To inform and inspire others who struggle with health and happiness by sharing my own personal experience and research.

Things you’ll see in this blog:

I’m an avid reader, programmer, and martial artist. I have also struggled with mild depression, fatigue and stomach issues. Topics I like to write about include:

  • Training journals, photos and thoughts on martial arts, running and strength training
  • Health and fitness news, articles and books
  • Web apps and gadgets that help you stick with or track your health plan
  • Mental health and finding happiness
  • Setting, pursuing, achieving and rewriting goals
  • Learning how to cook
  • Loving yourself

Things you won’t see in this blog:

  • Whining and complaining. We’re productive here!

About the Author

Another potentially good hair day sacrificed to the #BJJ mats!! 😛 #messyhairdontcare @girlsingis

A post shared by Elaine VDW (@elainevdw) on

My name is Elaine, I’m 34, and I live in Reno, NV with my fiancé and four cats. I was a sedentary, asthmatic kid you were more likely to find reading than running around on the playground. Thanks to my parents, I never had low self-esteem, though. I was a pretty happy kid.

When I was 17, I went on a summer foreign exchange trip to Japan through AFS, where I lived with a host family in Tokyo (Kokubunji, to be exact). It was amazing! I also learned firsthand what a healthy lifestyle felt like. I ate lots of homemade food and walked/biked just about everywhere. Most foreign exchange students gain weight abroad; I lost weight and felt wonderful.

After my return, I started trying the gym thing (my older brothers were into weight lifting at the time). I also spent an interesting semester at a college in the Midwest where several classes had a huge impact on me. Biology, because we spent several weeks on nutrition and learned how to use NutriBase, one of the earliest calorie tracking programs; and jogging (required PE class), where we basically did a couch-to-5K program, though it wasn’t called that.

Since high school and my foreign exchange experience, I’ve done lots of fun fitness things:

  • Kung fu (a cross between Choy Li Fut and Bak Fu taught here in Reno; I was an assistant instructor for a short time)
  • Yoga (hatha, ashtanga, iyengar, bikram)
  • Running (5K, 10K, the Reno-Tahoe Odyssey, a half marathon)
  • Weight lifting
  • Gym Boootcamp
  • Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
  • Mixed martial arts (Tae Kwon Do, Muay Thai, boxing, a little Krav Maga)
  • Dance-Dance Revolution (yes, it counts! I calculated that on the Difficult level, I burn as many calories playing DDR as I do running)

I’ve also tried a few different diets:

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Raw (I only lasted a few days on this…)
  • Lactose-free
  • Primal
  • Paleo

My diet is currently sorta primal, with a focus on avoiding dairy and gluten, which exacerbate my asthma and eczema.

Why is Health So Important?

First of all, I want to be mentally sharp and physically spry when I’m old. I want to create a solid base of health and healthy habits now that will make my golden years less painful.

Secondly, studies show that exercise and nutrition alleviate depression. Running, eating real food and hanging out with good friends is like self-medicating. 🙂

Thirdly, if I don’t know how to take care of myself, how will I be able to take care of my family? I want to be a positive, rather than negative, influence on my fiancé and family.

Lastly, and honestly, I want to look and feel awesome in some super cute clothes.

How to Get in Touch with Me

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