My Journey to DDS

Well that's it! Dental school is over & I'm honored to be working as a general dentist with Dr. Brian Woodard and our WONDERFUL staff in Grove City, Ohio. If you're looking for a dentist, I'm accepting new patients!

Check out our website :  HERE

Check out our website : HERE

I think any dental student across the nation can empathize with the daily struggles dental school brings. Let’s be real. Dental students are type A personalities aka overachievers. We have the ability to juggle book work, lab work, and outside commitments with ease. Okay, maybe not with ease but we get it done nonetheless!

Here's a little background on my journey to DDS...  I graduated from OSU with my Bachelors of Science in Dental Hygiene. Throughout the hygiene program I had every intention of continuing onto dental school.  My first year into the dental hygiene program I was so overwhelmed, how on earth was I going to keep up with this rigorous undergraduate schedule AND take my dental school perquisites on top of it all?? Not going to lie- there were many times I wanted to give up on my life long dream of becoming a dentist. Fitness was not a priority in my life at this time & my body felt the repercussions. But thanks to my strong support system at home, my family kept me motivated to see the big picture.

Okay, I'll stop you before reading on. The course of becoming a dental hygienist and then continuing onto dental school is not a common path. Mainly because...it's hell. The typical dental student will major in biology, or nutrition (or some other science background). But to me, a dental background made more sense!

My advise to ANY pre-dental student who might stumble across this blog post (other than getting good grades and DAT scores) is do as much dentistry as you can before dental school!

·       Become an dental assistant/ EFDA/ Registered Hygienist

·       Do a dental mission trip

·       Get a job in a dental lab or at a local dental school

Dental Mission Trip: Panama City, Panama

Dental Mission Trip: Panama City, Panama

GO ABOVE & BEYOND the bare minimum of your observation hours. Anything hands on will just boost your chances of getting accepted!

The first two years in the class room learning dentistry, basic science courses (anatomy, physiology, microbiology), as well as learning hand skills in the pits; aka drilling on a fake set of teeth.

Honestly dental school was a blur, ha! But the frantic pace of dental school life is something you'll never forget. Someone once told me, "dental school is like standing in front of a fire hydrant crushing you with a powerful stream of water"; so much information is thrown your way,you just try to capture as much as you can. 

But I do vividly remember the tail end of my second year in dental school. I had yet to find a balance between school and life, something every professional student can comprehend. Post-it notes reminding me of tasks I had yet to complete. Endless pages of study guides that needed to me memorized. Empty coffee mugs and dental decks scattered across my kitchen table. My days were productive, but I felt unbalanced.

That's when I turned to fitness. It was my relief. My therapy. It kept me sane. I started my fitness journey during my second year of dental school & I wish I would have started sooner!

Thanks to my wonderful husband, my amazing #DDSgang, and my loving family. I couldn't have done it without you!

That's my husband, Aaron...He's obviously thrilled for his Invisalign appointment :)

That's my husband, Aaron...He's obviously thrilled for his Invisalign appointment :)

How I got into fitness: Well I always wanted to be proud of my body but never wanted to put in the work. I would get easily discouraged and quit. One day D2 year (second year of dental school) I decided to go for it. I was browsing social media and came across @Fitgirlsguide 28 day kick start challenge. I thought hmmm... this seems like the jump start that I need. I entered the program and the e-book suggested creating an Instagram handle to keep yourself accountable. I jumped into the program with 100% dedication and saw a little bit of progress over the 4 week program. I was ready for another challenge and that's when I stumbled across @Kayla_Itsines Bikini Body Guide. My Instagram was slowly starting to grow & little did I know this amazing community that I joined consisted of so many supportive women who all had a like mindset of bettering their lives through health & fitness.

Balancing a fit lifestyle isn't easy. It takes a lot of dedication and yes, some restrictions. I wasn't allowing myself to order a large pizza while cramming for a final anymore. I realized planning & prepping food was my best friend. If I had healthy options ready to go I was set, if not I would resort to fast food or delivery. This is not just the case with professional school, it's the same with starting a new job, being a parent, or being a spouse.... we all have other priorities in life- we need to manage and balance according to our needs and goals. 

Every dental student is excited for third year because the academic course load drops significantly (with the exception of pathology, orthodontics, endodontics, oral surgery, etc...).  Starting third year means it's time to put all our hard work & time spent in the pre clinic lab to good use. We're ready to treat our own patients.

Little did we know, as a dental student, we would adopt many roles: assistant, receptionist, nutritionist, hygienist, social worker, lab tech, therapist, and last but not least- the dentist. Time passed a lot more tolerably third year and as soon as we knew it fourth year was upon us.

Four years passed. After countless hours of preparation and studying, I'll never forget the day I opened that envelope to see PASS! All requirements were met, all sections of National and Regional boards were passed, I learned a heck of a lot of dentistry, and it's was time to join the real world of private practice!


Some advise...

I wish I would have known:

Make sure you know your limits. If you push yourself too hard, you'll get burnt out really quickly.
Learn the best study technique for you. Groups? Alone? Rewrite the notes? Read them out loud? If you learn that now, you'll save a lot of time while studying for an exam. If it's ineffective, don't do it.
Don't compare yourself to others in the class. Most dental students are so used to being the best and brightest. You will stress yourself out if you're constantly trying to compete.
Focus on developing your hand skills. They definitely won't happen overnight (unless you're a prodigy), so practice practice practice.

More importantly, I'm glad I....

Aimed to get A's on my first exams - starting off well was a huge motivator and it helped reduce the stress later in the course.
Found a balance through fitness and kept a healthy sleep schedule.
Never quit.


For those who just started following my journey I know it's not easy to balance school/work, relationships, and fitness. But if I can do it SO CAN YOU! I'm so happy to have found such a passion for fitness while working towards one of my lifetime goals. Surviving dental school with a fit lifestyle actually made life more manageable. It took a lot of time management & planning but it is all worth it! I'm proud to have graduated with honors and truly believe with hard work and determination ANYTHING is possible....We should never set limits on our dreams.

5 Ways To Motivate Yourself To Workout

You might be reading this because you're struggling to stay with your fitness routine. GUESS WHAT? If staying healthy and being active was easy, everyone would do it and no one would complain.

After a long day at the office, de-stressing on the couch or maybe taking a decompressing bubble bath sounds much better than hitting the gym.  Something I remind myself is keeping healthy and staying fit is as important as the other things in life.

 

If you're able to break down these mental walls we naturally build you will be able to stay fit. Finding the motivation is difficult, and you're not the only person with the struggle. Here's a look at how I motivate myself to workout.

1. Make it Enjoyable

What if you could exercise because it is fun?  I used to run because I thought running would make me fit. However, I hate running! Don't run because other people do.

Find a group fitness class that incorporates high intensity interval training. My favorite is Title Boxing because it makes me feel strong and confident throughout the workout. Plus I get to get my daily frustrations out on the heavy bag!

2. Reward Yourself

Planning rewards for yourself when you accomplish one of your goals is so rewarding! It's also an amazing tool to keep you motivated and eager to workout. For example: If your goals is to workout 5 days a week, you can reward yourself with a new pair of shoes or some amazing workout clothes after 12 weeks of being consistent. An iced coffee is always a good short term post workout reward for me!

3. Track your Progress

I believe the most efficient way to track your progress is to take photos. Try to be in the same lighting, same outfit, same stance, and same time of day when comparing progress. Day to day our minds forget what our "before" bodies looked like. We don't notice the small changes but over time those small changes WILL become additive and result in measurable changes! It won't happen overnight, or in a week, maybe not even in a month. Be consistent for 3 months and your body will respond to all your hard work.

4. Find a Support System

When striving to change your lifestyle it's so important to surround yourself with like minded people. Join the social media community! I've been blown away with the amount of encouragement and support that has poured out from my now friends I've made from Instagram.

Make sure the people who live in your household on board too! You shouldn't have to do it alone. When you have external accountability you will reach your goals and have a much higher chance of never giving up!

5. Set A Goal & Crush It!

There’s nothing more motivating than achieving a goal you set for yourself. Make your goals attainable and give yourself sufficient time to reach it. I like to make long term and short term goals. For example. This month my goal is to complete 5 dead hang pull ups. How do you reach the goals you set for yourself? Practice & consistency! Here's now I plan to master 5 pull ups in case anyone wants to join me!

Step 1: Flex hangs- Once I can hold3 sets for 20 seconds, time to try step 2

Step 2: Negative Pull Ups- When I can complete a 30 second super slow negative pull up, it's time to move onto the next step.

Step 3: Pull ups- At first I might need a leg boost or to use a resistant band, but try one pull up. Rest for 1 min. Try again. When that becomes easy, lose the assistance and add another rep.

 

 

 

How to Eat Clean for Life

There's a HUGE misconception with eating healthy today. Individuals who are trying to become healthy from the inside out are commonly viewed as "dieters". It should be viewed less about dieting, and more about going back to the basics, in an effort to prevent disease and promote a healthy weight.

Follow these 3 tips to sustain a lifelong focus on health & nutrition.

READ LABELS: Let’s face it, when I would have just a few minuets in between patients, the vending machine was sometimes the only option to keep my stomach from making embarrassing whale noises into my next patients ears. But when it comes to quick, cheap, & convenient foods, ALWAYS look at the nutrition labels so you know exactly what you're putting into your body. Even foods that are marketed as "health" food (like granola, trail mix, or fat free yogurt) will actually keep you from advancing towards your fitness goals. In fact, many flavored yogurts have upwards of 15 grams of sugar in that tiny 6-ounce serving! My advice? Buy plain, fat-free Greek yogurt and flavor it yourself with some fresh fruit or even a small drizzle of honey. That way you know you're not consuming as many teaspoons of sugar as a package of Gushers!  Try to mentally (or actually log) the amount of sugar you are in taking- it might surprise you the foods that have added sugar to make it more tasty to the consumer. Scary!

 

CHOSE WHOLE FOODS: No, not the Whole Foods grocery store (even though I love that place). I'm talking about eating foods in their most natural state- some think this is actually the most important principle of clean eating. That means opting for oranges over orange juice, or sprouted wheat over processed white bread. How do you know if you're eating whole foods? Well, it's pretty simple. Does the food come from a natural source or is it made in the lab? My helpful hint is to do the bulk of your grocery shopping on the perimeter of the grocery store and avoid the aisles.  If you're consistently eating foods from wrappers most likely you're not consuming whole nutrition. Eating habits centered around whole foods contain foods that are naturally high in fiber (like fruit, veggies, & whole grains). Research shows these foods can reduce inflammation which effects a multitude of systemic diseases such as diabetes, and heart disease, while also helping to regulate your weight!


CONQUER THE KITCHEN: I've heard it all before: Eating clean is too costly & labor-intensive! I agree after a long day at work, taking a trip through the drive through might seem like the easiest option BUT you’re more likely to be eating over-processed, higher-calorie foods. If you plan ahead & have your kitchen properly stocked with ingredients, you can whip up a healthy meal in the time. Here's a cost comparison from the Netflix documentary "Fed Up"  for a family of four. We all know the obvious nutritious choice (even though our minds might be craving the burgers & fries).

Fed Up Cost Comparison

Preparing your own clean meals might take some getting used to, all you need is a little knowledge up front about nutrition and finding the right foods. If you're not a fan of an ingredient (like kale, or sweet potatoes) don't force it!  There are so many other healthy foods out there; I promise you’ll find plenty that you like.

Happy eating!

x

 

 

5 Ways to Get through the Holiday Binge

Hello Fit Fam! It's that time of year where holiday indulgences can really put a damper on fitness progress...

The weather's getting chilly, the birds are outside chirping, and the smell of pumpkin pie fills the room. And for some of you the wine hangover is setting in so those birds really need to chill the eff out.

Okay, so you might of planned to resist the temptations of indulging in the holiday feasts. But let's be honest, regardless of how strong minded you plan to be. sometimes we might make choices that were less-than-desirable.

If you stuck to your ground, you deserve a huge CONGRATS! Getting through the holidays with self control and moderation is a jaw opening accomplishment! SO I'm giving you a round of applause. KEEP GOING!!!!

However, if you did indulge are are waking up not so proud of your choices the key is to NOT spiral into the galaxy of the bad habits and self hatred. Throw away your guilt. Like right now. It will set your farther back instead of focusing on the future.

Indulging in the holiday food is LIFE! I actually recommend it IF and only if you can bounce back into your healthy routine!

So, fellow fit girls....here's how to get back on track:

1) Drink your agua. Every last drop of it. Yes that's 8-10 glasses. Try tossing in a squeeze of lemon juice to jazz it up.

2) Get a sweat sesh in. If you don't know what to do, click on "GET FIT WITH X" and there are HIIT & circuits for you to choose from! Or go on a really long walk with your favorite fur baby. Just get out there and move your behind.

3) Give yourself a reminder that just because you surrendered your Fit Girl routine for one day doesn't mean it's gone forever. Ask yourself why you started and don't allow too much time between the "Turkey time-out" and getting back into it!

4) Do not try to make up for your overfilled calorie'd day. Basically don't starve yourself. Yes, you can eat lighter but DON'T get in the mindset that you have to "make up for yesterday."

5) Last and so importantly, take a look at yourself in the mirror- No, not to stare at your midsection, but to look at yourself and say something NICE! Self love is REAL so practice! Never dwell on the negative only focus on building yourself up- and it starts with YOU! 

Remember... you're doing amazing...

HERE'S TO FORWARD & ONWARD!

Balancing Fitness With a Busy Life

Today's post is all about BALANCE.

It's one of the most important (& difficult) topics to master, but it's crucial to living a well balanced life. I am in my fourth year of dental school and finding a balance between professional school, studying, family, friends, eating healthy, & finding the time to work out was absolutely necessary. I've attempted to sit down and explain the bullet point "essentials" of adapting healthy habits and how to make them work with a busy life.

Trust me, no one is going to say the following topics are easy to conquer, but all you need to do is put your best foot forward and strive for progress! 

 

Be Efficient:

Contrary to what you might have heard in the past, my experiences -- & science -- have taught me there is NO NEED to spend hours in the gym everyday to get results.  By changing the way you work out and manage your time, you can actually achieve more efficient ways to improve your health. My workouts tend to range from 30min to an 1 hour and I typically workout about 4 times a week.  Helpful hint: Plan...plan... plan!

When are you going to work out? In the morning? On your lunch break? Right after class? In the evening? This is something I cannot tell you. You have to decide what works for your busy life. Personally, my days start pretty early anyway so waking up any earlier than I need just does not work. So I find the best time to workout out is RIGHT after I'm finished for the day and before I hit play on my DVR. I will pack my gym bag & leave it in my car so I can head to the gym straight from school. From personal experience, when I try to convince myself that mayyyyybe sitting on the couch for an hour after class will give me some rest & energy before sweating it out, I find my workout for the day is in the dust.

What are you going to do when you actually get to the gym? This part of planning will be based on what your personal fitness goals are! Do you want to build muscle, shed fat, increase your endurance, train for a marathon, look better in your clothes, have a total body transformation? Do some research about what it will take to achieve your goals...

But my advise for you is to ALWAYS walk into the gym with a plan....

Know how you're going to warm up, exercise, and cool down. The past year I followed Kayla Itsienes Bikini Body Guide. This workout plan helped create a structured habit to help improve my health and confidence. I love following this guide because I know exactly what my workout is going to be for that day.

Trust me, make it easy on yourself & you will be more likely to stick to whichever fitness program you decide to partake in. Now, I enjoy creating my own circuits + finding free workouts on bodybuilding.combecause I wanted to incorporate more machines & weights into my gym time. (Take a peek at "circuits" under GET FIT WITH X to preview these!)

 

Prioritize & Make Sacrifices:

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you read "make sacrifices?!?" For me, I think of food & nutrition. Our society has made it so difficult to eat healthy. In school, we have various lunch meetings and food is normally provided. For someone who currently does not have a paycheck, paying an enormous amount in tuition & always on a budge, I should be thinking YES! Free lunch! Well unfortunately, this is where I have to prioritize and say "no" to the free pizza. 

It fundamental to understand proper nutrition is the key to living a healthy life. Ever wonder why your progress might not be visible? Take a step back & take a look at nutrition. This is what's fueling your body. Are you fueling it with nutritious, clean, unprocessed foods? Or does it look more like McDonalds drive through, Oreo packs, and nightly takeout? In an analysis of 33 clinical trials, researchers determined that diet controls approximately 75% of weight loss (Men’s Health, April 2008).

Attempting to lose weight by adapting a "temporary diet fix" aka relying on low-calorie foods or restrictive eating plans to help slim down is often the biggest mistake people make nutritionally. This strategy generally backfires leading to a slower metabolism and increased cravings, which is a vicious cycle. DO IT THE RIGHT WAY. THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS TO FITNESS.

I eat clean about 80% of the time. How do I do this? Discipline.... and MEAL PLANNING! I use the Myfitnesspal app to estimate and hit my calorie & macro intake goals. I use this as a guide to make my weekly meal plans, grocery shop, and educate myself. When I first started logging it was an eye opener to visualize how certain "healthy" foods were well, not so healthy.

I do allow myself to have treat meals on the weekend but I make sure to not overindulge. This is a personal option and I know many people who don't allow themselves treat meals.  My husband and I enjoy date night on Friday's, and football tailgating on Saturdays during the fall. Maybe counting calories isn't for you & that's okay! I'm a very analytical person and pay close attention to detail so it works for me & definitely keeps me on track.

Find out how to prioritize & know what sacrifices you will need to create in your day to day life.  Ask yourself.... is your health worth it?

 

Find Motivation & Use It:

At first, I would browse through Instagram & find #abspiration pics from women who have perfectly toned midsections. I used this as my motivation, but quickly stopped because I was constantly feeling like I didn't measure up. Instead of motivation me it actually demotivated me.

Today, my motivation is myself. I know how good it feels to improve. The satisfaction I get from nourishing my body with nutrient dense food instead of filling with junk is way better than looking at another woman's washboard abs. Gaining strength + endurance in the gym is also motivation for me. I couldn't even do one push-up prior to my fitness journey! The scale is NOT the only way to measure progress. Learn how to become more in tune with your body! Progress will be evident.

There are no two identical fitness journeys. We all have a different starting point, different body types, different goals, & different ways to achieve these goals. 

You can look at thousands of fit girl's photos, buy into countless quick fix diets & exercise programs, invest in pricey gym memberships, but until you take actions, all the above is pointless. NOBODY can do it for you! Invest in yourself & become your own motivation!