Weight training and lifting has taken the fitness industry by storm and so many girls and women are making the change from the treadmill to the barbell. A cardio bunny like myself, wont stop cycling or… More
College, some of the best years of your life. Partying, drinking so many new friends and best of all no nagging parents breathing down your neck! Its all rainbows and unicorns until your jeans fit a bit snugger than usual and you end up going to the doctors for a flu that you have had for the third time in a month. From personal experience, one of the most important tests you will have at College, is how well you can look after your health, physically and mentally.
When I first moved away from home and into College accommodation, I drank a bottle of wine almost every night, my staple food was Ramen noodles and toast. Because I had never previously been much of a drinker or had total freedom of my food choices, it only took a few weeks of this terrible lifestyle to take a toll on my body. I was a regular at the College doctors, and the cafeteria. Not only was my health going down the drain but so was my money, I never made my lunch or dinner and the only thing that would get me up in the morning was a barista made coffee from the local cafe.
For the first time in months I stepped on a scale, to my absolute horror I had surely put on my fresher 15. For a girl like me who was fit and healthy all through high school, ate well and exercised regularly and loved to run, I was in shock. To be honest I don’t know why I was so surprised, I was living such an unhealthy lifestyle but I was just having so much fun that I was connecting the dots that drinking most nights and eating junk was affecting my body in ways that I was oblivious to. At that moment I decided to stop drinking so much, and make healthier choices thats meat no more hash browns and Ramen noodles and more gym time. At my college gym they have free classes such as Zumba, BAT, Pump and Circuit training, because I like a good challenge I decided to go to a Circuit training class first. Wow, I have never EVER worked so hard in my life to the point of feeling as though I was going to pass out. After that near death experience as it felt, I was so tired, but in a good way. I felt as though I have reclaimed my love for exercise and kick started my way to getting my health back on track.
After a solid 5 months of gym three times a week, playing social hockey twice a week and running in between I was feeling and looking like myself again. The amount of exercise that I did sounds like a lot, but it was enjoyable for me and I always took a day off when I needed a rest. I only went back to the circuit training once in that five months, instead I spent 40 minutes on the treadmill during my gym sessions because I like running and it works wonders for my body. However, these days I try to incorporate more body weight exercises such as squat jumps, lunges and push ups. This, along with a clean, plant based diet has helped me to lose the last few pounds that I put on.
I did do this on my own, but if you need more motivation you can drag a friend along with you for support and encouragement. I would’ve loved if one of my good friends came along with me but it quite hard to convince 18 year olds to get up at 6:30am for a run!! My journey has not ended yet, I am still learning what is and isn’t good for my body. You can try what I did to lose my fresher 15, but don’t get upset if it doesn’t work for you too. Everybody is different, and I think that is so exciting. It means you can explore so many different types of exercise that you may never have heard of before and meet new people as well! Just remember that although everybody is different, everybody has the ability to become fit and healthy if they really desire to.
Avocado is life, Siracha is life, carbs are life. Don’t get me wrong, I think these things all taste really good but why do we associate certain foods with our lives so strongly? Searching around some of my favourite media sites such as YouTube and Instagram, around 50% to 70% of my feed is either a picture of someones lunch or a new superfood taking on the market. “What I eat in a day” videos are all over YouTube at the moment and they are getting more and more popular. I love watching these as much as the next person Why is it that we love to know what other people eat? Is it because we want inspiration for new recipes? Or is it because we want to compare ourselves to those who, in our eyes have a perfect life, therefore step one to be like them is to follow their diet.
Coming from a past of terrible diets, disordered eating and othorexic tendencies, I have and still am learning that there is more to life than what we put in our mouths. However, the more that I accept this, the more I have realised how much as a society we emphasise the importance of eating. Almost to a point where we subliminally think about food most of our day and are constantly consuming, more than we really need. We are surrounded by advertisements, about new and exciting food such as the “Ultimate Burger” that the fast food store down the road just started selling, or the new “5 Grain Breakfast Bar” containing 20 daily nutrients in just one package. These stores have adverts that convince us that we haven’t lived until we taste these taste bud tingling creations.
I think one of the major factors is that there is so much money in the food industry, because of course we have to eat to live! These industries have to convince people in ways that make us feel like we “have” to and “must” try their products. These stores make us believe that if we are seen with their burger we will be the envy of our friends, or if we drink this drink we will have the energy to run five marathons in one day. To me, both of these scenarios sound ridiculous and far fetched, but for some strange reason we are so easily convinced that these products are the best that we don’t want to question them. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my meals as much as the next person, but is the food industry slowly brainwashing us into becoming garbage shoots who shovel back anything and everything based on how convincing an advertisement is?
We, just like any other animal are programmed to eat and it’s something that we know that we have to do in order to survive, but are we taking it too far? People must understand that there is more to life than food, in my opinion we need to stop our obsession with food and consuming which is contributing to the rise of eating disorders of all kinds in order to live a truly happy life. There are 800 million people world wide who do not have enough food each day to live a healthy life, and 1/3 of food in the USA going to waste I think this number is far too high with the amount of food we have access to in the developed world. We need to reflect on our own consumption and wastage and ask ourselves if the amount which we are consuming is really necessary. No, I don’t believe I can stop world hunger or stop the food giants like McDonalds from selling thousands of fat laden burgers each day, but I do believe that if we start eating consciously we can decrease the amount that we revolve our lives around food. This way we can broaden our minds and reflect on more important matters and aspects of our lives and the world around us.
As a kid, I couldn’t think of anything worse than going for a run. I was never an inactive kid, I played hockey, did dance and loved every sports class we had at school. But I would always dread when mum would force me to join her on one of her seemingly endless runs. I couldn’t even run to the end of the street, without feeling like my lungs were about to burst. By the time I got to high school, and sport became more competitive I started to really notice how unfit I was compared to my team mates. I managed to avoid doing any extra fitness until I made my schools top hockey team. I was a panting, sweaty, red mess after every practise and even worse after a game. I knew if I wanted to stay in the team I would have to start working on my fitness. So dreadfully I started to do a few slow jogs, I still remember my very first run; it was hell. My legs felt like they were burning and I had the worst stitch ever in my side. At my half way point, only 1.5 km (just over a mile) I stopped and stretched for a good 10 minutes. Slowly I dragged myself back home, I think it took me around 40 minutes in total to run my first 3km. How embarrassing. It took about 3 runs a week for 2 months of these very slow jogs until I didn’t have to stop at half way for a break. Yes it is a slow process but I felt so proud of myself for running the whole 3km without stopping, that feeling of accomplishment drove me to keep going.
Gradually I extended the distance to 5km, a big step for me! I thought needed a challenge. I managed to run this course with one stop for a stretch, from then on it was my goal to run the whole 5km without a stop. In the mean time, my new hobby was making me perform much better on the hockey turf and making me a more valuable member of the team since I was getting fitter and could run faster for longer. Not only did I see benefits on the hockey turf, but also in my general health and wellness. I woke up every morning with more energy and liveliness than I have ever had, and my grades improved dramatically because I felt more focussed and alert. You don’t have to run like you are in a race every time, a steady jog is a fantastic way to clear your head and improve your everyday tasks.
This wasn’t a fast process for me personally, good things take time. But I was determined to get fitter and soon enough I was addicted to the feeling that you get after a really intense workout. It just made my day a whole lot better if I went for a run or did some form of exercise. I know that running isn’t for everyone and that there are many more different ways to exercise. I personally didn’t know that you could get fit by doing cycling, boxing or strength training but running is what worked for me and I think everyone should give it a go. It took me a good 4 months and some tough love from my mother to fall in love with running, if I can do it, anyone can. Now, 3 years later I have completed the 14km City To Surf run in Christchurch New Zealand and looking to run a half marathon in the next year. I am and have always taken one step at a time with my running goals, giving myself a rest day or few when needed. It’s a longer process for me this way but it gives me the chance to explore other passions such as art, writing and traveling. So if you truly want to kick start your own fitness journey, plug your headphones in, download some tunes and just keep placing one foot in front of the other, keep doing this and you will get where you want to be. It worked for me, and will work for you too.
When a good friend of mine asked me the question “What do you like the most about yourself?” my answer was simple I replied “Umm I guess I like my eyes, they have some green in them” she shook her head and said “Don’t be so shallow, I mean what do you like about yourself as a person?” This took me by surprise, it also took me a while to think of an answer. See, it seems the whole world only finds value in an individual by the placement of their facial features and the proportions of their limbs. Sounds strange to put it in such a literal perspective, it seems so absurd to value features which we were given based on lucky dip out of a gene pool. Why do we always want what we can’t have? I have always wished for hair like my best friend, long, thick and wavy but whenever I say this to her she will reply with every flaw possible that she found with it.
We have all heard the saying “we are our own worst critics” and for as long as I can remember, I have lived with this motto. After many years of comparing myself to everyone else around me, I finally told myself that enough was enough. I will never have legs like Kendall Jenner, a waist like Adriana Lima or look anything remotely like Gigi Hadid. Although it was and still is hard to stop comparing myself to the tight and toned girls on the billboards of every street corner and shop window, there is no use living my life with such a negative mindset towards myself. Scientists say that 70% of our daily thoughts that we experience are of a negative manner, it seems like a lot but we are so used to these thoughts that we see them as “normal” not bad. Whether it be towards ourselves or others, for some reason a little negative voice in our heads is always talking.
It’s unrealistic for me to tell you that you should just forget about this voice, the truth is that it isn’t as bad as people may think it is to have negative thoughts. It keeps us alert to any threats surrounding us, however society has now influenced us so those thoughts are now directed to our appearance and bodies. Instead of forcing those negative thoughts out of my head, I simply acknowledge and allow it to pass through one ear and out the other without reminiscing about it. It’s when we keep thinking about something over and over again like “she has nice lean legs” it will gradually turn into, “I have ugly legs” “Im fat” or even “I hate myself”. This escalation is what leads to forms of self hate and depressive tendencies. By simply being conscious of when we have that first initial thought, we can then stop the domino-type effect, causing us to have bad thoughts about ourselves. Noting the triggers of those thoughts can also help in decreasing the negative effect of them. Then think of something you like about yourself, not how you look, but of your personality, or perhaps a kind action towards someone else that you did that day. Instead of valuing ourselves by the way we look, we should reflect on how we act towards each other. We build an impression of others by their personality not their clothes, we like someone if they are nice to us or share similar views with us, not by what colour hair they have.
All in all, we should stop beating ourselves down about the way we look, we are all created differently and we can’t do much to change that. Instead we can create more of an impact on things by our actions, so we need to stop looking in the mirror finding things to change about ourselves and look beyond the mirror and start changing the world around us for the better. Value yourself based on your actions and not your appearance.
“If the world was blind, who would you impress?”
Check out my new, simple recipe! Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies are so tasty and are a must try for anyone with a sweet tooth like me. They may not be the healthiest but they sure taste good. Vegan junk food for the win!