This is a story about a girl, a Badger Girl, who fell in love at first sight.

Well, kinda.

Truth be told, this is about a girl who signed up for eHarmony and then a boy named Manatee appeared in her inbox.

They scheduled a date.

This was Manatee’s first Eharmony date and his friends told him that he would have to wade through the freaks.

Badger Girl was bitter from some previous bad first dates so she picked a restaurant where she knew she would at least get a decent meal out of the deal. She had her priorities even before blogdom.

They met, they talked, they drank wine, and they fell in love.

The rest is history.

Meet Manatee

So why Manatee?

No, he is not a slow moving endangered mammal (did you see how fast he was running in the picture above?) nor does he resemble a Manatee (see picture again). Watch this YouTube video of manatees being fed to understand the connection.

Can you believe all the lettuce that the manatee eats?

And no, Manatee does not look like that at dinner time.

Manatee was cyber-christened because of his copious consumption of spinach and salad mix. We seriously go through way more salad mix than the average family of six.

Just a Girl and her Manatee

Eharmony set us up and we couldn’t be happier. Manatee and I are so alike that it’s scary, but we’re so different then we would have never met if it hadn’t been for our computers.

We are both the youngest in our families by a lot, both have brown eyes, both left Madison only to return a few years later, and well I could go on and on. But what’s important for this blog is that we both struggled with weight when we were younger and we have vowed to never let it happen again.

Our Lifestyle

There are three cornerstones of our lifestyle:

physical activity, healthy eating, and balance.

Physical Activity


 On July 20th 2009, Manatee broke his femur on the street behind my (then) apartment.

To give you an idea of how active he is: Before he broke his leg, he had gone to the gym for an hour and a half, ran eight miles, biked twelve miles to my house, we were then going to go on a fifteen mile bike ride, and then on to play volleyball in our bar league. And that was a typical day for him (and us).

We left my apartment to begin our bike ride. He hopped on his bike and couldn’t pedal. He had shifted high on his way to my place and forgot to shift down when he got off the bike.

He broke his leg going zero miles an hour. He hit the ground at the perfect angle with the perfect amount of pressure to break the biggest bone in his body. And yes, his bone density is normal.

For Manatee, this was a tragedy.

No running.

No biking.

No anything he was used to.

His sister sent us a copy of P90x.

We set up the spare room with a chair, a set of dumbbells, and a pull-up bar. Manatee modified the exercises and did what he could. I started doing it too, because hey when your boyfriend with a broken leg can do it, then you feel guilty not doing it too.

And for the record, he was better at Yoga than I was, even with his broken leg. A lot better.

And yes, that was humbling.

P90x got us through the roughest part of our life together (thus far) and it has been a staple in our routine ever since.

Tony Horton will be always be our hero. He gave Manatee a way to feel in control of his body and sanity when he felt that he lost it all.

He taught me that I really am an athlete if I put my mind to it.

And because of all of this, I am now a BeachBody coach. 

Healthy Eating

If you would look at what we eat and how we eat, you might say that we follow a pretty strict diet. To us, that is just what we do.

Spinach and salad is at every dinner. Sometimes on the side, sometimes as the main dish, and often as the base on which we put whatever we are eating.

We don’t eat processed food. No cereal, no crackers, no pre-boxed dinners, no pre-boxed snacks, no white flour.

We are flexitarians. Some people go meat-less once a week. We try to err on the opposite: we try to only meat once a week. I am a recovering vegetarian so this isn’t too hard for me. Maybe some day we will make the switch completely but that actually leads to our last cornerstone….



We both have rather intense personalities. We’re overachievers with all or nothing personalities. However, we have both pushed ourselves over the edge with that intensity at some point in our lives (before meeting Manatee, I left a prominent PhD program and a career in academia).
Because of this, we have decided that
we need to make balance a priority.
Could we go vegan? Yes.
Could we stop drinking wine and beer? Yes.
Could we be so strict that we never eat out or eat ‘un-clean’? Of course.
Do we want to? Not so much.
That balance keeps us in the middle and maintains our sanity.
It makes our lifestyle do-able.
It makes us feel like we are not missing anything.
It makes our lifestyle a choice.
Our house motto is:
You always have a choice.
You always have a choice on what you put into your mouth.
You always have a choice on what you do with your body.
You always have a choice on how you feel in any given moment.
That’s how we roll. 
Print Friendly, PDF & Email