I consider myself pretty motivated when it comes to fitness and staying healthy. Throughout high school, I never worried about my weight or what I ate because I was always playing a sport or going to the gym on a daily basis. Exercise was always something I enjoyed, whether it was going for a run to clear my head or playing tennis with friends.

When college hit, I tried to hit the gym as much as possible. I'd wake up on days I didn't have 8 a.m. classes to get a workout in or find myself going late at night. But the thing about this was with so many other obligations of work and the temptation to just stay in my dorm that night to hang with my friends, it was so much easier for me to skip the gym, something I'd never do at home. On top of that, the salty dining hall food and the increase in eating out led to me gaining some weight first semester.

Coming home for Christmas, my mom pointed this out, which sounds harsh, but I really needed the wake-up call. The first couple of days of being home, I was really upset with the realization that I had gained weight. I kept looking in the mirror at my face, staring at my less defined jawline and wishing I had the body I did a year ago. I kept thinking "how did I let this happen," and complaining to my friends who reassured me that they didn't notice a difference and that I was being crazy.

My mom also comforted me by saying how with my month at home of healthy eating I would be back to where I was in no time. And since then, that's exactly what I've done. I've been committed to waking up for the gym every morning and doing a lot more cardio. I've cut down on bread, pasta, and sweets in the meantime.

While I'm glad that I've adopted a healthier lifestyle for this break, my self-consciousness about my weight also scared me a little. Seeing loved ones struggle with their bodies and eating disorders, I know that these are problems that are all too real for so many. Social media definitely contributes to defining what is beautiful and impacts mental health. Scrolling through Instagram, you see girls who are tall, skinny, curvy, and everyone portraying better versions of themselves. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to look a certain way on social media, these posts have definitely had an impact on the societal perception of what a "good body" is. This definitely opened my eyes to the fine line between changing your diet to be a little healthier and counting calories like crazy and working off everything you eat.

My biggest takeaway for the end of 2018 is that it's important to both love yourself and take care of yourself at the same time. For me, that means keeping up my new workout and diet regimen while I am home for break, and taking some of my unhealthier habits into consideration when I return to school. As long as I keep a healthy balance, I'll be happy.