Just the Tips

The importance of taking care of yourself

Let me begin with this: you cannot stop eating. Restriction, binging and purging; none of it will make you lose weight. You may lose water weight. You will not, however, keep any of that weight off, or feel happy about the scale being one pound down when you are exhausted all day. Your body needs food, nourishment and exercise. Your body needs you to love and take care of it, rather than beat it down.

Learning to love your body, however, is one of the hardest things that many of us will ever have to face. Personally, my struggle with my weight has never ended and began when I was a size two. As a much healthier and happier size 10, I can tell you that no one really cares what the label on the inside of your American Eagle Outfitters jeans says.

Anne Lamott, in her book “Bird by Bird,” talks about a time where she was trying on dresses for a party with her friend. She turned to her friend and asked, “Do you think this makes my hips look too big?” despite the fact that she loved the lavender mini dress she was wearing. Her friend simply responded, “Annie? I really don’t think you have that kind of time.”

You do not want to miss out on life because of how big your hips may or may not be in your favorite dress. Not every piece of clothing is going to look flattering on you. Love it anyway. Wear it anyway. There is a place in your world for mini dresses that hug your hips and for your grandfather’s old T-shirts that are XXXL that you refuse to wear outside of the house. Remember to keep both in your closet and wear them often.

Take care of yourself. I know this seems simple. I know that we are college students and that peanut butter M&M’s will always seem more appealing than making the same salad you ate yesterday. Eat the peanut butter M&M’s and then make sure to have a salad for dinner. Everything in moderation. This goes for exercise as well. You know your limits, so if you really want to go for a run, go for a run. If running is not you0r thing, maybe take a yoga class. I know that I was at my happiest when I did yoga weekly and ran occasionally. Your body will change as its needs to. Listen to it.

I have focused a lot on the physical here, but please remember that your mental and emotional health need attention too. You cannot do well in school when you are not doing well mentally. If you are so tired that you cannot type the paper that is due tomorrow, and you are just going to stare at the screen frustrated with yourself all night, go to bed and wake up early. Do what it takes to get where you want to go but realize that everything may not always turn out as planned. Sleep is so important, and if you are running yourself ragged, your performance in academics and every other area of your life will decline, regardless of how hard you are trying.

I realize that I did not mention eating disorders or mental illness here. We are in college and I believe it is safe to say that the majority of us have struggled with one or the other. College, as we all know, is a turbulent time full of ridiculously awful choices that often leave our bodies and minds reeling.

Remember to check in with yourself. Remember that if you are not doing well, you will also not do well in your studies. Love your body, because it is the only one you have.