Why I Have a Degree in Applied Nutrition

I would not consider myself to be someone who takes the traditional route. This is especially true for my experience as an applied nutrition student. Going into college, I had no idea what I wanted to major in. I arbitrarily picked Apparel Design during the application process because I figured I just wanted to sew and thought it would be easy. The first day of college classes, I knew I wasn’t in the right major. I’m hardly fashion forward by any means and I did not fit in with girls who could be well dressed and in full makeup by 8am. I liked psychology in high school, so I then switched to Neuroscience. I guessed it would just be the “science” version of psychology. (I was wrong) The way the science prerequisites worked out for this major, I didn’t end up taking Introduction to Neuroscience until the spring of my sophomore year. I became involved with the Psychology Department as an undergraduate research assistant in the Peer Relations Lab with Dr. Hubbard that spring and absolutely loved the experience. The same could not be said about my Neuroscience class; I felt more inspired and motivated by the behavioral health and nutrition classes I had taken for my minor. I changed majors yet again after a long contemplation, and I am now an Applied Nutrition student! My arrival at my college major came about by discovering my passion for nutrition when I began losing weight.

Senior Year cheer

My senior year I transferred schools, so I took up cheer leading as my winter sport.

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Sophomore JV Cross Country. It’s hard to run when you’re heavier than most of the other runners.

I’m “almost tall”, at about 5’8″ and I’ve always been taller than other girls my age and for the most part guys as well. I was always an average weight for my age but lankier due to my height. Everyone’s body changes when they transition to adulthood so I filled out a lot but always played sports and thought myself to be pretty healthy. High school is an awkward time for some people and I am certainly one of those people who would never want to relive those days. Academically and personally, I went through some trials and tribulations that played a factor in part of my weight gain. Being called fat lead to me getting fatter because it became a part of my identity.

This is me and my best friend taking pictures before my senior prom. I sewed my own dress. It's at this point I started to get noticeably heavier.

This is me and my best friend taking pictures before my senior prom. I sewed my own dress. It’s at this point I started to get noticeably heavier.

Fall 2012 First Semester Freshman Year. I had started putting on that Freshman 15!

Fall 2012 First Semester Freshman Year. I had started putting on that Freshman 15!

Going into college I assumed with all the walking around campus I would get in shape. On the contrary, going from participating in 3 seasons of high school sports a year to just walking to class did not make me fit! The dining hall food wasn’t great, so there was a lot of trying a little bit of everything, then still not liking it, then going out to eat. I was just not having a good time in college. I had a bad experience living in dorm: my first room mate and I weren’t compatible, my floor partied a little too much, and I just didn’t fit in.

The turning point for me was during winter break of my freshman year of college. I absolutely hated the way I looked in every picture. Not just in a: “oh this is a bad angle” or “my smile looks weird”. I could hardly recognize myself in the pictures. I guess my dorm room did not have enough mirrors because I had no idea I had gained that much weight. I didn’t want to make a new years resolution, I just felt uncomfortable with how I looked, not to mention how I felt about how much I must have weighed. I never did weigh myself at my heaviest weight, but in the picture below I estimated myself to weight about 200 lbs.

This is the picture that made me realize it was time for a change.

This is the picture that made me realize it was time for a change.

This is me about 20 lbs lower than my highest weight the spring of my freshman year (2013).

This is me about 20 lbs lower than my highest weight the spring of my freshman year (2013).

After that Christmas card photo, I started using MyFitnessPal and counting calories. I did not realize before that there was a scientific and mathematical explanation to why I was always “big boned”, that reason was that I just ate too much! That spring when I returned to school, I got a new room mate and my perspective began to shift. I was always online researching more information about how to continue my success. I then added a Health and Wellness minor and in the fall began taking classes about personal health and nutrition.

My first 5K run since I ran Cross Country in high school! That was the summer before sophomore year of college (2013).

My first 5K run since I ran Cross Country in high school! I was down ~30lbs at this point, the summer before sophomore year of college (2013).

When I took Introduction to Nutrition, I fell in love with learning again. For the first time in a long time, I thought the material I was learning was both useful and important. The spring of my sophomore year I realized that there was no fighting it, I switched my major to Dietetics so I could help other people learn how to eat healthy. I’ve lost an estimated 40 lbs from my highest weight, but I know my journey’s not over yet.

The hardest part about my experience has been plateauing. I’ve maintained my current weight loss since this December and am now at a healthy weight. I am still motivated to continue to lose weight until I feel completely confident and healthy. As embarrassing as it is for me to look back on my transformation, I feel it is important to share with others because I know how others’ stories inspired me along the way.

Link to an article I wrote for the University of Delaware on this topic!

 

This is my most recent photo at ~40 lbs lost! I feel better than ever and I can't wait to see where my journey takes me!

This is a recent photo at ~40 lbs lost! I feel better than ever and I can’t wait to see where my journey takes me!

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