The story of the month for June 2009 comes from Terie (aka SpinDiva) Cornelio of Family in Shape.

Terie is also known as SpinDiva, as she is a Certified Group and Personal Fitness Trainer. She lives and stays busy with her husband and four children in the United States. Amongst staying active herself and teaching others, Terie also writes on her own health blog.

Terie’s personal story of her evolving health and fitness is very applicable for many, as it is not uncommon in today’s society for many mom’s to put their own health and fitness on the side due to the demands of motherhood. Terie however, is actively seeking otherwise. Not only is she trying to promote healthy eating and activity in her own family, but she also reaches out to teach and inspire others to do the same.

Please welcome Terie sharing her story of change and inspiration with us:

Area(s) of My Health and Wellness that Needed Change

Since leaving the US Marine Corps and having children I realized that staying healthy was going to have to be a priority in my life and only I could be accountable for my own wellness. First my reasons seem obvious, my kids. How could I teach them to eat healthy and stay active if I’m not. I also wanted to be able to keep up with them, after all, there are four of them and one of me so staying physically fit was extremely important to me as a mom.

Secondly, with a history of type II diabetes and high blood pressure in the family I realized that was not a risk I was willing to take. I do not like taking pills or being tied to a prescription, therefore I had to avoid the illnesses that have been prevalent in my Dad, Mom and Sister since their early 40′s. I’m now turning 42 and glad to say, I have no signs of diabetes, HBP, cholesterol, or obesity.

Strategies I Implemented & Their Results

I started off on my own, as I said after my tour in the military, running and walking. I started several walking clubs with moms around the country as we move from state to state all in an effort to stay active and in good physical shape. I later started attending different fitness classes such as Body Pump, Spinning, Boot Camp and Turbo Kickbox.

I fell in love with the feeling after the workout but more so with the results which included better sleep, less stress, and of course, weight loss. Being involved in all areas of fitness was a first step in what would later become my career of choice. I realized that there were many people out there struggling with weight, motivation, accountability and commitment to fitness. I felt compelled to work with others struggling with all these wellness issues. I can only empower people to live a healthier lifestyle if I lead by example.

Being an instructor forces me to stay on top of my wellness but most important, it provides a sense of balance in my life because I feel that I can help and have helped others in their journey to wellness.

I have educated myself and continue to do so in areas of fitness, flexibility, nutrition, and in a diverse environment where all ages and conditions are addressed. Not only do I help myself and my family but also those who come to me for guidance.

How My Changes Benefitted Me

I am more aware of how food affects my body, my mood, and my weight. I won’t say that all my meals and snacks are 100% perfect in balance but I know exactly what I’m eating, when and why. For me it is more about awareness so that we don’t fall into a depression after having had too much of something and then falling off the fitness track because of that one meal.

It is not about beating myself up over my decision to have a non-healthy snack but about choices and counteracting the effects of what we eat instead of letting that bring us down. I do follow a fairly healthy diet, no restrictions on anything I know my body needs. Salty, fatty, sugary junk food are reserved for certain occasions because after all, we all need our chocolate or salty fix every once in a while.

In fitness, the changes have truly helped me to be more aware of my muscular definition, body mechanics, and function. I am more in control of my body when I exercise which allows me to focus on proper form which translates into a better workout with no injuries. Knowing what exercise to do each day and how it affects not only my physical body but also my mood and mental acuity.

My mantra is “nothing tastes as good as the release of endorphins feels, after a hard workout” – it’s my happy juice and my mood changes, my attitude towards food is better when I exercise regularly.

Next Steps on My Health and Wellness Journey

My short term goals I have started to work on, coincidentally, this month, June 2009. The baby is now 2 1/2 which means any excess weight on my body is no longer because I had a baby but because I need to make some important changes to the nutrition side of my wellness plan. I’m not big on looking at the numbers on a scale but I do use those as a guide. I prefer to measure my body and of course gauge how I feel in my own skin and in my clothes.

My plan is to begin running as part of my fitness routine and begin a nutrition journal to see where I’m failing in my food intake. Over the next few weeks I will have a better idea as to what I am or what I am not doing right and then I will be able to better focus on my wellness plan. I have a few inches to loose in my upper body as I am genetically prone to gain weight in the middle, upper back and arms, and so I have to keep that in check.

Wisdom & Inspiration for Others

My suggestions to others are as follows:

  1. Know that being and living healthy is a lifestyle change and cannot be attained with a quick fix program.

  2. Begin a fitness and nutrition journal to see where you are and then use that to draft a program that fits your lifestyle.

  3. Begin by changing one meal at a time, i.e. change only lunch for a week or two then once that becomes a habit, change a different meal. In time you will be making better food choices without becoming overwhelmed.

  4. Get and stay active. Not only is exercise a great way to loose weight but exercise affects your mood, your views on life, your relationship with food, your sleep patterns and for many other physiological and physical reasons. Nutrition and Fitness go hand in hand – do both!

  5. Read. Read. Read. Educate yourself about food, read food labels and try a new recipe every week. Educate yourself about body mechanics, different exercises, and learn about what you can do to stay active even when a fitness center is not available.