Self-Awareness

A new way of life!

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A few months ago I decided that I was going to change my lifestyle. I was sick of feeling sluggish and squishy (LOL my way of saying out of shape). I quit making excuses and got my butt off the couch and to the gym. That was in November of 2015. Since then, I have lost a total of 30 pounds and gained massive amounts of CONFIDENCE.

People often ask me, “what motivates you to change,” “how do you stick with it?” The best answer I have for them is that I QUIT MAKING EXCUSES and telling myself that losing weight was impossible while in college or that I just have bad genes and I could never be skinny. Shaping your body into the way you want is something you ARE CAPABLE of doing! Isn’t that motivation in itself?Your body is the one thing you can do what ever you want with!

At the beginning of my fitness journey, I was doing everything on my own. I quit snacking late at night (one of the hardest things for me to overcome), and began to eat healthier. Overall I wasn’t eating the bad before, however, I was eating TOO MUCH. By January I had lost around 13 pounds. Obviously I was happy with the progress I had made thus far, but at this point I was finally starting to feel confident in my own skin, how could I quit now?! So I didn’t.

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Then, to my luck, my cousin contacted me regarding a program called 21 Day Fix Extreme through Beachbody. It was here that my passion for health, fitness and nutrition took off. The program taught me how to eat clean in the correct portion size! This was huge for me. I now no longer eat dairy, and I’m on a completely clean diet. I hate to use the word diet though because I am not starving myself. I’m never hungry! I still eat out, I just order smart. I still eat desserts, but change out certain ingredients for healthier ones.  I started this program in January. For the first 3 weeks I followed the program religiously, however, now I’m starting to become a little more flexible because I’m beginning to understand and learn what works for me. Everyone is different. What works for one person may not work for another. Experiment, figure out what works for you. As of today, I’m town 27 pounds and feeling great!

Although the physical changes are visible, I feel like a completely different person. This journey has taught me so much about myself. I have gained immense amounts of confidence. I’ve learned that the number on the scale DOES NOT MATTER. It’s the way YOU FEEL that matters. I’ve made new friends with a similar passion for fitness who have helped and encouraged me along the way! I couldn’t have done it without them!

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I’m now to a point where people are beginning to come to me for advice and tips. It warms my heart when people tell me I was there motivation to become healthier. Trust me when I tell you this, if a full time college student, who lives in the dorms, and also works two jobs can do it, SO CAN YOU!

A few months ago I can across a quote that I now live by:

“Power is a passion in itself”

… Find the power to get up in the morning and workout, find the power to ignore the tray of chocolate chip cookies in the cafeteria, find the power to take the stairs after a long day instead of taking the elevator. Find the power and determination to become healthier and it was become a passion, something you love!

My days are long and busy like every other college student out there, but I find time to workout everyday no matter what. It’s my way of stress relieve. If it wasn’t for the gym, I’d probably be bald at this point from pulling all my hair out (LOL).

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Throughout my journey I found a passion for health, fitness and nutrition. I am now currently in the process of getting my personal training certification. Becoming healthy is not easy. It’s involves breaking habits that we have had for months, weeks or even heard!  But it’s worth it and that’s why I have decided to get certified. I want to help others achieve their fitness goals and becoming the best person they can be!

If you are unhappy with your body, I challenge you to accept the challenge of change. Start today, not tomorrow, not on Monday, TODAY! You can do it!

Check out my Instagram (Jenniferkae) if you’re interested in advice and motivation on achieving your goals! Believe in yourself, your mind is the only thing holding you body back from accomplishing what you want it to!

 

Camp Sunshine: The Happiest Place On Earth

This past week I was able to be a counselor at Camp Sunshine. Camp Sunshine is a camp for anyone with cognitive or physical disabilities. Camper/Counselor partnerships are one on one. Each camper has their own individual gift and talent and therefore throughout the week we lived by the statement, “Label me able” and got rid of the words disabled and handicapped all together.

 

Throughout the week, I created an unbreakable bond with my camper. She was one of the sweetest, sassiest, and most funny people I know. By the end of the week my camper had opened up to me and told me about all the negative names and words people call her at work and how it makes her feel. This immediately broke my heart. Following her opening up to me, we sat down and had a long conversation about how wonderful she is. A sentence that she said stuck with her that I said was, “God made you and God doesn’t make mistakes.” The rest of the night she repeated this sentence I would say, hundreds of times.

Also by the end of the week we had learned to tell time and to say our alphabet. Seeing how happy this made her warmed my heart.

 

Going into camp all the counselors always talk about how we cant wait to make a difference in our campers life. However, by the end of the first day, we realize that the Camper/Counselor partnership is so much more. Over the course of the week Lori taught me way more than could ever have taught her. This experience was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had.

 

When working with the population of people who have unique needs, please remember to be respectful.

Year in Review

I can’t believe that my Freshman year of college is over. It seems like just yesterday I was wondering around campus not knowing where I was going looking like a typical Freshman. On move in day I never would have thought that I would become the person I am today. Like many teenagers I thought I knew it all. When moving in I was positive that I would be just fine living on own. Little did I know, I was completely wrong. My transition to college was extremely hard. This was a surprise to me because I have never been a home body. The firs three months of college were all I wanted was to go home. I felt alone. I hadn’t found a place where I thought I belonged.  I would constantly call my older brother crying because I wanted to go home so bad. Unfortunately, I also did  not have a good relationship with my roommates. From the beginning there was constant conflict. Although things with my roommates did not improve over the year, I did still gain many things from living with them.


It wasn’t until close too the end of the semester that I found where I belonged. The student organization that I am involved in traveled to Cedar Point for a fundraiser. It was here that I would met Bailey and Amy. Over the next few months I began to grow closer and closer with them. Now, we are inseparable. Prior to coming to college my parents always told me that I will meet my life long friends in college. I never believed this until now. Bailey and Amy are now my best friends. I can honestly say that if it weren’t for them I don’t know if I would have stated at Central.


Coming out of the first semester I knew I wanted to become more involved second semester. I did just that. During second semester I joined a sorority. Although I ALWAYS said I would never join Greek Life, now I’m very glad I did. It has allowed me to meet many new people. But most importantly it has gotten me more involved not only on campus but off campus as well. Joining Alpha Gama Delta has also provided me with any opportunities to take a leadership role in the chapter. I can say I successful accomplished my goal of being more involved second semester.


Over the course of the last 8 or 9 months I have grown as not only person but as a leader. My collaboration and work ethic are the two skills that have improved the most. Both of these skills are important to possess as a leader. Collaboration assists one in being open minded when brainstorming ideas for a task, a solution to a problem or simply just getting along with a group of people. My work ethic has also greatly improved this year. I have always been a hard worker. However, this year, my academic schedule required a whole new level of work ethic. Quality work ethic is important of leader because it assists them in the completion of tasks.

My first year at CMU has been full of ups and downs. I’ve learned life lessons and I’ve made life long friends. Although it took 5 months to feel at home, I can now say that I love CMU. The relationships I have made with the people here are relationships that will last a lifetime. I cant imagine my life without the friends I made during my Freshman year of college.

Diabetes Alert Day

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Yesterday was Diabetes Alert Day. Diabetes affects millions of people world wide and it also the 7th leading cause of death in America. 1 in 11 people will be diagnosed with Diabetes in their lifetime.

Joining the movement to support diabetes awareness is something I am passionate about. I am also part of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority who also greatly support Diabetes Awareness. The Alpha Gamma Delta Foundation raises millions of dollars every year to donate toward Diabetes Awareness and Research.

So I challenge you. Go out and be active. Cut sweets out of your diet. Be healthy. All of these things will help reduce the chance of being diagnosed with Diabetes.

Don’t feed the Trolls.

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Seth Godin’s blog post titled The Trolls Inside interested me.

He talked about how there are negative people all over. They are mean internet comments and anonymous critics. But the worst troll is the troll is in your head. I believe this to be completely true. One can learn to brush off the mean comments of others, but brushing off the negative thoughts you have about yourself are the hardest to conquer. These trolls in your head unfortunately have the ability to greatly affects ones success,

Every time that the troll in my head tells me I can’t do something I think back to Seth Godin’s post.

“Do not feed the troll. Do not reason with the troll.Do not argue with the troll.”

The trolls in my head will not tell me I can’t. They will not tear me down. They will not affect my ability to succeed.

I can and I will succeed.

Interested in Seth Godin’s blog? Click HERE.

Mentor…More like brother.

I have the best mentor an LAS student could ask for. Not only is Trino someone I can go to with questions, he is also someone I can go to when I freaking out over an exam or when I just feel like talking about my day. He has helped me immensely so far.

Over the summer and prior to the start of the fall semester, Trino had put in a significant amount of effort to make sure I knew that he was there to help me with my transition to college. He let me know that he was there for support any time I needed it.

MentorIn addition to having a great mentor, I also have a great mentor family who I continue to become closer and closer with as time goes on.

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Annually, the freshmen LAS and their mentors take a weekend off and go to Eagle Village for the LAS mentee/mentor retreat. This is a two day retreat that put the mentee/mentor pairs through tasks that help them to further their mentee/mentor relationship. Many of the challenges that we were put though were group challenges. One of the most beneficial challenges to my mentor and I was the high ropes course.

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Sadly, Trino was unable to attend day one of the two day retreat. Although, this upset me at first, I eventually learned that Trino not being there was beneficial to me. Because my mentor was not their, many other of the mentors offered to take me under their wing that day. This allowed me to get closer to many of the other mentors. However, the second day Trino was able to be there. He drove through the night in order to make sure that he was there in time for breakfast. That day, Trino and I participated in the outdoor high ropes course. Heights are something that do not scare me one bit, but they are something that scare Trino. When I got up therefore Trino left it to me to do whatever obstacles I wanted even if he didn’t want to. Trino pushed himself out of his comfort zone on the high ropes course.  This taught me that the mentee/mentor relationship isn’t only to help benefit us, but that it is also to help benefit our mentors. We learn and grow from the mentee/mentor relationship just as just as the mentors grow from the mentor/mentee relationship.

The mentee/mentor bonding was definitely great. However, the most beneficial aspect of the retreat to me was the bonfire Saturday night. At the bonfire, many of the mentors stood up and told us how important LAS was to them and how much it has impacted their lives since there were in our shoes a year previously. This is when I came to realize how blessed I actually was to have received the Leader Advancement Scholarship. This night I learned that LAS is one BIG family that is always their for each other through thick and thin.

Because I personally found that having a good mentee/mentor relationship has made me feel more at home at Central, I will go that extra mile to make sure that I do what I can for my mentee to make sure that they get the most out of our mentee/mentor relationship.

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The most important voicemail I have ever received.

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Applying for the Leadership Advancement Scholar (LAS) was a last minute decision that has turned out to be one of my best decisions. When applying for LAS I hadn’t known much about what it was other than it reward me for my school and community involvement in high school. After further research, I had learned that LAS is a very prestigious scholarship to receive. The LAS is given to 40 students annually a scholarship rewarding them for their impressive involvement in they showed throughout high school. These 40 students are chosen through a extensive application and interview process.

This past spring when I applied, over 2000 other students applied as well. From the original 2000+ that applied, approximately 80 were chosen to compete in a scholarship competition. At competition day, students were asked to participate in a multitude of group activities as well as put through an interview lead by leaders of CMU’s campus. From this group of 80 students that were chosen, the group was then narrowed down to the top 40 leaders. I was blessed enough to be one of those 40 students.

As competition day was coming to an end, Dan Gaken, Director of Central Michigan University’s Leadership Institute told us that if we received the scholarship we would be notified by a personal phone call from him by the following Wednesday. The four days following competition day were the longest days of my life. When Wednesday came, everytime the phone rang I would run to answer it hoping that it would be Dan Gaken. By 8pm, I had still not recieved a phone call. It was then that I realized that my phone had died. At this point I ran to my room to charge my phone. When my phone turned on, I had one missed call accompanied by a voicemail. It was from the one and only Dan Gaken. I didn’t even make it through listening to the whole email before I started jumping up and down and screaming with excitement.

I was beyond thankful to have been chosen from a group of over 2000 leaders country wide to receive the Leader Advancement Scholarship.

Little to my knowledge, this voicemail was the start of a life changing experience.