"I Can Love Myself As I Am"

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Meet Kate McKay. She’s a 20-year-old student and self-proclaimed extroverted goofball. She loves meeting new people, seeking an authentic life, and exploring the world as a proud Minnesotan. As a former college athlete, she’s newly aware of balancing food and activity and learning new ways to get moving that keep her inspired.

We talk to Kate about discovering what works for her, whether that means:

  1. Finding ways to stay excited about getting moving.
  2. The difference between super busy and too busy.
  3. Feeling good about the present while prepping for an exciting future.

DTGS Founder, Lizzy, had the pleasure of interviewing Kate and hearing more about her story. Now you get to as well!

Lizzy: It's been a while since I was in school, so I’m excited to learn more about your daily life! Tell us about a day in the life of Kate.

Kate: I take a lot of classes right away in the morning so I’m usually running out the door with a coffee in hand to make it to class for the day. Once I’m done with class I typically find something to do with friends at night if I’m not working or volunteering!

I love having time in the evening to see and be with people, especially when it’s my close friends! Having class in the morning and during the day leaves my evenings open for that much needed friend time or other less awesome, but totally necessary things — like work.

But, it’s really busy. I absolutely love being super busy most of the time, but sometimes I have trouble gauging what is “too busy” and can end up wearing myself out before I realize what I’m doing.

L: I feel you there — finding that balance doesn’t get easier after graduation! But it sounds like you have so much energy, where do you want to put it? What are your big goals?

K: I want to make a difference. I have no idea what that’ll look like or how I’m going to do it yet, but it won’t matter what I’m doing if I can go to bed every night knowing I have made a positive impact on someone’s life that day.

My freshman year of college was really influential. In my first semester I ended up changing a lot about myself and doing things that didn’t align with my values to try to fit in with a certain group of people. I started to get really anxious all the time which caused a lot of problems in my every day. I really didn’t like who I was becoming so a lot of negative self-talk began along with some big self-esteem issues.

I ended up going to counseling to deal with it all. Through working with a therapist and joining an organization called I AM THAT GIRL, I was encouraged to dig deep into figuring out who I really was and who I wanted to be. I started rebuilding from the ground up and ever since then I have been striving to be the most authentic version of myself, no matter what other people think. It all caused a huge change in perspective for me about what fitting in really was. I saw how I was manipulating who I was and what I was doing to try and fit in with a group of people I didn’t need to be a part of. I’m a lot happier now that I’m just being myself!

L: That’s amazing, I’m so impressed that you’re tackling all of this at such a young age. So no that you’re confident being yourself, when do you really let that “goofball” out?

K: I feel most like myself when I’m with my squad, the people who love me no matter what and not only tolerate all of my shenanigans, but create an environment where I feel comfortable being exactly who I am all the time.

I’ve been lucky enough to connect with some pretty amazing humans who are always building me up and supporting me in everything I do! They’re some of the best friends a girl could ask for and are always there if I need a little inspiration!

My friends and my parents are always there to lift me up when I need it. They will tell me I am beautiful even if I just rolled out of bed, but also hold me accountable to take care of my body. They are always there to celebrate my good days and their love and support gets me through the tough ones!

L: How do you feel about the health and fitness of your life?

K: Thoughtful, frustrated, optimistic. 

Up until this year I played basketball year-round so never had any issues with getting workouts in. The health and fitness part of my life is looking a lot different now that I’m not an “athlete” anymore. I have to think a lot more about what I put in my body since I don’t have three-hour, six times/week workouts to rely on to keep me in shape no matter what I ate.

I have struggled a lot since quitting basketball with my health and fitness. I have had a hard time figuring out what works for me and adjusting to having to be more aware of what I’m putting in my body and how much I’m working out. I have put on some weight and lost a lot of muscle tone since I stopped playing and that has been really frustrating. 

But, seven months later (FINALLY) I have started to find a few things that work for me. I like pool workouts and swimming, and enjoy running on a track and lifting with the machines much more than running on a treadmill and using free weights. I’m optimistic that as I continue my fitness journey without competitive sports I will continue to find things I actually enjoy doing so that I can develop a fitness plan that will really work for me long term!

L: How has health and fitness looked at different times or in different seasons of your life?

K: Since I was seven years old I was on competitive sports teams! Soccer, basketball, tennis, softball, you name it and I probably played it. So that is how fitness has looked for most of my life, basically eating whatever I wanted because I knew I would burn it all off at practice the next day! More recently I have been trying to focus on getting good stuff into my body and trying to do something active three times a week. I pack big salads with lots of veggies for lunch and keep a gym bag in my car so I don’t have an excuse!

L: The gym bag in the car trick is such a simple and effective one! I do the same thing. 

What’s important to you about your physical space and physical self?

K: What is most important to me is that I can love myself as I am. I know I’ll never be in the shape I was when I was a full time college athlete, so learning to love a healthy body no matter what it looks like is what is most important to me. My body looks different than it used to, but I’m trying to find something to love in every part of it.

L: That’s amazing! Now along with all that self-love, what’s something you want more of in your life in 2017?

K: I want more of the things that fill me up. I want to do more things that set my soul on fire and move me toward the life and future I want for myself. I am studying abroad in Australia this semester and although I know it’ll be a great experience I think I will do a lot of growing while I’m down there. I’m looking forward to continuing to grow into the woman I want to be. I did a lot of reflection in 2016, figuring out a lot of things I wanted for myself and my life, so I’m looking forward to taking the first couple steps on the path that’ll get me there!

L: What’s your advice for someone trying to Do The Good Stuff?

K: Don’t be too hard on yourself, and don’t give up! Being healthy and progressing towards health and fitness goals looks different for everyone, so if what someone else is doing isn’t working for you, keep looking. There’s something out there you won’t totally hate (and might even enjoy) that’ll keep you moving in the right direction!

 

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