Posts Tagged 'Wellbeing Biography'

Wellbeing Biography: Amanda Zeng

Everyone’s health and wellness journeys is different.

Meet Amanda! I wanted to dive deep into someone in my life who has inspired me to keep those priorities at the top – even when the college culture of procrastination, partying, and being a poor college student on a budget doesn’t really allow for it. Although being only a student, the passion for what she is studying really shows in everything she does. Young minds pave the path for what our future holds and Amanda’s place in the health science department is looking quite bright. Let me take you into Amanda’s personal health and wellness journey and how she navigates her way through it!

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Introduce yourself.

My name is Amanda, but you can call me Mandy. I’m a junior at Marquette University studying Exercise Physiology. I am from Chicago, Illinois.

Tell me about your health and wellness journey?

I started getting into health and wellness during my senior year of high school. I played volleyball and soccer since the fourth grade, but I didn’t start gaining interest in it for college until then. My interests in health and wellness emphasizes nutrition, weight training, and getting a good amount of sleep every night.

How has your major affect your health and wellness journey?

My major has helped me with health and wellness by teaching me the scientific and physiology aspects behind working out, eating, metabolism, etc. It also gives me opportunities such as internships to learn more about health and wellness in other communities outside of my own. It also helps me to be more knowledgeable in educating other peers that involve this topic.

Do you consider your cultural background having an effect on your overall health habits?

I am Chinese and Korean. I would say that my culture and background does have an effect on my health and wellness. I grew up eating a lot of whole foods such as rice, vegetables and meat and my parents emphasized playing sports when I was younger because they played it when they were younger back in their home countries. 

Is there anything you would like to improve on you health and wellness journey?

Some things I would try to improve in my health and wellness would be trying to maintain consistency in eating healthy and weight training. In college, it’s hard to take time out of the busy school day to cook a wholesome meal or even make it to the gym. Improving mental health is also a component of wellness I would like to improve on, such as ways to relieve stress before an exam.

 

Wellbeing biography: Diana Banzon

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Hello Marquette employees! My name is Diana Banzon and I am a sophomore studying Public Relations and Marketing. I was originally born in the Philippines, but moved to Rochester, Minnesota at the age of 2, which is where I currently call home. Words can’t express my excitement for joining a team that promotes overall health and wellness. I am whole-heartedly honored to be representing an organization that holds strong beliefs toward achieving the hope to inspire others in a life long journey to living the best life they possibly can. It is a mindset that is applicable to anyone, sometimes you just need a little motivation to get on the right track.

The importance of health played a significant role in my community growing up back at home, due to living in the same city where the world-renowned hospital of the Mayo Clinic’s original headquarters resides. It was convenient during times when I needed medical attention, which unfortunately, was often when I was younger. One day, I was shopping at my city’s local mall when I decided to throw my hair up in a ponytail. My brother immediately pointed out that I had a significant bald patch that extended from my left side wrapping its way around to the back of my head. When I finally had access to a mirror, I was in immediate tears. I had never felt so ugly in my life, knowing that my current state of health was reflecting the way I looked on the outside. Immediately, my mom scheduled a visit to the doctor, where she eventually came to the conclusion that I was suffering with a condition called Alopecia, which is when your immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles, resulting in hair loss.

Hearing the validation through the diagnosis of the condition made it feel very real. She eluded that the cause was still considered to be uncertain, but has been clinically linked to stress. I connected the potential cause to some bullying that I was experiencing at school during my early years as a child. It made finding myself beautiful, when I had no self- confidence or self-love to begin with, near impossible, especially with finding out about my current state of health that affected my physical appearance.

I knew that there needed to be change. I discovered a more untraditional approach to the idea of wellness, that many seem to disregard, or simply just find it to be superficial. It went back to how I viewed myself. I started to style my hair and really made an effort to make myself feel beautiful through the process of putting myself together every morning before school. Most importantly, I made an effort to no longer let the disease define me. That was when I finally started seeing results. It genuinely translated through my newfound self-confidence, and the way I dealt with the bullying to have it never let it get to me again. My hair eventually all grew back and I beat my Alopecia.

It just goes to show that everyone’s journey to a state of health and well-being differs because there are so many components that contribute to it, aside from solely just exercise and diet. I am by no means a full expert when it comes to health. I am a normal college student who goes through those unhealthy, late night cravings and disregards sleep when it comes to procrastination to eagerly get my homework done. Despite this, you are never too late to recover by setting aside priorities that provoke stress, and focus on yourself and what makes you happy. Taking the first step to do so, has the potential to inspire self-assurance that can open the doors to greater success. Personally, getting myself all dolled up for the day and picking out an outfit that gives me confidence translates well into my overall happiness and performance in everything I do. What’s yours?

My wellness journey has only begun. Join me in continuing to find new ways to maintain and inspire others throughout this process to overall health and well-being. It doesn’t have to be done alone because we are striving for the same goal and we all in this together as a team!

Diana Banzon

Wellbeing biography: Kristin Kipp – Whole 30

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I’ve never liked the word diet. I think it’s because, more often than not, the word “diet” is used to describe a way of eating to lose weight, and in this sense, Garfield said it right, “DIET is DIE with a T.” There are many different definitions of the word diet, but one definition that puts diet in a positive light comes from the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Here it’s defined simply as “habitual nourishment.” I love thinking of food this way. I grew up on a farm with an abundance of fresh produce. We canned a lot of fruits and veggies for the winter and made our own jam. We even raised a pig every year to eat. From a young age, I loved good nutrition and physical activity, and my passion brought me to what I do today, so I am thankful for that.

Now I have a family of my own, and we are trying our best to instill good habits for our little girl. Thankfully my husband loves to garden and eat good food. He devotes much of his time to cooking good meals for us. We are a “whole foods” family – we drink whole milk, eat real butter, and eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. We buy our pork from a local farmer and make sure that there are no nitrates or MSG added at the butcher. We participate in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), go to local farmer’s markets, and try to buy organic, grass-fed, cage free etc. when possible. We rarely go out to eat, cooking most of our meals at home, but we’re definitely not perfect when it comes to food. No one should be. And although we try following all the good things I listed above, it doesn’t always happen, and we tend to follow the “everything in moderation” rule. Besides…Who can pass up those hostess cream filled chocolate cupcakes?

I really had no desire to look into the Whole30 when it came out. I hate all the fads that come and go, and I try to promote lifestyle changes for the people I work with. I’m not overweight, and I’m fairly physically active, so besides enjoying some sugary treats and having a glass of wine or a beer every now and again, I thought I was doing pretty good with my overall nutrition and health. A few years ago, though, I started having some health issues that took me almost 2 years to work through. During this time, I became really attuned to my body, and although the issues I was having didn’t stem from my diet, I became curious after I started feeling better. Was I feeling the best that I possibly could be? Could the Whole30 help me identify foods that aren’t working for me? Would elimination of these foods help me to run again without pain? Having felt really good for the last 6 months before I decided to try the Whole30, I really didn’t believe that I was going to feel much of a difference, but it turns out, I was wrong.

The first couple of days of the Whole30 were the worst…I’m not sure if everyone feels that way, but I was miserable. I felt like I was detoxing. I hated restricting myself from foods that I really wanted to eat, and not having my morning cup of coffee with whole milk and Organic Valley’s French vanilla half and half creamer was the worst. I also had a headache for the first four or five days, which could have been attributed to not drinking enough water, but nonetheless…I felt crappy. What I do know is that after about that first week, I started to feel good. Actually, I felt great. I had so much energy. I wasn’t experiencing that afternoon sluggishness around 2pm that makes you want to go to the nearest candy bowl on your co-worker’s desk. When my alarm went off at 4:45am, I felt well rested and ready for my morning swim. When I worked out, I felt amazing. I feel like I could go on and on about how great I felt, but then something really crazy happened after about two weeks….. I was able to run for the first time in 2 1/2 years without pain or stiffness.

Having completed the Whole30, I have a deeper appreciation of what eating healthy means to me, and to really eat well, feel good, and enjoy our food, I believe it takes a true conscious effort to eat mindfully. I’ve always told people to pay attention to how food makes them feel, and it’s not that I don’t pay attention to this myself, but the Whole30 required me to practice mindfulness as it relates to food every day for 30 days. Many people may do the Whole30 just to lose weight. They treat it as another fad diet that they are going to try and hope for results. Don’t get me wrong…you will lose weight, but if that’s all you are doing it for, you are missing the point, and as soon as you go back to your normal habits the weight will come back on. Eating mindfully – understanding what and why you are eating, taking the time to enjoy food, listening to whether you’re hungry or not, and understanding the effects food has on your body – is important for weight loss as well. Your body can’t do what it’s supposed to do if you are not fueling it correctly. This means that if you aren’t eating enough calories, or too many calories, or just not the right combination of foods, you’re not going to lose weight. This also means that if are fueling your body with foods that are causing inflammatory responses, you may just be sabotaging all your efforts to be healthy and lose weight as well.

Doing this 30-day challenge isn’t easy (or inexpensive). It takes a lot of preparation/cooking, time reading labels, space in your refrigerator, and self-discipline to do it. I’ve kept a lot of great habits from this process and found out what foods really impact the inflammation in my body. It hasn’t completely stopped me from eating these foods, but I do pay the price. I don’t know if there is anything else wrong in my body that is keeping me from running like I’d like, but now I know how food affects this already present inflammation. If you are thinking about trying it, I would ask you to the approach the Whole30 differently. Think of it as an experiment in helping you to take a mindful approach to your eating that will help you create new healthy habits that you’d like to continue once you’ve finished, and as a way to identify how food truly affects your body so you can try to limit these foods and avoid the ill effects.

Written by Kristin Kipp

Kristin is the Director of Employee Wellness at Marquette University and is a Registered Dietitian.

Wellbeing Biography: Lauren Scherer and her Crossfit love

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Gym Class (\’jim ’klas\) noun

  1. The most torturous experience in which an awkward, uncoordinated, non-athletic bookworm could be forced to participate in in front of her peers.

At least, that’s how I defined it all of my school-going life. I have never considered myself “athletic” by any means. I only played tennis in high school because there were no cuts and the team t-shirts were cool. When I got to college, however, I started exercising more regularly to get out of my “prison cell” of a dorm room, as well as for stress relief and all of those other health benefits. I tried a little of everything. Running, yoga, elliptical, Zumba, and strength training classes over the years, never really finding anything I loved to do.

CrossFit was being offered for the first time shortly after I started working at Marquette. I decided to try it out after hearing how it could transform your body, and how every workout was different so I wouldn’t get bored. It was like having your own personal trainer every time you work out. I still did not consider myself very strong or athletic, and did not know what to expect, or if I could even finish a CrossFit workout. I decided to give it a try anyway, and I’m glad I did! Three and a half years later, I’m still enjoying it, and have never felt any better, healthier, or stronger!

CrossFit at Marquette is a 45 minute class, twice per week. It starts with a warm up, and then moves on to a lifting set such as a back squat, deadlift, or overhead press. After that, the WOD (workout of the day) could range anywhere from 5-20 minutes, averaging somewhere around 12 minutes (trust me – 12 minutes sounds a lot shorter than it feels!).

The instructor, Ryan, is diligent in providing foundational knowledge behind every movement and lift, and makes sure we all have correct form before starting the WOD. These workouts are completely customizable to fit any level of fitness or mobility, which is evident in every CrossFit class at Marquette. It doesn’t matter if you’re lifting 5 lbs. or 105 lbs., there is no judgement in class, just encouragement (and maybe a little complaining to Ryan J).

While many of us are now considered “veterans” of CrossFit at Marquette, we always welcome new participants to join us for whatever torture Ryan has in store for us that day. I call it torture, and it might feel torturous at the time, but it’s worth it. I have pushed myself through tough workouts, and I have become significantly stronger because of it. The results are what keeps me coming back for more!

 

By Lauren Scherer

Wellbeing Biography: My battle with a deadly disease

If you were to ask me to describe myself, I would probably say something like, “Hi, I’m Jason Trovela, I am a 4th year senior at Marquette University studying psychology and marketing. I’m not sure how else to answer this because I would usually tailor it towards the specific audience listening to me.”

When it comes to wellness, my life has been pretty well. I would consider myself someone that never had any major medical issue. I never had broken a bone or had any major illness. I have never even had the flu. The worst medical issue I’ve had before this are bad migraines (which didn’t even start until I turned 19).

This all changed pretty rapidly for me, though, when I was a sophomore here at Marquette. I wasn’t feeling well one day and, you know, I knocked it off as a cold. Typical student sickness. I had plenty on my plate – classes, fraternity meetings, work on the side. Now being sick wasn’t something I wanted to deal with so I tried to sleep it off. Only I woke up feeling even worse.

Once I could no longer move from muscle pain, I finally went to the hospital. I had no idea what kind of sick I had gotten but it was definitely doctor-visit-worthy. When the doctors from the ER came back with my blood test results, it almost seemed like a scenario that wasn’t happening in real time.

“You have meningitis.”

The words didn’t mean too much to me then but the doctors treated it with the utmost seriousness. Everyone else was extremely shocked, but I was unnerved. It needed to sink in.

Meningitis, if you aren’t aware, presents flu-like symptoms and is hard to diagnose without in-depth medical tests. This makes sense since I felt like I was just really sick, but with a really bad cold. I thought I was getting the flu for the first time. I was having physical joint pain, but I thought I just did something stupid over the weekend that caused me to hurt myself, so I thought the pain would pass. I got really nervous when I started developing red spots/rashes all over my body, but I have an allergy to sulfa. I had an allergic reaction to a medicine I had when I was younger, so I thought I just had to take a different medicine and it would go away. Turns out, these were all the tell-tale signs of deadly meningitis.

I was in so much pain that once I was in the hospital, things became very hazy. There were intense painkillers involved and many other intricate medical tests, procedures and seclusions.

Eventually, I realized what was happening to me. I was numb. It takes an incredible amount of luck to get meningitis. According to the CDC, the mortality rate for meningitis can be as high as 70 percent, and most survivors are left with some sort of terminal disability, such as neuro damage, loss of one or more of the senses or even the lost of a limb.

After a few months of recovery, though, I was cured. Unscathed.

Although this seems more like a sickness biography, this is my story on my way to a higher sense of self wellness. Once I was admitted to the hospital, and even though others felt that I was doomed to this sickness, it never once crossed my mind that I wouldn’t leave that hospital. I never stopped trying to get on my feet again. I was instilled with a new sense of life.

After surviving a perilous disease, I don’t take anything for granted anymore. I don’t complain of being bored any longer. After recovering from such a painful experience, it still feels good just to breathe.

I think of this as my second chance. I am constantly striving to go out and make something of myself. Of course I think of how lucky I am, it is always in the back of my mind. But I am determined to not waste my life. My second life. My new sense of life.

Ghost-written by Sarah Schlaefke

Wellbeing Biography: Ben Eccles

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Well-being: the state of being happy, healthy, or successful.

Since becoming aware of how important my wellbeing is, I have always found it interesting that we as humans constantly barter our wellness for some other medium of satisfaction. For example, I know that I love Chinese food. Not the traditional dish you would be served in China, but the greasy “Americanized” Chinese food. I love the smell, I love the taste, but the feeling I have the morning after a night of Chinese food is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. After an experience like that, you would think I would never return to the sweet and sour chicken I love so much, but you can bet that a few weeks later, I will be on the phone ordering that same dish. Why? Why would I subject my wellbeing to that torture?

While I admit that not everyone feels the same way about fried rice and egg rolls, we all have our own “Chinese food.” Most of us probably have multiple things that we do even though we know there is really no long-term positive affect to them (and possibly a negative long term affect!). It doesn’t take a nutritionist to tell you that your double fudge brownie adds little to no nutritional value to your diet, or that your daily Diet Coke isn’t really very good for you. We all make choices that are poor for our health, and my theory behind why we do these things is that we don’t value our wellbeing nearly as much as we should.

This became clearer than it has ever been for me during my freshman year of college. I, along with most college-aged people, didn’t value my wellbeing very much at all. I didn’t eat particularly well, my workout schedule started strong but fairly quickly I had eradicated the gym completely from my weekly routine, and I probably averaged around 5 hours of sleep per night. The affects of these choices didn’t hit me immediately. They were gradual, and once in action, they were very hard to counteract. My grades began to suffer, I started napping in class, and the Freshman 15 became a very real thing for me.

This was one of the most confusing times in my life. I was having all of these great experiences as a young college student living on his own for the first time. But at the same time, my mental, physical and emotional state was pretty severely damaged by the poor decisions I was making. I remember very clearly the night all of this truly dawned on me. I was in the McCormick basement studying for a chemistry exam and it was almost 4 o’clock in the morning. This wasn’t an every day thing, but it happened often enough that I just accepted the fact that a good night’s sleep wasn’t an option on a night before a test. Once I finished studying, I packed up my things, and dragged myself to my room to catch 3 hours of sleep before my 9 a.m. chemistry class. As you might have guessed, I bombed the test. It was almost like I hadn’t studied at all. My thoughts were so scrambled by my lack of sleep that I could hardly read the questions on the pages. After this experience, I was always more aware of how my current decisions were going to affect my future self.

The point of this story is not to make anyone (including myself) feel bad about the decisions made. I think it is important to indulge in ones personal pleasures every once in a while because I think that is how we get the most joy out of our lives. But hopefully after reading this article, you can more consistently say no to things that may cause some immediate satisfaction or relief but are detrimental in the long run. Awareness is truly only a small part of the battle, but acting in favor of your wellbeing will ultimately lead you to a better, happier life.

Wellbeing Biographies: Sarah Schlaefke

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Photo by Nolan Bollier

Recently the news contains headlines that are riddled with devastating events. Dark and dismal happenings like shootings, bombings and corruption cover our TV screens, newspapers and social media feeds. I don’t know about you, but I could use a pick-me-up. Here’s my shot at adding a little positivity to your daily news intake.

As a wellness website, I feel that it is important to recognize, celebrate and encourage the sharing of our own healthy lifestyles as well as the lifestyles of those around us. Through Marquette Employee Wellness, I would like to start a little collection of stories amongst our campus of the positive changes, successes and even valiant efforts put forth by our community. This is an opportunity to share with those around us what we have been working on, not to boast and not to be ragged on for it, but to set forth positive examples and inspire each other to take on wellness for ourselves. We are, however, Marquette, and we do, in fact, make quite a difference, even in our own lives.

So to start us off, I’ll let you in on a little more about me.

A year ago, I could not have told you that I would be writing anything even remotely near to “wellness.” I did not really know what it meant to be well. I was struggling with some heavy depression, a not-so-healthy relationship and just an all-over raincloud on the outlook of my life. After a while, and after I had given up on the hopes of being happy, something changed.

I woke up one day feeling like I deserved it, which is true – we all do. I deserved to be happy. I could make that my reality, too. I just had to go at it headfirst. From that moment, I cannot think of a single regret.

I tossed my garbage relationship out the window. I started doing things that I wanted to do again, not things that I thought were out of the way and approved of by everyone else. I quit the job that made me unhappy. I took up rock climbing and full-fledged strength training. I cared more about what I ate, telling myself that my body deserves to be fueled correctly, so that I could go and accomplish the great things I wanted to accomplish.

Yes, I still had a handful of people doubting me, telling me “no,” or putting me down. I actually just decided that life is too short to care what they think. It was a tough pill to swallow, but in the end I realized that at the end of the day, I have to live with myself, so taking care of myself and my wellbeing became very important.

Today I am part of an amazing relationship with a man who makes me really happy and is pretty much my best friend/default adventure buddy. I am extremely excited to start up classes again this semester; I am very much looking forward to working with the teachers I  have. I also just recently began writing freelance articles with OnMilwaukee, one of my journalistic dreams come true. I have been slowly seeing progress in my climbing, which I have been using as inspiration to making new media featuring nature and the outdoorsy lifestyle. My faith is strong. My relationship with my family is full of smiles and laugher. And I am just about done with all of the anxiety and depression treatment that I started when all I could see is dark blue. All in all, I don’t think I could say I have ever been happier than I am right now. I am proud of my wellness and that is why I am here. I am aching to inspire others to take hold of life and just go for it, go for the happiness. And I know I am not the only one.

Here’s the good part. Since I can’t be alone on this wellness adventure, I want to hear from you about the successes, goals and healthy habits that have made you a better person. Your story does not need to be long, and it doesn’t need to be perfect (that’s why I have copy editing experience, don’t you worry). But I do want to hear it.

It is important to support each other in our journeys to wellness. This is why I feel this little project is essential. I hope that you will reach out to me with a story. We are not alone this planet for a reason. Let’s work together on being the difference in each of our lives.

Wellbeing Biography stories can be submitted to me, Sarah Schlaefke, at sarah(dot)schlaefke(@)gmail(dot)com. I will edit them up and let you know when they will be posted! Please feel free to include a photo, too, because the Internet loves pictures.

Thanks for reading, hope to hear from you all soon. Stay healthy, my friends.


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