dramatically. I began practicing yoga to help heal my body that basketball pushed nearly to the brink, and I revamped my diet; it became my goal to learn everything I could about healthy, mindful, balanced eating. Gone were the days of free-for-all snacking and countless trips to the dining hall buffet. For the next several months, I gave up running and strength training (I hopped on the elliptical for my cardio): I hoped that by practicing yoga and eating healthy, I would reconnect with my body, which would help it return to its equilibrium. I wanted to erase the past two years’ worth of damage (both physical and mental); I wanted my pre-college basketball body and outlook back.
Studying Abroad in London
During the spring semester of my junior year, I studied abroad in London, England, which served as another turning point in terms of redefining my diet and fitness philosophies. Through taking a course called Food, Society, and Culture—which tracked Great Britain’s history of food and its influence on society (big surprise!)—I became increasingly aware of the importance of healthy, mindful eating. Not only did I learn about what flavors (or lake thereof) and dishes constitute traditional British cooking, but I also read a lot about the work of food activists like Jamie Oliver and what they’re doing to combat Britain’s obesity epidemic. Outside of the classroom, I began to notice and analyze these lessons. Ready-made meals (or frozen TV dinners) were the most popular items at grocery stores, candies and crisps (or chips) seemed to be everywhere, and gyms and fitness centers were few and far between. Everything around me was different—culture, food, environment—and I was out of my comfort zone, but I found comfort in running. Everyday after classes or my internship, I would lace up my sneakers and head to Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park for a jog.
Along the way to becoming fitter, healthier, and happier, I discovered other ways to sweat once almost everyday. Besides running, yoga, and strength training, I’ve become a fan of indoor cycling/spinning, dabbled in Zumba and Pilates, and found a new respect for walking workouts. During the summer of 2012, I gave triathloning a “tri,” and now, I’m totally hooked. There are still a ton of to-do’s on my fitness bucket list—run a marathon, complete a half-Ironman, tackle a mud run—and I’m hoping to document these soon-to-be success stories on the blog.
This May, I graduated Magna Cum Laude with Honors in Writing and Rhetoric from Hobart and William Smith Colleges. (Check out my Honors project—FitFluence, a diet and fitness website.)
And now, friends, I’m looking for a job in the field of digital health and wellness journalism.