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Health Warrior: Jocelyn Schlenker

Jocelyn is not only one of my best friends and not only one of the most joyful and encouraging people to be around, she is also a new mom to sweet Elliette, a regular runner and half-marathoner, the supportive wife of Christian Schlenker, who has Type 1 Diabetes, a graduate student, a loving Christian AND a loyal friend who always makes time for coffee dates! How does she prioritize her health and champion such a balanced life? Continue reading Jocelyn's interview below to find out!

Jocelyn, thank you so much for sharing about the way you and your family make healthy lifestyle choices! You are such a great example of someone who finds balance in simplicity, but doesn't let simplicity sacrifice quality. You rock, Sister! Keep up the hard work!

1. Hey Jocelyn, could you please start by telling us a little bit about yourself. Who are you and what prompted your journey in health and fitness?

My name is Jocelyn  and I am a believer, wife, mom, runner, (mostly) vegan, and  marketing project manager.  I live in Albuquerque, NM with my husband Christian, our 4 month old daughter Elliette , and our silly Springer Spaniel Poppy.

Growing up I never thought much about health. I did ballet which kept me active and ate like most high schoolers - lots of cereal and soda haha. In college, I started running but still ate pretty unhealthy.

After college (4.5 years ago) is when I truly took ownership of my health choices. I began distance running and ran my first half marathon. Since that first race, I have joined a running team and run several more halfs. I also became interested in plant-based diets after reading Michael Greger's How Not to Die and Campbell's The China Study. I would highly recommend both books, as they explore diets from a scientific perspective. I don't eat 100% vegan (cookies are just too good every now and then) but I eat that way 90% of the time. A plant-based diet may not be for everyone but it makes me feel the most energized, fresh, and happy - not to mention it does wonders for your skin and mental clarity! My husband has been a vegetarian for 1.5 years as well, so it is easy for us to cook that way at home.

2. How has being a new mom, graduate school student and now working part-time impacted this journey? What is the framework of your healthy lifestyle now?

Becoming a mom (especially a working mom who is also finishing up her Masters) has made a healthy lifestyle challenging but not impossible. I have had to simplify some of my routines and  maximize the little time I do have to dedicate to healthy living. For example, I still cook healthy meals but have had to switch from elaborate meals to simple, quick ones.  A current, easy favorite has been tacos with BBQ cauliflower and lots of delicious veggie toppings. Yum!

Side note: I'd love your favorite recipes to share in the future! :)

3. What do you believe is the most important part of a healthy lifestyle, a sort of non-negotiable? Please walk us through your typical mealtime or exercise routine… do you have any go-to meals and ways of staying physically active.

Non-negotiables for me include eating plants and moving my body every day. Even if it is a 5-minute walk around the block, I feel so much better! Oatmeal (often topped with unsweetened coconut flakes or with some pumpkin purée) is my main breakfast go-to . Lunch and dinner could be anything from quinoa bowls, vegan pizza (yes, there is such a thing and its amazing),  or a big ol' salad. My fitness routine has been much different since becoming a mom. Distance running is my favorite activity,  but right now it’s not realistic for me to go on a 10 mile run with a jogging stroller. So, I’ve had to learn to be ok with it being a 2 mile run or a home workout. It’s not my dream workout, but it will do.

4. How do you set health and fitness goals for yourself? Do you measure them? If so, how often? What are some goals you are currently working on?

I do measure my health goals! I LOVE using Lara Casey's Powersheets for goal setting. On the first day of each month, I sit down with my Powersheets to look back at my progress on last month's goals and plan the next month's goals. My current goals include completing a 12-week fitness program, similar to Carly’s 10-week fitness program, and drinking more water!

5. How have you worked to carry such a positive, realistic and genuine attitude about health and fitness? Do you have any tools, tips or phrases you know that you could share with us on both how to keep a positive mindset and prioritize your health?

I often hear people say that healthy living is too expensive and time consuming. Yes, healthy foods may be more expensive and it does take time to work out, but it's sure cheaper and less time-consuming than cancer. That may be dramatic, but it's true. Health is a time and financial investment worth making!

6. What's the best advice you could give to someone looking to restart his/her own fitness journey while also balancing all of life's other demands?

The two biggest concepts that have helped me on my health journey are: 

•  Progress Over Perfection: It can be easy to get caught up in executing your health plan "perfectly" and then giving up when it doesn't work out. It is a much more fun to focus on progress instead! Maybe you only ran 1 mile when you wanted to run 3, but 1 mile is better than none at all. Small steps of progress over time lead to big results!

• Keep It Simple: Healthy living can be overwhelming  at first. There are so many resources  saying what you should and shouldn't eat, how you should or shouldn't work out, etc. - and they all seem to contradict each other!  This   prohibits a lot of people from starting the journey at all. So, I think it's best to stick with the basics when starting out: eat lots of greens and stop eating when you're full, drink lots of water, and move your body.

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