Quote of the day: “Self-care is not an expense, it’s an investment.”
I’m back with another interview! Today I am interviewing a very special person, Drew. Drew is very into health and fitness and has some great stories and tips to share! Let’s dive right into it.
1. Introduce Yourself (school, major, job, etc.)
Hi! My name is Drew, and I’m a senior attending University of Oregon. I’m studying Human Physiology with a minor in Chemistry. If all goes according to plan I’ll have my degree in a few months… I didn’t work throughout college (except during the summer), but over this past winter term I was an intern at HIV Alliance. HIV Alliance is a nonprofit organization that works to prevent the spread of diseases, focusing on those spread through sexual contact or by sharing used needles when injecting drugs. It was an eye opening experience.
2. How did you get so into health and fitness?
My parents always emphasized the importance of eating healthy and getting exercise, so I guess I grew up around health and fitness. I never really took it seriously until I got to college, though. As a kid, I always just ate whatever tasted best and never thought about how much exercise I should be getting. As a result, I was kind of a chubby kid at times. Throughout high school I played basketball, and having practice or games almost every day was enough to keep me in pretty decent shape. Then a knee injury and surgery kept me on crutches for most of the basketball season my junior year, and the inactivity led to pretty significant weight gain by the time I was a senior. By the time I got to college, I decided I was determined to change my diet and exercise to not only lose the weight I’d gained, but just be a healthier person.
3. Tell me about your weight loss.
I guess I’ll pick up where I left off. I had just moved into the dorms at U of O, determined to become a better version of myself. For me, part of this included losing weight. Dorm food can definitely make you put on weight if you’re not careful, and everyone dreads the “freshman 15.” I decided the only sure way for me to lose the weight was to seriously restrict my food intake. This is not a healthy way of going about weight loss, but I was just so sick of feeling like I couldn’t do it. So, I lived fall term hungry most of the time, and every few weeks I would visit home about 5 pounds lighter (we had a scale at home that I always weighed myself on). At some point during winter term, I decided to add going to the gym to my routine. U of O has a great rec center, so I would go most days and either play pick-up basketball or go for a run. I also stopped starving myself, and instead decided to just cut out sugary desserts. Still, every time I went home I had lost another 5-8 pounds. By the end of spring term, I weighed 165 pounds, compared to 215 at my heaviest.
4. How often do you workout? What does your workout routine look like?
After I lost 50 pounds freshman year, one of my biggest fears was putting that weight back on. You hear stories about people who undergo extreme weight loss only to put it all back on within a year. So, for the next year I exercised religiously and was still really obsessive about my diet. I did a workout every day, and over the next 2 years I could probably count the number of days I missed a workout on one hand (seriously, I had to be deathly ill). These days, I still work out almost every day, but I’ve been incorporating one rest day per week. I think this has been beneficial to my body to give it time to recover. My weekly gym routine usually consists of some pick-up basketball, longer runs (3-6 miles), shorter runs (1 mile timed), sprint intervals (40s sprint, 20s rest), and some upper body lifting (can’t do lower body because of the knee injury). I usually try to do each of these 2 or 3 times a week. I’m also definitely an afternoon/evening workout person. My body feels really slowed down in the morning, and I think a hard workout is a really good way to end the day.
5. What’s your diet like? Have you tried different diets? What do you think works best for you?
My current diet is not the best. I’ve been eating a lot more unhealthy food since dating Taylor… too much going out for dinner and ice cream. I haven’t experimented with a lot of diets, so I don’t have that much to say on this. I did try out the intermittent fasting thing for a while last year. I did the 8:16 method which means you eat during an 8 hour window in the day and then fast the rest of the time. Basically, I accomplished this by skipping breakfast and just having two big meals. I was not a fan of this, I know a lot of people are fine skipping breakfast but I had no energy while I was doing this. The one dietary change I’ve made, and the one that in my opinion led to my 50 pound weight loss freshman year, was cutting out or reducing refined sugar. I’ve found that this stabilizes my blood sugar levels, I’m not as hungry all the time, have more energy, and just feel better.
6. What is your motivation to staying so healthy?
The biggest motivation for me to stay healthy is just feeling good. I just have so much more energy now, my mood is better, and I have more confidence. There are also the health benefits. I have some risk factors for coronary heart disease like family history, high blood pressure and cholesterol, so anything I can do now as far as health and fitness, I’ll be glad I did when I’m older. Last but not least, there’s the physical appearance associated with better health. For a lot of my life, I was insecure about the way I looked because of the extra weight. I felt like people looked at and treated me differently at 215 than at 165. Even though I should feel comfortable with myself no matter what I look like, that insecurity is definitely a motivation to stay healthy and always will be.
7. Anything else you want to say?
I just want to say hi to all of Taylor’s fans. Also, if you want to get healthier, don’t starve yourself like I did because that definitely isn’t healthy. If you make positive, sustainable changes to your diet and exercise, even if they’re small, you will see results.
I told you he had a good story! So inspiring to live a healthy lifestyle for so many different reasons. Definitely makes me want to live a healthier life. Thanks for sharing your story Drew!