Every Day Is “Cheat Day”

I often have friends ask me for advice on working out and eating healthy. While I love to help them out, I have to remind them that I’ve had no professional training whatsoever and I go by both research from health experts and the things I’ve found to work for me. The other day, a friend was asking how I’m able to stay in good shape while eating whatever I want. I explained to her that I follow the 80/20 rule: 80% of what I eat is veggies, lean protein, fruit, minimally processed, and low-sugar foods. The other 20% is whatever I want. “So like you eat healthy 6 days and unhealthy 1 day?”, she asked when I was done explaining. Not exactly, and the rising popularity of “cheat days” is something that confuses me. Continue reading

If you could tell your 20-year-old self one thing right now, what would it be?

One night on a whim, I decided to text all the real adults in my life  (i.e. people that have their sh*t figured out or at least appear to) whose opinions I respect the same question: If you could tell your 20-year-old self one thing right now what would it be?

I don’t exactly know what my motivation was to text all these people. I guess I wanted to pick the brains of some people that mean a lot to me and see if I can gather some wisdom that’s applicable to my current life. Many of these individuals have been through similar experiences as me, so I figured they could offer some direction and insight into my life as a 20-year-old. As the responses began to roll in, I realized that this wisdom should be shared with the world. So here are their responses: Continue reading

Everything I Ate In Nashville

As some of you may know from my social media posts, I spent this past weekend in Nashville with my dad. There really was no point to the trip, we both just wanted to visit and explore a new place. Neither of us had been to Nashville previously, so we decided this would be the perfect place to satisfy our wanderlust. I was put in charge of choosing the places to eat, and I’m pretty sure I was born for this job. (If you’re reading this and have any connections/way to make traveling and eating a career, let me know.)

When we got off the airplane, we had absolutely no plan. As my dad reiterated a thousand times, this was completely out of his comfort zone. I was totally cool with it, as long as we hit all the places I wanted to eat. It ended up being a super fun trip (even though we never had a definite plan, ever). Every place we visited and ate was amazing, so I decided to share the experience with you all. Here’s the list of places we hit and my thoughts on them. Continue reading

My Parents Didn’t Give Me The World

I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on where I’ve been, where I currently am, and where I want to be in the future. Part of this reflection involves looking back on the 18 years I spent under my parents’ roof, abiding by their rules, eating their food, and overall just sucking the money and energy right out of them. I am so grateful for everything they have done for me and given me, but I am also thankful for the things they have not.

You see, my parents didn’t give me the world. When I went to Target with my mom as a kid, I learned to never ask her to buy me anything that wasn’t a necessity. I knew the question would always be answered with, “if you really want it, you can buy it with your own money”. When I was in high school and I wanted money to go do things with my friends, very rarely did I ask my dad. I knew he most likely wouldn’t fish out his wallet and hand me a $20 bill. That’s just not how my parents work. Continue reading

Stay Back or Spread Your Wings, It’s Your Choice

Lately, it feels like I’ve been having a similar conversation with a lot of my friends. As my sophomore year of college draws to a close, I can’t help but look back on all the memories I’ve made, challenges I’ve overcome, and progress that I have made over the last two years. But to be completely frank, I am confident that the progress I have made would not have happened had I not moved away from home.

It’s that time of year where high school seniors are making the decision to stay back home or spread their wings and fly off to a new place. While I made the decision to fly away from the nest, I had many friends that decided to stay closer to theirs. I also had friends that decided to fly thousands of miles away. It seemed like at the time– and even today– everyone talked about everyone else’s decisions. “Oh of course ________ chose to go to school close to home, they’ll be stuck in high school forever.” However, in reality, everyone made the decision that was best for them and we aren’t ones to judge what’s best for someone else.

I’m personally glad I chose to move away from home. Although I have always been pretty independent, not having my immediate family within 200 miles forced me to create a newfound sense of independence. I could do basically everything I did when I was at home without my mom and dad looking over my shoulder to make sure I did it [the way that they consider] right. I could call them for wisdom and support whenever I needed it, but ultimately I had to deal with most things myself. Throughout my college experience I’ve screwed up, failed, and embarrassed myself. But I’ve picked myself up and figured things out on my own.

Because I’ve moved away from everything I’ve ever known, I’ve also been able to reinvent myself in a sense. I’ll obviously always be myself, but there were behaviors from high school that I decided to kick. Gone was the girl that cared about being cool, having a million friends, or impressing everyone (news flash: it’s impossible). No longer was the attitude that you have to be great at everything or that your self-worth is directly correlated with the amount of “likes” you get on social media. I’ve grown tremendously by being forced to figure things out on my own. I’ve grown into myself.

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However, there are people I know that have grown tremendously by staying close to home. They use the support of their family members as motivation to develop as an individual. Just because their personal growth happened differently than mine doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen.

Some of my friends have been talking about how they feel guilty for changing and growing apart from their high school friends. But truthfully, that’s just part of life. Some friends come and go; some friends stay forever. You should never feel guilty for taking care of yourself and making sure that you are in the absolute best position for personal growth and development.

I think it’s so easy for us to sit back and judge others for not doing the same thing that we’re doing, but difference makes the world go round. We can’t expect everyone to make similar decisions to ours, because otherwise there would be no diversity. Without diversity, sh*t wouldn’t get done. (I’m looking at you, engineers + doctors that are doing the work I NEVER could.)

Staying close to home or flying far from the nest is a personal decision. Everyone has to determine where and how they will best develop as an individual and that decision is nobody’s to make but theirs. So instead of criticizing others for the manner, place, and time they choose to grow, let’s celebrate those differences and recognize that it’s okay that everyone isn’t exactly like us. We’re all just trying to do what’s best for ourselves.

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How I Gained The Freshman 20 And Lost It Within a Year

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April 2016 to April 2017

This post is going to be super personal, but I feel like I’m at a place where I can (and should) talk freely about my health journey over the past year and a half. My life has been full of changes, from going to college to completely dumping toxic friends to starting three (!!!) new jobs. My body has changed with these things, bringing me to this point, where I am completely comfortable and confident in how I look and feel. The photo on the left above is from April 2016, where I weighed about 125 lbs. The right is from this week (almost April 2017) at 107 lbs.

All my life, I have been a very small person. In elementary school, I was always the shortest in the class and it took me until junior year of high school (and starting birth control) to break 100 pounds. It never bothered me; I liked being small. My volleyball career didn’t exactly work out the way I wanted it to, since, you know, all the good volleyball players are giants, but that was okay. I was a champ at hide-and-go-seek and never thought twice about what I ate. (Which is why I ate french fries every single day at lunch in high school– my stomach turns now just thinking about it.) Continue reading

Ladies, Stop Apologizing For Things You’re Not Sorry About

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The other day, I was going to get in line for breakfast when some guy completely cut me off and hopped in line before me. “Oh, sorry!” I exclaimed, as I found my place behind him in line. But I instantly realized two things. One, I was actually not sorry, because I didn’t even do anything wrong since he was the one that cut me off in the first place. And two, he didn’t apologize, and had he been a girl, he probably would have.

Immediately after my breakfast, I went to class. In my class, my professor asked a question to the class. A girl sitting in the third row had her hand up and so did the boy in front of her in the second row. The professor called on the girl, and her response was to the boy. She said, “no, sorry, you go!”. While it was nice of her to offer to let him go first, I realized that this whole girls-apologizing-for-things-they’re-not-sorry-about thing happens every single day. Even though it’s only been a few days since I became aware of this, I’ve seen it everywhere. When I opened the door to get into my dorm, a girl was also opening it from the other side and muttered a quick “sorry” before she rushed out the door. When I was on the bus and a girl needed to push through the crowd to get off, she kept saying “excuse me, sorry” to anyone that was in her way. Continue reading