Well today I’m bringing back the Friendly Feature. I’ve known Sierra for most of her life, seriously. She contacted me earlier this week to see if I would be interested in having her write pieces for the blog every now and then since she is working towards a nutrition degree. Of course I jumped at it. First things first – meet Sierra!
Tell everyone a little bit about yourself.
My name is Sierra Gamble. I just recently transferred to the University of Massachusetts Amherst and I am in their Nutrition program. I absolutely love to snowboard, ride horses, and I am a certified gym rat. I also love to paddleboard and watch the Bruins. I believe that if you put your mind to something, you can achieve that goal no matter how hard you think it may be.
What made you want to go to school for nutrition?
At first I had absolutely no idea where I wanted to go to college or what I wanted to study, so I took a GAP year and worked at Abercrombie & Fitch in the lovely city of Boston. After commuting in and out of Boston for almost a year I decided that I would finally apply to colleges. I applied to three schools and ultimately chose Plymouth State University. I did my first two years there as a Health Education major, but something did not feel quite right. I knew I wanted to do something pertaining to health for the rest of my eternity, but I didn’t necessarily want to teach about health in a school setting. I talked to the registered dietician who worked at PSU. She was a really great resource to help me decide what to do. Sara Patterson, the RD at Plymouth, recommended many great universities in Massachusetts. I talked it over with my dad and I chose to apply to the University of Massachusetts Amherst because it has an amazing Nutrition program. I didn’t just get accepted, I was offered a spot in their commonwealth honors college program, which was amazing news and here I am today as a second semester junior.
What is your favorite form of exercise?
My favorite form of exercise would have to be cardio-kickboxing. I would recommend this class to anyone who really wants to kick their gym routines back into gear. It is extremely intimidating at first, but it is totally worth the pain. You sweat buckets, your heart rate stays increased the entire time, and you can learn some modified self defense moves, which can be useful for anyone. I also like to row, bike, do my own running intervals (occasionally), mountain climbers, jumping jacks, modified burpees, and ABS, and of course weight lifting and other cardio exercises that I find on the internet.
What does a typical day look like for you from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed?
A typical day for me when I’m at school, other than Mondays, would be: waking up before 9am, checking my blood sugar and dealing with my wonderful diabetes, eating a bowl of cereal with banana slices, go to at least three classes, book it to the gym and attempt to find a cardio machine to use or a space to stretch and do abs, workout for at least 45 minutes (preferably an hour every time), and then do homework, papers, and projects for the rest of my life. If I am lucky I will fall asleep before midnight.
I’m not usually that lucky though.
You were an avid horseback rider growing up. What are your fondest memories and what do you think horseback riding taught you, besides riding a horse.
Riding horses was my life since I was 5 years old. I was definitely a lucky girl to have a family that could afford for me to take lessons and then show horses for several years. I don’t think I could ever break it down and pick one fondest memory. I have many with a few different horses. Ernest was my families first horse and he was the most perfect creature you could ever imagine. Having a bond with an animal that size is something I can’t even explain. People who do not ride horses would never even begin to understand. Horseback riding and being around horses has taught me many things that I still carry with me. It gave me more compassion than I believe I could get from just having a a dog or cat, it taught me to be competitive and to always be my best, but that my best doesn’t always mean that I am first. It also taught me how to work with others and gave me the work ethic I have today. I believe that I would be a completely different person today if I had not had this life experience.
What are you most looking forward to doing once you graduate with your nutrition degree?
I can’t wait to graduate only because I want to work with people who struggle with finding motivation to change their lifestyle and habits. I want to show people that even though life can be challenging and a struggle, that things will get better and that you just have to push through the bad things going on. I want to work with people that can relate to me and feel comfortable talking to me about things that I have struggled with as well, i.e. diabetes.
What would you like to do with your nutrition degree?
I’m not exactly sure what I want to do with my nutrition degree. I want to graduate with a nutrition degree, become a registered dietician, and I also want to become a personal trainer and a diabetes educator. I want to be able to wrap everything together and be superwoman.
Who/what is your biggest motivator?
I would have to say that my dad is my biggest motivator. He has always been there for me and has always pushed me to do what I want and be who I want to be. It’s not always easy, but he always tells me how proud he is of me and makes sure I am always going down the path I want to be on. We always talk about how my courses are going and how I can do better and where I want to go after graduation.
How has dealing with type 1 diabetes helped with you nutrition degree? What have you learned from it? How have you dealt with it?
Having type I diabetes has really pushed me to want to do nutrition as a major because it is so relevant to my life. I always want to know more and understand how things work so I can ultimately be the greatest diabetic patient my doctor has. With the knowledge that I will obtain, I will also be able to help other people with diabetes, which ever type it may be, and show them that diabetes will not ruin your life; it just makes your life a little bit different from others. Understanding how foods work in your body has been really useful to my life and my disease. For example: rice has a really high glycemic index, which means that is rapidly effects a person’s blood sugar, whether they are diabetic or not. Since rice has a high glycemic index, it means that it will spike my blood sugar rapidly instead of gradually, which is not good for trying to control it. Insulin can only work so fast and it gets messed up when my sugar sky rockets faster than the insulin is working.
What is your advice for those who are struggling to get into the groove of a healthy lifestyle?
My advice for someone who is struggling to get in the groove of a new and healthy lifestyle is that you have to realize that absolutely NOTHING happens over night and that it is going to take some time. Taking that information into consideration, it is OK to have a bad day and back track. It is not the end of the world as long as you get back on the right track. It will eventually get easier because eating healthy and exercising will become a daily habit just like eating junk food and watching TV used to be.
Don’t give up, it is to easy. Challenge yourself!
Stay tuned for some fun pieces from Sierra! I’m sure excited to have her joining the blog 🙂