The Classmate Collection: Healthy Living

Number, number on the scale

Not enough.

Stomach isn’t flat enough.

Thighs aren’t small enough.

Five more pounds. Maybe ten. Just a few more though.

Nothing seems to be good enough. Nothing seems to be enough when looking in the mirror.

According to, women look at themselves in a mirror at least 14 times each day. While men view themselves 23 times a day. Both women and men constantly judge what they see in the mirror; wanting to change the number appearing on a scale.

We eat out of the hands of media through magazines, ads and television; striving for perfection. Perfection that seems to be just out of reach to both genders. The body of 2016, of the Instagram age – where every post is sponsored by diet bars and Tabata Traning videos are broadcasted to millions of viewers who respond back with #BodyGoals. But the sad reality is that no matter how many squats, lunges or vegan diets done, the combination of Beyonce’s curves, Katy Perry’s bust and Taylor Swift’s thigh gap are out of reach and unrealistic. No matter how many protein shakes or deadlifts done, Channing Tatum’s godly abs and Zac Efron’s perfectly toned biceps is a dream that seems to be difficult to achieve, but needed to be accepted by others and ourselves. These expectations that are broadcasted throughout different types of media sets most teenagers up to have a lower self-esteem.

92 percent of teen girls would like to change something about the way they look, with body weight being the highest, according to the Dove Campaign. Identity and self-esteem go hand-in-hand, developing self esteem leads to a strong identity and mental health. Self-esteem is how one values themselves and how they perceive themselves. As the years have gone on, self-esteem has plummeted it’s way into the gutter.

According to the National Association of Self Esteem, 90 percent of eating disorders are found in girls, men are usually overlooked to having eating disorders, but continues to be a rising issue that goes unnoticed.

In a survey given to students, 51 percent of them have thought about skipping a meal to lose weight and 25 percent of students answered that they would use enhancers to improve the way their body looked.

Although, many want to see results in losing weight quickly, there are alternate and healthier ways to losing weight and feeling comfortable in one’s own skin.

Senior Kylie Fleming decided to start her weight loss journey in the fall of 2015 after her mom lost 70 pounds and received a job at Ideal Protein Weight Loss.

“I’ve always wanted to lose weight, it was always hard because I would give up and quit. I felt like I was the biggest one in the family and I didn’t like it,” said Fleming. “Once I got my drivers license, my eating habits started to turn. I would get fast food after work since it was quick and easy.”

Fleming’s goal is to lose 100 pounds and lost 40 pounds since starting her diet filled with protein, nuts and lots of water.

“I still feel like the old me. When I look into the mirror, I see the old me. It’s not until I go shopping and put on clothes till I see these changes and it feels good. My self esteem and confidence has gone up since I started; I’m much more outgoing and confident than I was before.” said Fleming. “If someone ever wanted to lose weight, they definitely have to get in the right mind set to do, it’s not just something done overnight.”

Living a healthy lifestyle isn’t easy, it requires hard work, dedication and lots of patience. Physical education and health teacher Jamie Walton decided to change courses in her eating habits after a former student asked about her eating habits.

“I was teaching nutrition in one of my health classes and and one of my students asked me if I ate the way I was teaching them to eat. If I was exercising the same way I was teaching them to exercise,” said Walton. “I knew what the answer was and about a month later I joined Weight Watchers. I needed to change my life around.”

In 2005, Walton lost 75 pounds using Weight Watchers. In 2006, Walton had her second son and gained back 50 of the 75 pounds she lost earlier. Her goal was to lose it before returning back to work after her maternity leave, she was only four pounds short of her goal.

“There’s years where I gain weight and I lose it all again. I’m not perfect and I constantly remind my students this, I eat fast food and I drink soda. Knowing serving sizes is important to that though. I tell my kids that if they’re truly looking to lose weight you have to track what you’re eating and know what you’re putting inside your body,” said Walton.

The “perfect body” is changing every day. Bigger butt, smaller waist, thick thighs, but with a thigh gap. It’s important to base self-esteem off of one own’s thoughts about oneself, not what society, media and everyone else expects and wants to see.

Self-esteem can affect how one deals with different challenges and situations and how safe and relax they feel in their daily life.

Health and physical education teacher Heather Coleman noticed the way Walton changed before and after her weight loss.

“In teaching and everything, she gained more confidence and energy and it was great change to see,” said Coleman.

Walton now teaches an Advance Fit for Life class where she exercises and motivates alongside her students everyday. Before, Walton admitted to not being able to physically handling former workouts, but now challenges her students to work harder or just as hard as she does.

“I can be a role model now and I love it. If I can do it, they can too,” said Walton.