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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I'm That Girl With A Deep Voice, But I'm Not Some Freak Of Nature

I have learned to hold back tears when someone tells me that I sound like a man.

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My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I joke that rather than getting higher, my voice got lower throughout puberty.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I have learned to laugh when my family members say "Hi Todd" when they pick up the phone when I call. Todd is my brother. I am a girl.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I have learned to laugh when I have been asked by other females if they're "in the right bathroom" when I tell them "I'm not in line" or "someone's in here" when there's a knock on the stall.

Keep in mind that in most female bathrooms, there are no urinals present and there is a sign outside the door that says "WOMEN." Quite obviously, they're in the correct bathroom, just thrown off by the octave of my voice.

For the girl who asked me if she was in the right bathroom because she was "caught off guard and thought I was a boy," I'm just wondering...

What part about my long hair, mascara, shorts not down to my knees, presence (small presence, but a presence none the less) of boobs, and just my overall demeanor was not enough validation that you are, in fact, in the correct restroom?

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I have learned to hold back tears when someone tells me that I sound like a man. Or, when someone calls me over to talk to their friends so they can see how "offsetting" my voice sounds to them.

My favorite story is when I was in a store, and I asked one of the women there a question about a product.

This woman had the audacity to ask me when I "went through my transformation."

She was suggesting that I was a transgender girl because of the sound of my voice. Please recognize that I respect and wholeheartedly accept the trans- population. Please also recognize that I was born a girl, still am a girl, always will be a girl, and asking someone if they are a different gender than they appear to be is not the best way to make a sale.

Frustrated, I told her that she should find a better plastic surgeon and walked out.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be.

And, to make matters worse, I am not your typical "girly-girl."

I die for the New York Rangers, have maybe two dresses in my closet but three shelves full of hand-me-down sweatshirts from my brother and Adidas pants. I do not own a "blouse" nor do I plan on owning one except maybe for business-casual occasions.

Naturally, when a deep voice is paired with a sports-oriented, athletic short-loving, sarcastic girl who couldn't tell you the difference between a stiletto and an average high-heel, I GUESS things can seem "off." However, regardless of the difference you see/hear, no one has the right to make someone feel bad about themselves.

What I always struggled with the most is how (most, moral, common-sense) people will never tell someone they don't know, who may be overweight, that "they're fat" or that they don't like the shirt that they're wearing. Yet, because my voice is not something physically seen, it has become fair game for strangers and acquaintances alike to judge and make comments about.

I used to break down into hysterics when I heard a comment about my voice, whether I was six years old or seventeen years old.

There are times that I still do because I am so fed up and just completely bamboozled by the fact that at the age of twenty, there are still people who just have a blatant disregard for others' feelings and a lack of understanding of what is okay to say and what is not okay to say.

But, just like I ask those people not to judge me, I suppose I can't judge them on their lack of common sense and respect for others.

I'd be lying if I said that the hundreds of thousands of comments I've heard and received targeted at my voice growing up did not play a role in my life. I used to want to be a sports broadcaster. I no longer want to be heard on the radio or seen on TV; snarky comments about my voice being one of the reasons why (among others, like a change of interest and just overall life experiences).

I'd be lying if I said that my struggle with public speaking didn't partially stem from negative feedback about my voice.

I'd be lying if I said that there weren't days I tried to talk as little as possible because I didn't want to be judged and that I am sometimes hesitant to introduce myself to new people because I'm scared my voice will scare them away.

I would also be lying if I said that my voice didn't make me who I am.

I joke constantly about it now, because half the shit that comes out of my mouth mixed with my actions, interests, beliefs, etc., would sound absolutely WHACK if I had a high-pitched "girly" voice.

My voice matches my personality perfectly, and the criticism I have and continue to receive for my "manly" sounding voice has helped shaped me into who I am today. I have learned to love my voice when people have relentlessly tried to make me hate it. I have learned to take the frustration I felt towards my voice and turn it into sympathy for those who have something going on in their life, and therefore feel compelled to make a comment about me, a stranger's voice, to make themselves feel better.

I've learned that to laugh at yourself is to love yourself.

And, I say this not for sympathy. Not for someone to say, "Wait, Syd, I love your voice!"

I say this because I want it to be a reminder for people to watch what they say, and use that noggin before you speak. I say this because I also want to be the voice (haha, get it, 'voice') for those who feel like they've lost theirs.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

So no, I would not be a good alto in a choir because I think I'm tone deaf. And, when you call MY phone number, it is very unlikely that it is my brother or dad answering. Just say hello, because 99.9% of the time, if it's ME you're calling, it's ME that's answering.

Dr. Suess said, "A person's a person no matter how small."

Now I'm saying, "A girl is a girl no matter her octave."

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What To Do When You Don't Know What To Do

What will my next step be?

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As a senior in college, I can truthfully say I do not know what my next step in life will be. If you're also a senior, you may be in the same boat as me. You may be contemplating graduate school, trying to find a job that you will love, or just attempting to trudge past the senioritis you may be dealing with. Trust me, I know the feeling all too well. No matter what you're going through, you may hit the point when you just have no idea what to do. If you do reach that spot, I have some key methods that may help you cope.

At this point, I am going to attempt to find employment upon graduation. It is one of the things weighing on me every day that is simply of the unknown. One of the things I have been trying because of this is to stay positive. I have made it thus far in life, so I know I am doing something right.

All of my years of education will prepare me for a job that I will hopefully enjoy and succeed in. It is up to me to use my resources and knowledge to obtain that. Sometimes when I am stressing out, I really just have to take a breath and know that things will work out the way they are supposed to.

Another key method to deal with the unknown is to stay motivated. Even though college is coming to an end, I realize I cannot stop doing everything that I had to in order to get to this point. Sometimes it is hard to want to go to class or to do an assignment, but it is only going to negatively affect me if I do not do those things. There is no sense in throwing things off now when I have come so far to graduate college and earn a degree.

The last thing I consider to help me in this time of confusion is to stay true to myself. In the end, my decisions are going to have the greatest impact on myself. No matter what my friends are deciding to do or where someone else is ending up, it is my responsibility to make the best choices for myself. I have to live with the repercussions, so it is vital that I choose wisely.

In the end, I know that my life is going to work out the way it is supposed to and I have to trust in that. I won't say it is the easiest thing to do, but it is the most important to remember.

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