Employees get Energized: Sarah Feist

Basin Electric’s Intranet features several blogs written by employees. One, called “Be Well,” is written by Nicole Perreault, graphic designer and multimedia specialist II.

She just featured Sarah Feist. Feist is an administrative assistant II at Leland Olds Station. Read about what is motivating her to get on the road to wellness. She was part of a blog post earlier this week on a group of employees who ran the Bismarck Marathon: Basin Electric employees cross finish line together

Sarah Feist - Be WellWhen did you start incorporating wellness into your life?

On April 1, 2013, I made a commitment to myself to get fit and healthier.

Why do you feel it is important to eat healthy and exercise?

If you want to feel your best, mentally and physically, you need exercise and healthy food, in my opinion. There is a saying, ‘You are what you eat, so don’t be fast, cheap, easy or fake.’ It does take time to adjust from eating ‘bad’ food to more healthy food, but I promise that if you stick with it, you will notice a difference.

What motivated you to make your health a priority in your life?

I felt I was being held back. I was sick of being tired and lazy. Also, I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could get to a healthy weight. I have read countless stories of other people losing weight and thought, ‘Why not me?’

Describe your weekly workout routine.

Sarah Feist - Be WellMy routines change with the season and any programs I choose to do. When it’s nice out I like to be outside biking, swimming or running. I do a lot of body weight training at home in my basement (using exercise DVDs, online printouts or YouTube videos). During the colder months, I continue to work out at home and attend fitness classes at my gym, the Beulah Fit Club. Right now I workout 5-6 days a week for at least 30 minutes a day and always stretch on Sundays. I keep on my feet/active around the house on my rest days.

What is your favorite workout?

I love spin class, especially with a good instructor and music. You really get what you put into the class and that makes me work hard.

How has your health, weight, energy level, etc., changed since you started living a healthier life style?

Everything has changed. I have always been healthy according to my blood tests, but now I don’t even worry about those numbers. My energy level is way up (I have become somewhat of a morning person), I’m always doing something and I sleep very well. I’m up to try anything and I keep a positive attitude. I’ve dropped a significant amount of weight and am within a healthy weight range for my height. I think I am just generally happier now with myself.

What do you feel has been your biggest achievement since making your health a priority?

My biggest tangible achievement was probably completing a sprint triathlon on Aug. 30. I swam one-half miles, biked 12 miles and ran 3.1 miles. I was confident enough to sign up for and train for this by myself. I basically taught myself to swim and faced my fears or doing something outside the box for me. I did a thorough recap of that event on my blog: Southern Hills Sprint Triathlon 2014.

Sarah Feist - Be WellAn intangible achievement I am working on and where I have made great strides is my eating. I am much more likely to choose healthier options and to not binge on bad food. This is a work in progress, but I have come a long ways. I’m far from perfect, but I’m much better and rebounding/getting back on track after slipping up.

What was the most difficult part of changing your lifestyle?

Criticism, no doubt. I’ve had people say some rather rude and hurtful comments to me, wonder why I spend time working out, ask me what I weigh(!!), tell me I don’t look good anymore, and worse. Luckily, I have a great family as a support system. They are the most important people in my life, so I value their input. I just have to remind myself this is for me and my health and not let those other comments get to me.

How have they responded to your healthier lifestyle?

My husband is my #1 biggest cheerleader. He takes me swimming out to Lake Sakakawea, puts up with the healthy meals I cook, the griping I do, the early morning workouts, the early bedtimes, etc. My family took me to Hot Springs and cheered me on during my sprint tri – I know my Mom and sister for sure wouldn’t have missed it for the world. They are supportive and proud of me, I think. Our yellow lab, Winston, appreciates a good one-mile run (he is getting old) but our tabby cat, Brinklie, couldn’t give two whisker shakes about what I do.

Are you involved in the community, hobbies, clubs, etc.?

I try to be involved in the Hazen Chamber and their activities. My hobbies besides exercise are trying new restaurants and beers, travelling, cooking and baking, and being on the Missouri River with my family.

How did you find time to incorporate exercise into your schedule?

I just make time and it isn’t always easy. I have to make it a priority and fit it in with social time, cleaning, cooking, work and all the other to-do’s life throws my way.

What do you hope people gain from following your blog, “Feisty Eats“?

I just love when people share with me that they tried a recipe and liked it! I was very hesitant to open myself up with my weight loss and fitness ideas/tips since I’m just a regular person trying to improve herself. But I received a lot of positive feedback so I try to incorporate some of that part of my life into posts. It’s kind of funny that most of my posts are baked goods or fitness, but life is all about balance. I don’t ever see myself stopping baking, but maybe I’ll incorporate more healthy meals into the blog. If someone can learn something from my posts, whether a recipe or a workout tip, that makes me happy.

Sarah Feist - Be WellWhat is your advice for other employees looking to improve their overall health and wellness?

Start small. Just take the first step. Drink more water, eat more fruits, veggies and lean meats. Get up and move. Turn the TV off. If you are looking to start working out, find what you like – there are a ton of classes, machines, etc. If you enjoy it, you are more likely to stick with it. Take pictures of your progress. The scale isn’t the only tool in weight loss, seeing progress in photos is great motivation. Use social media to connect with others who have similar goals and use a calorie counter on your smart phone (MyFitnessPal or LoseIt) to track what you are eating.

One thing no one ever told me is that you don’t have to fit into a mold. You don’t have to be a “clean eater”, a “vegan”, or eat only kale salads, etc. You don’t need to live up to some perfect idea. No one is perfect, everyone messes up and everyone has flaws. You will feel like a failure, you will have rotten, no-good days. But just try making healthier choices and go from there. Fitness, exercise and healthy eating – it’s all kind of scary and intimidating. I never thought I could make it this far! I know it sounds all hippy dippy, but mostly, keep a positive attitude, be honest with yourself and have faith in yourself. You are worth the time and effort.

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