Oftentimes, many adults create fantasies about how amazing their body was in high school. Many speculate that once they reach that magical weight again, they will finally be happy. I sometimes myself have been a victim of this as well.
However, a number of the scale doesn’t show the whole picture. The lifestyle of a high school student is usually very different than that of an adult. For instance, I walked to and from school (through a beautiful cemetery, no less) until I got a car end of Junior year. We had open lunch and I also was a grocery bagger, so that was a lot of walking as well. I didn’t really work out.
Compared to now, when I’m going to Jazzercise or doing other workouts 3-5 times per week and supplementing that with walks with my dog around the neighborhood to attempt to hit my goal of 10,000 steps per day with my Fitbit.
Of course, it’s easy to say that the metabolism of a high schooler is different enough from an adult to make a difference in weight. While I don’t doubt that, I think we need to put into perspective what our habits were back then (and if they’d work for us now), as well as what we expect from our body now.
I didn’t really have any body issues in high school. I wore what fit and didn’t mess with it. I was a size 8 or medium in juniors clothes. Sometimes I had to wear 11s in Mudd jeans and I hated it. I weighed 135.
Compared to now, I’m still a size 8, but probably a large in juniors, or a medium in women and petite. Yet, I weigh about 30 pounds more. While I’d be lying if I said that didn’t bother me, I thought examining my diet back then to how I eat now would be an interesting way to compare two lives I’ve already lived: high school Kelsey versus Current Kelsey.
High School Kelsey’s Weekday Diet & Exercise
- Breakfast: Either a Carnation Instant Breakfast (Malt) with 2% milk, OR a Capri Sun and a bagel with strawberry cream cheese on it. (250-360 calories)
- Lunch: Either 3 Mrs. Fields sugar cookies (630 calories), a bag of Cheetos (about 500 calories), or a slice of pizza (300 calories). Occasionally McDonald’s happy meals (520 calories) or a Taco Bell chalupa (360 calories each) would make an appearance instead.
- Dinner: Whatever my mom made– usually chicken, a starch, and 1 serving of veggies or fruit. (estimating about 600 calories total)
- Snacks: popcorn (I wasn’t a big snacker; 300 per bag)
- TOTAL: 1450-2000 calories per day
- EXERCISE: Weight lifting class for Gym credit; 30 minute weight lifting workout, 5 days per week. Walking to and from school: 30 minutes per day. Cardio machine after school 1-2 days per week, 30-45 minutes (sporadically), walking 2-3 miles during a grocery bagging shift (about 200-600 calories per day)
Current Kelsey’s Weekday Diet & Exercise
- Breakfast: Quest bar (180 calories) or Greek yogurt with granola (360 calories). Sometimes a McDonald’s egg white delight and half a hash brown makes an appearance (about 350 calories).
- Lunch: Dinner leftovers (300-500 calories), Subway, or a McDonald’s happy meal (300-500 calories)
- Dinner: Usually pasta, or chicken with a starch. (about 500-700 calories)
- Snacks: peanuts, popcorn, Quest bars, fruit (about 180-300 calories)
- TOTAL: 1300-2000 calories per day
- EXERCISE: Jazzercise or other interval training: 3-5 times per week, walking dogs 20-40 minutes, 2-3 times per week. (350-700 calories per day)
- When I added all this up, I was shocked to see that my calories consumed is about the same. I always figured I ate less in high school since I weighed less.
- I’m also shocked to see that I burn more calories per day, eat the same amount of food, but weigh more now.
- I realized my dinners were a lot more balanced in high school (Thanks Mom!)
- I have always been a fairly consistent eater, consuming the same meals more or less, each day.
- I basically only did weight lifting in high school. Is there a connection to that and weighing less?
What’s The Same
- Cheetos and sugar cookies (and McDonald’s and Taco Bells) are still a part of my life
- I like to graze for meals instead of packing a lunch or preparing something significant, 80-95% of the time
- I use getting food as a break from what I’m doing (school had open lunch; I work from home so I like to get out of the house for a bit)
How Can I Use This to Help me Now?
The biggest connection is that my nutrition wasn’t on point then and it’s not really now, 11-13 years later. I DO eat more fruit and am a lot more conscious about artificial ingredients, but overall, my diet is relatively the same.
While I can continue to clean up my diet with less processed food and more fruits and veggies, which is something I haven’t been the best with in the past, there are three things from High School Kelsey I’d like to imitate:
- Get back into weight lifting. I do strength training with 8 lb dumbbells in Jazzercise, but could use our dumbbells at home on non-Jazzercise days.
- Have a healthy body image. “Special K” (as I wanted to be known by in high school) didn’t really notice if something didn’t fit right. She just worked what did and moved on. I like that focus on other things, like school, friends, and writing terrible poetry.
- Eat according to what I felt like eating. High school Kelsey ate cookies when she wanted cookies and ate her dad’s amazing french toast when he made it. She didn’t freak out about calories or how unhealthy something was. She just ate it (until she was full) and moved on with her day. This could be applied to a healthier diet and lifestyle.
How can “High School You” help you change your lifestyle/eating patterns for a better future?