Life Update + Q&A

The time has finally come to give you guys a little life update! It’s second semester of my senior year here at UGA… and it’s giving me all of the feels. In just four short months, I’ll be moving to begin my new life in Memphis, TN and starting my first full-time job! I’m very excited for the things to come, but I am equally as terrified.

I always say that I am a creature of habit, so leaving everything that I have ever known doesn’t exactly fit that bill. Regardless, I have been truly enjoying my senior year. This semester especially, I have 10 credit hours and that means I can’t even be considered a full time student! Over Winter Break I traveled out of the country for the first time to Israel, where I was able to experience a new culture… and ALL of the freaking hummus. I’ve been working out and running a ton in preparation for upcoming races, but mostly I have been taking advantage of all of the time I have left here at UGA with my friends and spending time with my family before I have to leave them. I have a TON of upcoming exciting projects, trips, and things coming your way… so stay tuned for those!

Now, for the answers to the questions you guys have been asking over the last few months!

Do you ever deal with overeating?

The answer to this question is yes! It happens to the best of us, whether I am mindlessly snacking on something while watching TV or I feel like a bottomless pit during the day, I definitely get that feeling of “oh shoot, I think I ate too much.” However, that’s the only time I ever recognize that I overate. I wouldn’t consider going over an arbitrary number to be overeating, and I don’t have a “goal” for the day that I adhere to in terms of just how many calories I can eat. There’s a difference between physically feeling discomfort from eating too much and from feeling guilty because you ate more than an app told you to.

Do you drink coffee?

No I don’t! I will occasionally drink it, like this Winter when I was on a trip and was desperate for caffeine as a result of not getting a ton of sleep. I don’t love the taste of it, and my parents don’t drink it either, so growing up I wasn’t really exposed to it. I do think that it tastes good with a ton of cream and sugar in it, but to have everyday I don’t think it’s necessary. I start my day with water and a workout, which is my version of coffee!

Favorite leggings?

As a fitness/nutrition influencer, I feel almost obligated to say “Lululemon Align” leggings. However, as a runner, I have to say Underarmour. Underarmour makes Cold Gear, which are my absolute favorite running leggings to date. Don’t get me wrong, I love my single pair of aligns that I own, but in terms of functionality, you can’t go wrong with Underarmour!

Did you run in high school?

Yes! In high school I ran cross country for all four years & track for my freshman and sophomore years, but stopped because the coach wanted me to be a sprinter (yikes).

What time of the day do you take your food pictures?

For me, I love natural sunny light. I’ll take my pictures in the morning, usually between 9-11am right next to a window on the floor! I don’t edit them too much, I try and keep them as light as possible!

FAvorite race you’ve ran?

Every Summer I run the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta! It’s my favorite race of the year. It’s a 10K and an Atlanta Tradition. The course itself isn’t the best, but the miles and miles of spectators and DJs and fun makes up for the hills.

Favorite Nut butter?

Peanut Butter… my senior quote in high school was about my love for peanut butter and it’s still relevant.

Your advice for someone who wants to start running

DO IT. I started running (randomly) in middle school. When I was younger I did almost every sport, so I had run before, but only as a warm up or a punishment. When I first started running to actually run, I hated it. I had awful cramps, felt like I was dying, and always wanted to stop. The best advice I can give, is don’t give up. Running takes a lot of work, especially if you’re starting from nothing. First try a combination of walking & running. Get a running app like Runkeeper (which is the one I used) and use its running plan features. Running only gets easier, so stick with it.

Are you single?

One of my most asked questions, but yes! I’m in a weird stage in my life where I am kind of in limbo. I am moving so I don’t want to start anything where I am now, so I have to almost wait around until I move and get settled in Memphis before I can even think about dating someone.

Do you take your pictures on a camera?

No I don’t! I take them on my iPhone XR! I used to take them on my iPhone 6S before I got the new phone, so I’ve only ever used phones.

How do you stay balanced with being healthy and while also just living life as it comes?

I was actually watching one of Romee Strijd’s vlogs earlier this week and she said something about this topic that I really related to. Health & Fitness is a long term game, so if you have to take a day or two to live life as it comes, it’s not a huge deal. I used to really struggle with balance, and I was very good at saying no to the spontaneity that comes with life. At some point, I just wondered why. If I live a healthy lifestyle pretty much everyday, there’s no reason I can’t take a day or two every now and then to live life as it comes. Memories are so important and there are still some things that I turned down a long time ago that I still think about today.

Treadmill or outside?

I love both! I think 9/10 times I will choose to run outside, especially if it’s sunny. When it comes to actually training, I will likely choose the treadmill. I do a ton of interval work, and I think it’s easier to just set the treadmill to the speed I want and be able to switch it back and forth manually instead of feeling it out with my body on a track.

What do you think about food combining?

I don’t! I have heard about it before, zero interest in it.

Do you ever have days with no activity and just rest?

YES! I try to have at least one every week!

How long do you usually train for a race?

I don’t always “train” for a race, mostly because I run all year round! I definitely tighten up my training in the month or two leading up to a race, my nutrition as well. If it’s a half marathon I am training for, I’ll start to include long runs once a week about 8 weeks out. Anything less, I just focus on speed for about 6 weeks before!

Do you ever worry about your sugar consumption?

Honestly, no. I don’t eat many things that have refined sugar in them, so I think that I am okay. I eat a lot of fruit, which has sugar in it, I know. However, natural sugar is the least of my concerns.

Have you ever struggled with an eating disorder?

Yes and no. When I was in high school, I was very preoccupied with eating “healthy.” I wouldn’t say I wasn’t eating enough, but I would get very stressed out about eating, especially if it was a meal that I didn’t make myself. It made life a little bit more complicated, impacting whether or not I went to a restaurant with friends/ate with my family/etc. Not a very fun way to live, and life is too stressful as it is without worrying about what goes into your body!

Do you snack while you study?

Not usually! When I study I can’t be doing anything else or I’ll get distracted. This means that my phone is off and I am completed focused on studying!

How much do you workout in a week?

I usually do 6 workouts a week! Sometimes I will do 5 if I am busy, or 4 if I am REALLY busy. I just really love moving my body and staying active, so even if I am not “working out” and going super hard in the gym, I’ll go for a walk or something.

How did you build up your following?

This might be my most asked question of all time… the truth is I think I gained followers by not trying. Back when I started my account, I started it for me and me only. I was private for 2 years, posting my food without any followers at all. Everyone in my personal life was blocked because at the time, nobody had food Instagram accounts and I was embarrassed. Slowly after coming off private (keep in mind my friends and family were still blocked), I started to gain followers. I made friends in the Instagram space, friends I still have to this day. I posted food and I commented on other people’s pictures of food. I don’t really know how or why it happened, but it did. I think that being one of the first food Instagrams might have something to do with it, because now the community is bigger than ever, which just means that it is more difficult to stand out. The algorithm also makes it difficult to get your posts seen. My biggest advice I can give, is stop focusing on followers. Make sure you’re on Instagram for the right reasons. You’ll never be satisfied or happy if you’re constantly worried about how many followers you have! Even to this day, I am not actively trying to gain more followers. It happens, somedays I gain, somedays I actually lose. Growth is not always linear. That being said, having my little community has truly been the greatest blessing that I never knew that I wanted or even imagined was possible. I am grateful for every like, message, comment, interaction, etc!

How often do you do yoga?

I actually have only practiced yoga a handful of times! I really want to try hot yoga, so that’s next on my list.

Where do you get your recipe inspiration?

Instagram or Pinterest! I will scroll through my feed and save ideas, but don’t always actually end up making anything that i save. I’d say it’s a combination of things that I’ve always ate & things that I am craving!

Any upcoming races?

I’m racing a 5k in a few weeks to get a solid qualifying time for the 10k I am running this summer!

Do you have cheat days?

I’ve talked about this before, but I don’t consider having treats or something that doesn’t reflect my everyday diet to be “cheating”! If I have a dessert or something, it doesn’t mean that my entire day is “ruined”. So yes, I have treats and things that aren’t necessarily something I would have everyday, but no I don’t even think twice!

Are you in a sorority?

I was my freshman & sophomore year of college! I dropped summer after sophomore year!

How long are your long runs and your recovery runs?

When I am not training for anything, I will usually run 5 miles for every run! Some runs will be 5 miles of intervals/HIIT and others will be at a consistent pace. It really just depends, but I only include a long run when I either feel like running for a long time or I’m training for a half! I don’t need a recovery run unless I ran like 12 miles or something, and then I’d usually do a 5 mile run to recover, just as a lighter pace.

What’s your favorite meal prep dish?

I LOVE MY OATMEAL BAKE! If you follow me, you already know that thought. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, but it’s also the easiest meal to get off track. I know when I start my day with a solid workout and a healthy breakfast, I am more likely to make healthier choices throughout the entire day! Having that oatmeal bake prepped and ready to go means that I can’t grab a protein bar or a banana and peanut butter and call it “breakfast”. Yes, those are healthy breakfast choices, but don’t really satisfy that craving.

Are you considering a vlog?

YES! I have been considering vlogging for a long time. It’s one of my projects that I am working on!

What are you majoring in?

I am a marketing major! I’m getting a digital emphasis within that program at the University of Georgia!

What do you think of intermittent fasting?

I have heard things about it and I am familiar with the concept, I just don’t practice it and don’t plan to! If you’re hungry, you should eat. I don’t think that waiting until a certain time to eat really makes that big of a difference. I have seen people reach weightloss goals by implementing it, but I think there are other ways to lose weight without limiting your eating window to 8 hours.

Did you ever study abroad?

NO! This is probably my biggest regret in college. This past summer, I was accepted into my business school’s Australia and New Zealand study abroad program, but ended up getting an internship and having to pick the internship instead of traveling (tragic, i know). When I graduate this May, I will be making up for it by going to Italy & Greece!!

Anything fun you’re looking forward to in 2020?

This is one of the biggest years of my life! Graduating college, starting a new job, moving to a new state, turning 23, leaving the country to travel by myself, and the list goes on and on! I’m VERY excited and doing my best to embrace all of these changes 🙂

Tips on eating intuitively whilst being a long distance runner?

As a runner, you’re burning so many calories that you shouldn’t even worry about what you’re eating! Your body knows what to do with the food you eat, so you should trust it. Eat mindfully, so make sure you’re getting in protein, complex carbs, veggies, fruits, etc. Also, focus on calcium (for your bones) and if you don’t do dairy, try a calcium supplement!

What place would you like to travel to? That you haven’t already.

I haven’t traveled to too many places, but I would love to see Switzerland & Bali! I have a ton of places on my list, but my top two are Greece & Italy, and I am going in May!

Why don’t you eat dairy or gluten?

In 2017 I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. After doing a TON of research on anti-inflammatory diets, I figured that I would try cutting out gluten and dairy to see if I noticed a difference in how I was feeling. I definitely noticed a difference, so I just kept with it! For awhile I wouldn’t touch gluten or dairy, even though I know I’m not intolerant. However, I am trying to be more balanced now, so occasionally I will have stuff with gluten or dairy if there’s no gf/df option! I haven’t noticed any negative effects from reintroducing them into my diet, but it’s typically a very short term thing. My dad actually experimented with dairy-free last month, and to his disappointment, he noticed some positive changes! I do think that dairy especially can cause a lot of bloating and bowel discomfort, so people do find they are leaner and less puffy when they remove dairy from their diets.

Do you like UGA? It’s one of my top choices!

I love the University of Georgia! It was my first choice school, and I have loved pretty much every second of going here. I’m very very sad to leave this May, but I also feel so old now that I’m a senior! I would give anything to go back and be a freshman again.

IS it good to count your calories per day?

I have mixed thoughts on counting calories. If someone is overweight, I think that it can be a great tool, just because eating in a caloric deficit comes down to science. That being said, if you’re not overweight, doing it for the wrong reasons, or are obsessed, I don’t think that it is a beneficial tool. Most people DO NOT need to count their calories, our bodies are born with signals that tell us when to eat, and when to stop. Your body does not want to gain weight, and I think that a lot of people forget that. If you’re eating mindfully and exercising, I don’t see why you would ever need to track your calories at all. Life is short, calorie tracking is a science, but I think SO many people use it for the wrong reasons and then become extremely dependent on it, when in reality they are 100% capable of listening to their body’s natural cues. Food for thought.

Your zodiac sign?

SCORPIO, which always surprises most people. My parents, on the otherhand, are not surprised at all 😉

Ever thought of going plant-based?

I have actually been trying out being MOSTLY plant-based for the past three weeks! With that I have been doing little to no processed food (no protein bars or anything like that) and I have been having fish or egg whites once a day, but overall I actually do feel great! It’s been a little experiment, and I don’t know how long I plan to keep this up, but so far so god!

Favorite breakfast foods?

Smoothies! Summer or Winter… love them.

Do you have any regrets about your college experience?

Sometimes. Sometimes I wish I was that girl who got trashed and stayed out until 4am. That girl who ate an entire pizza at 2am after the bars closed. I kinda wish I had been that carefree girl who didn’t care about what time she went to sleep and pulled all nighters instead of worrying whether or not she would feel okay enough in the morning to go to her workout class. I wonder what would have happened if I’d gained the freshman 15 by trying all of the different gourmet foods in the dining halls, what did the Niche’s Pizza taste like? I sometimes wish I’d grabbed a cookie or another dessert every time I left Bolton, I hear those cookies are low key amazing. I definitely wish I’d eaten at Cafe Du Monde when I went on formal in New Orleans, instead of knowing it would make me feel like garbage and would ruin the entire weekend and choosing to go somewhere else. There are things that I wish i’d done, but I can’t apologize for being health conscious and I don’t regret prioritizing a healthy lifestyle. I think I did a really great job of being balanced in college, so I don’t really regret not doing certain things, just because I knew in the moment that they would not have made me happier. I guess I only sort of wish I’d done them, just so I could say I did them, and maybe before I graduate I will. I guess I wish I’d been “wild and crazy” even though my personality is just not. I go to one of the top party schools in the country, and I am SO not a huge party girl. I can hang, but at the end of the day “crazy” is just not me. I made my college social life work for me, and don’t get me wrong, I have had my crazy nights. But my version of crazy and someone else’s version of crazy are two different things. My friends and I have memories that we will never repeat out loud, nights we won’t forget, and things that I’ll probably take to the grave. There have been date nights, spring parties, and football games. So even though I didn’t do college the way that I was “supposed to do college”, I’ll still take my experience over someone else’s any day.

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