Senior year brings on many changes in a student’s life, and that was no different for senior studying Digital Communication Arts, Halie Sutton. Going into fall term in 2016, Sutton knew she wanted to make dramatic changes in her lifestyle and through her unwavering motivation she has achieved many of her personal fitness goals.

Halie Sutton

There are many reasons an individual might seek a new fitness regime, whether it is for an overall healthier lifestyle, weight loss, muscle gain, motivation, etc. In Sutton’s case, she found herself pursuing a lifestyle change for a variety of reasons. “Over summer, I was running into losing weight issues. I wasn’t able to lose weight as easy as I should be,” she said, “I couldn’t figure out why. I went through this really emotional time with my doctor and I found out that I had minor symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes. So, that scares a person. That scares a 21-year-old.”

Sutton thought she was doing everything right, but this scare was the turning point that made her want to improve her overall wellness. “From that point on, I decided to go ahead and try the Whole30 Diet. Whole30 Diet is extremely intense and it’s not even considered a diet—that’s just how society puts it. It’s a lifestyle change,” said Sutton, “I had to give up alcohol, I had to give up grains, I had to give up dairy, I had to give up all added sugar, and some crazy amount of preservatives that are found in food and legumes.” Whole30 can be compared to the commonly known Paleo Diet, but it is much more intense.

Diet restrictions can often raise questions, but in Sutton’s case, Whole30 was the first step in a necessary lifestyle change. She took these powerful measures to discover what foods were negatively affecting her body. “I did [Whole30] for strictly 30 days and the whole point of it is that you’re not supposed to get on the scale to see what you lose because it’s not about losing the weight, it’s about feeling better and knowing your body,” Sutton said, “After the Whole30 diet, I ended up seeing results in my pants—I lost two pants sizes. For the fitness part, I was only working out twice a week.” During this time, Sutton was enrolled in two PAC classes—Fitness Yoga and Step Aerobics.

Since the Whole30 Diet and her fall term PAC classes, Sutton has began a well-rounded fitness routine. “Now, I work out four to five times a week for one hour increments and with those one hour routines it’s all interval training,” she said, “It’s a combination of cardio, CrossFit, weightlifting and plyometrics, sometimes.” By implementing this regime, Sutton has continued to see improvements in her overall health and perception of fitness. “I used to hate running—absolutely hated running and ever since I started doing these interval trainings, I found that running is the best thing for me,” said Sutton, “I’ve learned to love getting on the treadmill—that’s the first thing I do when I workout. I’m on the treadmill for 30 minutes doing different inclines, doing different speeds, so I found that I really, really like running now.” Embracing physical activities is a way that Sutton has found motivation to better her overall wellness.

Halie Sutton

There are many benefits as a result of Sutton’s lifestyle change. “Overall I feel so much better, in myself. I found that I’m sleeping a lot better at night and I’m craving better foods for me,” she said. However, finding the inspiration to make a dramatic lifestyle alteration like this isn’t always easy, even for Sutton. “The difficult days are always the best days to [workout]. On days when I’m having a really bad day, or a really off day—I just don’t feel like going to the gym,” she said, “I find that those days that I’m having those difficulties are the best days to go to the gym because afterwards I just feel so much better.”

Beginning with dietary changes, Sutton emphasized the importance of accessing OSU Rec Sports Nutritionist offerings. “A lot of things that people don’t know about Dixon include the nutrition program and the dieticians there that help you. I’ve utilized them and I find them extremely helpful,” said Sutton, “I want that to be promoted for sure because I feel like a lot of students don’t know that they can go ask for help. Dixon’s not just a gym and that’s something students need to know.” Students can find more information on the Nutritionists at Rec Sports by visiting http://recsports.oregonstate.edu/nutrition.

Today, Sutton is feeling better than ever as she continues to workout and fuel her body with healthy options. Despite the improvements she has seen, Sutton encouraged others to not be discouraged in the beginning. “It does not happen overnight. You do not lose five pounds in two weeks. You do not do any of those things. It’s a lifestyle change,” she said. Any lifestyle change takes time and Sutton offered her fitness philosophy to inspire others: “Motivation gets you started, but habit keeps you going,” said Sutton. If you’re looking for change, today could be the day to get started. Find motivation and turn healthy living into a habit, by choice.