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.
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.
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.
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…
- 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?