The Stress of Getting in Shape Without a Moment to Spare
By Matthew McKenna
Many students set goals for themselves whether to do better in school, meet new friends, or to improve their health. A goal made by college students is to lose weight and gain muscle. Trying to do those things can be hard if you don’t have a flexible schedule. I am one of those people.
My desire to lose weight began in December 2011, when I was in my junior year of high school. While visiting a friend, I noticed he had an electronic scale.
When I saw that I was 215 pounds, my heart sank. Being that weight for a five-foot, seven-inch 16 year old was not healthy and I made it my goal to change that.
I wanted to look good for my cousin’s upcoming wedding so I started going to my local gym every day. I did cardio and occasionally lifted weights. In terms of my diet, I cut out soda, desserts, and fast food like McDonald’s and Burger King.
Within a few months I lost a lot of weight but barely noticed a difference. Afterwards I had noticed that my shirts looked bigger and my size 38 pants started falling down. Girls started looking at me twice, so I knew I was doing something right.
My friends, gym teachers, family members, and Michael Chang from “Six Pack Shortcuts” was who I turned to for advice. I would ask my friends, ones who were lean and muscular, what dieting tips and what type of exercises I should do.
They all gave me good advice. I would work out with them if they had a membership with my gym or if they didn’t, I got them guest passes, and would work out together.
One friend really pushed me and didn’t take no for an answer. We also sparred with each other since he said it was a good way of losing weight, gaining a bit of muscle, and increasing metabolism.
When the summer came, I worked at a day camp and during my breaks I would jump rope. Before I would go to work, I did cardio and repeated that later in the day, too.
Finally, my cousin’s wedding came. When my family saw me they were impressed, and I received so many compliments.
While taking pictures, I posed and stood up straight. Later when I looked at them, I thought “Wow, I did lose weight.”
In the first week of classes, my health class made us introduce ourselves. When I told the class that I had lost 40 pounds from December of 2011 to September of 2012, I got a round of applause, which boosted my confidence.
When senioritis kicked in, I became lazy, ate more sugar, and with the stress of the state testing and having to do my first film project for class, it became a bit unbearable. I gained back the 20 pounds I had lost. When I graduated, I started riding my bike again and I lost a little bit of weight.
Within my first year of college, I wondered how I could include the gym into school and work schedule. I tried to, but rarely, like once a month.
In my second year, I gained a little more weight to the point that I feared hitting 200 and going over.
I haven’t been to the gym lately but when I go, I would use a machine for cardio for about an hour and when I was finished with my workout, if I had stayed for an hour or more, I would feel like I had achieved something.
But my eating habits are still the same— eating too much, or having too little. I have been exploring new things and have been removing some others.
It gets me mad when I would buy healthy food while my mom still bought chocolate and sugar. I ask her to please stop buying that kind of food because I know I’m eventually going to eat it. Sometimes, I manage to contain myself but other times I can’t.
It is also stressful for me to not go to the gym because of my school schedule, the homework I have to do, and trying to find a job.
I get bummed out when I choose video games and other stupid reasons over trying to go to the gym and reach my goal.
Well, no more dreaming for me, I have a goal and I must pursue it. My goal is still the same, but a bit ridiculous. It’s to lose weight and gain lean muscle so that I can be healthier, better looking, and cosplay as a character for either Halloween or the upcoming Comic Con.