Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Commitment Day/Preparing for Miss Virginia with Integrity

I follow FitFluential on Twitter, and they host regular health and fitness chats. Tonight's was about Commitment Day 2012, which is a nationwide movement to make January 1, 2013 a day to make a commitment to yourself. The final question of the chat was:

Fill in the blank: I commit to ________ in 2013.

I thought about it before I added my two cents to the conversation. And then it hit me -- I commit to prepare to compete in swimsuit for Miss Virginia in a way that I would want the girls I coach to emulate.

I'll make my first and only trip to Miss Virginia next June, where I will be at the top of the age group and at the bottom of the experience ladder. I want to give it the best I've got.

Like every girl competing, I really want to be Miss Virginia. I want to travel the state, impacting young women, being a role model.

But I only want to be Miss Virginia -- heck, I only deserve to be Miss Virginia -- if I can get there in a healthy way that I would want my 3rd through 5th graders to look up to. And that means no crazy dieting.

Today, as we are six months away from Miss Virginia, I want to commit to preparing myself for every area of competition with integrity -- I want to be true to myself, my platform, the girls I work with.

I'm also committing to blogging more - sharing the how of my preparation: workouts, recipes, motivation tips, so that you can get in swimsuit competition shape too. Okay, maybe not, but you'll probably be sporting a swimsuit in June too, even if it's not on a stage. And besides, exercise gives you endorphins, and endorphins make you happy... at least that's what Legally Blonde taught me :)

Monday, December 24, 2012

For Hope.

"Ours is an associate sisterhood based upon sincere desire for mutual improvement; its cementing element is love, its stimulating principle, truth; its watchword, duty..."
-Anna Boyd Ellington, first initiation address

When I read Anna Boyd's first initiation address, the quote above sticks out to me, because it's everything the Fraternity is about: choosing each other, supporting each other, succeeding together, remembering that we are accountable to one another.

I am reminded as we celebrate our founding - 139 years ago, during Christmastime, 1873 - of all of the wonderful things Delta Gamma has done for me throughout my six years of membership. My best friends, confidence, and the ability to understand people rank among the top of my list, but I am certain that I could go on for days.

This blog started as a way for me to document my journey as a Collegiate Development Consultant for Delta Gamma. It was, by far, the most challenging and fulfilling year of my life. I was moved to tears on a weekly basis, and I felt like my work was impactful.

As I traveled the country, I met thousands of college aged women, and as I learned from them, I learned about myself and about the organization I worked for.

I think what I am most thankful for the continuous improvement and learning that Delta Gamma has afforded me over the last six years. During a time in life when everything seems to change, DG has remained a constant source of friendship, hope, and inspiration, and I think that's pretty special.

Happy 139 years, Delta Gamma. Can't wait to see what the rest of my membership holds.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Are nutrition facts making us fatter?

Did you know that obesity rate among adults in the US has increased from 15% to 36% since 1990?

In twenty years, the percentage of obese adults has increased by over 20%. Do you know how ridiculous that is!?

I blame this guy:


My issue with the nutrition label is simple: by breaking a food into micronutrients, you are reducing something that is cultural, enjoyable, and part of life to a series of numbers. What’s more, you’re trying to summarize the pros and cons of a food in black and white. This isn’t normal.

It causes the human mind to equate a large banana to a a bowl of fruit loops. A piece of chicken to a York peppermint patty. Rice to French fries.

These things are not equal, and yet the nutrition label – particularly the calorie count – makes us think they are.

But there’s more: Since the nutrition label was mandated by the FDA in 1990, we have seen obesity increase exponentially. Which begs the question: is this correlation, causation, or chance?

Could it be that our growing obsession with “being healthy” has caused us to forget how to eat? That we have lost our instincts for choosing foods that are good for us because we rely so much on the package? Perhaps it means that we are choosing more processed foods instead of real foods solely because we are able to easily count the calories or points when it’s printed on a package.

I am not a nutritionist. I am a 23 year old who spent nearly seven years of my life trying different diets, depriving myself of the foods I love, and spending countless hours on the elliptical trying to get to be the size I wanted to be. I finally got on track to being healthy and loving my body this past year, when I lost nearly 35 pounds without counting calories, cutting carbs, or doing activities I hated all in the name of losing weight.

I am happier, healthier, and fitter than ever. And maybe I’m just one person, but I think it’s a discussion worth having: causation, correlation, or chance? What are your thoughts?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

We're all in this together: Reflections on Newtown

How do you adequately reflect on what happened in Connecticut on Friday?  There's been a lot of conversation on social media, in the news, and among Americans. 

I think it comes down to this:

Our country needs more: more human connection, more love, more helping people who are hurting. More smiling at strangers, more random acts of kindness, more listening when you ask if someone is okay.

And we need less: less judging, less gossiping, less hating.

We need to listen to and learn from each other. To create communities, grow together, and reconnect based on shared values.  

Most of all, we must genuinely care about each other. Each of us struggles and succeeds, and the overall well-being of our country is dependent on the well-being of our people. 

So smile at a stranger, let someone merge in front of you on the highway, and just remember:  
we're all in this together.