Published Recipe + Wellness in College

Happy Friday everyone!  I wanted to start this post on a light note by sharing some fun news and exciting news with all of you.  On Wednesday, my recipe for Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese was published in a local newspaper.  I contributed to an article about tailgating and was ecstatic when I found out that my tips and recipe had been included in the feature story for the Life Section.  You can read the article online here, if you’re interested!

 

All of this talk about tailgating really got me reminiscing about college, especially tailgating and attending football games every home game in The ‘Shoe’.  College was a great time in my life for personal growth, and I have some absolutely amazing memories from that time. 

It just so happened that this week I also ran across another article that caught my eye and made me want to pass it onto others. However, as an Ohio State graduate, it is rare that I would be willing to share a story about those Wolverines who live up north, so you know this one must be important.  Sometimes even our biggest rivals can produce quality and respectable work that makes us stand up and take notice.

351_82749075034_9270_n[1] Go Bucks!!

Even when I was in college, I was still a wellness loving girl. I worked out regularly, ate healthy, and got plenty of sleep, probably more so than the majority of my peers. A lot of it was my personality as a Type A, buttoned-up, rule following young lady. However, most of it had to do with my history of sickness during school, including two bouts with mono and multiple appearances of strep throat and the flu, in thanks to a less than perfect immune system. I ate well and exercised to take care of myself and remain healthy. However, one side effect of being healthy was the superficial bonus that came with those lifestyle choices. Vanity was definitely a big motivator as well. Looking good because you’re feeling good can rarely be seen as a negative.

As much as I tried not to get too wrapped up in my looks during college, I have to admit I am only human. It was definitely hard some days not to compare myself to others. Everywhere you turned there was a toned and fit classmate working out in the RPAC, or a group of stick-thin girls laying out in the Oval. The Oval, for those of you non-buckeyes out there, is a stretch of land right in the middle of campus that provides ample space for sunbathing during warm (and sometimes even chilly) spring days. It is also probably best to skip walking through that area of campus if you’re having one of those days where stretch pants are not only comfortable, but are also considered a fashion necessity.

The Oval

If I didn’t have such a wonderful and encouraging family, a supportive group of friends, and a faith that constantly reminds me to try and look past outer beauty, I definitely think college could have been a much tougher place to be. I ran across this article, which discusses a study that is being done at the University of Michigan regarding eating and body issues on campus.  A few of the staggering statistics included:

  • 2/3 of College Women have Undiagnosed Mild or Emerging Eating Problems
  • 60% Diet or Binge
  • 70% Use Diet Pills, Purging, or Fasting – or a combination of all three – to control their weight

During college, there are a lot of changes that students go through like moving to a new city or state, adapting to life with a roommate, being responsible for one’s own schedule, and learning to make new friends.

128_12341405034_6075_n[1] My freshmen year dorm room

It’s no wonder so many students, including both women and men, struggle with using an eating disorder as a way to cope with the changes. At a time when everything feels scary and new, following a diet may be the only sense of control one has.

College is also a time when you determine your future career goals, and try to find the path you’re supposed to take. Ashley Jordan, a sophomore at UM, made an excellent point when she said that, “Self image is a part of college life, it’s a part of your daily life. If you’re not confident in yourself, then you won’t be confident in your classes or anything else that you try to do at this university.”

After reading this quote, I truly believe Ashley is wise beyond her years. I think it is true that if you aren’t confident in yourself, then it is extremely hard to be confident and successful in any stage or area of your life, not just during college. Whether you are already graduated from college or are just starting classes, have a full-time job or are a stay-at-home mom, or are simply starting something new in your life, having self-confidence can help you succeed at all obstacles you face. It is hard to pass a test, apply for a new job, run a half-marathon, or present during a meeting if you don’t have self-confidence, love, and respect.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying you have to lay out in your bikini on the Oval, or the ‘Oval’ that you face today.  What I am suggesting is that when you walk through it, try and  keep your head held a little higher than normal and feel proud of yourself, your successes, and all of your accomplishments to come.

As for those reading who are still in college, or will be someday soon, make sure you check out student groups available that strive to impact wellness on campus. Per the article, University of Michigan has a student group called the Body-Peace Corps to encourage a positive outlook on oneself. When I attended the Arnold Fitness Expo back in March for Fitfluential, I met two amazing young women who started a group on OSU’s campus called CHAARG – Changing Health, Attitudes, and Actions to Recreate Girls

 

This is definitely a group I would have joined if it had been around while I was a student. I think that any type of support and encouragement offered to women is a positive step in the right direction to alleviate personal struggles regarding eating disorders, body dismorphia, exercise compulsion, depression, and more.

College can definitely be a hard time for so many women, but unfortunately that less-than-perfect feeling doesn’t just turn off when you walk across that stage and accept your diploma. It is important that we continue to build one another up in a positive way by encouraging, helping and complimenting each other, whether we are at school, work, online, or out to dinner with friends.  You never know how your words may impact someone’s day, so be smart and only use them to build someone up and encourage  self-confidence.

 

Romans 15:5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had…

Questions:

  • When you were in college, did you find there to be a greater pressure to be thin and look a certain way?
  • In what ways were you able to avoid the peer pressure? Any tips or experiences you would like to share?
  • Were you a member, or did you know of, any student groups at your college that were focused on wellness? What do you think of these types of groups that encourage self-love?
  • What change about starting college did you find the hardest to deal with?
  • Do you agree that if you aren’t confident in yourself, than you will have a hard time being confident in anything you set out to accomplish?

24 thoughts on “Published Recipe + Wellness in College

  1. Congratulations on having your recipe published! Yes, I know I overexercised the first couple of years of college, because I was in an all girls dorm where everyone else seemed to be doing the same. Now my biggest challenge is not comparing myself to other bloggers — for me, it’s almost more difficult than when I was in college!

    • Thank you so much Emily! It is definitely hard not to compare yourself, especially when you live in such close quarters to a group of girls… As far as comparing yourself to other bloggers, just remember that 99% of us are here to support each other and want nothing but the best for every other blogger we know! 🙂

  2. Congrats on having your recipe published — that’s awesome!! Thanks for the reminders about feeling successful about your own accomplishments – today was weigh-in for my work’s “biggest loser” challenge – and I was not happy and feeling really down on myself!

  3. I definitely felt a lot of pressure in college to be attractive, thin, and in shape. While a lot of the pressure was self-induced, it’s hard to avoid it when there are so many other people around you who look like that. I think it was a little easier for me because I went to an urban, East-coast school where there were TONS of different looking people. No one looks the same. I wish that my college had more health and wellness groups when I went there. I was on the verge of an eating disorder for a long time, and thankfully I got out of that mindset by adopting healthier habits, but it took a long time.

    • I totally agree with you… I think that feeling of being hard on oneself can definitely be caused by both inner and outer facets. Although seeing others may cause to compare, it is our internal thoughts that make it so hard to move on from the negativity we feel!

  4. During college I was a member of the rowing team at my university. And it would amaze you how many D1 athletes struggled with body image issues and healthy life choices. There was a two year period where I struggled hard with feeling good enough. Many of my teammates were very talented athletes and struggled with their bodies feeling too big because of overdeveloped muscles. I spent my college years with some of the most amazing men and women I think were on campus and so many of them were dissatisfied. Since leaving college in May I have struggled with life after athletics and trying not to gain weight. It was a huge fear for me. And I am not to a point yet where I don’t worry about it, but I have shifted my focus to being healthy and maintaining a healthy lifestyle rather than being thin and beautiful. I think this is the first step in my journey to confidence and better self-esteem.

    • Hearing things like this reminds us that no matter what we perceive others’ lives to be from the outside looking in, we never truly know what internal battles each other faces. That is why it is so important to encourage one another, whether we think that person ‘needs’ it or not! Thanks for sharing your story! 🙂

  5. I definitely think there is a lot of pressure not just when in college but in my 20s period. Now as I’m in my 30s I have a ton more confidence…and knowledge…to be fit and healthy the right way 😉

    • I have definitely heard that your 30’s can be some of the best years of your life. I agree with you, the 20’s are just as hard, if not harder in some instances, as it is during your college years. Just another perfect example of why we should never stop encouraging one another to love ourselves for exactly who we are!

  6. Man, you’re a ****Eye? All well, still love your blog. I’m a senior at UM and part of the Body Peace Corps. It truly is a wonderful program and I think all campuses should have something similar.
    Here (and at most schools) it’s an environmental storm just waiting to trigger ED behavior – stress+competition+new environment+a large student body+perfectionist students = disaster.
    Fortunately, sophomore year I found Body Peace and realized that I could not have the college experience that I wanted for myself while “under the influence” of ED.

    • Ha ha sorry Emily! Thank you for reading though! 🙂 So glad I was able to write a post that hit so close to home for you! You make such a great point.. the environment definitely plays a huge role in eating disorders and when you place a girl with those tendencies into that environment, you are right that a storm is created. So glad you are part of such a positive group at school to keep you on the right path!

  7. Congratulations on being published!
    As a current college student, I know all too well the number of stresses college students face everyday. I personally went through an over-exercising / overly healthy phase during my freshman year. However, I emerged from it that much more aware and knowledgable about what it means to be truly healthy and happy. Thanks for the inspirational words!

    • Congratulations Alexandra! I am so happy you were able to pull yourself out of that darker time. If you read some of the comments on this post, I hope it reminds you that you are not alone and that almost everyone you know has had moments of frustration when it comes to one’s body. Hang in there pretty girl, you will not only fully recover from this, but will also fight through any situation you are faced with! 😉

  8. That’s my girl! Congrats on having a published recipe– Pretty soon you’ll be having your own published cookbook 😉

    And what a fabulous post, which you KNOW I’m behind 100%. I went through very similar struggles during college, both from the overweight side of the spectrum as well as the underweight. It’s so difficult to attain that “balance” that we all strive for, and I TRULY didn’t even understand what “balance” was until I finally developed a relationship with Christ. He really sorted away all of my long-term fears and pressures, and now as I watch the scale go UP to finally land at my happy weight, I cant help but marvel at my contentment and peace with it all.

    Oops, tangent.. haha. Thanks for posting, Jana. Have a great weekend ❤

    • Love you Britt! Thanks for always encouraging me 🙂 You are the epitome of what I hope came across in my blog for young women to behave, a reminder that it is never too late or too early to encourage any woman we come into contact with! No matter how confident someone may appear, we never know what obstacles they are facing in their own life. You are my role model for balance! xo

  9. Congrats on the recipe!! That’s awesome!
    I definitely agree with the thing about college. Especially since I’m in college myself, I see a lot of girls that act that way and aren’t too confident in themselves. It’s sad because everyone is truly their own worst critic. It’s hard not to compare yourself to anyone, I think it’s just an instinct to most people. I wish more people had the confidence in themselves though. We are all so different, and no one really compares to another person in any way.

    • I 100% agree with you.. every one of us is beautiful and unique. One of the comments discussed how much harder it is now that social media is around and I completely agree. Knowing that your picture is going to show up online for hundreds or thousands to see can give you that much more anxiety. The only way girls will be able to get through a time like this is definitely by focusing on self-confidence and self- love!

  10. Oh there was lots of pressure when I was in college. I went to the University of Florida, so it was hot year round, which meant the girls wore skimpy clothing! PLUS I was in a sorority, so we always had these events with fraternities that involved us in cute (and tiny) little costumes! I really struggled with body image in college. My sophomore year, I worked out way too much and didn’t eat nearly enough. I’m very very thankful that I realized soon after that I could eat much much more and still maintain a healthy weight!

    • I am thankful you realized it too pretty girl! You are absolutely gorgeous, and it is too bad we don’t see ourselves in that way sometimes! I was actually in a sorority for a few quarters, but struggled with body image during that time as well. It is definitely hard not to forget that no one is perfect and that others may be struggling inside even more so than we are sometimes. Which again is why it is so important to encourage each other!

  11. Thanks for bringing up these important health issues about campus life. Being on campus a lot, I see that there are many girls who smoke to control their appetite. Once they start, it’s not only hard to quit, but they fear the weight coming back on (I’ve actually heard a lot of these conversations as I walk by!). I believe it is one of the extreme ways to control one’s appetite (such as diet pills and purging).

    • I agree with you.. I know there are a ton of way’s to control appetite besides just reducing calories. I know for a fact that exercise addiction is on the rise as well. Again, it is important that we build each other up so that we can learn to love ourselves and eat and exercise for fun!

  12. Congrats on getting published!!!

    When I was in college… way back when… there wasn’t all this social media. In fact, until my last year of college we didn’t even have facebook. There wasn’t all this pressure to be “thin” or look a certain way. I would say most of my friends were pretty care free about our appearance. Sure we wanted to “look good”, but none of us really stressed over it. However, now I think it is totally different. My husband and I work with the college students at our church (he is a college pastor and a college professor… we really aren’t THAT old) and I feel like girls now have it MUCH harder than I did. Times have changed!!

    • Thank you Brittany! You make such an incredible point.. I definitely agree with you that knowing your picture may wind up on social media for hundreds or thousands to see make having self-confidence that much harder. I know that I went through a time where I would pick apart every picture that popped up on my newsfeed. It took time to realize I am my own worst critic and what I look like on the outside will never represent how I am on the inside. Thank you for sharing!

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