Gaining Weight in College

When you go to college, something everyone talks to you about is the dreaded “Freshman Fifteen”. This alludes to the fact that most people, if not everyone, gains a little weight in college. This is a major fact for me as I have gained close to 40 pounds in the last three years. In high school, I was extremely often. I was a part of my school’s dance team which had me practicing 4 hours a week in addition to games, dance classes at a studio for 4 hours a week, and I acted in plays, keeping me on my feet a few hours every week. Once I got to college, a mix between my more sedentary lifestyle, eating unhealthy food (because it’s cheaper), and alcohol took its toll on my body. Below are pictures of me at prom and me at the PSF gala last summer. It’s me but the look of my body is completely different.

 

Gaining weight in college is totally normal, but you shouldn’t let it get you down. Most colleges have exercising facilities on campus that you have full access to. Take advantage before these are no longer at your disposal. One of the most annoying things about grocery shopping on a college budget is the fact that the healthier food is so much more expensive than the less healthy options. It’s easy to fall into habits of going for the cheaper options because you can afford it. When you’re at the dining hall, focus on the types of food you are getting. Go for healthier options more often so you know you are getting quality food in your system.

A great resource that I have been using since highschool is an app called My Fitness Pal. This is an app that allows you to track how much you need to eat in a day in order to lose some weight. You also track your exercise and water intake. It’s great because you customize it to your needs and lifestyle. If you have a more active lifestyle, the app will encourage you to eat more throughout your day. If you have a very sedentary lifestyle, the app will encourage you to eat less but still in a very healthy and reasonable way.  Throughout the day, you keep a diary of your food, water, and exercise and it gives you an idea of how you are progressing from week to week. When you load a food item or beverage, if it has a bar code, you can scan it into the app and it will give you all of the nutritional facts that are on the lable. You can also search all the food you eat in a day and it will give you several options to show you the calories and other nutritional facts. Below are a few pictures to give you an idea of what the app looks like.

I highly recommend checking this app out if you want to become healthier but don’t know where to start. It does a lot of the work for you and is a good motivator to keep up healthy habits since you must physically enter the food and exercise throughout your day.

Part of what I want to do this year is improve my health so I can become a kidney donor for my dad. This is overwhelming for me because I want to succeed but I get so self-conscious when I work out because I fear that people will judge the overweight girl at the gym. Luckily, my parents own an elliptical and I can work out at home but it isn’t healthy for me to assume that people will think poorly of me for wanting to exercise. I can’t let my fear of what other people will think of me get in the way of me pushing myself. If i truly want to get in better shape, the person I need to worry about is me. Fitness is a lifestyle that takes dedication and a strong will to keep it up. This is something that I will definitely struggle with moving on, but that’s okay.

Healthy Habits For 2019

Now that we are in 2019, I want to start working in healthier habits into my daily life for my physical and mental health, and finances. Now that I have decided that these three staples are what I need to work on, I want to start going through realistic goals/activities that I can slowly implement into my lifestyle. If i say that I must do a complete 180 on my current lifestyle, I would never keep up with it. I’m not a perfect person and I will definitely slip up from time to time. But by thinking of small things that take a fraction of a second to consider doing, I am one step closer to becoming a healthier and more content person.

Some of the things listed below, I already do, but it’s good to remind myself of the healthy habits I need to continue doing especially while I have resources at college that I won’t have once I graduate.

Physical Health

  • Park farther away from buildings at school, stores, etc. so I walk a little extra every day
  • Go for a walk when I get too stressed (this will help with the mental category as well!)
  • Think twice before I snack when I get bored
  • Try to pick a healthy alternative to unhealthy food
  • Cook for myself more often
  • Go to the gym at school and walk/cycle while reading for class (we love multitasking here at the blog)
  • Stretch in the AM and PM

Mental Health

  • Meditation
  • Journaling
  • Keep a gratitude log (bullet journal)
  • Monitor how negative I am toward others
  • When overwhelmed, write out a schedule of what you need to get done and how long you think it will take you to accomplish it
  • Try on a bunch of outfits and appreciate how good I look in them
  • Gush over how cute your pets are

Finances

  • Evaluate if I really need to buy something
  • Put in extra hours for workstudy
  • Go out to eat less
  • Keep a spending log (bullet journal)

A New Health Journey

As I mentioned in my blog post titled “My Pledges For The New Year”, I mentioned that a major goal for me in 2019 is to start losing weight. I am doing this for myself so that I can become a kidney donor for my father. He has had a kidney disease for the last two years that has forced him to go on dialysis and put his name on the kidney transplant list. He is in great health as of right now but I want to get tested so that if there was an emergency, I would be right there to help, as kidneys aren’t always in great supply for those in need. I have been in contact with the transplant center and they said that my BMI is a bit high for me to be a good candidate and that was the push I needed to tell myself to get off my butt and do something about it. I weigh over 220lbs and am on the short side, which means that I need to work on my physical health. Not only will this be good for me, it will be good for my family My father is an amazing man who deserves the world. He has done so much for me in my life and I feel that I need to do everything in my power to be there for him. I can’t imagine a world where he isn’t in it and that love is my best motivation.

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My high school graduation. Me and my dad (pre-kidney issues)

This is something exciting but also scary. I have never had major surgury before and if I am a match and my dad needs me, this is something that I will do. Although I have some fears, my dad is worth fighting for. This weightloss journey is going to be hard for me. I love food and am lazier than I’d like to admit and it will be an adjustment becoming a more active person but there is nothing more important than helping those you love.

My Pledges For The New Year

Going into 2019, the year I graduate from college and start to navigate the scariness of adulthood, I promise to myself that I will believe in myself. No more doubt and putting myself down. Just because someone else wants something or is good at something doesn’t mean that I can’t want something or do something. I have been digging a hole for myself in the past and now as a young, passionate woman with a bright future, I need to be the force that propels me out of my abyss into the bright, shining future ahead of me.

I also want this new year to become a year of becoming a healthier person physically, mentally, and financially. Physically, I want to become more active and start losing weight. It’s not that I don’t love my body, but I hope to become a kidney donor for my dad and the doctors at the transplant center say that I need to look into losing weight to become the best match possible. This is something I really want to do because if I can help my dad become healthier, I want to do everything in my power to make this happen. Mentally, I want to accept the fact that I have anxiety and have panic attacks from time to time and that as I discover coping mechanisms, to never fear implementing them when necessary. Financially, I want to practice the art of spending less and saving more. I have a bad habit of spending much more than I’m making and then putting myself in anxious situations where I panic about my lack of money. By practicing financial self-control, I will be able to have a better piece of mind for my future.

A lot of people say, “New Year, new me” and I want to make this a reality for my future. 2019 is a huge year for me and it’s up to me to grab life by the horns and take control.

Try new things

It’s been hitting me lately that I am my biggest inhibitor in my success. I think that because other people are more attractive, smarter, and more successful, that I can’t try new things. I almost didn’t start this blog because I thought I’d never have 1,00,000 followers but that’s not what this is about. I started this blog to give myself a bigger and more personalized outlet for my thoughts and feelings and I couldn’t have made a better decision. I am doing something for me and not caring how many followers I have or the other types of blogs that exist. This is something that makes me happy and I need to trust that I can do anything as long as I am passionate enough and work hard enough.

With the new year approaching, don’t be afraid to try new things. Don’t think about who else out there is doing something similar. If you think starting a youtube channel, or starting a fitness instagram, or a baking blog will bring you joy, go for it! Don’t let your level of popularity, body, or fears put you down. You can do anything you set your mind to as long as you let yourself.

 

Anxiety

Anxiety is something that I have been struggling a lot with lately. I used to be super calm when I was younger but as soon as I started the second semester of my sophomore year of college, the feelings and intense emotions began to hit me hard and I began to struggle to recognize who I was. I would constantly repress my feelings out of fear of people thinking I was overreacting to things and I wanted everything to seem like it was okay But deep down, my mind and my thoughts began to eat me alive and I was struggling to cope. I would often lay awake at night rocking back and forth and struggling to breathe and I had no idea why this was happening. I was always crying and sweating and I felt like I was falling apart. Most of the time, there was no obvious trigger to bring these attacks on and that was the scariest part. I never wanted people to think that I wasn’t okay. A huge part of this was because my family constantly told me they never worried about me because I always had it together and I felt I had to live up to those expectations and thus began my spiral into self-pity and fear that slowly took over my life.

Things got worse as I entered my sophomore year. School got harder and I worked with a Director on a show who really tested me and he really added to the psychological damage I was already putting on myself. I felt like I was constantly failing and I took it really hard. I was sad and angry all the time and this director made me believe it was because I was incompetent when in reality, he was the one manipulating me in a very unhealthy way. Despite my friends telling me that I was doing a good job, I found that impossible to believe. Because of this experience, I started taking things more personally and it started to negatively affect my relationships with friends, family, and co-workers and I was ashamed of myself. My mind was attacking itself and I had no idea what to do and because I still felt that I shouldn’t tell anyone, I continued to keep my feelings bottled up.

This then caused problems with my relationship. My boyfriend and I were at a point in our relationship where we always knew if something was wrong with the other and when he would ask me what was wrong, I would lie and say everything was fine. He then got upset because he felt that I was refusing to open up to him and that I wasn’t being honest with him. And he was right. I was so scared of admitting that I wasn’t perfect and bubbly that I wasn’t opening up to the person who has always been my biggest supporter in my mental health journey. Two years later, I have made strides and have been able to speak to him freely about the demons that haunt my psyche. I still struggle to completely open up to him because, let’s face it, I’m a senior in college who is an anxious mess. My junior year was a pretty steady wave of being okay and being an anxious mess but I assumed I would have to live with it. I wanted to take meds for my anxiety but I was too scared to ask for them. I was worried that they would change who I was.

This summer, I went to my doctor and I started to take anti-anxiety meds. I am currently taking a 75mg dose of Zoloft and it has really changed my life. I went from not sleeping because I was scared of waking up to having a more normal routine. I feel happier and I can’t remember the last time I had crippling anxiety. It’s been a little over 6 months and I’m so happy with how this has changed me. I still have anxiety from time to time but that’s because I’m human.

If you struggle with anxiety, find the best way for you to have an outlet. I have found that talking to my boyfriend, journaling, taking long walks, cooking, and knitting have been FANTASTIC ways for me to calm my mind and come back to my preferred reality. These aren’t the solutions for everyone but these are the ones that bring me the most peace of mind. Mental health is not something to be taken lightly. Love yourself and respect your feelings. Find a way to help yourself in a healthy way.

My College Exerience

I want to take some time to talk about my alma mater, and the place that has helped make me the person I am today, DeSales University. I am about to go into the second semester of my senior year and will graduate in May with my bachelors in Theatre Design/Technology with a focus in stage management.

I chose this program because it has a very inclusive curriculum and challenges the students akin to a graduate theatre program at another college/university. It was only one of a few schools of the many I researched that offered a great program for a theatre technician in addition to the a great acting program. For the DT (design/tech) major at DSU, we are given great opportunities to fulfill major positions in our small company, working alongside our professors and faculty putting on quality theatre and really getting the most out of our education. As a stage manager at school, I work on one show a semester as a stage manager and I work on costuming for the other show each semester. I have found a great passion in costuming, which is something I never believed would happen. This program has pushed me to be smarter and think faster and trust that I can do great things. I have a lot to thank this school for. I have made lasting friends, I met the love of my life, and I have made connections that will help me as I grow beyond school. Being a DT has been very challenging but it is the challenges that we all face which make us ready and eager for the “real world”.

Another positive aspect about my school is that the person who started the theatre program also started the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, which is closely affiliated with the theatre program. Working for the festival has helped me learn to be professional in a setting I am already comfortable in and I am so grateful to have this advantage for my career.

Never in my life did I think that I would be working in such a fun and exciting field with so many people who make everything worth it. That being said, things aren’t always wonderful and magical. I have had a lot of ups and downs in college. I’ve struggled with anxiety, pressure to succeed, weight gain, and the reality that a life exists beyond going to school. Lately, it’s been hard for me to accept that I will not be in school this time next year, since I’ve been going to school year after year for 18 years. The thought of graduating and the pressure I put on myself has added to a lot of the anxiety I have had at school. I am coping with it and some days are better than others, but remembering that I’m doing what I love helps me to overcome my fears. College has also taught me a lot about collaboragion with others, as theatre is a major collaborative art. Sometimes I struggle to get along with some of the students and professors at my school. You’re never going to get along with everyone you work with  and that can be hard but it’s something you’ll have to deal with no matter what job you have. It’s a good lesson to learn, especially in a learning environment.

College isn’t for everyone, but if it’s something you’re serious about, make sure you put lots of thought into what you want from your program. That’s what I did and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Be Open to Love

This is an appreciation post for the man who pushes me to love myself every single day. And this is in no way saying that you need a man in order to validate your self-worth, but he is truly a catalyst in my journey to self love and self care physically, mentally, and emotionally. He is my coach in that when I’m down, he gets me to talk about it and helps me find a solution. And I can’t hide my feelings from him because he can always tell when something is wrong. I weighed less and had a lot less anxiety when we met and he loves me no matter what I look like or what state I’m in and I don’t know how I can ever show him how grateful I am to him for believing in me and loving me through every up and down in our relationship.

I went for so long thinking that I didn’t deserve love or that it was something that I could never have until I met Sam. We met at freshman orientation and after a hear and a half of friendship and us having painful crushes on each other, we finally started dating. These last two years have been some of the best of my life and I am so happy I allowed myself to love and to be loved. I love you, my potato.IMG_1890

Self-Depricating Humor

Let’s talk about self-depricating humor. I am a huge implementer of this in my life and I always forget how toxic it can be. Sometimes I use it to get positive attention and sometimes I can’t accept that I actually am beautiful and good at things so I force myself to believe that I’m not.

Don’t trick yourself into doubting your self worth. Employ mind over matter. Instead of tearing yourself down, build yourself up. This is something I really need to work on this year and I want to dedicate 2019 to pushing myself toward a life of self-love and appreciation. If I can’t be my biggest supporter, I will not achieve the success I hope to gain when I graduate from college.IMG_1678.jpg

Love Yourself

Life is far too short to hate yourself. You can’t prosper and suck the marrow out of the bones of life if you aren’t willing to show yourself, especially your body, the love it deserves. If you have a problem, love yourself enough to fix it. If you think dropping a few pounds will make you feel better, find a way to become more active that will bring you joy. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a lazy day or pig out with your friends, but by loving your body in different ways, you can find the peace you need to love yourself the way you are meant to.IMG_3209