To The Girl Trying To Lose Weight In College

To The Girl Trying To Lose Weight In College

"It's not easy, but there’s no feeling quite like realizing you need to buy jeans a size down."
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To the girl trying to lose weight in college:

Congratulations! You have chosen the worst time in your life to embark on the tumultuous journey that is weight loss.

I'm sure you anticipated that going to college and having access to a gym and the freedom to plan your own meals would make achieving your fitness goals a breeze. In reality, the combination of an endless stream of alcohol, a concerning amount of free pizza, and studying-induced fatigue rendering any thought of exercise laughable all come together in a perfect storm. On top of that, your twenties segue you into a chapter of life where your hormones and metabolism morph. Get used to it. You're a woman. This ride has just begun. While the acne clusters aren't eighth-grade awful, they still make regular appearances at the worst times, and your arms developed a certain fleshiness that closely resembles curdled sour cream. Wow, you're probably thinking. This girl is a mess.

It's not just that I'm a mess (I am), it's that I've been in your unused running shoes for way too long.

The truth is, it wasn't just in my twenties that I began to have fleshy arms and acne. No, I have been overweight my entire life. If you know me, and are a terrible friend that lies to me about my appearance to salvage what little is left of my pride, you're probably thinking, She's not overweight. Well, I am. I have been my entire life. It's a fact I came to terms with a long time ago and it doesn't need any more cushioning than my ample assets already provide.

I was a fat kid. It wasn't puppyfat or chub or anything endearing like that. I ate poorly (behind my dear parents' backs, who flooded my diet with vegetables and lean proteins) and moved minimally, on top of a genetically predisposed metabolism on par with a Russian tortoise and the big bones of a Slavic weightlifter. I went to doctors and nutritionists and dieticians to try and help figure out some way to combat my weight. When puberty came along, some of that weight redistributed itself to areas of my figure where, I'd discover later in life, a little extra padding went a long way in certain outfits. But I still felt weighed down by the pounds I couldn't shake.

High school, AKA hell without an advanced degree, heightened my awareness of body image and I began running and swimming competitively (not well, but it was exercise). I explored my own avenues of healthy eating and ended up slimming down before I went to college. I entered my freshman year in the best shape of my life — not exactly ready to don my angels' wings and strut the runway anytime soon — but I felt confident and ready to take on the next four years. I quickly realized, however, that the typical college lifestyle isn't exactly conducive with achieving any grand fitness goals.

Alcohol is swimming with bad carbs and calories, even if it doesn't feel like anything that tastes like lighter fluid should have calories. Then there are the foods you gorge on while intoxicated — quesadillas, chicken tenders, cheese fries, to name a few — that are rich in salt and fats, and while you might not remember going to In-N-Out at midnight, the scale does. Even sober, that “all-natural, healthy" energy bar you eat to fuel you through the morning is laden with sugar, no better than if you ate an actual Snickers before your 9:00 a.m. class. Even salads can trap you with hidden dangers — a salad loses its “healthy" moniker when you load it up with cheese and a cream-based dressing, on top of an iceberg lettuce base. College is, realistically, the worst time to try and lose weight. You aren't going to want to hop on the elliptical the morning after you've stayed up until 4:00 a.m. either in the library or at that Pike party.

You're probably wondering why I, a self-proclaimed fat girl, am offering you any type of nutritional advice. Let my life be a warning to you. It's not only because I've seen close to 10 different doctors in my lifetime who aimed to offer dietary help, but because I'm trying. My junior year has brought a new tide of effort to lose weight because I realized in a year and a half I will make my grand debut into the real world and I need to have a semblance of how to independently live a healthy lifestyle. Since coming back from study abroad (where I undid any half-hearted progress I had made in the first two years of my college career), I have stopped eating dairy, red meat, refined sugars, and countless other delicious ingredients of life. And let me tell you, it is not easy, but there's no feeling quite like realizing you need to buy jeans a size down.

Obviously, I cheat. I am not ordering a kale salad with a pint. I won't beat myself up for eating a cookie. As Erma Bombeck once said, think of all the women on the Titanic who passed on dessert. I won't kick myself for missing a day at the gym, I'll just kick a little harder the next day when I work out. It's progress, not perfection. The way to lose the pounds is to shed the burden of feeling like the fat girl, and I do that by taking positive action, by loving myself, and by forgiving myself when I don't meet the mark. Nobody meets the mark. And that might be the heaviest weight we all carry.

I know how hard it is to just try and lose weight in college, let alone do it. If you're a girl trying to lose weight in college, the fact that you are even trying is worth praise. It takes a certain type of person, at 20 years old, to admit that they want to change. Just the idea of cutting cheese out of my diet was scary, let alone wearing sweat-wicking spandex while doing crunches in front of other people, but something inside me told me that I needed to change. And when I finally did, it wasn't just my love handles that started shrinking. It was the self-loathing that I didn't even know what was there that shrunk away, too. As trite as it sounds, when I learned to love black coffee over a caramel macchiato, I learned to love myself.

Losing weight, or even trying to, isn't about wearing your Victoria's Secret angel wings for some guy. It's about being the best you that you can be. The end result is going to take a long time to achieve, but you gain character and strength when you lose the weight. It's a beautiful paradox. But it's not easy, and it's not fast, either. One week you might lose five pounds and the next week, gain three. Whatever the case, don't lose hope. Every time I get on the treadmill, sweaty and panting and bouncing in places where you don't want to bounce, I tell myself that though I go slow, I'm lapping everybody on the couch. And that's enough to keep me moving.

Sincerely,

The girl who just wore a hole in her Asics

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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10 Struggles Only Anemics Will Understand

Popping (iron) pills is all we know.

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Anemia is a medical condition in which the blood lacks hemoglobin, the protein that is responsible for transporting oxygen. As a result, individuals diagnosed with it constantly feel weak and tired. I was born with thalassemia, a condition that destroys red blood cells and makes you more susceptible to getting anemia. There are many factors that cause the condition, but symptoms are consistent for sufferers.

Fun fact: 30% of the world's population is anemic.

1. Always forgetting to take your ferrous sulfate pills

My friends and family constantly hound me to eat them, in addition to the daily reminder I have set up on all of my devices, and I still manage to forget to take them most of the time. It's a bad habit considering we kind of need these to survive, you know.

2. "I'm tired" is a phrase too common to your vocabulary

I honestly say this so often that sometimes I'll straight up use it as an excuse to get out of social responsibilities. I'm not lying, though, it takes me an extraordinary amount of effort to do even the simplest of tasks because of how drained I always feel. I also apologize for constantly yawning, you're not boring, I'm just a lethargic piece of crap.

3. You dread the idea of working out

Sure, I'll be your workout buddy, you just have to put up with my constant breathlessness and need for rest breaks. I'd rather do something that involves little to no physical activity, though, so you wouldn't have to witness me panting and dying.

4. Constantly having those spontaneous shivers

You know exactly what I'm talking about — you'll be sitting in class, minding your business, and a random shiver will shoot down your body and make you tremble in the weirdest manner possible. I actually had someone sitting next to me ask me once if I was seizing.

5. Your extremities are always unusually cold

This is something I find myself having to explain a lot to people, especially when they grab my hands and ask me why they're "so cold." Because of the lack of oxygen circulating in our blood, not enough heat reaches our extremities, which in addition to hands also makes your nose, ears, and feet cold.

6. Cravings for weird ass objects

When I first started to develop anemia in middle school, I was drawn to the smells of gasoline, Wite-Out, fresh paint, Pine-Sol, the list went on. My friends looked at me like I was a druggie, but once I told my doctor she told me that this is a very common symptom of anemia, and actually is a condition termed "pica," which characterizes the craving for non-nutritive items. Some individuals actually start eating dirt to satisfy their cravings.

7. Having nosebleeds at the most random moments

I'm not sure if everyone can relate to this, but growing up I had a lot of nosebleeds, as did my twin brother who also is an anemic. I'll still have them occasionally, always at the worst times, too.

8. Sleeping for more than 12 hours and still feeling tired

There's really no difference between sleeping two hours and 15 hours for me because I'll still feel tired regardless. To top it off, caffeine exhibits no effects on me, so I just constantly look like a sleep-deprived bitch. These eye bags are Chanel, though.

9. All. Those. Damn. Blood. Tests.

I'm almost 20 years old, but I still ask for the butterfly needle (what they give to little children) at every appointment because of how much I dread needles. Like hi, your blood supply is already declining, but we'll just take out six more vials of your blood. The worst part? When they can't find your vein and start shimmying the needle around. Definitely not looking forward to my next doctor's appointment.

10.  Always feeling like a brand new person when you finally do remember to take your pills

Not sure if it's my body reacting to the increased amount of oxygen in my blood, or if it's just the placebo effect, but as soon as I take my iron pill, I feel like a boss-ass bitch. I just have to remember to do that more often.

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