Body Image Series Part 3: Healthy Habits that Work

In my first body image post I talked about the issues I’ve faced with my body image, and in my second post I detailed my interest in karate as a form of exercise. For this post, here is my list of five easy tips and tricks that I personally use everyday at school to not only help maintain my weight, but make me feel wonderful in the process.

#1: Just because you can eat as much as you want in the cafeteria does not mean that you should eat everything you see.

I think this is the biggest challenge for every new college student. College students are stereotypically short on cash, and one of the best quick, cheap food choices for the average college student is eating anything and everything in the cafeteria. With as many food choices that are available, one might be tempted to get one (or two…or three…) of everything. However, do you really need to eat that much to get through to the next time you’ll eat? The answer is likely no. Pick one or two things you’d like to try, get appropriate portions, and enjoy! Continue reading

Body Image Series Part 2: Getting Down to Business

My last post detailed the issues I’ve faced in the past few years regarding my body image, and this week I wanted to focus on what I’ve done so far to improve how I perceive my appearance and general ways I’ve tried to be healthier. I had been tired about feeling terrible about how I looked, so I decided to do what I could. There are some things I have no control over, like my height, but I can always change my weight and certainly the way I perceive myself.

Over the summer when I decided to take control of my health I started using the treadmill we have at my house every day that I could. I’ve never particularly enjoy running, but having a treadmill right in my house to use made it difficult to make excuses not to use it. Many days I would run, walk, and jog for around an hour while, every now and then, I went as low as thirty minutes. All that time was a good time to think as I found it almost impossible to read while I was going any faster than a turtle’s speed. I usually just listened to music or TED talks to pass the time. After a few weeks of doing this, I started feeling better and had a lot more energy than I had when I first started. I had not only been exercising regularly, I had also been carefully watching what I ate. I ate more fruits and vegetables, drinking more water, and going to bed at a decent time whenever I could. I was feeling wonderful! With as good as I was feeling I was starting to get curious to see how much weight I had lost. Surely I had lost a few pounds with as much as I was cutting back and exercising!

Once I actually got on a scale and saw the results, however, it turns out I had been mistaken. I was exactly the same weight doing so much work and it was honestly quite frustrating. I was determined to never be one of those people who checks the scale as often as I breathe, but I was upset that I hadn’t made a measurable difference. I didn’t even like running, so why should I continue to do it? I stopped spending so much time on the treadmill, but I really wanted to find another physical activity that I could enjoy both at home and back at LMU once I moved back in a few weeks later. I couldn’t handle another year of dreading the weight concerns that come with being a college student. I needed to guarantee that I would, in some way, be active at least once or twice a week outside of walking to and from class.

tumblr_ma21sd0Rf41r7l3cxo1_500

By the time I moved back into school, I had yet to find another means of exercising that I could enjoy and easily do. I started to think that I was never going to find any form of exercise that I could get into, but I was quickly proven wrong yet again. Fellow blogger Ashley introduced me to Tri-State Free Style Martial Arts (TSFSMA) based in Middlesboro a few weeks ago, and since I’ve started I have absolutely loved it. I was skeptical at first; I thought all martial arts classes were super challenging and the instructors were always too demanding. It turns out that I was only half right. The classes are very challenging, but that is what I like most about them.

Classes always begin with stretches, warm-ups, and practicing of blocks, punches, and kicks. The second half of class works on sparring practice, developing new skills, and practicing old skills that students may be having trouble with mastering. The instructors are incredibly knowledgeable, kind, and helpful and are always there to help students improve in whatever way possible. I have only been to a handful of classes so far, but I am so thankful that I gave TSFSMA a chance.

tumblr_lme9o305KH1qgm4ji

This is how I feel at the start of every class- always excited and ready to go!

I have not checked a scale in quite a while, but I don’t feel the need to. Although I am always sore for a few days after each class, I feel wonderful and look forward to every class. In fact, I see my soreness as a different but better way to check my progress instead of some number on a scale. I would not give up TSFSMA for anything!

Middlesboro classes are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-9 p.m. at 2219 1/2 Cumberland Avenue (Old Firehouse Video, next to Family Dollar) and Pineville classes are held on Mondays and Thursdays from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the  New Heights Church next to Subway. For more information about TSFSMA, check out their Facebook page or their website! Classes are held in both Middlesboro and in Pineville, about fifteen minutes away from Middlesboro.

While what I’ve done to improve my overall health and body image has so far worked for me, not everyone enjoys and sees benefit in the forms of exercise  lifestyle choices I’ve made. Check back in a few weeks for a post on simple steps and easy lifestyle changes that everyone can take to feel better about themselves and improve their overall health!

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions feel free to email me or leave a comment on my blog. If you want to see more posts like this one, subscribe to my blog and receive a new post every other Thursday!

Body Image Series Part 1: The Beginning

mirror-on-faceThe first signs of me being unhappy with the way I looked started in early middle school. I was never told anything mean, but comments were made that I was incredibly skinny. Some of my friends would joke and say I needed to eat more despite me already being comfortable with how much I was eating. I took their comments as complements but I was confused. I was young but I wasn’t stupid. Wasn’t so much media dedicated to weight loss and everyone’s desire to be skinny? I started to think that I was the wrong kind of thin, that I was somehow made wrong. These thoughts never bothered me too often, but they did cross my mind every now and then and increasingly bothered me as I got older. I knew that others had to be feeling the same way I did, but I rarely heard hushed voices in the locker rooms after gym class saying things like, “I need to lose five pounds before prom” or “I’m going to skip lunch and dinner today. I’m looking fat.”

The older I got, however, the more open to myself and those around me I became. It turned out that I was not alone, that I had company who disliked the same things about themselves that I did. In the past few years, and even more so since starting college, I’ve made an active commitment to get to the state of mind where I enjoy who I am and the way I look.

Continue reading

Driving Me Crazy

What do you mean I don't have my license? This is totally my license!

What do you mean I don’t have my license? This is totally my license!

I have a confession to make: I turn twenty yeas old this year and I still do not know how to drive. It seems to be everyone’s dream that the day they turn 16 they go to the DMV, take their road test, and receive their brand new driver’s license. It’s a rite of passage that so many teenagers look forward to, but it is a source of necessary evil in my life. I took Driver’s Education as a sophomore in high school, but the experience was not very beneficial for me. In fact, I think it made me dislike the idea of driving even more! As I’ve researched more into personality types, it turns out that people with my specific personality type do not like being taught new things in the presence of others. Instead, we prefer to work one-on-one with an expert in the field we are studying or learning how to do things on our own. Since the law doesn’t exactly let people figure out how to drive on their own, I was stuck in a silver Impala with “STUDENT DRIVER” plastered on every side and two other students in the car with me. I wasn’t particularly bad at maneuvering a car, but I was incredibly nervous being critiqued in front of my classmates. Doing well at school was what I did, but Driver’s Education did not follow suit with the rest of my courses.

Continue reading

Summertime Service

20140728-152126-55286711.jpg

This is my mom’s classroom right before we get to work putting it together.

Since my mom has been a teacher for over twenty years, I have experienced first-hand all of the work that goes into teaching, both in and out of the classroom. I am well aware of all of the extra work that goes into teaching a few hundred new students each year: planning lessons, grading homework and tests, and an abundance of meetings. I’ve done my fair share of helping my mother with lessons, PowerPoints, grading tests, and sitting in on meetings when I was younger. However, most of my job as a teacher’s child came in at the beginning of the year before my mother’s new students arrive on the first day, and at the end of the year after they’ve gone home for the summer. In order for the school’s janitors to thoroughly clean every room of the school, or to potentially change classrooms, teachers must pack up their rooms at the end of the year so that everything is off the floor and walls, but also be able to put it all back before the students return in August.

Continue reading

Like Mother Like Daughter

Many people do not realize when I first started seriously considering which college I would attend sometime in middle school, LMU was near the absolute bottom of the list. It wasn’t because there was anything inherently wrong with LMU– I didn’t want to go because that’s where so many people around me figured I would go! They thought this because my mother had recently gone back to school to receive her Ed.S., or Educational Specialist degree, through LMU and I suppose they thought that would make me have a preference for the university. Now that I look back on it, it makes sense why so many people assumed LMU would be one of my top choices, but back then it definitely didn’t make any sense. Every conversation about college eventually brought up my mother’s decision to further her education and the more times people asked if I wanted to go where she chose to go, the more irritated I became.

yourmothergoestocollege

While my mother attending LMU had a large and incredibly beneficial impact on where I would eventually go to pursue my own education, at first I wanted to do anything other than follow my mother’s footsteps to college.

Continue reading

The Fault in Our Blogs

book-quote-copy

My whole life has been affected in one way or another by my love for books. As an only child who was rather shy and who didn’t have many friends outside of school, one of my favorite things to do was clean and reorganize the little bookshelf I had in my room. I only had a few dozen books back then but they were my most favorite possessions. Girls my age at the time were obsessed with horses and dolls; I was obsessed with books. I loved to read so much that I quickly figured out how to read and walk at the same time. It seemed like a waste of precious time to simply walk places- I could also squeeze in one more precious page, sentence, or word. Looking back, I think I was always  meant to be an English major!

Certain books stick with me for years after I initially read them and, in some cases, make me want to read them over and over again. Some people do not understand why I choose to read books again before enough time has passed for me to forget what happens so I can be at least a little surprised with the end. I find more in between the pages of a book each time I reread it. I remember what was going on in my life as I was reading a book for the first time when I reread it.  I’ll think to myself, “I was at this part while in the waiting room at the doctor’s office,” or “I finished this book at 2 a.m. on a school night…that may not have been such a good idea.”

I have always struggled between wanting to read a new book I’ve been dying to read for months (maybe years!) or reading a

"Why can't I read seven books at once?"

“Why can’t I read seven books at once?”

TFiOS movie poster with Shailene Woodley as Hazel and Ansel Elgort as Augustus.

TFIOS movie poster with Shailene Woodley as Hazel and Ansel Elgort as Augustus.

book I particularly enjoyed for the second or third time. One of my favorites I have read a handful of times in the past two years is John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, which has recently been released as a film adaptation and proved to be a box office hit. The Fault in Our Stars, commonly abbreviated to TFIOS by its fans, tells of sixteen-year-old stage IV cancer patient Hazel Grace Lancaster. While attending a weekly support group, Hazel meets Augustus Waters who had a “little touch of osteosarcoma” a year and a half prior to the time of the plot. They almost instantly hit it off and the two of them are left to navigate the two worlds of adolescent romance and the tragedy of cancer simultaneously.

While a great deal of the novel focuses on the growing romantic relationship between Hazel and Augustus, the most profound aspect of Green’s book was the way in which Hazel and Augustus saw and interacted with the world around them.

Warning: Massive TFIOS spoilers lie ahead!

Continue reading