Today I’m going to get a little more personal than I usually do in my posts. I am talking about fitness, my struggles and triumphs with fitness, and how it’s changed my outlook on life. I feel that sometimes, especially with girls, we think that we have to have this perfect body, that we can’t gain weight, and that if you don’t fit a specific stereotype, it’s not okay. Today I want to share how none of that is true and that all that really matters is your own happiness, whether that be from working out or sitting on the couch devouring a bag of chips (because tbh, both of those things make me very happy).
The world paints a really distorted view of being healthy or being in shape. Society highlights all of these teeny tiny models with itty bitty waists and that’s our view of healthy. Now, I’m not saying that these models aren’t healthy. They put in a ton of time and effort into maintaining that physique, but a vast majority of us A. don’t have the time and B. didn’t strike the genetic lottery. Just check out this TED talk by a former model. A majority of those models are around my age, putting even more pressure on my age group to look like that.
the freshman 15
I would say that I only just recently started struggling with body image. I’ve always been small, always been about the same weight, and always felt good about myself. That all changed when I got to college. Within the first four months, I gained a good 10 pounds. Granted some of that was muscle (because I had zero muscle mass when coming to college) and some of that was pure fat. But it made me sad. I was struggling to fit into my pants, and clothes that I had no trouble fitting into before were now tighter than ever. That really bothered me. First semester was rough enough, and the added weight didn’t help at all.
When I’m stressed out, which is a majority of the time, I eat. I stress eat and I have no control over it. Did that help my body image problem? Not in the slightest, but it did help my mental state. My stress eating bothered me so much that I started to become obsessed with counting calories. Which in reality, that added even more stress into my life.
I came to college with this mindset of “I’m going to work out all the time and be in the best shape of my life.” I had a membership to our amazing gym facilities and there was nothing stopping me. Or so I thought.
I started out the year strong, going to the gym as much as I could. But then suddenly that all stopped. I had no motivation. I didn’t like the gym. I never wanted to go anymore. And let me tell you, the motivation really went away when I went home and weighed myself for the first time since going away to college. The lack of motivation continued until winter break.
I came back to school in 2016 with a new outlook on the gym. I was so excited to start working out again and getting in shape. I mean who doesn’t have that new year’s resolution to get in shape? Two weeks in, I injured my foot resulting in me taking two months off from the gym. This really killed my morale.
the definition of healthy
In every stage of life there’s a different definition of healthy. Right now as a college student, my definition of healthy differs drastically from someone who is not living in a dorm and on a very very very small food budget. Through the ups and downs with my body image, the gym, and stress eating, I’ve developed a more positive view of being healthy. Being healthy for me at this stage of life is to do the best I can to eat well and just be happy. That means to try to not eat Chick-fil-a every day, have a salad more often than I want to, think about how much better I’ll feel after hitting the gym, and sometimes I deserve that bag of mini powdered doughnuts or ice cream from Marble Slab or that piece of cheesecake from the dining hall.
Now I’m back. The sun is shining, and I’m living a healthy, happy life. I may not have a flat stomach or super toned legs, but I am happy. Ultimately everything is good in moderation. Exercise, food, junk food, fruits, vegetables, and doughnuts. I’ve also learned that it’s okay to gain a little weight here or there. Going to college is a huge change in lifestyle and of course your body is going to change!
If you’ve read this whole post, I really applaud you. Just know life works itself out. Sometimes you can’t have the perfect body, perfect grades, and perfect diet. And that’s ok.