Now that we are in the new year, part of my resolution was to bring myself to be the healthiest I can be so that I can be an organ donor for my dad. So far, I have been tracking my food and going for walks or using my parents’ elliptical every day and I am very proud of the work I have been putting in. I’ll admit that I haven’t been the absolute healthiest on this journey. I have indulged in some sweets almost every day and I need to exercise more self-control. I had a bad morning last week where I looked at myself in the mirror and I was so upset with the way I looked. Then I got even more upset because I was thinking so poorly of myself. It’s important that I feel confident in myself and put myself to a true and healthy routine. I have loved getting into the habit of taking a break from whatever laziness I have put myself to and taking a half an hour or so to be active. It’s a great way for me to feel productive, which I love, and I get to confidently say that I did something to improve my health and am closer to my goal of being healthy enough to be a donor.
I have been trying to phrase this journey as me trying to be healthier so I can be a donor and I avoid solely thinking about losing weight or becoming thinner. This has been helpful in shaping how I think about myself and my adjusting lifestyle. Pushing myself to be more positive has, so far, been the biggest thing making me continue. Instead of thinking, “ugh I have to go work out now…” I think about how nice it would be to go for a nice long walk in the fresh air, or I think about how nice it would be to go ham on the elliptical and then shower off all the sweat. If I go extra hard on a workout, I treat myself to some awesome skin care after just to keep up the pampering of my body. Working out in a way is pampering yourself because for me, when I’m done, it makes me feel better about myself. Even though I may regret it in the middle of it, I’ve never come down from a workout and regretted anything I did.
I can’t wait to see how I keep going throughout this month and the rest of this year. It hasn’t been long, but I really am proud of everything I’ve done. I hope this can inspire anyone else looking into a lifestyle change!
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.
Senior Prom 2015
PSF Gala 2018
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.
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.