Cristina is on the Light Up Columbus race committee and has contributed so much to help build the race of 2014! Most notably, Cristina designed and created the amazing logo for Light Up Columbus. Below, Cristina shares her story of a successful lifestyle change…
Growing up my parents had me in Ice Skating, Ballet and Jazz. I always thought of myself as a pretty active person. I spent most of my life in Europe and also started skiing at the age of 4. I had a really bad crash on the slopes during my teen years, which caused me to fear anything on a mountain. Years went by and I met my husband, a Soldier who was once a ski instructor in his hometown before joining the Army. Sure enough, he had me skiing on Austrian Glaciers and the highest peaks of Europe. In addition to skiing, I ran and never more than a 5K.
Years went by: I married my ski instructor/Soldier, moved to Germany and we had a beautiful baby boy. Our promise to each other was to continue being an active family. I hiked a couple smaller mountains with baby in tow, ran a race in Prague pushing a BOB but I struggled with my weight.
We moved to Fort Benning, GA in 2012. Like your typical Army spouse, I had to start my life from scratch. I joined the Columbus Stroller Strong Moms and noticed how out of shape I really was. I was so intimidated by moms who were running past me with their double stroller, not breaking a sweat. I often felt discouraged because these ladies flew past me. I could see every single muscle in their body. In addition to working out and pushing myself, these mommas taught me to never give up. In November 2012 I completed my first half marathon, in exactly 2 hours. I could not believe I completed this, but instead of being happy and proud, I saw pictures of myself and could not believe how “big” I looked. How was it that I was working out almost every day and not losing an inch? Why were knees and overall body always in pain? I grew up as an active child and I ate everything.
My husband deployed and I could not get over the amount of exercise I was doing and yet, I still looked bigger than ever. I decided to seek medical advice and was referred to a dietician. My blood results showed that I had genetically high cholesterol. My thought was “I am too young for pills!” With the help of my doctor and dietician, I transitioned into a plant based diet. Within the first month I noticed inches come off my midsection. My physical performance dramatically increased, and my body felt stronger. In 6 months I had lost a total of 13lbs. I had muscles where they had never been before. More importantly than losing a couple pounds, I felt stronger, awake and energized.
My race times throughout the year have dramatically improved and in November 2013 I am running my first full marathon. I can also keep up with my husband!
Changing my diet and my eating habits is what worked for me. Always listen to your body, seek professional advice and experiment! You must take care of yourself first, if you want to successfully take care of others.