The Scale: My Own Worst Enemy

Do you have a weight scale in your house somewhere? How often do you step on it? Or maybe you see it and run the other way? Well if you’re anything like me, you find yourself stepping on it multiple times a day. Wake up, weigh myself, go through the day, come home, weigh myself, get ready for bed, weigh myself, and repeat. As the number on the scale fluctuates up and down, so does my mind. Some days I see that number and absolutely hate myself. Other days, I see it and think, “Damn girl!” But mostly, I feel sad, like I should be working out instead of whatever else I’m doing. It’s honestly an exhausting feeling to constantly be at war with myself. And as I sit here throwing myself a pity party, I also know that I can’t be the only one.

Every single day I think about a new workout routine, and every single day I fail to even start anything. Now don’t get me wrong, I love working out. I love lifting weights and running on a treadmill. The only problem is, I don’t have any of that here. I don’t have a gym close by, and don’t own a treadmill. I have two 10 lb. weights and a 20 lb. kettleball. During school, there’s a gym with glorious weights and cardio equipment, there’s a pool on campus I can swim in for free, and there’s rooms I can use to do my own thing if I want t do a Zumba routine. With all these resources at my fingertips, why do I keep failing?

Here’s why: my main reason for failure I believe is being surrounded by negative people. My skinny friends talk about being fat, my fat friends talk about being fat, so of course I’m going to be questioning my own body. Whenever I read a post about someone who successfully has lost weight or adopted a healthy lifestyle, I notice a pattern: they all mention their support system. Whether it’s your best friend, your S/O, your family, your child, your dogs, whoever, I truly believe that every person going through any sort of journey needs to have someone supporting them. So think about it, who do you turn to on the bad days? 

I’m lucky enough to have Adam as my support system. He is my best friend and S/O all in one. When I say things like, “I’m going to start eating healthy!” Or, ” I’m going to start going to the gym to lose weight.”, he always responds with something like, “We can go to Kroger tonight and buy stuff.” Or, “You’ll feel better when you start exercising.” He supports what I want to do, without giving me that, “You don’t need to work out you’re not fat” bullshit. We as a couple understand that eating healthy and exercising has nothing to do with how we look, but more about how we feel. After six years of my weight fluctuating, this man has seen me several ways and is still here supporting me. Most importantly, supporting my failures. Your support system shouldn’t make you feel bad when you don’t reach your goal. They should help you push harder next time. Finding healthy ways to communicate with someone who is struggling with their weight is almost more important than your actions. 

Being mentally stable has a huge impact on whether or not your goals can be reached. If you’re looking in the mirror, grabbing your rolls saying, “I’m never going to lose this”, chances are, you’re going to give up way too soon because it doesn’t go away overnight. Having a positive attitude and outlook on what you’re doing and where you want to be can change everything. Try saying, “Wow, if I run 3 times a week, I’ll be able to run a full mile in no time!” See how much more encouraging that sounds? 

Your mind can be a dangerous thing when it comes to people with body issues. I can’t count the times I’ve lay awake at night upset over what I ate that day or not working out. If I step on the scale, I’ll cry over the number. Most recently I’ve been struggling with fitting into my jeans. Jeans are something I have to have for work and for school. Not fitting into them has been really stressful for me, so I wear yoga pants instead. It’s a constant struggle of me saying, “I need to do this”, and actually doing it. And I know that it seems like I’ve somewhat got my shit together, but I really don’t. 

That being said, I’d like to say that I really have no place telling anyone what to do or how to lose weight. But what I’m going to do for myself is this: I’m going to hide my weight scale. That number does nothing but make me feel bad and anxious. I’m also going to eat more as well as more healthy foods versus eating on the buffet at work all the time. I’m going to set a goal to exercise 3 times a week doing exercises I enjoy versus things that I dread. I will make working out fun, make my healthy meals taste delicious with natural herbs and spices, and say F YOU to that stupid plate of glass on my bathroom floor that has made me feel so bad for so long. 

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Why My 1 Week Social Media Cleanse Turned Into 2 Years

Social-Media-PNG-FileI look around everywhere and everyone I see is scrolling through Facebook or posting pics to Insta. At 21 years old, you would assume that I am the same way; and I was. I was overly obsessed with checking my Twitter timeline and constantly scrolling through Facebook and seeing the same things over and over. I will admit that I never got into Instagram much. The idea of having to post a picture every time you made a post was and still is annoying to me.

My favorite app ever created is Pinterest.  pinterest_1475538227_280.jpg  So one day I was scrolling through ideas and saw a pin about a girl who did a “One Week Social Media Cleanse”. She talked about how much more time she had to do things she enjoyed and how much happier she seemed. I thought, “Why not?”

That day, I deleted the medias I used which were Twitter and Facebook. At first I was bored out of my mind. I was constantly staring at my cell phone thinking “Wtf am I supposed to do now?” Well that all became clear in the next weeks to come.

When I was little, I loved art. I loved to paint, draw, and do all sorts of crafts. With my new found time, I started all that up again. Painting slates, making bows, wreaths, using my Dremel. I’m always making something nowadays. I go outside so much more, sometimes not even to do anything, just to sit outside in the sun or walk in the woods. I’ve taken up mushroom hunting. 18-mushrooms.pngI have an identification book I’ll take out and find different mushrooms in the woods. My knowledge of edible plants is now so much more advanced than before. My dog is happier too because I spend so much more time outdoors. Win win for us both.

When I stopped checking social media multiple times a day, and stopped being so wrapped up in and concerned with everyone else’s lives, I became more connected to my own.20160702_120355.jpg My relationship has never been better than it is right now. Adam and I have been together 6 years this October, and without needing to be on WiFi all the time, we have done so much more and I’ve been able to enjoy the things around me instead of the tiny screen in my pocket. Half of the time, I hardly have my phone even out or on me at all. Adam and I have been making trails at my mom’s house through the woods, clearing out the invasive Honeysuckle that’s taking over everything in sight, and making fires with our friends every chance we get. The photo on the left was taken last summer at Red Bud Outdoor National Race in Michigan. Our social lives have gotten so much better. I had thought that having Facebook kept me in the loop, but then I thought that if they really wanted me personally to know something, they would text or call me, and what do you know; they did. You truly find out who your friends are when you become unplugged from the internet. Your real friends are the ones that text or call wanting to hang out or tell you about something important that happened that day. I have come to the realization that I was only friends with certain people because I saw them every day at school. After high school, I grew up, but a lot of people I graduated didn’t seem to do the same, and that just wasn’t me.

Without needing to know everyone else’s business, my private life has been just that: private. My close friends and family know my business and that is all. I think that if you’re constantly feeling the need to know everyone else’s sh*t, then you need to step back and ask yourself why.

Now don’t get me wrong, the service is fantastic for people you still dearly love but never see. Whether they moved out-of-state or something else, this gives them the chance to show everyone their new house or newest grand baby without individually texting each person. Although it takes the personal feel away, it is convenient in a pinch.

Basically my point in a nutshell is that when you disconnect from the virtual and get back in touch with reality and the things around you, life becomes so much more exciting. Focus on your own lives, and the people you truly care for. Wasting your time evil-internet-3663073complaining over something someone Tweeted about that may or probably wasn’t even directed at you is really just a downer. Your life is your own. You have the ability to control the things people know and do not know, what is public and what is private. In my Facebook days, I can remember people posting about how sick they felt that day and how they spent their day on the toilet! Why is that something that needs to be made public????? I am not saying that every person who uses social media is out for attention, but some people really make it seem that way. When you strive less for attention, and more for what makes YOU personally happy, your life becomes so much easier and so much more relaxing.

So here I am, challenging everyone to do a 1 Week Social Media Cleanse, and who knows, maybe your 1 week will turn into almost 2 years like mine did!

 

McDonald’s Bags, Beer Cans, and Acid Mine Drainage

Driving down those dusty old back roads, what would you expect to see? Mcdonalds bags? Beer cans? Trash? Well here in Southeastern Ohio, we see all those things, along with some lovely (not) Acid Mine Drainage (AMD). The waters in and some places around Perry State Forest run a bright orange color as the result of mining that took place pre-1960. 

Before 1977, miners could come in and tear up the land, without taking any precautions simply because there was no law telling them they had to. When they were finished mining, that was it. They packed up and left. In 1977 the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act  (SMCRA) was passed that basically said companies had to take precautions to protect as much of the environment as they could and that they had to reclaim the land when they were finished mining. 

This photo was taken along the side of Number 8 Hollow Road in New Lexington. The runoff from the forest is running bright orange along the side of the road and has as long as I can remember. 

This is just a few feet from where the previous photo was taken. This shows a large pool of water standing along the road.

In the forest pictured beside the road, the water has stained the trees for up to 3 or 4 feet of their trunks from where the water has risen and fell over the years. 

Pictured above is Essington Lake located on NR 3 in New Lexington. As you can see lookonf all around the edges of the lake, they are orange. This is a big a beautiful lake that would be perfect for fishing and picnicking. Except the fact that there are no, and cannot be any, fish in this water body. The dissolved oxygen levels are so low due to the acid mine drainage (AMD), that fish cannot survive. 

This photo was taken standing on a culvert on the edge of Essington Lake. The water looks like orange Kool-Aid and the soil is stained to match. 

It’s sad to see such nice land be so polluted from people of the past. If you’re driving through any cities with a coal history, and you see the waters running orange or red, put up your middle finger and say, “Thanks miners pre 1977.”

How I started college, then stopped, then started, then stopped… then started… and now want to start over again. 

Okay so if you’re reading this and you’re in high school, I just want to tell you that it’s totally okay if you have absolutely no idea what you want to do after you graduate. For some, maybe it’s work, for others: college, or maybe you just won’t do anything. You do you. But do not let anyone, and I mean ANYONE tell you you HAVE to do something if you aren’t ready.
This wasn’t necessarily my case. I graduated high school in May of 2014. I had applied and had been accepted into an Optometry degree program at a 2 year college, but thought, “Meh, what am I doing?” I got myself out of that before it could even start. I decided maybe I’ll give working a try instead. So that July, I was enrolled and starting an STNA program for 2 weeks. Needless to say, that failed. But not a complete train wreck failure. Just a small little baby failure. A fail-let if you will. So fast forward, I worked for 4 months with my certificate as a nurses aid, but couldn’t pass my test. Loved the work, loved my job, but for some reason, I could never get the hand washing skill down correctly. Total bullshit if I do say so myself because for one, we wear gloves for literally everything, and two, I passed every other skill without a problem. As you can tell I’m still lightly salted over that. (It happened twice). 

So fast forward, I’m working as an activities aid in the same nursing home I was a nurses aid in, and my supervisor was not very nice to me. After 6 months, I said “hey see ya”.  This led me to JC Penney where I worked part time for minimum wage, an hour away from home as a sales associate. Obviously not ideal, but I had a plan. I began work in May of 2015, and that Fall had plans to start a degree program for Sports and Fitness Management (SFMT). Well as it turned out, I couldn’t work AND go to school. So I chose school. And Lord have mercy was that a disaster in itself. 

So here I am: Autumn 2015. New school, new experience. I get in this room where everyone in the SFMT program went to meet our advisor and what not. Well, lucky me, turns out I was the only female in the entire group. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE fitness, and would have loved a job in the industry. But on the other hand, I hate sports. Seriously. Motocross is as far as I get. So when we got deep into classes, a ton of it was centered around sports and coaching teams and coaching athletes and I was like nahhhh. Plus being the only girl in a class full of men who are pretty physically fit was not ideal. I felt singled out and pretty insecure. After one year and a ton of anxiety ridden days full of presentations and being put on the spot with the reasoning from my instructor being, “As a coach you’ll be up in front of a big group team, better get used to it”, it just didn’t work out. 

Immediately that summer of 2016 I knew I needed something. I couldn’t just sit around. So I juggled a full time 40 hour job working 3rd shift, along with an average of 20-30 hours of mandatory overtime every week, with taking online classes to study Information Assurance and Security Strategies. LOL@MYLIFE. I took the first recommended 4 classes and failed 2 of them. My GPA dropped to a whopping 1.4. As you can guess: I quit that too, along with the stressful job. (It was a direct care position in a home for men with developmental disabilities).

My current situation (finally). Fall 2016 rolls around. I am at a completely new college where I am currently the Secretary of Phi Theta Kappa (the National Honor Society for community colleges) as well as the President of the campus Geology Club. (Which is super odd because I actually hate my Geo classes). I am enrolled in a program called GeoEnvironmental Science, which is a mix of Geology and Environmental Science. It’s been one full year and I can honestly say I’m still f*#%ed when it comes to knowing what I want to do. I’m at a point in my life where I’m ready to grow up and be on my own with my man, so that in mind I am going to complete this degree. I’m currently doing an unpaid (ugh) summer internship totaling 120 hours with the local Soil and Water Conservation District. So far its not paid off at all. I’ve gotten zero experience and am getting more and more turned of of this field as it goes on. But who knows whats going to happen. I change my mind like I change my clothes: once a month. Just kidding. But seriously. 

There is a super small branch of a local (an hour away) community college in my town, and they are starting a Dental Hygiene program in Fall 2018, which is the semester after I’ll graduate with my GENV Science degree. I’m tossing around the idea of working with my degree, but taking dental classes on the side as well and paying as I go. I just feel like I would benefit so much more, and the jobs would be so much easier to come by. Currently, I have no idea what I’ll do or what I’d even like to do with my degree I’m working towards. I have always wanted to do dental but the opportunity was never close enough. Maybe this is what I need? Maybe this is how it was supposed to happen? I’m not sure, but hopefully it works itself out in the next couple years. 

So the moral of this if you actually took the time to read it all, is that if you don’t have a plan: Don‘t worry! Just go with the flow and do what feels right. What feels right this year might not feel so great next year, and that’s okay. 

3 years, 4 degrees, and $12,000 in debt later, I can honestly say I still have no idea where I’ll be in the next few years. And I’m okay with that.