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Healthy Living, Lifestyle

The College Chronicles: How To Beat The “Freshman 15”

Most of us have heard of the famous “freshman 15” (when students gain weight during the semester) and if you haven’t heard of it, I’m here to tell you, it can be real…if you let it. Here are some tips on how to avoid weight gain and keep your summer body tight throughout the semester.

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Shop Smart – College food is going to get old, really fast and you’ll have late night study sessions as and when your stomach is rumbling and the cafeteria is closed so you will need groceries to survive. This is always one of the hardest parts about eating healthy for me. If you’re not a health guru it can be hard to know what groceries to buy. Shopping smart is the key the maintaining your weight in college. This was a hard lesson to learn after countless trips to Wal-Mart ended with me leaving with nothing but water, ice-cream and chips. (Don’t do this!) Luckily there are meal planning apps that will guide you through grocery shopping and help you pick out tasty and nutritious meals.

breakfastDon’t skip meals – College life comes with a hectic schedule and sometimes it can be hard to find time to eat, especially before your 8 o’clock class, but try not to skip any meals throughout the day. Going without food for long periods of time will cause your metabolism to slow down and you’ll most likely over eat at your next meal. If you don’t have time to have a full breakfast or lunch grab a few healthy snacks to hold you over until your next meal.

 

Cafeteria 101 – This is probably the most important step to beating the Freshman 15, since the bulk of your meals will be eaten in the cafeteria. If your school is like mine, the temptation to eat fried chicken and pecan pie all the time is real! if you want to stay fit, take advantage of the healthier options available like the salad bar and fruit. Ask for baked instead of fried fish and practice portion control to avoid overeating. Your waistline will thank you later!

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Watch what you drink – Most people don’t realize that they consume way too many calories in their daily drinks. Try to limit the amount of soda, tea and alcohol you drink if you can’t cut them out completely and drink lots of water.

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Stay active- This is probably the hardest for those of you like me who hate working out, but it is crucial to staying in shape. Take advantage of your free campus gym because you’ll never have that again. If working out is just too unbearable for you, get involved in the free activities like yoga, aerobics and zumba classes. Whatever you do… don’t spend all your time sitting around. You can turn on some Beyoncé and dance in the mirror for 30 minutes as long as you’re active!

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Have fun and cheat a lil! – College is already stressful as it is, without the added pressure of trying to have the perfect figure. Don’t get so caught up in trying to maintain a perfect diet all the time that you’ve added a new class to your workload. It’s ok to indulge in your favorite fast foods and enjoy that strawberry cake from time to time, as long as you get back on track. If you do gain a little weight in college, so what?! Don’t beat yourself up about it, it’s a process that we all go through.

Your Turn to Talk…

What are some tips you use to stay fit in college?

Healthy Living, Interviews, Videos

(VIDEO) Chatting With DJ Kujho About Fitness, Sweat Camp & The Secret

Having someone to keep you on track during your fitness journey can sometimes be more motivating than watching your body change. That’s how I feel about Kujho and his openness about how he changed his life.

Before working out a couple of weeks ago, I had an opportunity to sit with Kujho and talk to him about his fitness journey and tips for living a healthier life.

You can watch our chat below.

One of the ways that he has motivated me has been being very understanding of where I am. I’ve come across a lot of people who are more advanced in their journeys and they can be somewhat condescending or unrealistic, to put it a better way.

Right off the bat I told Kujho that I didn’t want to be a “fitness head” or become extreme. I simply wanted to be healthier and still enjoy my favorite foods and work out at the same time. He understood that and it really made it easier to get started and stick with it.

Let me know what you think of our chat and share your stories in the comment section below!

Healthy Living

How To Cope With Anxiety Attacks

Panic…
Chest pains…
Loss of control…
Feeling detached…

Last October, maybe early November just before my birthday, I started having chest pains. At first they didn’t bother me. I passed it off as gas. When they started happening every night in the same spot, I started to worry. To make a long story short, I had doctor visit after doctor visit and health scare after health scare. I even went to a hospital that specialized in heart attacks and heart problems to make sure I didn’t have any acute issues going on.

The doctor told me my EKG results were “beautiful” and my heart looked “perfect.” I was told that I was experiencing anxiety and my friend made the connection of things happening in my life to my chest pains. I thought I was doing a great job of handling conflict in my life but I wasn’t. It was making me sick. I never thought I’d experience anxiety. Not me…that was for other people.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling or worry or nervousness. It usually occurs as and when you’re unsure about something or you’re worried about a particular outcome. It’s not just something you feel. Anxiety can take physical form because your body feels a need to protect you. Like I did, many people mistake anxiety for a health problem and visit the doctor multiple times before realizing that they’re having an anxiety attack.

What does anxiety feel like?

People who are experiencing anxiety or having an anxiety attack experience the following:

  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle tension
  • Chest pains
  • Increased heart beat
  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea, diarrhea
  • Headaches

The physical symptoms of anxiety can be so severe and scary that you think you’re having a heart attack. I actually walked out of church one evening because I felt like something was happening to me and I needed to go to the emergency room.

How to Cope

There are different ways you can cope with anxiety and anxiety attacks. Here are a few ways:

  • Try to remove negative thoughts from your mind. You can do this by writing them down in a journal or regularly visiting a therapist/counselor.
  • Accept that you won’t always be in control or know the outcome of a situation. I still have to work on this one myself. There’s no way we can ever know everything or control what will happen in every situation. Relinquishing control can be scary but many times, it’s just an illusion anyway.
  • Relax through meditation. Meditation is a great way to relax and clear your mind. Try it for 15 minutes everyday.

Anyone can experience anxiety so don’t feel bad if it has happened or happens to you! If I left anything off, please share in the comments section ways someone can cope.

Source: Help Guide

Healthy Living, Inspiration, Lifestyle

Sunday Inspiration: Minimalism From A Minimalist

Minimalism, a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.

Material things controlled my life. I allowed myself to get sucked into believing that the latest gadgets or clothing would bring value to my life. Every year I convinced myself that it was time to upgrade my phone and every season I needed to update my wardrobe. For sometime I believed that I was happier but then after awhile it faded away. I can’t begin to remember all the things that I would buy because one day I might need it or I will eventually wear it, just to to forget that I even had it.

Eventually I noticed how much time we spent in lines during the holidays just to spend hundreds of dollars on gifts only to be too tired to enjoy them with our family. I became tired of filling my life with material things that did not equate to what would actually bring me real happiness. All these unnecessary things were taking place of the things I really wanted.

I decided to take the journey to become a minimalist to focus on the simple things in life. The basic things that will enrich my life like freedom and family.

Life isn’t about what you own or how much you have but what you can make of it and what makes you happy.

Healthy Living, Lifestyle

Fat Girl: My Mental, Emotional & Social Struggle With Weight

Have you ever been called fat before? No? Lucky you.

I’ve been called a lot of things but the only word that has a sting behind it has to be the word fat…especially as and when someone calls you that word not knowing that for years you struggled to get to a place where you could stand in front of the mirror without pinching and picking yourself apart.

I’ve shared how I had low self-esteem in the past but I didn’t dig deep and open up about how my weight and appearance was really the center of it. So to continue our annual observance of health in all areas of life, I’m going to discuss the life of a “fat” girl.

I was a dancer for almost 13 years. Of all the dance disciplines I studied, I enjoyed ballet the most. Ballet was really my escape from the world but as I got older and my body started to develop I quickly became one of the larger girls in the class. At the time I was no where even close to being fat but I felt like I was, and that’s where my mental weight struggle began.

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I wish I had photos from those days so I can include them in this post, but they’re in my storage unit so I can’t share them at this time; but just know that I wasn’t fat at all – I was really fine. LOL…ask anyone that went to high school with me. The photo above was of me when I was in 10th grade I believe and yeah…I thought I was fat. *rolls eyes*

When I went to college, I gained weight for several reasons. I quit dancing my sophomore year in college and I wasn’t eating very healthy and sometimes I didn’t eat at all. In my mind, I was already fat and having that attitude didn’t help me. It was very self-destructive. I honestly didn’t realize how many pounds I’d packed on until I graduated and was headed to grad school. The photo at the very top of this post was right after I’d started my masters program in 2010 along with the ones below.

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By this time, my weight wasn’t just affecting me mentally. It had begun to affect me socially. I didn’t want to go anywhere and I hated shopping because I didn’t like the way I looked. Anytime I went out, I’d compare myself to the other girls and either wish I had their waist or their arms or their thighs and so on. I didn’t feel pretty, I didn’t believe I was pretty and I was so insecure.

The relationship I was in at the time wasn’t the best either. I was so miserable and I’d try to lose weight but I didn’t have any support and that made it even harder. I knew that it was my responsibility but I needed someone to help me in a constructive way. My then-boyfriend didn’t want to go to the gym with me, my mom picked me apart every time I saw her and one of the girls my then-boyfriend had cheated on me with called me fat and that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I slipped into a dark and gloomy place and I hated everything about my life but most of all, I hated the way I looked. I spent many days and nights crying. People even came to this blog and left comments about me saying that I was “pretty but too fat.” It made me so angry and sensitive and I wasn’t the Jessica you would meet today…not even close.

Needless to say, I ended the relationship and I started going to therapy and I essentially started over with my life.

Weight loss is so much more than exercising your body. You have to exercise your mind and get to the actual root of your weight issues. Even now, I still struggle with my weight but it doesn’t make me sad and depressed like it used to. Instead I use my energy to tap into what makes me gain weight. I’ve learned that when I don’t feel good about my life or a certain aspect of it, I gain weight. When I feel good and I’m positive and uplifting myself, I lose weight. I exercise about the same as I always have but because my self-esteem is at a healthy level, I’m able to look better on the outside.

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The above picture is a month’s progress…I haven’t taken any lately but I can tell that I’m still slimming down. I’m not where I want to be…I would love to shed at least 10-15 more pounds but I don’t pinch and pick myself apart in front of the mirror anymore. I can look at my body and smile and feel good and bad wordy and all the good stuff in between. I can work out and not feel defeated. I feel empowered and encouraged instead.

I can finally love myself again and when someone calls me fat (because they still do…happened twice not too long ago) I laugh and know that only people who are hurting themselves would use words to hurt someone else. And if you use the word fat to refer to someone, please check yourself. You have no clue how that can make them feel or where it takes them mentally and emotionally. If you’re genuinely concerned about their health, there are better words to use.

I’m thankful that I’m in a better place and I don’t look at myself as the “fat girl” anymore. I feel good and it’s showing. :)

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