Live in the now, even though it's cliche

The Here And Now Is Better Than The Before Ever Was

Who knew one statement from a friend would make all the difference?

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About three years ago, I was hanging out with one of my closest friends. We had been with each other all day and had driven to the lake to watch the sunset. We sat there a while and the sky had turned to blues and blacks since the sun had gone down. My friend made a comment on how pretty the sky looked and I said it had looked better before when it was still pinkish.

That's when she turned, looked at me and said "Why do you always do that?" I said "Do what?" "You always talk about how things were better before, you never just appreciate what's in the now" was her reply.

And that sentence made me reevaluate my entire life. Because she was right. I always compare the present to a time in the past I deemed to be "better" somehow. I never appreciated the moment I was in, instead I downgraded it.

And even though this conversation happened years ago, her observation has stuck with me. I continue to work on seeing the value of my current circumstance, even if they might not be the best ones.

It's made me realize that moments in life should not be measured by moments in the past. If I keep doing that, I'll never be satisfied with where I am now. I'll be stuck craving what has already happened.

I always see the "live in the moment" quotes on Pinterest, but honestly it's true. And it took wise words from a friend to help me realize that.

Since that moment, every day, I try to find the moments that are different rather than "better" because every second brings a different experience, a different memory, a different time. And while sometime the past seems really great, I can't go back to it. I need to appreciate the now.

So live in the now, as cliche as that sounds. I try to, all thanks to one observation from a good friend.

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I Weigh Over 200 Lbs And You Can Catch Me In A Bikini This Summer

There is no magic number that determines who can wear a bikini and who cannot.
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It is about February every year when I realize that bikini season is approaching. I know a lot of people who feel this way, too. In pursuit of the perfect "summer body," more meals are prepped and more time is spent in the gym. Obviously, making healthier choices is a good thing! But here is a reminder that you do not have to have a flat stomach and abs to rock a bikini.

Since my first semester of college, I've weighed over 200 pounds. Sometimes way more, sometimes only a few pounds more, but I have not seen a weight starting with the number "1" since the beginning of my freshman year of college.

My weight has fluctuated, my health has fluctuated, and unfortunately, my confidence has fluctuated. But no matter what, I haven't allowed myself to give up wearing the things I want to wear to please the eyes of society. And you shouldn't, either.

I weigh over 200lbs in both of these photos. To me, (and probably to you), one photo looks better than the other one. But what remains the same is, regardless, I still chose to wear the bathing suit that made me feel beautiful, and I'm still smiling in both photos. Nobody has the right to tell you what you can and can't wear because of the way you look.

There is no magic number that equates to health. In the second photo (and the cover photo), I still weigh over 200 lbs. But I hit the gym daily, ate all around healthier and noticed differences not only on the scale but in my mood, my heart health, my skin and so many other areas. You are not unhealthy because you weigh over 200 lbs and you are not healthy because you weigh 125. And, you are not confined to certain clothing items because of it, either.

This summer, after gaining quite a bit of weight back during the second semester of my senior year, I look somewhere between those two photos. I am disappointed in myself, but ultimately still love my body and I'm proud of the motivation I have to get to where I want to be while having the confidence to still love myself where I am.

And if you think just because I look a little chubby that I won't be rocking a bikini this summer, you're out of your mind.

If YOU feel confident, and if YOU feel beautiful, don't mind what anybody else says. Rock that bikini and feel amazing doing it.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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The Lazy Girl's Guide To The Gym

Also, everything else you should know if you're a slightly out-of-shape girl (like me).

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With my freshman year coming to an end, I realized a lot of things. I made new friends, I found new hobbies, and I learned a lot of lessons. One of them being that the "Freshman 15" is very real and very scary.

While my friends and family have attempted multiple times to convince me that I'm just being dramatic (I am), I still want to make a change in my lifestyle or I will, in all seriousness, be on track to the "Sophomore 20".

Here is a list of my best gym and healthy lifestyle tips that I am slowly attempting to live by this summer in order to resurrect Emily's 18-year-old body and health.

1. Increase water intake.

2. Find a gym buddy.

3. Start off with cardio.

4. Don't stop on your cardio until you're dripping in sweat.

5. Chug a LOT of water an hour before the gym.

Do not do it right before, or you will be in pain.

6. Eat light beforehand but just enough to hold you over. 

7. Plan out what your routine will be BEFORE you get there.

My routine: Elliptical for a mile, Stairmaster for 10 minutes, ab HIIT workout for 10 minutes, 5 more minutes on Stairmaster.

8. Buy healthy foods while you're feeling motivated.

9. Find a gym that isn't too far from your house. 

10. Don't get mad at yourself if you don't see results in a day.

I know this is a hard one.

11. Try fitness classes. 

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