Yes, I’m Naturally Thin, But I Also Work On My Health Every Single Day.

Yes, I’m Naturally Thin, But I Also Work On My Health Every Single Day.

Health isn't easy. It takes time and patience, especially when you're in an uphill battle.
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For most of my life, I was a two-sport athlete: hockey and soccer.

Well before focusing on hockey and soccer, I played almost every sport except tennis. My parents raised me in a fashion that had me outside after school, during the summers – staying away from the TV and video games.

Now, that doesn’t go to say I never had Sega, Super Nintendo, and Play Station 2, but you get the picture: an active kid.

While the title of this two-part piece implies I am naturally thin, life changed quite a bit after 2009-2010, freshman year of college. 37 pounds gained in one year of college, bad blood-pressure, sluggish, and not feeling like the youthful self I was a year ago had me wondering: what happened? Am I going to continue to slip down this slope or make a change that could put me in a position where I’d be proud looking back on the change, the work, the sacrifice?

And today that’s where I am, looking back over the last eight years thinking of the change, the work and hours put in and the sacrifices taken.

Today we’re going to talk about three particular ways that I continue to focus on my health since making the change eight years ago. And in part two, we will talk about my journey in more detail with some reflection. Although we’re all at different stages in our health and wellness, personal accounts can always be a great opportunity to inspire others, which is what I hope this two-part series does for you.

Have a support system – those you surround yourself with are a huge influence on the activities and mentality from day-to-day. Even if it’s one person who comes along to the gym, for a run, a rock climb, a bike ride, whatever the fitness activity is, it makes all the difference. There are going to come days where the mentality will set in “I’m over this. This routine is boring.” Trust me – it happens, and it will happen a lot. There are times where taking a day off are needed, mentally and physically. Having a support system who wants to see you succeed, stay healthy, and achieve your goals will be the ultimate difference at the end of the day.

A plan for dieting – staying healthy requires some different disciplines, but the top of the pyramid goes to your diet. There are dozens of ways to get a diet plan in place – through a nutritionist, self-research, and a variety of websites (bodybuilding.com, everydayhealth.com, fitbit.com, muscleandstrength.com, and countless others via google). With many of you who are professionals working full-time jobs, a good portion of your day is spent on what you get paid to do! There isn’t a whole lot of time to spend hours in the gym or getting involved in physical activities – but there can be time to prepare and plan your nutrition. Here’s the harsh reality – losing weight is essentially done by burning more calories than those consumed. This is impossible to do unless garbage eating habits are changed.

Mental tenacity – your mental tenacity will be enhanced through the support system you surround yourself with; however, there is a level of internal mental strength needed. For those that fear their mental strength isn’t strong enough, you aren’t alone. Mine was quite atrocious. Beach Body OnDemand has a top ten ways to improve mental strength with some highlights including: take this journey one step at a time, follow a checklist, and thinking about why you started this process. Everyone starts somewhere different – we know that. Mental strength is saved for last because it’s the hardest to develop and further reinforce throughout your health journey. To this day, I still work on mine.

Working on your health is a matter of choice. No one is forcing you to make healthy or non-healthy decisions. I was lucky to be a thin, athletic and energetic individual growing up. When that all changed in 2009-2010 after visiting my doctor, it was a calling. It’s was to get healthy and get my life back on track. I’ve witnessed close friends and family members lose hundreds of pounds and go through remarkable transformations.

It’s never too late – you can make it happen.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels.com

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Being Skinny Isn’t As Great As You Think

A reflection on the struggles that come with a person's body image.

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Body image. It is one of the most powerful and harmful things on a person's self-esteem. Society and media have placed so many images of what we "should" look like. How we need to be eating, exercising, dressing, EVERYTHING. According to others, we always need to change ourselves or second guess how we see our bodies.

For as long as I can remember everyone has called me "tiny". Sure, being small and being able to fit into a lot of clothes is fun, but being tiny or thin isn't always a good thing. I am your typical college kid eating whatever I want whenever I want.

The only difference between myself and other students is that I almost never gain weight. Some girls or guys may read that part and think that I have a gift or blessing. That I can do whatever I want and still stay small and "pretty".

Have you ever finished a meal then looked at yourself and felt like something wasn't right? Some people in today's world and in history will spend time looking at themselves and seeing multiple things that are wrong with their body.

Some handled that by exercising and losing weight or gaining muscle, others have gone as far as throwing up their food or taking pills that force their bodies not to gain ANY weight. Hearing about that from adults or doctors seems crazy but people do it all the time. Possibly the people around you and you would never know.

I went to middle school with a girl that always finished her lunch walking to the trash and then taking herself to the bathroom. She wouldn't come back to our table until the lunch bell rang. Most people didn't give a second thought to this situation, me however, I followed her one day. What I saw next was something I wasn't prepared for as a 7th grader.

Two sinks, a mirror, and three stalls. One was occupied and the rest were empty. I walked into crying and nothing else. The girl had already taken care of her food and was trying to gather herself after what she just did.

People told her that she was gaining weight, that she was "chunky" or fat. She wasn't the only girl around that dealt with horrible comments like that. It's also not just girls dealing with issues like this.

Boys and men are constantly judged and only "ideal" if they are muscular. Young boys are called pigs or disgusting only because of their weight and looking bigger than the "average" person. Men are downgraded to a lesser meaning when they are thin and "stick like".

Even as we grow up kids and sometimes adults say things without realizing the effect. Being called tiny or skinny all of the time can make someone just feel small. Getting comments to eat a hamburger and fries can make someone feel insulted.

Having comments made about your skin or hair and people making assumptions about you can make someone feel misunderstood or judged. Being told that you need to eat more or go tanning because your body doesn't "look right" can torture a person.

There are so many things that play into a person's self-esteem. Average size, too small or too big is simply just words coming out of someone's mouth that don't understand the true beauties in life.

Do you ever look at a big oak tree and say, "You're too fat, you should really lose some weight."

Do you ever see a flower that blooms smaller than a quarter and tells it, "You are tiny! Why don't you go eat a burrito or something?"

No. You probably don't. Just replace the oak tree with mom and see how that feels coming out of your mouth. Replace flower with a teenage girl and see if you can actually say all of those things. Imagine if you were a parent and it was your little girl or boy that you were talking to and you said those words. Would you be happy with yourself? Would you feel guilty? Would you push them to make their body unhealthy just to fit society's standards?

I hope that you wouldn't

There are so many of us out there being told what to do with ourselves in order to be happy with our bodies. How can someone else determine our happiness for us? I have personally gotten to the point of breaking.

I see friends on a daily basis that want to change their body because it's "ugly". Many of those thoughts are because of things society has put in our minds, and not what truly matters.

As a society, we need to push towards total acceptance. Now, I am not meaning the sexuality or ethnicity type of acceptance because those are important on a different level. Respecting each other and our bodies are something that needs to be understood and enforced as much as sexuality acceptance is pushed.

I want to live in a world and raise children in a world that doesn't make people feel horrible about their bodies. It is THEIR body, not ours. The only body we should be worrying about is our own. I want my future daughter to grow and love playing dress up without wondering if her body looks right in what she's wearing. I want my future son to go to gym class and be able to do only one pull up with all of the other boys cheering him on to do better.

Is that too much to ask?

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