About Me

My name is Ryan (yes, despite my name, I am a girl! :D). I am a 22-year-old student at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. I am in my final semester of completing my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. After graduation I plan on attending graduate school either for Elementary Education or Instructional Design/Educational Technology somewhere in Florida. We’ll see where life takes me!

College Eats

I used to be very concerned about the kinds of foods I was putting in my body. I loved the idea of eating an all-organic, whole foods diet in high school while I was still living with my parents. When college started I was unsure of how that lifestyle fit in with my new dorm environment. I had little place to put my food and literally no place to cook it. Even though I now live in a condo with a fully-functional kitchen, those eating habits have stuck with me. I’m excited to get back on track eating wholesome, nutritious foods that will give me the energy to get through my busy and hectic days.

I tend to be strictly a recipe follower. I haven’t really ventured out on my own to create recipes that are original enough to call mine. Reading food blogs has given me a lot of great ideas and helps me make better decisions about what I’m going to make each day. I’m certainly not afraid of cooking itself, just steering away from the original recipe. I’m hoping to get better at going out on a limb and creating something entirely unique, but until then I will be trying all of your wonderful recipes πŸ™‚

On this blog you will see a lot of organic produce and other organic products. You will not see products with partially hydrogenated oils (trans fat), monosodium glutamate (MSG), or sodium nitrites. You will see a flexitarian diet because while I am not a vegetarian, I do enjoy the occasional meat-centered meal (approx. 2-3 times a month).

Fitness

Most of my pre-adult life was spent either swimming or rowing. I never had to worry about anything that I ate because I was in the best shape and any amount of calories didn’t phase me. Unfortunately, what came along with that was a lack of control and moderation. When I started college, I immediately joined the rowing club and was practicing 5-6 times a week for 2 hours at a time. Again, didn’t have to worry about what I was eating. After a semester of such an intense practice schedule, my grades weren’t so hot and I had to quit the team. It’s been downhill ever since.

I’ll refer to my exercise routine for the last 3 years as more of something that resembles a yo-yo. I’m sure many of you can relate to starting an exercise routine all motivated, only to throw in the towel the following week. I’ve been there too many times to count. When life got hectic and busy, exercise was the first thing to go.

All of this led me to stepping on the scale at my boyfriend’s house in November of 2008 and discovering that my weight was hovering around 150 lbs (I’m 5′ 8″). When I was in GOOD shape, I was between 130-135 lbs. The point of this blog has never been to focus so much on my weight as I do on eating healthy and staying as active as possible. If the weight came off, that was all the better for me.

When it came down to choosing a way to stay active, I really didn’t think twice about choosing running. When I was in shape, I LOVED running. The problem has always been, getting to that point. I decided to commit to getting past that threshold once again and never look back.

Why I am Blogging

I love this online blogging community. I love reading everyone’s great ideas about food, new products, and fitness tips. What I love even more is being held accountable by all of you to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I definitely partially credit blogging for my success in this wonderful journey to health. I’ve also met some incredible, inspiring people through this blog and I cannot wait to meet more! Everyone is so supportive here, so I say, what’s not to love?!

The Results

Since I started this blog in November 2008, I have been very successful in my running training, making healthier food choices and ultimately watching the weight disappear.

I chose the C25K plan (check it out, it’s great!) to slowly ease myself into running. Soon after I began the plan, I signed up for my first 5K race. I have to say that having registered and paid for a race, before even being able to run 3.1 miles non-stop, was the perfect motivation to get me out the door and moving. If you’re having trouble getting into a running routine, I highly recommend two things: a training plan and being registered for a race. I successfully completed my first 5K race in January 2009 and ran my second 5K at the end of February. I’m currently training for and have plans to run the Take Stock in Children 10K on March 29, 2009. I also recently set a goal of running my first half marathon by the end of November 2009 (my 1 year anniversary of running).

Along with training for my races, I started to make healthier food choices. I stopped eating out all of the time and focused on what I could create in my kitchen with high quality ingredients. The journey has been a slow, successful one. I never imagined I’d make any transformations in my diet overnight and I certainly haven’t. However, I’m continually growing as a healthy eater and feel that I’ll never stop learning what it means to be this way. Over time I have learned how to integrate more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins and fiber into my diet without depriving myself of what I love: good food! The results have been wonderful too. The horrible stomach aches and bloating I was plagued with at least 3-4 times a week have completely disappeared. My digestive system is working regularly. I have more energy. And I feel like I’m standing taller every day I continue this journey. It’s truly contagious and I don’t think I will ever return to my old lifestyle.

All of this sounds good and great, right? But most people want the cold, hard facts and results. I am no different and like to check my progress from time to time via my weight and body fat scale. I want to reemphasize what was stated above, that my sole focus has never been my weight. I do believe it’s a good indicator (particularly the body fat percentage) of whether or not the changes you’ve made are the right ones for your body. I knew that if I changed my eating and exercise habits, the lost weight would be an extra bonus and it definitely has been! Since I started this change I have lost ~10 pounds (it fluctuates) and 2% of my body fat. I notice this mostly in my stomach/hip area, thighs and arms. I have no idea where I will level off as far as my weight loss but, again, that’s not as important as the healthy changes I’ve made in my life.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at chasedaylight.blog@gmail.com.


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23 Responses to “Meet Ryan”

  1. bobbi Says:

    Ryan love the name:) Love the blog!!

  2. Lindsey Says:

    So glad you started blogging!! We should hang out the next time we’re both in Sarasota. πŸ™‚

  3. Meghann Says:

    I always love the about me sections I feel like I know so much about where you are coming from now. Good luck on your new journey, we’re here to support you! πŸ™‚

  4. Ryan Says:

    Bobbi – I love your name too! Yay for girls with boy names πŸ™‚

    Lindsey – I’m so glad too! We definitely should do that…I’ll be there from Dec 18 – Jan 4th. You?

    Meghann – Thanks so much! I’ve been meaning to write this for awhile and finally got a chance to. Glad you enjoyed it!

  5. Callyn Says:

    Wow Ry! I had no idea you were doing this, but it’s fantastic! You have been bookmarked. πŸ™‚ All the food you cook yourself looks amazing, but I think you should write an entry on how you time manage, because I feel like I would never have enough time to make all this delicious looking stuff!


  6. I love your mindset and reasons for starting this blog. I’m in Florida, too! Tampa!

  7. dailygoods Says:

    i love your about me! you’ve got such an awesome blog!

  8. Bec Says:

    I just found your blog, it looks great! As a senior on my varsity rowing team I defiantly understand the stresses crew put on your academic career. Glad to see you are making a commitment to your health!

  9. kaneil Says:

    Hi Ryan,

    I just discovered your blog and am looking forward to keeping up with it! I loved reading your SoP. My undergrad degree is in early childhood ed, and I just finished my master’s in elementary ed last May! Wherever you end up for grad school, I’m sure you’ll love it!

    Kaneil, balanceisbest.wordpress.com


  10. hey, ryan! i’m tyler, and i’m a girl, too. love your blog so far!

  11. Leanne Says:

    Hey, I just found your blog and I wanted to let you know that your pictures are great! I’m still trying to master food photography… I look forward to reading more!

  12. Meghan Says:

    Hey Ryan,
    I don’t know if you remember me but we used to swim together on sharks!!
    I live in Gainesville too, I graduated in May and just applied to grad school in NYC!! Just wanted to drop by and say hi πŸ™‚

    1. Ryan Says:

      Oh my gosh, hi! I definitely remember you! I’m excited to see you have a blog…I’ll be reading! Thanks for stopping by πŸ˜€

  13. Lora Says:

    omg u are too cute! i am sending out the goods this weekend. I forgot the GRE is tomorrow and its sadly all afternoon so I cant get to the mail room pre-closing time. stupid tests ruin it all!


  14. […] google reader and came across a new post from Ryan over at Chasing Daylight; she updated her “Meet Ryan” page, which is where I found out that she started running using the Couch to 5k plan. Β I […]

  15. cleanveggiex3 Says:

    I love your healthy eating approach πŸ™‚
    but I have a quick question – how do you know if something has MSG in it?


    1. Hi cleanveggiex3! Thanks so much for the compliment πŸ™‚

      MSG is most directly labeled “Monosodium Glutamate” on food labels. However, it can also be called other things. You’d be surprised how many food items (especially fake meat products) have MSG in them once you start looking at labels. For more information please visit my post from February on MSG and let me know what you think!

      http://chasedaylight.com/2009/02/17/msg-and-more/

  16. Mish Says:

    I love that your journey has been a slow progress. That you’re actually documenting your progress. Sometimes i feel that bloggers already ‘have it’ mentally. They started blogging after they got through their struggles. It’s nice to know that simple and diligent changes can show progress. Excited to keep following you. Good on your for vol. I just got back from East Timor..the time of my life.


    1. Thanks so much! I remember starting this blog thinking, I haven’t made any progress like everyone else…maybe I should wait until I have. I’m glad I didn’t because it’s fun to see where I’ve come from!

      I hope you’ll follow me on my new blog. Check back on August 3rd to see it!


  17. I knew I’d meet another blogger who’s a Couch to 5K fan! That’s how I started running and my first half-marathon is this September. I started my blog to stay accountable too. Good luck and keep up the great work!

    http://www.WrenLife.com

  18. Aggie Says:

    Hi Ryan! I just found your blog from Healthy Tipping Point! I too live in the Orlando area and am a UF graduate! though, I graduated in 1998 so I’m a little older than you… πŸ™‚

    I’m a swimmer too, it’s my favorite way to stay in shape! Good luck on your tri this weekend, I just did one in May and am considering doing Moss Park in October! Will be back to check out your blog! πŸ™‚

  19. Jenna Says:

    love your about me page and your blog!

    just came across your blog and totally love it, i would love it if you could check out my new blog!
    jenna

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