Fact: I Heart the Keep It Real Challenge

As I was browsing through Facebook status after Facebook status this morning, I stumbled across an interesting looking article posted by the National Eating Disorders Association. The status said, “Stand up to magazines that publish digitally altered photos!” Now, I could go on and on about how I feel disappointed every time I see a magazine promoting how to lose ten pounds in one week, or how sad I feel when some already slender celebrity lost five more pounds for her wedding, or how it disheartening it is to realize most faces and bodies printed in these magazines are, indeed, not real. So, out of curiosity and hopefulness I clicked on the article to see what this was all about.

What I found was nothing short of shocking…

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I read fact after fact, and each time my heart sank just a little bit more. Girls are so affected by the standards that the media sets regarding the way we should look…so much so, that, it seems as if hating and bashing your own body is the norm.

And my heart took a dive deeper into my stomach as I read the line in the article that said, “Eating disorders are the leading cause of death for girls ages 15-24 (National Eating Disorder Organization 2012).” Leading. Cause. Of. Death. These are children, young girls, that are so affected by the unrealistic definition of beautiful, that they will do anything to try to attain it.

As important as it is to teach the world the real impact the media has on poor body image and eating disorders, it’s just as important now to do something to make a change. And that’s exactly what the Keep It Real Challenge is all about.

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One of my favorite quotes from the article is, “Instead of young girls pushing themselves to fit into a swimsuit, this social media campaign will inspire them to challenge the media creators who propagate unrealistic images of young girls and women, and encourage them to enjoy their summer in other more positive ways.”

Inspire.

Challenge.

Encourage.

What if the media set a new standard. Not one that only idolizes women who are touched up with an airbrush, but one that says beautiful is you just the way you are. Dark circles, laugh lines, wrinkles, freckles, curves and all…beauty is what is real.

What’s stopping you? Let’s do this. Check out the Keep It Real Challenge for yourself, share it with your friends and families, share it on Facebook, twitter, and instagram, and participate! Today, right now, 78% of 17 year olds are unhappy with their body, and I’d almost bet that number increases with age. We can totally turn that number around if we all try to make a change. Real is beautiful. Believe it and represent it!

Let’s keep it real!

ang

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Change Your Thoughts…Change the World

I’ve been thinking a lot lately. I haven’t been posting my Friday Affirmations very regularly, and I am missing that. Sometimes it is a challenge to come up with an affirmation every week, but it is a good way to dig down deep and figure out the things I love about myself. The things that we all love about ourselves.

But I’ve been thinking about how these affirmations, or any affirmation, compliment, or kind words can impact a person. Does it really make a difference? If a person looks in the mirror and tells themselves they are beautiful, does that mean they will believe it? Do I believe it?

One thing I do know is that the more a person tells themselves that they are ugly or fat or unworthy, the more they will believe it. So shouldn’t it work the other way around?

I have a challenge for you (and myself). Let’s change our thoughts to positive thoughts, and let’s send a message to the world. It’s okay to love ourselves. It’s okay to think we are beautiful just the way we are.

1. Change your thoughts. Look in the mirror each day and tell yourself one things that you absolutely love about yourself. It doesn’t have to be something big. It could be that you love that little freckle on your nose. It doesn’t have to be something physical. It could be that you love that you have a caring heart. No matter what it is, tell yourself something new you love everyday.

2. Change the world. Tell someone else that you think they are beautiful…and tell them why. Let someone know how important they are to you. Give a complete stranger a compliment. However you want to do it, make an impact on someone else…everyday.

The more we are able to share the beauty of this world…the beauty that is you and me…the more the world will start believing it.

ang

Life As I Know It

…is never going to be quite the same.

Goodbye sleeping in, running whenever my heart desired, four hour-long afternoon naps, reading a book for fun, reading anything for fun, and blogging semi-regularly.

Hello studying, alarm clocks, dark circles, multiple cups of coffee, highlighters, reading only textbooks, scheduling runs, living by my planner (which is now covered in exam and due dates), medical terminology, and only blogging sporadically from my cell phone during my lunch break.

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This week has been overwhelming and hectic…and I kind of love it.

While my husband is probably going to think I’m a raging lunatic/nerd for the next two years (and he’s probably right on), I’m right where I want to be. I thrive off challenge…and this truly is going to be just that.

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Please bare with me for the next few weeks as I try to find my footing. And please know that when you talk to me and I look far away, I’m probably just trying to figure out how I’d assess and diagnose you. In the meantime, if you need your blood pressure or other vital signs checked, I’m your girl…and I only charge a minimal copay.

ang, nursing student

A Bit of an Understatement

Remember yesterday how I said I was getting nervous to start nursing school?

Well…

…I went and bought my textbooks for the semester today…

…and this stack of books is not including the two other textbooks that I need, the books that I had last semester that I can’t seem to find now.

Nervous seems a bit of an understatement now.

I should also preface this story with my plan for the afternoon. I wanted to purchase my parking pass for the semester, buy my books, get in-get out, and hit up the recreation center for a quick speed workout and possibly some strength training. If I want to do a pull-up this year, I better start building up these little muscles!

I went to purchase my parking pass first, but once I was about to buy my pass I decided against it. Campus is not that big, and I’ve found several places near campus where I can park on the side of the road for free. I decided I’d give walking a whirl before giving up fifty precious dollars to park in the campus lots that aren’t all that close to my classes anyhow.

Next I went to the bookstore…which was approximately half a mile from where I decided to park alongside the road.

About half an hour later I walked out with all of these…

…and had to walk the half mile back to my car to drop them off.

Needless to say, I crossed strength training off my afternoon agenda.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been talking about getting into nursing school for long enough (um, the entire life of this blog), and I’m beyond stoked that I actually get to start on Monday! It’s just scary. Life as I know it is going to change a little bit. I’m not going to have the time to sit and talk to Tia all day long, or hang out on my computer, or watch marathons of addicting television shows (hello Friday Night Lights). My textbooks might be accompanying me to my next several dinner club get-togethers. My new favorite cell phone apps just might be regarding medical terminology. And pretty soon I might be bugging all my family and friends to practice taking their blood pressures.

I guess it’s beneficial to me that I love a good challenge.

ang

Achievable and Challenging

I think there is a great importance to setting goals. Before volleyball games, I had my girls come up with goals as a team and come up with individual goals. At the beginning of the season someone would say, “Our goal should be to do good.” Well, that’s a given! I then explained to them that our goals needed to be measurable. We need to be able to actually see if we achieve them.

Once the girls grasped that concept someone would suggest, “Our goal should be to have no missed serves.” This seems like a great goal, however, these are middle school girls…and for many serving was not yet their strong suit. I had to explain that our goals need to be achievable. Then someone would blurt out, “Okay then, only ten missed serves.” Ten?! We’d surely lose the game is we missed that many serves. I then explained that our goals need to be achievable, yes, but also challenging.

Ooooohhh.

So for this month, I am setting some very measurable, achievable, and challenging goals for myself.

1. Decide which nursing school I will attend.

Obviously I need to make this decision because I’ll be enrolling in classes soon! Aaahhh! I am so excited to start school, I just can’t say it enough! I am definitely feeling a pull toward one school, but I’m not ready to make a definite decision. Soon, though!

2. PR on November 20th in my second ever half marathon.

I finished my last (first) half marathon in one hour, fifty-nine minutes, and ten seconds. I so want to beat this!

3. Finish my second ever half marathon in one hour and fifty-five minutes.

Yes, I’ll be happy with any PR, but to really challenge myself I want to finish 1.55:xx. I know that for so long (marathon training) I was focused on mileage rather than speed, so for the past couple of weeks I’ve really been trying to get faster!

4. Cook (3 meals a week and two great Thanksgiving sides). Read (1 book). Make (3 things from Pinterest).

5. Smile 334,918,374,918,327,419,834,719,238,471,903,248,102 times!

How are you challenging yourself this month?!

ang