How Meal Swipes Have Helped My Self-Esteem

Ever since I was little, I have been underweight by a substantial amount. In fourth grade, I remember only weighing 40 pounds when everyone else weighted 70. I hated being so tiny and light, and I would always get picked on for being so thin. My family is filled with curvy Latina women, and every time I visit them, the first thing they comment on is my weight. I was, and still am, shaped like a rectangle.

In high school, when people start to really become self-conscious about body shape and weight, I was a target of ridicule because I was so slim. Some girls were a perfectly healthy weight and called themselves "fat." I was so confused! My friends would joke that they would give me some of their body fat, and I honestly wished that it was that easy to gain weight. Surprisingly, as difficult as it is to lose weight, it's just as difficult to gain it. I've tried protein shakes and supplements, but nothing seemed to work. When I got to college and heard about the "freshman 15," I got excited. I told my family members that I'm aiming for the freshman 30. 

At CNU, we have meal swipes. Each student has a certain amount of swipes a week -- one meal is one swipe. I'm on the 14 meal plan, which should equal to 2 meals a day. Every time you swipe into a dining hall, it would make a satisfying "ding" sound. A little screen tells you how many meals you have left for the week. For me, that number has been really helpful.

In high school, I had terrible eating habits. I would snack all day and only eat one meal a day. If I was lucky, I would eat a small breakfast (usually a bowl of oatmeal) and a small dinner (maybe some fries). I know that it was unhealthy, but that's just what happened to work for me. Once I got to college, I realized that I was paying a lot of money on pre-purchased meals that I wasn't using. At the start of the semester, I would finish the week with 9 swipes left.

Last week, I decided that I would try and use all 14 swipes in one week. It didn't matter if I didn't eat a lot once I was at the dining hall, but my rule was that I had to at least eat a serving size of something nutritional. Surprisingly, it has been helping me a lot! Eating definitely gives you more energy during the day, and I've been learning about what foods I can eat a lot of and enjoy. Checking the menu and getting excited to eat Mongolian grill after band practice is the highlight of my day. I have been finding myself thinking about food and being more conscious about what I am putting in my body. I still haven't gotten to the point where I use all 14 meal swipes, but I have made significant progress. I went from eating 4 meals a week to 10 meals a week. It may sound silly, but when I swipe my card and the number of my meal swipes goes down on the screen, I feel proud. It's good to actually see evidence of my progress. 

Before college, I weighed 99 pounds. Now I weigh 105 pounds. It might not seem like much, but it's the most I've ever weighed. I am aiming for 120 pounds by the middle of next year. Even though I am not my ideal weight, I know that if I keep eating full meals, I'll make it to my goal in due time. Overall, I feel healthier and happy with where I am! :) 

Thank you so much for reading!