Spotlight On: Ashley Wood
Office Aid, Life Guard, Swim instructor, Personal Trainer
Campus Recreation, Aquatics
Years Worked at UNH: 3
What does health mean to you?: Health means that both your physically well and mentally happy. When I am healthy, it means that my stress is down, I have energy to do the things I love and need to do, I participate socially with those I care about, I can work through most issues that come my way without being affected negatively, and my body feels good and without pain. Health is a way of life and although life isn’t always easy, if you can maintain that balance of physical health and mental health, then life will be fulfilling and memorable.
What do you do to make a Healthy UNH?: I feel that I make a healthy UNH by being positive and supporting those around me to be happy and engaged in things they love that can help make them healthy. Whenever I can I encourage my friends to run/jog, hike, rock climb, or even just walk around with me. I even try to find fun events at UNH and outside to participate in for myself and my friends/co-workers. In fact, at the end of last semester a co-worker and I signed up for the color run; we spent a little money on it so we definitely could not back down, plus it’s the happiest 5k on the planet! I also do my best to let others know I am there for them for anything. I feel that helps create a healthy and strong relationship in which you can trust and rely on each other.
How do you stay fit?: I have come a long way in terms of being and staying fit. It took me 3 years to achieve my most fit self, which involved losing 80lbs and finding a healthy mindset. Back at my most fit, I worked at FedEx, went rock climbing 2-3 times a week, ran 2-3 times a week, and went hiking/biking or just participated in very active games such as soccer/football (though I mostly ran back and forth) etc. To stay fit nowadays, with all my schooling and many jobs, I try find jobs in which I must move and stay active. I am a life guard and swim instructor as well as a new personal trainer so in each position not only must I maintain and excel in my physical fitness but I am being active while performing my duties. Outside of my jobs I enjoying hiking, rock climbing (when I can), cleaning my condo with music on and moving to it, I go to the gym with my friend 2-3 times a week, and hop in the pool to do laps/aqua jog/ or tread water. During the summer, I help pick peaches and nectarines at an orchard, so that really works my upper body. Even if I go out for a night I always try and find a place I can dance in to keep me active.
Do you have any tips for eating healthfully?: Stock your home with non processed foods-fruit, veggies, and healthy homemade dips. Those really come in handy when you start to get hungry and you are plowing away at homework. I find that having small healthy snacks like nuts, fruits, veggies, and granola around help when you begin to feel hungry (I try to keep them in my purse or backpack). Drinking lots of water also helps to lessen your hunger cravings because you fill up on it. Finally, trying new healthy foods and recipes help to encourage eating healthy. Plus those are always the most flavorful foods!
How do you find motivation to stay healthy?: There are still many times when motivation is hard to come by. Remember that you may have your down days or “cheat” days, but that’s okay. Just remember, if you start being active even for 5 minutes, that feeling will infect you and help encourage you to continue. Also, if you love to cook or bake or even just that you like to eat make it a challenge to find things healthy and new to try.
Have you made any tangible improvements to your physical or mental well-being by making positive changes in your life?: The biggest tangible improvement to my health has been my weight loss due to my positive change in my emotional and mental state. Ever since I was little, when under stress, I would “comfort” eat, now it wasn't just eating constantly but eating too many sweets or processed carbohydrates and at the wrong times. I still fall into the habit every now and then when my stress level is way high. But the more I focus on making myself happy and finding ways to remove unnecessary stress from my life, the less I find myself “comfort” eating. Over the last 5 years I have maintained a healthy weight along with feeling happier and more stable in my life.
Anything else you would like to add?: Love yourself. It is the hardest thing to do but I know that if you can do that than your health and life will be wonderful. Don’t deny things either to yourself that only sets you up for failure because if you “cave” into that which you have denied yourself then you will only make yourself feel bad. Moderation is key and making things enjoyable and special will help you moderate your treats.