I was an athlete in high school but chose not to pursue a sport in college. This, with the added loss of homecooked meals, caused my lifestyle to change drastically. I had access to as much food as I wanted whenever I wanted, and the business of college life gave me an excuse to not exercise. By the end of my sophomore year, I had gained about 40 lbs. I felt slow, bloated, and unhappy. When I went home for the summer, I was determined to lose the weight.
However, the number 40 loomed above me like a skyscraper ever rising from the ground. I shrunk into the shadows. Questions like “What’s the point?” and “How the heck will you lose 40 lbs.?” swirled through my mind. I hated my body, I hated the way I felt, and I hated food. I knew I had to change something.
My mom works at Sheehan Natural Health Improvement Center, a chiropractic and nutritional wellness center near my home in Lancaster, PA. Long story short, with the help of Dr. Sheehan, a major change in my eating habits, and positive reinforcement from my family and friends, I lost 20 lbs. I worked full time all summer and rarely exercised but cutting down on the amount of junk food I was eating changed my life. I noticed that I was not only healthier but also happier.
I still have bad days (and weeks), but the most important part is that I have not given up or given in. I know that when I eat better food, I feel better. And I know that there will always be people to support me when the going gets tough. Changing your lifestyle and eating habits is by no means an easy task. For me, it is a constant battle, but it is a battle worth fighting for the sake of my happiness and my health. Happiness and health do not look the same for everyone, but everyone deserves them equally.
I’m happy that I don’t look like my high school self. I have grown and changed a lot, physically and emotionally, in my time at college. I am not perfect in practicing self-love, but I am striving to be. I understand now that beauty is not indirectly proportional to your weight; more weight does not equal less beauty and vice versa. Weight may fluctuate, but beauty does not.