Why: Johanna's StoryHave you been asked why you live, or why you do things a certain way and you realize you have no idea? When I was asked why I strive to live a healthy lifestyle, I surprised myself when I didn’t have a quick and easy answer.

I grew up with an active and athletic lifestyle. My parents were avid hikers and loved the outdoors. I was determined at a young age to never let being a girl keep me from playing with the boys. I was easily as tough and as strong as they were. I wanted to prove to myself that I could keep up.

School years make staying active and fit pretty easy. Volleyball, track, swimming… my mom made sure I participated in any sport or activity where I had interest. My dad always encouraged me to be the best I could be at anything I tried. It was a fantastic combination to motivate me to work hard.

But we all grow up, and after school sports become desk jobs, and careers get in the way of staying fit, eating well, and fighting the ever-slowing metabolism. I always wanted to be strong and feel young for my age, but it became painfully clear as early as my mid-20s that if I wanted to do great things in my career, I was going to have to make time for myself to stay healthy and fit. Getting to the gym when you work 70 or more hours a week at a desk job was incredibly difficult, especially with a loyal dog companion waiting patiently for my attention at home.

I became a runner when I signed up to run a marathon with the National Aids Marathon Training Program in my late 20s. I had never run more than a mile in my life. I did track and field in high school, sure, but I had never run more than a mile without stopping. No matter how daunting the goal, I knew that sharing this goal with a support group, a running team, and the motivation of a fundraiser for a good cause would make completing such a task a reality. It turned out it was a perfect challenge to get me back into a healthy lifestyle. I could train with my dog, fit in my runs after work, and run long distances with my team on the weekends. Completing that marathon made me realize I could accomplish anything I put my mind to.

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It wasn’t until more recently though that I truly understood the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. I am able to look back and see the yoyo affect that my different lifestyles have had on not only how I looked, but also on how I lived my life. I earned a law degree, got married, and had two children, and these all became more reasons to stay healthy.

I started reading more about food when my dad struggled with heart disease. I would challenge myself to have a healthy cart at the grocery store and cook meals with little to no preservatives. It didn’t take long before I noticed that eating healthfully helped me stabilize my weight and have more energy.

Another challenge to staying active is being a military spouse and constantly moving. Some assignments are easier than others. In our last assignment, I did not have the benefit of a gym with good childcare options that worked for my schedule like I had at our previous post. What I did have though were dozens of trails in beautiful country and the internet. This is where I discovered my love for running in the woods and practicing yoga at home in my living room with my favorite yoga practice website.

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My husband and I strive to motivate each other to stay fit and to eat well. It is important to me that my children eat healthfully and keep active. But most important of all, I want my children to have good role models in their lives to motivate them to stay healthy. It’s important to me that my boys see me practicing yoga regularly at home or watch my husband and me go for an afternoon run together.

That is why I strive to live a healthy and fit lifestyle. I want to be a good role model for my children, and lead an active lifestyle with my family no matter my age.