Wellness Spotlight | Julie Benson | Write the Story of Your Body
The Wellness Spotlight Series highlights military spouses and their real world health and wellness journeys in a Facebook Live series. Below is an excerpt of Julie's feature.
Julie is a military spouse, mamma of two, quilter, nurse, andlover of sports. She is a Gulf Coast native, loves to cook for her family, and spend quality time with family and friends.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY AS A MILITARY SPOUSE.
I met my husband thirteen years ago with a little kismet when he was home from deployment on R&R and was able to make it to our mutual friend’s wedding. When he went back to Iraq, we began to get to know each other through phone calls and email. This past spring we celebrated our ten-year anniversary. Right before we got married it was time for him to PCS and he got his preference list of duty stations. Naive as I was, picking from this list gave me the illusion of control in our military life. I of course learned soon thereafter that I indeed was not in control. I made a decision early on to just say, “we will see when that day comes”, and to not get overly committed to one outcome or another in my mind. To put it simply, I have learned to just roll with the punches.
HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED ANY EXTREME HIGHS/LOWS SINCE BECOMING A MILITARY SPOUSE? WHEN HAS YOUR HEALTH (MENTAL AND/OR PHYSICAL) SUFFERED THE MOST, AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT?
I exercised all the way through my first pregnancy and then resumed my fitness routine when my son was a few months old. When I became pregnant with my second child, I let the exhaustion of early pregnancy take over and quit exercising altogether. My kids were both born cesarean and as a result of those surgeries and the de-conditioning of the muscles around my joints, I felt weak and in pain all of the time at only thirty-six years old. I remember one day walking up the stairs with my one-year-old baby in my arms with pain shooting through my hip and lower back and I said to myself, “This can’t be it. I have to change this.”
The same moment was my lowest. But, it is a powerful thing to know that you are in charge of your body and self and we can all forget that pretty easily as parents and military spouses. I have experienced many great days of enjoying my good physical fitness since the moment I decided to take back my health, but the highest moment was the moment that I empowered myself to write the story of my body because that moment will never be replaced.
What is your favorite way to decompress during the summer months?
I love going on an early morning bike ride with a friend. I started riding at our last duty station with a dear friend and have been fortunate enough to continue the sport with another dear friend at my current duty station. There is something about that fresh air injection right to the face from riding fast that makes me giddy and downright happy.
WHAT IS ONE PERSONAL HABIT THAT CONTRIBUTES TO YOUR SUCCESS?
When I reclaimed my fitness I also reclaimed my nutrition. I have always been a pretty healthy eater but I wanted a lot out of my body so I knew I had to put a lot back in return. I started doing weekly meal prep for my breakfast and lunch a couple of years ago and it was a game changer for me. A year ago I went a step further and had a registered dietician evaluate my activity level and prescribe a meal template for me. So now I am confident that I am fueling my body with exactly what it needs.
IF YOU COULD SHARE A HEALTH AND WELLNESS RESOURCE WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I discovered the book Roar by Dr. Stacy T. Sims a little over a year ago and it has helped me tremendously in understanding my body and health as a woman. The book argues that research on fitness in the past has always been done on men because the variables of the female hormones are too, well, variable for scientists to use in research. This book will help every woman to understand how to harness the power of being a female in relation to health and fitness. I have recommended the book to several men in the fitness industry as well that have said it changes the way they work with their female clients. To me, this book really embodies female empowerment.
Julie is a military spouse, mamma of two, a quilter, a nurse, and a lover of sports. She is a Gulf Coast native, loves to cook for her family, and loves to spend quality time with family and friends. Every day you can find her doing something active whether she is in the gym, on the trail with her running buddy, biking, swimming, or climbing on the playground equipment with her kids. She loves to try new things, expand the horizon, and test her limits.