To Incoming Freshmen Who Think They Won't Gain Weight, Don't Wait For It To Happen To You

To Incoming Freshmen Who Think They Won't Gain Weight, Don't Wait For It To Happen To You

Freshman fifteen? Never heard of her.

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Heading into freshman year of college, hopes are always high. We all look forward to the new place with new people and new opportunities. Getting hit with a new setting and way of life gets a person sidetracked faster than anything else, and personally, it was enough to significantly take away from my health.

I have noticeably struggled my entire life with living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a good self-image, and the constant distraction from it didn't help in the long run. By the end of first semester, I was made aware of how I had let myself get too comfortable in the unhealthy habits. I wasn't in a good spot with myself, but sometimes you have to get low in order to see the top.

Just to make it clear, I am in no way a professional, and I am in no way claiming that I really know what I'm talking about.

All I know is that I was able to dig myself out of a ditch. In writing this, I hope to help y'all avoid the ditch entirely, and enter freshman year, or any year, knowing what to expect of yourself. Maybe you're not trying to lose weight, you could just be trying to develop healthier habits. And maybe the changes I made to my lifestyle are ones you can learn from. These changes are exactly what I'm here to share with you.

SO, let's jump into it.

It's December. I am the heaviest and unhealthiest that I have been in my entire life. I was not in good physical or mental shape at this point, and I knew I needed change, I just didn't know where to start. I started to realize that my awful self-image came from comparing myself to others. I was always looking to impress other people because they always seemed to impress me. Almost a competition day to day. I was SO over it. Over the fake, edited, unhealthy nature of the culture. I started this journey by deleting my Instagram. Suddenly my time was my own. Not having a reason to check up on other people made it a lot easier to check up on myself instead. I was able to do so much more for myself because I truly stopped caring about how I appealed to other people.

To set everything straight, it is not selfish to make your life about you.

In fact, I highly encourage it. Maybe you don't have the kind of motivation or reason to go off-grid for a little while, and that's okay. But start paying attention to the attention you lend. There are so many things we are conditioned to care about that actively take away from the love we have for ourselves. Take note.

But now we have to think about the goal and the motivation. Personally, I knew that being in better physical shape would bring me to a good spot mentally. Not that it should, but being overweight had a toll on my socially. Without getting too personal, I felt limited by the way I looked. The feeling motivated me. I was motivated by the fact that I knew nobody expected it of me. Motivated by people that thought I couldn't do better. Mostly, I was motivated by the fact that I never thought I could get there. I did want to prove everyone wrong, but more than anything, I wanted to prove myself wrong.

It was set. As cliché as it may be, it truly was a New Year, New Me situation. Cold freaking turkey. 2018 was and still is about growing within myself. I started with going vegetarian. I don't believe in pushing any kind of 'diet' on anyone, because it truly is a lot more personal and should be more nutritionally customized for each individual. However, this was a great way to start. I learned so much about self-discipline and determination. Each day I could have given up, but I made the conscious decision to keep it going. And this is how all health-related goals seem to work. It's not always about being perfect, but it's about the choice. It's about the effort. Slipping up happens, but if you're reminding yourself of what the long-term goal is, you're going to make better decisions than you have in the past.

The small decisions matter too. So walk to class instead of taking the bus. Try the stairs instead of the elevator. Go crazy and take a walk instead of taking a nap. Exercise can easily be disguised, especially when you're just getting started. Don't feel pressured to immediately start going to the gym every day or force yourself to go on runs that you aren't mentally prepared for. Don't be scared to take it slow. I mean, hey, you have your entire life to get where it is you'd like to be. You'll know when you're ready to step things up.

The hardest part is convincing yourself it's easy. Because it is.

There's just one big hump to get over before it's second nature. Success lies in putting yourself through one shitty week. It will not be fun, and you'll be so tempted to give up the ENTIRE time, but this is all it takes to form a habit. You develop such a taste for natural foods over processed foods and you lose the cravings that used to defeat you. No more late night Dominos, but instead an early, balanced dinner. The best part is that with healthy eating comes a better metabolism, so if you do end up indulging, it's okay! Your body has an easier time getting rid of the not so good stuff because it's finally in good condition.

Keep this in mind through it all. It's not just about now. It's about the life ahead of you. Take care of your body for the long run, not just to lose weight or for any goal that is just for now. Your body is your home, and it will always be with you. The only way to stay happy in it is to take care of it. Give it what it needs. Listen to it. Don't be scared to sweat and sacrifice, because this is the only body that you will ever have.

But mostly, confidence.

Cover Image Credit:

Nicole Ofiesh

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34 Things I Should Have Brought To College At The Start Of Freshman Year, But Didn't

To the incoming freshman from the rising senior.
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Coming from a rising senior at the University of Dayton who has lived in an over-sized double dorm room, to a suite-style quad dorm room, to a house with virtually no storage space sharing an octagon-shaped single room (and single closet)... These are the random little things no one thinks to bring to college or put on these lists, but they will make your life on campus a million times better. I ended up buying these items long after I started college, and they were a big help. Don't make the same mistakes I did.

1. Shoe organizer

These are great for various items such as toiletries, snacks, and, of course, shoes.

2. Under-the-bed storage bins

During college, most of my storage has been under my bed, so this is a must.

3. Photos

To remember the happy times with your friends and family. Add to your collection over your college years.

4. String lights

Just to add a little something extra to your space. The dim light is totally relaxing.

5. Makeup wipes

For when you're too tired after going out to actually wash your face.

6. Extra sheets and towels

Trust me, you're not going to want to wash your sheets and towels right away so you can use them immediately. Bring back-ups.

7. Tide pods

These are awesome. Plus they smell heavenly.

8. Drunk dorm/microwaveable snacks

For when you come back after going out and the dining hall has already closed. Ordering Domino's or Jimmy John's night after night is NOT a cost-effective option.

9. Gatorade

For when you're too dead in the morning to walk down and get one from the dining hall.

10. Keurig and coffee

Just in case the dining hall runs out of coffee during finals week. Believe me, it can happen.

11. Chip clips

You will accumulate many of these from free vendors and events on campus, but somehow, they are no where to be found when you need one.

12. Paper towels / Clorox wipes

You can never have enough.

13. Rain boots

So you'll be able to make it to class on those rainy days without having to sit in soaking wet socks and shoes for 50 minutes (yikes). And you can jump in all the puddles you wish.

14. Alarm clock

If you're like me and could sleep the whole day if you didn't have an alarm, your phone alarm just doesn't cut it sometimes.

15. Back study pillow

Even if you don't think you will use it, you will end up wanting it.

16. Command strips

These are the only things that will stick to most dorm room walls.

17. Rug

Especially if your room has a cold tile floor instead of carpet.

18. Air mattress or sleeping bag

For your friends visiting you on campus, or if you ever go on a trip.

19. Disposable dishes

At least while you live in a dorm with a community sink.

20. Red solo cups

Because you don't want your morning-after milk or apple juice to taste like last night's $8 vodka.

21. Costumes/holiday wear

This is something I totally didn't even think about when I first came to school. Now I have an entire bin JUST for costumes and holiday decor.

22. Crazy daydrink clothes

If you have a few jerseys, you're set. If not, take a trip to the local goodwill with your squad and pick up a few things. The crazier, the better.

23. Towel wrap

If you're like me and just like to chill in your towel after you shower ( and a robe is too hot for you), these are a must. And they're super cute.

24. Wristlet/clutch/small purse

You won't want to lug around a large tote while you're out with friends or doing daily activities.

25. Comfortable heels

Don't let this be you!!!! I've been there, and nothing will ruin your night of dancing at the club like shoes that give you blisters and disable your walking by the end of the night.

26. Business casual and business professional clothes

And make sure you know the difference and when each is appropriate.

27. Water bottle

In college, your water bottle is your best friend. You never go anywhere without it, and it actually helps you to drink the amount of water you're supposed to drink each day (maybe).

28. Blender

If you're a fan of smoothies (or frozen margaritas) and want to make them at home for less.

29. Flashcards

Flashcards are a great way to study. If they're not for you, buy them anyway just in case you want to try them out. Or if anyone on your floor is desperate for them, they will be eternally grateful.

30. Mini fridge

When you're sharing a fridge with 3+ other people, things can get pretty tight. I recommend buying this with your roommates so you can share the extra space.

31. Calculator

Just in case you change your major and have to take math again (like me).

32. Thermometer

So you can know for sure whether or not you have a fever.

33. Drying rack

Because you're actually not supposed to put everything in the dryer, who knew?

34. Rubbing alcohol

Works wonders for getting those impossible Thursday night Xs off before your Friday 9 a.m.

These things have helped me make it through three years of college, especially freshman year. Hopefully, I have helped you prepare for your college years somehow. Good luck and have fun!!!

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Cover Image Credit: oregonstateuniversity / Flickr

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The Key To Self-Improvement: Moderation

Short-term solutions will never work for long-term problems.

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There's a famous quote that always seems to resurface in Instagram bios and yearbooks: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." It's a popular quote for a reason: it summarizes the idea of autonomy and accepting responsibility for our own shortcomings and successes quite nicely.

I think recognizing our own ability to shape our lives is vital to becoming successful adults—but that recognition can quickly become an obsession.

Of course, we all should aim to change the things we don't want to accept in our lives: but that is much easier said than done. It is so very, very easy to get wrapped up in the idea of self-improvement—and that can lead to some serious burn-out.

I have been trying for what feels like forever to find a lifestyle that helps me deal with various issues stemming from low self-esteem and anxiety.

I feel like I've tried it all: dietary adjustments, different exercises, journaling, social media breaks, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. None of it seemed to have the lasting impact I was looking for.

For the first time in my life, the lifestyle changes I'm attempting are working—and I think I know why.

One reason: moderation.

None of those lifestyle changes mentioned above is inherently bad or difficult. However, any time I have attempted to keep myself to a strict regiment of utilizing them, it's quickly fizzled out.

If I attempted to journal every night, for example, I would get upset with myself for missing one evening if I was exceptionally tired. Whenever I tried to abruptly change my eating habits, I would do really well for a couple of weeks before giving up altogether. The same would happen if I tried to run every day or give up social media.

I put so much pressure on myself to improve some area of my life quickly that every minor trip-up or break felt like a failure.

What I've been doing recently, however, is spacing out those changes. I'll run three or four times a week instead of every day. I try to eat healthy meals but I won't always skip dessert. I limit the time I spend online but I won't quit it altogether.

By giving myself some breathing room, it allows my body and mind time to adjust. Those lifestyle changes don't feel restrictive any more. By enjoying certain things occasionally instead of never, I don't find myself craving them.

Giving yourself an adjustment period is vital to making any major change last. Trust me on this one: short-term solutions will never fix a long-term problem.

While that quote is nice, I'd like to propose a minor addition to it: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Oh yeah—and the time to make it happen."

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