I’m a 21 year old pre med student with a passion for being healthy and well, and to help others find the same balance in their lives. It hasn’t been an easy road for me, but then again, is it ever easy?
I always debate with myself whether I want to go to med school or not. My views don’t really align with just giving someone a pill in order to make them all better. To me, this doesn’t constitute as making someone healthy. Obviously there are SOME things that require this, but I truly think that most of the illnesses we deal with today are due to lifestyle. What I want to do is help people realize that they DO have control over their lives and that they CAN make healthy changes. They may need a lot of help, but that’s what I want to be here for =]
One of my other profession choices has always been teaching. I’m practically obsessed with education, particularly because I don’t think I got a very good one! Clearly I’m doing okay if I’m a pre-med that, as a third year, is still planningish on medical school, but I really think that if I got a “GOOD” education I would be even better off than I ended up. I absolutely love learning and, much like health, want to share that love and passion with everyone else. Especially young minds that are still malleable =]
As of now, my plan is to take my MCAT sometime soonish, and then to apply at the end of next year to med school. This will give me a year off to move (hopefully to the west coast!), work, and really understand what I want in life. I know that I love helping people, sharing advice, teaching, being healthy, working out, and learning, so I’m sure whatever I do it’ll be a combination of some of the above.
Well, there you have it. Me in a nutshell. =]
What nuts? =]
So, I don’t really know what these things are, but they’re two things that definitely make their way into my life. And never in a good way…
First, I get really bad stomach pains. I know you’re thinking, “Oh man. You get a belly ache.” But I’m talking about, “debilitating, only able to lay down in the fetal position in complete darkness and complete silence and (hopefully) be able to sleep in order to feel like I can survive them” stomach pains. They started back in ‘08 when I was a junior in highschool (OMG JUST realizing this was FOUR YEARS AGO!), and I have gone to the doctor’s about them before. At the time they had really just started and I wasn’t nearly as educated as I am now, so I didn’t recognize the patterns of when they tend to pop up. They tend to happen when I eat fatty, greasy, fried, sugary foods, as well as when I eat some types of dairy. Back when they started I also ate MUCH differently than I do now too (think typical teenager diet). Either way, when I had gone to the doctor she told me I had a spastic colon. Even at the age of 17 I knew that this was a cover-all-the-bases-but-really-give-no-information diagnosis. Needless to say I wasn’t pleased. They’ve always been sporadic, so I just dealt with them for a while and then eventually got much healthier which helped A LOT! I still get them if I eat those types of foods, which is great that I can kind of control them. They will however, happen randomly from time to time no matter how healthy I’ve eaten - this is the REAL part that totally and completely blows. It sucks having to wonder, say, if I go to a restaurant with my boyfriend, if they’ll start happening and we have to cut date night short and go home so I can go to bed =/. Totally blows. I can always tell when they’re starting though which gives me about 15 minutes before I need to lay down. I’ll always get hot and sweaty, and then there’s this huge drop in the left side of my intestines right underneath my bottom rib. And not the light, weightless stomach drop you get from a rollercoaster. This drop is more of a 1000 pound boulder thud in my intestines. The odd thing is my sister, who is now 18, has started to have the EXACT same problem which started about a year ago for her. She still eats like a typical teenager, but she’s going to the doctor for this now too. I figure, I’ll wait and see what they say to her, and then maybe decide to go back and get checked out for it…
Secondly, I’ve got these weird bumps on the bottoms of my calves. There’s one on the left side right above my ankle on the side of my calf, one on the right side in the same spot, and then one more on the right about three fingers width above that one. They’re not really hard and will squish if you push on them, and don’t usually hurt. I’d say they’re about the size of a pong ball. Idk if they were always there, or I just happened to notice them once my calves started hurting about a year and a half ago. About two years ago I started running, a lot - a little more than 3 miles usually 5-7 times a week. Then towards the end of last year I had some rough times with my diet/working out regime, but got myself back into it. When I did though, my calves started hurting sooooo badly. They get a super tight feeling like they’re about to burst, and the bumps get reallllyyyy noticeable like they’re filled with fluid. There’s definitely some obvious swelling in my calves, but it’s always non-pitting, even the bumps. I went to the doctor for this too, and she told me I didn’t drink enough water or stretch enough (even though I told her the ONLY thing I drink is water and I stretch for almost 15 minutes after every workout). The tightness and pain has persisted since periodically. Some days are good, other days my legs will be so tight even when I’m not running and just walking to class or work. They’ll also spasm on me from time to time, usually at night when I’m sleeping. They’ll like, contract and I can’t uncontract them? I guess is how I would describe it? Either way, when it happens the pain is so bad that it wakes me out of my sleep and usually brings me to tears (and I don’t cry. ever.). I’ve noticed this happens more when I point my toes, and am at the point now where I can feel it when it’s starting to happen. Even when I’m sleeping now I’ll wake up when I can feel it starting and immediately kick my legs out straight with my toes flexed. It’s gotten to the point now where the tightness gets so bad sometimes that I feel like I don’t have control of my feet (weird I know), so I’ve really been thinking lately that I might go back to the doctor and just get a referral for a musculoskeletal specialist. Plus lately some mornings when I get up and walk down the stairs there’s like a click in my right ankle. Not a sound, but a clicking feeling. So, we’ll see what happens.
I don’t really know when my relationship with food took a wrong turn, but somewhere along the way it did. I’ve always been an active person, and did soccer and cheerleading when I was younger. I’m sorry, but I have to put the disclaimer in here… ***NO, CHEERLEADING IN NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM INFLUENCED MY RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD*** Now that that’s behind us =] I remember when I was a teenager, maybe a sophomore in highschool, that I started to look at what I was eating. This never took very long because my food groups consisted of cheese raviolis, sugary cereal, and waffles. I was always a picky eater, never liked meat (at turkey for the first time when I was 16, and chicken when I was 14!), and really preferred bland, plain foods. I was always thin when I was little, but did start to “catch up” with the other girls around sophomore year of HS. Not surpass, just gained the normal curves. BUT, at the time, I obviously thought those were NOT normal.
I started working out FAR too much. I was already on 2 cheerleading teams which meant HS practice 6 days a week for at least 2 hours, plus allstar practices at least once or twice a week. Before HS practice every day I would go down to the gym and run. For an hour. Straight. If I got down there quick enough I would even be able to squeeze in some ab work. I started to become obsessed and would even skip classes to go work out. I did start to tone up, but then I just wanted more. I started to restrict my foods to the extreme. At first I would just try and eat less and eat more veggies. But then I would ONLY eat salad. Then it was only salad, NO dressing. Then only raw veggies, but only the broccoli. It got to the point where that was the only thing I was eating throughout the whole day. Just broccoli for lunch. And then came the first binge. My sister had made brownies and I hadn’t eaten for probably days. There they sat on the counter after a long work-out and practice. Needless to say, I devoured the entire plate of them. I always HATED puking, so I didn’t purge. Nor did I realize what I was getting myself into with these types of habits, but I continued on.
At some point I started dating this kid, who, because of my family situation, stayed with him and his family a lot. His house did NOT function like mine did at all… whereas at my house I would come home to find everyone in their own room doing their own thing (if they were even home at all), with everyone eating dinner on their own, at his house dinner was cooked by his mom and we all ate as a family. They had a fairly “American” diet, with lots of cheesy and bready dishes. Needless to say, portions were not small either. Clearly I gained a lot of weight, which for me reached my highest at 145. I know that’s not obese or anything, but I’m only 5’4”, and this was pretty large for me. I kind of sort of realized it was happening, and would try to eat “healthier” from time to time, but nothing really changed. The bingeing had stopped because I was already eating everything that I could ever want, but I wasn’t exercising at all anymore either.
In the middle of my freshman year of college, I was down to only one cheerleading team. Our coach was FABULOUS! She was SUCH a motivator, and not in a bad way at ALL. She was definitely in shape, and everyone envied her abs. She absolutely made it known though that she worked her butt off for them, and motivated us to do the same if that’s what we wanted. I was still with the same kid and started to realize that I was always feeling like crap the way I was eating and living. So, I started to work out again. Not a ton and obsessively like before, but I knew I was only having practice one day a week now and that human beings in general need more movement in their lives than that. I started to lose a little weight, and people started to notice. I got WONDERFUL encouragement from my team and coach. It’s amazing what a little moving can do for someone who sits 24/7!
After starting to work out, it was like my head just started to clear. I realized the kind of life I was getting myself into. The college life with meeting all these new people and doing all these exciting things had always been my dream, but I wasn’t doing anything close to that. I was going to class, having my bf (who by the way, was a deadbeat that I used to get drunk with in high school) pick me up right after, drive to his dorm at a different college, sitting and watching tv all night, and repeating in the morning. I realized that my plans with him were not at ALL what I wanted, but I had been with him for quite a while so it was hard to just give all that up. Staying with him would have been really safe; leaving him would be really scary, especially because it had been a longggg time since I had been alone. And then it happened…
I woke up one day and realized I didn’t want to live like this any more. I wasn’t going to give up my dreams, give up feeling good, give up everything I had worked so hard for just to know I had someone there. I decided to change.
After the break up I started working out more with the free time I had. At this point it wasn’t bad, but was healthy. I ran each day and was doing a workout class through my college. Then I started changing my eating habits to more healthy things. But then, again, when people started noticing the weight loss, I got obsessed. People would tell me I was skinny or tell me I looked good and I would get so worried that if I ate anything other than iceburg lettuce that they wouldn’t think that any more. It got really bad after I met someone else. He’s a really, REALLY great guy and to this day I’m still with him and love him with all my heart. But I couldn’t help it…
I think it was the way I met him that made my habits get so bad. I was still on the high of my strength of getting healthy and breaking up with my ex, and I noticed him at a party. My courage made me tell my friends I wanted to meet him, and fortunately, they were my friends enough to make it happen. The problem was that I got introduced as the, “skinny friend who is healthy and takes care of herself”. To me, that made me feel like I had a standard to stick to, and that if I deviated from it at all that he wouldn’t want to date me anymore. I kept up my bad habits until the end of my freshman year, and ended up at 112 pounds the day he left for summer (our school is far from his hometown). Even I, looking back on pictures from the beginning of that summer, don’t EVER want to be that small again. But, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, I completely binged that very next morning as soon as I knew no one from school who knew me as the “healthy fit girl” would be around for three months.
This of course threw me right back into the cycle of working out like crazy and binging like crazy. Towards the end of the summer I started just restricting my food again and got back down to about 120 for the start of school. Once we were back in session though, the cycle kept kicking back up on and off. The weight obviously crept back on, and it always made me really nervous. It’s continued this way pretty much since then, but this year was a little different.
Since I’m supposed to be applying to med school this year, I was REALLY focused on school. So much so, that I would give up working out and just eat whatever my bf was eating for dinner when I came home at night. The obsessive thoughts did start to subside quite a bit, and this is one of the reasons WHY my bf is really, really, so great. No matter how much my weight fluctuated, he has absolutely always acted the same way towards me, told me how much he loved me, and how much he loved my body. And after hearing that for a year and a half, I really started to believe it too. I do believe those things that he says are genuine, but it’s taking me a long time get myself to think those things of myself too (still in progress!) Towards the end of this school year I started working out more and eating at least a little healthier. Everything was at a very healthy level, except my boy REALLY loves bready things. Which just happen to be one of my downfalls. I never really binged while he was here, but when he left for summer I did start to. I didn’t get into the crazy workout habit, but I did binge a few times.
I think where I am at this point in my life I’m really ready to just make the LIFESTYLE change to being healthy, and stop trying to just lose weight. No one really knows the background of why my weight has fluctuated the way it has, and everyone around me still just thinks I eat really healthy and work out. This is so much so that even most of my family has started eating healthy and exercising too! I do greatly value health, wellness, and balance, and have felt and seen the amazing things choosing a healthy lifestyle can provide you. The times I have been healthy in the past have been some of my clearest, brightest times. I understand now too that my bf is going to be there for me no matter what, and this is one of the biggest things that has helped me. I know I can do this, the RIGHT way, and he’ll be there from beginning to end.
So, this is my journey =]