As a senior in high school, and like most seniors in high school, April came and I was furiously hitting the gym for Prom Season. I was not alone. Everyone I knew, from fellow lacrosse and field hockey teammates, to girls that had never lifted weights in their life were taking over the Doylestown Fitness Center.
The scary truth is, that is the closest to an eating disorder I have ever come. My best friend and I took in about 1000 calories, recorded on our myfitness pal apps and would not leave the gym until we burned 800 calories. And of course, we dropped weight fast, but NOT in the right way and NOT in the healthy way. I was skinny, but at the time I could not see it. Everyone (my mom, my brother, my aunt) was telling me I looked thin, but I did not believe them.
Flash-forward to college and the Freshman 15 was a reality for me. Suddenly, I was on my own and found it incredibly difficult to work my gym routine around my classes, an internship, and late night hangouts with friends. So instead of searching for balance, I just ate whatever I wanted with no regard for my body, and it showed. It showed in my physical health and my overall happiness.
One night, I looked back on pictures from high school and could not believe I did not see how skinny I was!
That is the thing about weight loss and body image; it is hard to objectively see yourself when all you look for is your flaws.
That is when I realized, I could not possibly be alone in struggling with body image issues, and I began to do some research. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, 91% of women surveyed recently on one college campus had attempted to control their weight through dieting, and 86% of those surveyed reported the onset of eating disorder by the age of 20. Furthermore, 25% of college-aged women engage in bingeing and purging as a weight-management technique.
I was shocked; not only was I not alone, I was struggling along with a silent majority secretly loathing my body.
So I challenge the women of CUA to not be silent. Let’s love our bodies and all they are capable of. Think about the incredible things we can do: we give birth to children, hike, climb stairs, lift boxes, sing, paint, run marathons, swim long distances, bike downtown among many other things. We are capable of so much more than we ever thought.
Love your body: love all of it and love everything it allows you to do. Perhaps once we do this, we will love ourselves enough to eat right (veggies, fruits, proteins!) and maintain a balanced workout. We will love ourselves enough to see that yo-yo dieting, vomiting, starving, and endless calorie counting only hurt us in the long run.
An amazing friend once told me, “Madi think about guys. When a guy looks at another guy, he doesn’t see skinny, fat, thick, and curvy. He just sees shapes. Guys are different shapes. The truth is that is how guys see girls too: just different shapes. Being one particular shape and not another does not make you fat.”
I couldn’t agree more. Let’s celebrate those different shapes and all the incredible potential our bodies offer. Eat right, drink water, get enough sleep, indulge in sweets every so often, workout in moderation, and strive for balance in all that you do.
And most of all, remember that we are all beautiful. As a campus, it is time we come together and celebrate our shapes!
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder please contact:
The Student Health Center:
Phone Number: 202-319-5744 or email CUA-StudentHealth@cua.edu
The Counseling Center:
Phone Number 202-319-5765 or stop by 127 O’Boyle Hall
In case of an emergency please call 911.
To stay healthy and fit the right way, please see below for all of the workout opportunities in DC:
For the Soul Cycle Lover on a Budget:
I love Soul Cycle as much as the next girl, but my college budget sure doesn’t. Soul cycle costs $37.00 a class, but if you head on over to SCULPT in Gallery Place, for $90.00 dollars you have free access to a month’s worth of spinning classes (that’s 31 classes at about $3.00 per class!) And these classes, just like Soul Cycle, are jam packed with fast paced music, an intense instructor, and one hour of pure sweaty fun.
For the Jamba Juice Enthusiast with a thin wallet:
Jamba juice is delicious, and I am a HUGE fan of smoothies, but $5.00-$7.00 a smoothie can add up. A great substitute is the Naked Smoothies. Costco sells the 12-pack variety for about $18.00. That is a $1.50 for smoothie and definitely in your budget!
For the Yogi searching for the OM:
One of the great things about living in DC is all the access we have to free workout classes and discounts.
Lululemon on Logan Circle: Lululemon is a great company that holds community events throughout the week. The Logan Circle Lululemon has a free 60 minute yoga class at Epic Yoga DC in Dupont Circle (1323 Connecticut Ave NW) on Sundays at 12:30 pm. Bring a mat and your water. http://info.lululemon.com/stores/us/washington/logancircle/events
Lululemon on M Street of Georgetown: Also holds a complimentary yoga class instructed by Misson: Yoga! from 7pm until 8pm on Tuesdays. There is also the Lululemon running club that meets outside the store at 6:15pm on Wednesdays. (All levels welcome!) Then, starting in May, there will also be complimentary yoga on Sundays at 12pm. For more information on their community events visit: http://info.lululemon.com/stores/us/washington/georgetownstore/events
Georgetown, 3265 M Street Northwest, Washington, District of Columbia, United States 20007
CitySport: City Sport located in Gallery Place/Chinatown holds a running club every Wednesday night at 6:30pm. For every mile you run with their club you get $1 dollar off their store products. Run 5 miles with them for 5 sessions, and you just got $25.00 off of that North Face half zip you want! Just be sure to fill out the waiver: http://blog.citysports.com/images/city_sports_insurance_waiver_run_club.pdf