Get inspired by Courtney Salinas, a 40+ mother of two who has managed her weight and fitness without gyms and dieting. Her approach is simple, healthy, moderate, and allows for treats and life’s pleasures…without any guilt. Here she answers our questionnaire and helps inspire us to greater well-being!
South Carolina resident Courtney Salinas is like many of us – busy juggling duties amongst two children, her husband and a career. Somehow in the midst of the hustle and bustle, she has found a balanced approach to well-being that works for her. Not only does she believe in home cooking and avoiding processed food, but she finds pockets of time throughout her day and week to center herself with yoga and take care of her mind and body with lots of walking.
What kind of fitness/exercise do you do now regularly?
Walking outside, yoga, and swimming in the ocean.
What new sport/exercise would you like to do in this lifetime?
I would like to be good at Zumba. Wish I could have some rhythm and really know how to dance like that. I also recently started taking tennis lessons with a group of ladies. Allthough I do this more for the social aspect, one day I would love to master the game.
What is your idea of a perfectly ‘fit and healthy’ day?
A day that includes a long walk or a power yoga class plus only fresh foods – no junk or processed foods. A massage would also be nice.
What is your biggest fitness and well-being obstacle ever?
I often get in a rut and won’t exercise for a week or two because I get bored. I know it’s ok to take a break and just simply relax, but often I can’t get back into it.
What is your greatest motivation to get out the door and moving?
It is more my mind than my body that motivates me. Exercise has never changed the shape of my body – only healthy eating does this. But exercise helps clear my head and keep me calm. With two kids and part time work, there is always stress – so I know taking a quick walk or heading to the yoga studio will make life right again. Exercise centers me.
What is your all-time greatest fitness-related achievement?
This came early in life – at age 10. I had just begun competitive swimming with the American Athletic Union. My first regional meet came and I was set to race 9 events. I finished in the top three in all nine events. Not bad for my first time!
What would you say to people who have not yet discovered the mental and physical benefits of a regular fitness regime?
Walk for 10 minutes. That’s it. Just walk down the street without headphones and without talking to someone. Then come back and notice how you feel. I guarantee you will feel better.
What is your philosophy on eating?
Eat real food. Boxes and packages are not food. I cook every day – breakfast, lunch and dinner. People should realize it is not that hard to make something from scratch. I make pancakes and waffles from scratch each week. I bake cookies each Sunday to last all week. I cook dinner every night for my family with fresh meat and veggies. I don’t buy food in bulk (only some pantry items). I go to the market almost every day and buy just a few ingredients at a time. When things taste good, you feel satisfied and eat less. I try to avoid chemicals and dyes at all costs.
(Want to get rid of processed food in your diet? Join Fit to Inspire’s Clean Eating Challenge here!)
What is your daily breakfast?
I used to always eat eggs but lately have been on to smoothies made with kale, strawberries, blueberries, peanut butter, cinnamon and oats – all blended with water, not milk.
Greek yogurt that I make myself mixed with a little honey or even a little Nutella.
What would the perfect day of eating for you look like?
It would involve a nice simple breakfast of poached eggs with sautéed spinach and mushrooms with maybe a little goat cheese, a small breakfast roll and really strong tasty coffee. Then off to a true market to search for ingredients for a big midday meal based on the ingredients found (for example, a good piece of fish or shellfish, tomatoes, squash, and potatoes to make a nice seafood stew). And yes a nice bottle of wine to go with it. Late in the evening a simple piece of homemade bread with butter and honey, some fruit and a nice cup of tea.
What is the best fitness / well-being advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t sit – work hard in all that you do all day. Clean your own home, do your own gardening, walk to the market, walk the dog, clean the car, run with the kids, swim in the ocean and jump the waves. Just move in every day life.
Who has inspired fitness in you? And how will you inspire others to be fit this year?
My mother was never a true fitness fanatic but she gave me the advice above. She also told me to walk after dinner every night. And to find a class that you like to take and do that often too. Not really for the fitness but to get out and meet people and just feel good. She stayed trim and fit her whole life but she was also an expert on passing on bread and dessert. Another good secret!
I think I often inspire people to be fit because even after two kids and being in my mid 40’s, I weigh the same as I did in my 20’s. I don’t look like a supermodel but I stay fit. People often ask me how I do it. My response is always the same: eat real food and move your body every day. I think structured fitness is great but people need to know that going to the gym and then sitting on the couch for the rest of the day is not being fit.
Lifting your five year old up to reach the monkey bars is true fitness. Digging up weeds is true fitness. And that Special K cereal may be low in calories, but it is not real food. Oatmeal, eggs, and even homemade waffles are real food. Most all of the people around the world that live to be a healthy 100 don’t do “fitness”. They don’t hit the gym for a session with a trainer. They simply move every day and eat only real food. Very simple when you think about it.