Last Ditch Effort

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1. A last chance to do something; the final attempt at a successful outcome.

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Last Ditch Effort

Like a hammer on a nail, humans have the viability to force certain conceptions and ideologies into their minds. Wanting to have the best prom dress, the perfect hourglass figure or just to fit into society’s preconceived notions of health, the temptation to change oneself can take a heavy toll. The societal norms of beauty and weight continue to twist around our minds. Society pushes away its natural beauty, natural size and natural appearance because of falsehoods that surround the media. People realize it’s the last chance to look the part — a last ditch effort to be their “best self.” After years of questioning oneself, some take drastic measures to alter their body and lose weight.

A prominent topic in magazines and stores is the idea of the “perfect” weight. For most, it’s their last chance to “fix” themselves; their last chance to be socially accepted. According to the National Eating Disorders site, nearly 42 percent of 1st through 3rd graders want to be thinner. For senior Ali Comer, this trend seemed to follow her to high school. She recalled constantly feeling defeated, especially during her junior year of high school.

“Junior year I had a really difficult time in my life,” Comer said. “I didn’t eat very much and worked out two to three times a day.”

For Comer, the high school pressure hit her hard, and eventually led her to her final effort in changing her body. From unhealthy diets to harsh workouts, the pressure to be perfect forced her onto a new mental path.

“It is the worst feeling in the world,” she said.

Comer realized she dug herself into a deeper hole, one that would affect the way she would perceive herself for years to come.

Society constantly impacts people’s perceptions of themselves. Fashion and beauty companies tend to portray an unrealistic image of the human body, rather than highlight the natural figures of regular individuals. The concept of  being healthy and fit is commonly preached to all ages by teachers and doctors, but the true puppeteer of body image is the media.

The craving to be perfect can lead to unhealthy habits.

“I definitely practiced malnutrition,” Comer said. She wanted to reach the, “ideal body weight to be really slim and small.”

Comer reflected on the pressures of this time in high school: grades, friends, family and her health. “We constantly compare ourselves to others,” Comer said.

Whether it be from school work to body shape, personal envy and insecurities continue to mold how people see one another. Comer wanted to change her body in a last ditch effort to be “normal.”

High school is a vulnerable and emotional age for teens. Comer’s experience is common not only for students at Antioch Community High School, but for all students throughout the world.

“Nobody deserves to feel like this,” Comer said.

The feeling of being drained was hard for Comer, and continued to be a huge toll over her life. Over time, Comer realized how vital her health is to her, and how nothing, and no one, deserves the power to change how a person views themselves.

“I’ve learned from my challenges and  mistakes and was able to grow,” Comer said. “Hard work definitely pays off,” especially when she joined Advanced Fit for Life. “I now love working out and running and I love to motivate myself and other people.”

Comer became aware that not all “last ditch efforts” are actually final, and that bettering oneself takes time.

“Surround yourself with people who love you,” she said. “I promise so many people deal with it and you’re not alone, you can always talk to someone.”

What emerges from these experiences is clear: there is no final effort and people’s paths continue to change. Social studies teacher Lauren Krickl has dealt with a last ditch effort since she was 21, when she found out she had celiac disease. Being a junior in college, gluten was a major part of her life.

“I really just wanted to eat pasta,” Krickl said. “I remember the last time I had gluten I had a big splurge and I was sick for three weeks.”

Krickl decided she needed to keep fighting for her physical well-being, even though the temptation to take a bite of pizza was so great. Not only did she crave the one thing she couldn’t have, but she wanted to fit in with fellow peers.

“Being celiac and gluten free was not common back then,” Krickl said. “For my own health, I needed to make the decision to learn to stand up for myself.”

After a while, Krickl realized it’s okay to slip up from time to time. Last ditch efforts to change a person’s health and well being can often be dangerous, and the best thing to do is start with small changes.

“I think it’s really dangerous to have this last ditch effort mentality,” Krickl said. “Changes take time and I don’t want to see people to take drastic life altering decisions that could spark into something bigger.”

From grades, health and relationships, last ditch efforts tend to bring forth a person’s darkest moments. The “all or nothing” mentality can shake a person’s mentality of what is right and wrong. It’s important not to make a final effort mean more than it has to in life. People may not wear their darkest thoughts on their sleeve, but it’s okay to realize we all have them.

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