Change is something that is expected in every human life, and yet so many people are apprehensive towards the idea of change. People have this desire for change, whether it be to change their body, their diet, their relationship, but they are afraid of what the change will bring. With changes in your body comes the task of buying new clothes, cycles of compliments that may make you think “well did I look bad before?”, and the most difficult part, finding an exercise regimen that works for you, your body and your goals. With diet changes comes the stress of meal planning, grocery shopping, eating out, and missing out on social opportunities because you are so afraid that you will get somewhere and not have a food option. And relationship changes aren’t any easier. Throughout your life you figure out who your people are, you let go of toxic people, bring in others that you grow to love, and let go of those you love purely because you love them. All these changes that we make throughout our lives are horrifyingly scary, and difficult to deal with, but dealing with them and making the choice to break out of our comfort zones is what helps us to learn, grow, and become the person that we have always wanted to be: ourselves.
I was raised by two people who view change completely differently.
One is regimented and likes to have a schedule, likes to know what the plan is at all times. The other goes with the flow, and goes out of their way to change what they feel is wrong with the world. I like to think that I inherited both of those traits when it comes to change. I am equal parts go with the flow, as I am regimented planner. And I think that when I am faced with a challenge, or a change, I embrace it because I know that nothing great can come from staying in my comfort zone.
I think that the biggest period of change in our lives, or at least in mine is the time period between 17 and 22.
That age frame has brought some of the biggest changes in my life. When I was 17 I was a completely different person than I am now. Like leaps and bounds different. I cared a lot about what other people thought of me and my body. After my Junior year of high school I gained about 15 pounds, which had an effect on the way I saw myself, and how I carried myself. I was very involved in musical theatre, which is a hobby/profession where it really matters what you look like because you need to fit a specific role. That is something I was painfully aware of. Often times I was cast as the motherly role because that is the type of role that my body type fits, in addition, I am very mature so my personality type fits those roles as well. I was also a solid 3 or more inches taller than any other girls that were trying out for the same parts as me, and while I was probably a better actor and singer than most of the girls that I was up against for parts, I usually wouldn’t get them because I would be taller than my male counterpart. And having that happen constantly really took a toll on my self esteem. At that time in my life I was faced with challenges, and I would just give up. I didn’t know how to change anything to get to where I wanted to be.
During my senior year of high school I really thought that I wanted to go to school out of state. I hated the thought of going to school at The University of Arizona and being only two hours away from my parents. I wanted to be on my own, and not constantly surrounded by the people that I had gone to high school with.
I was craving change.
I wanted so badly to go to The University of Cincinati and be in their 5 year dietetics program. I wanted so badly to become a dietician, I think so that I could help myself live a healthier life, because when I was seventeen that’s what I cared about. I wanted to help myself be better, and eat healthier, and I thought that earning a degree in essentially food science would help me to make those changes. I have obviously changed a lot since then. I ended up going to The University of Arizona where I started out in the Nutrition major, but ended up moving into Public Health. That summer before college came a big change for me as that is when I was diagnosed with lymphocytic colitis. I had to change my whole diet around, and initially I thought to myself “oh great, this will help me to lose weight”, which is a horrible thought to have, and didn’t happen at that time because while I was eating gluten and dairy free I was still eating processed gluten free foods, and fake dairy which is really just as bad for you. And after three months of eating gluten and dairy free I was off to my first year of college where I ended up ignoring my health and eating whatever the heck I wanted.
I was faced with a big change, starting college, and I coped with it by eating. I was my heaviest during winter break of my freshman year of college, so I decided to make a change and actively try to lose the weight myself. I was faced with a challenge and I overcame it. I embraced the change so that I could become a better version of myself.
My junior year of college is when I started getting into fitness. My classes were late, so I would wake up every morning and go to the gym. I would do an hour on the elliptical and then go home and eat breakfast. Towards the end of December that year I decided I wanted to do more weight lifting but I was too scared to lift downstairs with all the boys in the weight room. So I just used the light dumbbells and soft bars upstairs until I finally overcame that fear almost a year later. It took me a year to finally get fed up with the small weights and realize that I needed the heavier weights to challenge myself. But I embraced it. I made the change, and made myself uncomfortable so that I could become a better version of myself.
My Senior year of college I was faced with a lot of challenges.
And this is the year that I really think that my positive attitude developed. I started the year off with terrible stomach pains, so I had to reevaluate my diet again. I had to give up the most beautiful food on this earth, avocados, among many other foods like cauliflower, watermelon, onions, and garlic. It was difficult, but I felt a lot better after doing it. In November, the toe fiasco started. I could barely walk but still went to the gym and modified my workouts so that I wouldn’t be putting a ton of pressure on my toes. I continued working out through that pain because I wanted to continue to be better and I didn’t want something as small as toe pain to effect my life. Everyday I would wake up and my big toe would hurt, but I was optimistic that it would get better. Even when it got worse towards the end of March, and almost all of my toes were in pain, I was still optimistic that it would get better. My body was changing and I had to adapt, and I chose to adapt by having a positive attitude. I embraced the changes that I was going through, because there was literally nothing else that I could do. I was, and still am, in a lot of pain most of the time but I haven’t let that stop me from living my life. I embraced the change, and adapted my lifestyle, and moved on.
Graduating college was a huge change for me. I was so ready to get the heck out of Arizona and start a new job. I was ready to start a new life and be on my own. But my plans didn’t work out the way I had hoped, my plans changed. I am now living at home, searching for a job. But I am being positive and embracing that change of plans because I know I will not get anywhere if I have a negative attitude about my situation.
Recently I was feeling bored with my exercise routine, but I was nervous to take any steps to change it. I didn’t want to step out of my comfort zone because I was worried about what could happen. Isn’t that stupid? I wanted to change my routine, to become more fit, and I was worried about the changes that were going to happen to my body. So I took the plunge, and I bought a workout guide. I wanted to change, so I took steps to reach my goals, and become a better version of me. I also have had to reevaluate my diet yet again, which has been a challenge because the second I say I want to eat paleo based all I want is popcorn and potato chips. But today is the first day that my body feels like it is getting used to the change, and I am ecstatic that despite the challenges, I embraced this change.
I think what I am trying to say is, we all go through major changes in our lives. And the most important thing that we can do when we are faced with change is to look at it and say “I am scared out of my mind, but I know with this change, great things will happen”. Change can be horrifying, but the most important thing to remember is that change helps you to grow into the person that you want to be. I hope that you embrace the challenges that life throws at you, and that you will view it as an opportunity growth. Go out and conquer each day with a positive attitude, and no change will ever feel too big or too difficult.