Doin’ You

The best part about being in college is the feeling of everyone going through a similar situation. Everyone in his or her early twenties seems to be in a crisis mode. Gaining the freshman fifteen, trying to balance out schoolwork and social life, and trying to get enough sleep are things that practically every college student is going through. My friend and fellow blogger, Kelly Dunn, focuses on being relatable and trying to better your lifestyle in her blog Keys By Kell 101.

Her blog has a very similar subject topic as mine, but continues it one step further and talks about relationship advice, traveling, and having fun! She gives tips and fun ways to spin different recipes to create a healthy lifestyle for you. One tip that I really enjoyed was substitution of grains for gluten free options. Incorporating relaxation, she recommends traveling to clear your mind. Kelly took a trip, herself, to South Padre Island this spring break to relax in the middle of a hectic semester.

I recommend reading Kelly’s blog if you’re feeling fun and carefree today. Her blog gives good vibes and positive motivation to get you going! Thoughtful words and great advice are plentiful in her posts. She definitely glows by “doing you” and being the best version of herself.

3 Out of 5 Ain’t Half Bad

Like a lot of people my age, I am an avid Pinterest user. I have a board for absolutely everything: recipes that I probably won’t ever get around to trying because I’m stuck eating peanut butter and jelly, clothes that are too expensive for me to afford, and home décor do-it-yourself projects that I will butcher. The one category of Pinterest that I am the fondest of is “Quotes.” A lot of the images I see on there get me through rough dips in the week. My favorite quote I’ve seen recently has been “If you always do what interests you, then at least one person is pleased.” – Katherine Hepburn.

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A drawing of sunglasses done by Courtney Whitehouse.

My roommate, and sophomore at Texas State University, Courtney Whitehouse, stays true to heart and follows her dreams as she pursues a degree in graphic design. Having loved drawing since she was a kid watching her dad doodle Looney Toons choosing this as a career path was no-brainer. Her hobby slowly developed into a lifestyle in the 4th grade, then onto middle school when she had to choose from choir, art, and band. “In 6th grade my teachers told me that because of my processes and ideas I should try out graphic design. My teachers in 8th grade told me the same thing and 9th grade too. That’s 3 different buildings with no interaction with o ne another. I should at least give it a try,” Whitehouse says.

Going into high school she automatically wanted to take AP art but she was placed in beginners art. “I just thought ‘You’re going to have me shading the whole time?’ I could do more than they were letting me.” Eventually getting to AP art her junior year in high school she was required to submit a portfolio to a college board. “I got a 3 out of 5 the first time and it was really discouraging. I wanted to give up but I did not stop.” She submitted her portfolio a second time and got a 4.

Whitehouse has found a home in the big graphic design family. “Everyone looks after one another and that’s how I know I’m in the right place.” She has her confidence shine through her artwork, showing her personality and her heart in it. “I definitely feel confident doing most things art related, specifically graphic design.” She does not have a specific direction that she wants to take in graphic design yet, but she is leaning in the direction of logos. “I find it fun to see how [logos] are constructed and the process that the designer went through to accomplish their goal.” Whitehouse feels intimidated by the magnitude of the field. “How can I be that great? But, it gives me confidence when I see that sometimes my through process lines up with theirs.” Whitehouse has her heart, soul, and passion in this and couldn’t see herself without it.

New Beginnings

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My prom photo in April of 2013.

Going to the doctor was never a priority for me; having my name be called by the nurse and having to go get weighed in was always uncomfortable for me. So, I eventually stopped going because I was a coward. I never got “sick” but I was never necessarily “healthy.” The scale terrified me because I knew what the doctor was always going to say the same thing: “You need to take care of yourself and lose weight. You’re morbidly obese.” In January of 2013, I finally had to visit the doctor and it felt like judgment day, to say the least.

My doctor told me that I ran the risk of not being able to have children of my own because of how overweight I was. I was 18 at the time and that statement scared me, but I didn’t worry because kids were the farthest things from my mind. Nine months passed and it was the exact same routine: heavily drinking every weekend, a solid diet of Whataburger and fast food, binge watching Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix and getting hardly any physical activity. I graduated high school that summer, and started my freshman year at Texas State University, in the fall.

In September of 2013 I decided to cut out red meat, then chicken, and tried moving towards a pescatarian diet. While I was mainly just trying to be animal friendly and trying it out I lost 7 pounds. I looked in the mirror and felt some pride. Over the course of the last 16 months I have revamped my life and created a new image. After my diet changed I decided to start using Weight Watchers, taking advantage of the campus recreation center, and ended up losing 75 pounds. I’m still on my “weight loss journey” and continue to create a better lifestyle for myself.

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This is me wearing that same prom dress in November of 2014.
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Same dress as prom photo (front view) in November 2014

During the time it took to lose that weight I realized that I didn’t like the person that I was. I was drowning in an idea that the second I was “skinny” all my self-esteem issues would be gone. Although weight loss did help me with my self-image, my mental health was not in a good state.

I took a yoga class, out of the spur of the moment, and realizing that it was the most calming experience I ever had I noticed that I wasn’t treating my spirit right. It wasn’t until then that I realized that mind, body, and soul all create your very essence and that you need to treat all 3 equally. Eating right, treating your body right, and loving yourself aren’t things that you should skimp out on. Being able to finally workout and keep up is great but looking in the mirror and patting yourself on the back for an accomplishment is something a lot of people forget to do, including myself.

Throughout the semester and multiple blog posts I hope to reach a wide audience of people who are struggling with self-worth and self-esteem issues. My main goal is to help others and myself reach a happy medium in between bodily, mental, and spiritual health through different techniques, essentially the “perfect trifecta” where the focus is to be not only healthy but happy.