When Megan Brunson introduces herself, she looks slim and fit. She has lost 42 pounds since January and is still working toward a healthier lifestyle.
“I had been in an unhealthy relationship,” said Brunson, a senior broadcast journalism major from Santa Rosa Beach, Fla. “I put on 50 pounds. My diet was poor, everything was in excess amount. Depression was the cause.”
Brunson, previously an athlete, was disappointed in what she saw.
Upon entering a healthier relationship with her current fiancé, who is very athletic and healthy himself, she decided to make a change for the better.
“I wanted to prolong my life,” she said of her decision.
It was not always an easy journey, though.
Breaking the addiction to food was the hardest in the beginning. “Sugars and preservatives cause chemical addictions in your brain. This causes cravings,” Brunson said.
She went through the process of retraining her body. Brunson now only eats clean foods, which are generally fresh produce and nothing with preservatives or unknown ingredients.
“Clean means knowing exactly what you’re putting in your body,” she said.
However, Brunson certainly hasn’t been depriving herself. Brunson eats a healthy snack or meal every couple of hours and enjoys a lot of home cooked variations on unhealthy foods. “In a stir fry, I would take the white rice out and add brown rice and more vegetables,” she said.
She works out thirty minutes to an hour every day, never missing out on cardio and strength training.
“Lately I try to get out of the gym since it’s fall. My favorite way to exercise is to get outside and get out into nature and run somewhere.”
Brunson, who had to stay in the gym in hotter weather because of her asthma, has noticed other remarkable changes in her health. Diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder, she was prescribed three medications and often found herself stressed out.
“Through clean eating,” she said, “I’ve gotten off all medications. I’m a senior so I’m very involved right now, but I’m calm. People don’t realize how chemicals that you eat affect you.”
As vice president of the Advertising and Public Relations Society and a member of the Broadcasting Club and Communications Honor Society, Brunson does have her hands full.
Wanting to go into public relations, the relationship between a business or client and the public, Brunson says, “Public relations in fashion would be amazing.”
“I have so much more endurance, I’m much happier, I have so much more zest for life,” Brunson continues, on the changes she’s noticed besides mere pounds lost.
In light of all the progress that she had made, Brunson decided to make a fitness Instagram.
“Fit looks different from thin,” she said. “I wanted to lead by example.”
The Instagram, created about two months ago with the username femininely_fit, contains mostly progress pictures of her weight loss and exercise, meals and groceries for clean eating as well as motivational phrases.
Giving advice to fellow college students, Brunson said: “Do the majority of your grocery shopping on the outer perimeter. Foods in the middle tend to have a long shelf-life and are full of preservatives. Shop in the produce section—try something new every week. Make substitutions, like Greek yogurt for ice cream. Eliminate all the salt that you can. If you have to eat on campus, don’t eat the things that you don’t know all the ingredients of.”
“You can control what goes on your plate,” she said in reference to dining on campus as well as in restaurants.
Several pounds from her goal, Brunson is not stopping yet, and most likely won’t stop.
“The clean way of eating is the right way; it’s not a fad diet.”
“It’s a difficult journey to see your body change so much,” Brunson said, but the changes she has noticed thus far have certainly been worth it.