Smart Choice Menu

Every week, the University of Maryland posts a specialized menu to their nutrition web page. Deep within the confines of the nutritional battlefield that is the college campus cafeteria, can be found  a ray of light, a prospect of hope for when that heat-lamp warmed pizza riddled with grease and untold delights seems almost too tempting to resist; there can be found, a Smart Choice Menu.

This smart choice menu has been my saving grace. Instead of relying on tuna fish sandwiches every day, the menu provides healthy options throughout the campus. I can mix it up between the salad station, the Mexican station, the pasta station, and I can still get my tuna fish on occasion. I’ve even taken to customizing it around my work schedule and to fit my pescetarian lifestyle.

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But I seem to get a whole lot more than variety from this smart choice menu, I also receive:

  • The convenience of not having to scour the dining halls for healthy options
  • A variety that doesn’t get me fed up with healthy foods
  • Knowledge that it’s A-Okay to eat pizza every now and again
  • The joy of marking off a week of healthy eating
  • Support of my weight loss efforts from the University

I’m sure that I’m the only person in the entire universe of existence in both this and every other dimension who uses this smart choice menu. And that’s just fine with me. As long as this little scrap of paper keeps mixing up my meals and counting my calories, I’ll never have a reason to renounce it.

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Hill-o Again

The reason that I decided to attend the University of Maryland was a simple one; aside from the outstanding amount of squirrels that roam the mall, the atmosphere around here is one of the quintessential college campus.

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Everywhere you look there is beauty to be observed. The mall, full of students lazing around in the sunshine; the Stamp, where kids line up around the block for Panda Express, Saladworks, and Maryland apparel; Campus Drive, which greets visitors with a flowery letter M and a scenic view of all that UMD has to offer.

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And the one thing connecting all off these great landmarks together?

Hills.

I have lived in Maryland my whole entire life, and yet I never knew that we had so many hills until I attended this school.

You look to your left. Hill. Glance to the right. Hill. Look straight ahead. Yup, it’s a hill. Check under your feet. You’re standing on a hill.

I have been exercising regularly while I’ve been at school so far, but I swear that nothing has been as good for me as simply walking around campus and battling the landscape. I find myself going up a hill for a solid 15 minutes on my walk to the gym. But somehow, when I leave to go back home, I’m still walking up a hill.

Since I’m trying to push myself towards fitness I know that I can’t complain too much about all of these hills. Even though they make me sweat, they also do a heck of a job adding a bit of cardio into a simple walk to the dining hall.

All I can do is put on my walking shoes, brave those hills, and hope like crazy that the squirrels don’t get fed up with the mountainous terrain and leave for another campus.

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Free to Be Me

I take after my cat in terms of laziness.

I take after my cat in terms of laziness.

Summer has found me reverting back to the person that I’ve come to be while at home. Lazy, gluttonous, mellow, and satisfied. A bump on a log with the occasional bouts of movement.

But, after a brief visit to my college, I could already feel inspiring emotions and traits coursing through my veins in a way that brought new life into my worn and too well rested body.

In just one day, I felt the confidence, drive, motivation, enthusiasm, and sheer pleasure accompanied with the healthy lifestyle that I learned to lead while away at the University of Maryland.

It seems that while you’re at college, you have the potential to be whomever you want. You’re not bogged down by the mistakes of your past, but are lifted higher by the desire to determine your worth.

IMG_2070At college, I have free time to devote to the gym, all of my friends enjoy exercising, I can control what foods I eat and am no longer at the whim of my mother’s poor dietary choices, and I feel so much more confident in every decision that I make. I am free to be myself, and it turns out that myself is a pretty healthy happy person.

In fact, my freshman year of college, I lost 10 pounds (of my then-usual 150 pounds) and was at the lowest weight of my young adult life.

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This year, I’d like to get back to that weight of 140 pounds. I’m giving myself the whole school year to drop 25 pounds. And I know that if I love life along the way and take time for myself, my face will be transformed from my tremendous weight loss and constant smiling.