We Are What We Eat Essay Scholarships

I have lost 100 pounds by adopting a healthy lifestyle. I learned a wellness secret for college students along the way. My journey of discovery began one day in Civics class.
“Ronald, it’s your turn,” said Mrs. Hirayama.
“Oh, okay,” I stuttered.
I was in the 12th grade, and it was my turn to present.
“Don’t trip; don’t trip!” screamed the voice in my head as I stood.
Not only did I trip, but I fell straight on my face. The class erupted. I did not know what hurt more: my face, or the fact that Mrs. Hirayama was laughing too.

Eventually, I made it to the front of the room. At this point, my knees took on lives of their own, shaking madly like Shakira’s hips. I opened my mouth. The only sound came from the ticking clock.

I stared at the students as they stared back at me. My lips quivered in silence. Half the students were shaking their heads, as was the teacher. “Ronald, sit down,” said Mrs. Hirayama.The bell rang; school was out. I felt like my heart had been shred apart. On my way home, a couple of Civics classmates rode their bikes past me. “Get outta the way, useless pig!” they yelled.

I found myself burning with shame. Deprecating remarks like these were typical of my teen years as I struggled with both obesity and autism. Not only did I struggle with repetitive motions with my knees and lips, but I also struggled to articulate words. I also had difficulty reading both body language and sarcasm. I simply could not tell if people were joking or being serious. Furthermore, I laughed at the wrong times and had the tendency to stare at people without blinking. My weight further reduced my self-confidence.

I felt trapped. However, there was one person who saw potential in me. In a concerned tone, my friend Nehemiah said:
“Life is short; you only get one body!”
He was right. I realized I could be the first in my family to take a stand against obesity. While I walked home that fateful day, I resolved to be different from my unhealthy parents. I pushed myself to transcend my depression and obesity problems. I challenged myself to start living.

I asked for Nehemiah’s coaching, and together we created a diet and exercise regimen. I promised him I would lose 30 pounds. By persisting with Nehemiah and holding myself accountable, I was actually able to lose 100 pounds over two years, starting at 260 pounds and ending at 160 pounds. I broke down in tears several times in my journey. However, in my moments of self-doubt, I used the memory of my failed presentation in Civics class. That was the last time I would allow a class, along with the teacher, to laugh at me. My desire to triumph over pain was channeled into real weight loss results. In addition, my confidence and social skills drastically improved as I continually lost weight.

The members at my local church saw my physical transformation and social improvement. In turn, I became an inspiration and volunteered to create the Fitness Association. Along with a select group of people, I was able to empower others on issues related to health, fitness, and nutrition. In the end, we helped hundreds of people in turning their habits around. For example, young Bobby and Sally learned to pack their own sandwiches to school instead of eating unhealthy, oily school food. In addition, Mr. Li set a goal to bike to work three times a week, and he ended up losing over 20 pounds. I was able to influence people and inspire them to change their lives for the better.

In my journey of losing weight and helping others, I uncovered a profound lesson: habits are more powerful than emotions in achieving health and wellness. The key to great health, then, lies in leveraging solid habits with the compounding effect. The compound effect occurs when small habits accumulate over time to produce remarkable long term results. If one is living in the compounding zone, one will continually push oneself beyond one’s perceived limitations. For instance, whenever I became tired during exercise, I would push myself to do extra sets. I would jog for an extra minute at the end of my runs, and I would eat extra fruits beyond my quota for each day. When these actions in the compounding zone became a consistent habit, my bodily progress became truly impressive. By adding a companion to my schedule to hold myself accountable, I was able to generate sustained results.

I also learned that the key to sustaining healthy habits is to change one’s exercises. Indeed, the body adapts to the same routines used over time. The FITT principle (changing the Frequency, Intensity, Time interval, or Type of exercise) can be used to vary one’s workout schedule. That said, healthy living is a lifetime endeavor because it requires one to alter exercise routines to prevent the body from plateauing.

In all, the secret to a healthy lifestyle involves leveraging novelty in one’s life. When variable workouts are consistently performed with the compounding effect, results will skyrocket over time. Such habits can be initiated during one’s college years and can be sustained over a lifetime by partnering with someone with similar fitness goals. Indeed, I have taken advantage of these strategies and remain committed to a lifetime of healthy habits. I invite you to jump aboard.

A bowl of trail mix – a curated mixture of almonds, walnuts, dried apricots and dark chocolate morsels – sits beside me as I write. I wonder if I will be denied this scholarship because of the last chocolate chip I munched. But that chocolate chip keeps me going. By giving myself choice, living a healthy life has become a way of life.

Sustaining a healthy lifestyle has never been easy for me. When I first began college, I mindlessly enjoyed the unlimited ice cream and chocolate chip waffles on Saturday mornings. I had days when ice cream on top of my waffles made for a classic pick- me-up morning feast. I eventually realized, however, that this meal had the exact opposite effect of a “pick-me-up”. I felt lethargic and tired. I was first surprised and then became depressed once my jeans became a little too snug. Like many college students, I bounced between extensive varieties of diets. The 1200-calorie days. Fat- free foods. Zero-carb diet. The ketogenic approach. Many of these diets were great for a few days, even weeks. Then, I’d get a sniff of fresh chocolate chip cookies or a grilled cheese sandwich. Sometimes, it would simply be a carton of full-fat yogurt. When I’d have one of these “cheat” bites, my entire day of dieting would crumble apart and I’d resort to overeating, perhaps it was even binge eating. I would not be able to concentrate on school or immediate assignments. Rather, I’d take the day off while eating all the sinful foods I had restrained from myself. There were days I would eat until my stomach hurt. There were nights I hated my body and myself. I would feel useless and simply go to sleep. The next day, the diet would start again. To overcompensate, I’d go half a day without eating. Needless to say, I never lost a sustainable amount of weight during this period of dieting. More importantly, I was unhappy, unproductive and very unhealthy.

A year later, I began studying for the MCAT – a crucial time for any premedical student. While studying for the exam, my days were jam-packed with study sessions and summer school so I didn’t have much time to think about my diet. I fell into a rhythm of waking up early each morning and eating four home-cooked meals everyday. Every evening, I would go to the gym so I could energize myself without the need for caffeine. I slept by midnight everyday and made sure to get 8 hours of sleep. Studying for the MCAT was like training for a marathon; I didn’t want to cram and made sure I had ample energy to study diligently for the entire summer. Suddenly, it wasn’t so hard to eat healthy on a regular basis. No urgent cravings and no binge eating. With the exam only weeks away, food was not the center of my attention.

Today, I am twenty pounds lighter than my first year of college. I am mindful of what I eat and how much I eat. However, I hold myself to no restrictions. A philosophy of healthy living as a lifestyle allows me to enjoy day by day. I’ve learned to forgive myself and celebrate milestones. These changes have brought me ample more happiness and pride than my weight loss.

As a medical student, I have the great pleasure to learn from physicians who value the art of medicine as much as the science behind it. One physician in particular is Dr. Sheffield, an endocrinologist at Kaiser Permanente. During a lecture on obesity,
he asked us, “Which two specialties in medicine express the most compassion?” According to a survey, the answer was oncology and pediatrics. His rationale behind the answer was that both of these specialties have something special in common; oncologists and pediatricians never blame the patient for his or her disease. Then, Dr. Sheffield asked us to consider the following hypothetical situation: “It’s 2 AM, and you’re the physician on call. An obese, diabetic man just suffered a heart attack from exacerbated atherosclerosis.” He wondered how many of us would blame the patient, “if only the patient watched what he ate”. He urged us to think like an oncologist or pediatrician and be more compassionate towards our patients.

I think back to my difficult and ongoing journey towards maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I will never blame my patient for his or her inability to sustain a nutritious diet. I have learned from my personal and academic experiences that healthy living is really a challenge of a lifetime. I strive to eat mindfully, exercise frequently, sleep well and perhaps most importantly – forgive myself. Eating well and losing weight is hard. Maintaining healthy habits to be sustained over a lifetime is even more difficult. I have realized that I will not lose weight in a day, nor will I gain it overnight. The best and most practical approach is to forgive myself and move on with the day. No day should be wasted because of a chocolate chip cookie.

A New Year is the perfect time to reboot your scholarship search! Check out Fastweb’s list of scholarships to apply for throughout 2018, with options that just about every student qualifies for.

Discouraged because you didn’t win a scholarship last year? Don’t give up – apply more, instead! Most scholarship winners will tell you to apply early and often because the more you apply, the more likely you are to win. Let’s make 2018 your year to win scholarships!

The new and exciting scholarships available in 2018 listed below are a great start, but don’t forget to continue to check out your scholarship matches throughout the entire year for even more opportunities.

Here’s to a brilliant New Year, filled with endless opportunities. Start your year with the below selection of college scholarships:

Note: remember to keep checking back, too, because we’ll keep updating with new and exciting 2018 scholarship opportunities!

Scholars Helping Collars Scholarship

Deadline: 2/15/2018
Available to: High School Seniors
Award Amount: $1,000

The Scholars Helping Collars Scholarship is open to current high school seniors. You must submit an essay of between 500 and 1000 words with two to three photos of your volunteer efforts to help animals in need and how that involvement has changed your lives or shaped your perceptions on the importance of animal welfare in order to be considered for this award.

Learn more about the Scholars Helping Collars Scholarship .

AFA Teens for Alzheimer’s Awareness College Scholarship

Deadline: 2/15/2018
Available to: High School Seniors through College Freshmen
Award Amount: $5,000

The AFA Teens for Alzheimer’s Awareness College Scholarship is available to high school students who will be entering an accredited four – year college or university within 12 months of the deadline. You must be a U.S. citizen to be eligible for this award. To apply, you must submit a short personal biography and a 1200 – to 1500 – word essay describing how Alzheimer’s disease has changed or impacted your life; and what you have learned about yourself, your family, and / or your community in the face of coping with Alzheimer’s disease.

Learn more about the AFA Teens for Alzheimer’s Awareness College Scholarship .

CARiD Scholarship

Deadline: 2/15/2018
Available to: College Freshmen through College Juniors
Award Amount: From $500 to $5,000

The CARiD Scholarship is available to students enrolled at an accredited college or university. You must be between the ages of 16 and 20 and submit a photo inspired by any aspect of the automotive industry to qualify for this award. Submissions could be of your first car, custom modifications you’ve made, something that makes your vehicle unique, or the coolest vehicle you’ve ever seen.

Learn more about the CARiD Scholarship.

Twenty-Eight Annual Poster Contest for High School Students

Deadline: 2/19/2018
Available to: High School Freshmen through High School Seniors
Award Amount: 3 Awards from $250 – $1,000

The Twenty-Eight Annual Poster Contest for High School Students is open to students from grades 9 through 12. This contest involves students creating a poster with the theme and caption, “You can make a difference,” illustrating the idea that one person can change the world for the better. Each poster must be the work of only one student and the poster concept, design and any photos or artwork used must be the original work of the student entering the competition. Posters must be 16 × 20 inches in size, including border or mat if used. If charcoal or pastel is used, the poster must be either laminated or covered with clear plastic. On the back of the poster, the following must be included: the student’s name, street address, town, state and zip code, home phone number, school, school address, grade and e-mail address (if available). Posters will be judged on overall impact, effectiveness in conveying the theme, originality and artistic merit. The judges’ decisions are final. All entries become the property of the Christophers and no posters will be returned.

Learn more about the Twenty-Eight Annual Poster Contest for High School Students .

Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship

Deadline: 2/20/18
Available to: High School Seniors through College Freshmen
Award Amount: 3 Awards from $5,000 to $10,000

The Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship is available to graduating high school seniors. You must have been active in promoting vegetarianism in your school and / or community; and have demonstrated compassion, courage, and a strong commitment to promoting a peaceful world through a vegetarian diet / lifestyle to be considered for this award.

Get more information on the Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship.

$5,000 Easy Scholarship: Share a Photo of a Food or Sustainability Issue

Deadline: 2/28/2018
Available to: Maximum Age 25 Years
Award Amount: $5,000

You could win an easy $5,000 scholarship just by sharing a photo of a food-related issue near you. Use our helpful guide to spot a problem around food waste, hunger relief, or another issue. Take a photo of the problem and suggest a creative solution your home, school, or community could use. You’ll automatically enter to win a $5,000 scholarship. Yep — it’s that easy!

Learn more about the $5,000 Easy Scholarship: Share a Photo of a Food or Sustainability Issue .

$15,000 TeenDrive 365 Video Challenge

Deadline: 2/28/2018
Available to: High School Freshmen through College Freshmen
Award Amount: 15 Awards of $15,000

Inspire other teens to drive distraction-free and keep the roads safe. Create a 30-60 second video for your fellow teen drivers that highlights the importance of safe driving and you could win $15,000, or one of 14 other prizes!

Learn more about the $15,000 TeenDrive 365 Video Challenge .

Project Yellow Light Billboard Design Contest Scholarship

Deadline: 3/01/2018
Available to: College Freshmen through College Seniors
Award Amount: 2 Awards of $2,000

The Project Yellow Light Billboard Design Contest Scholarship is available to high school juniors and seniors and full – time undergraduate students. To be considered, you must design a billboard advertisement that discourages distracted driving, specifically texting while driving.

Learn more about the Project Yellow Light Billboard Design Contest Scholarship .

Doodle 4 Google Contest

Deadline: 3/02/18
Available to: Maximum Age 18 years
Award Amount: 5 Awards from $5,000 to $30,000

The Doodle 4 Google Contest is open to students in grades K through 12. To enter, you must create a Google doodle that tells the world “What I see for the future.”

Get more information on the Doodle 4 Google Contest .

AFSA High School Essay Contest

Deadline: 3/15/2018
Available to: High School Freshmen through High School Seniors
Award Amount: $2,500

The AFSA High School Essay Contest is open to high school students. To be considered, in a 1,000 – to 1250 – word essay, you must identify two cases – one you deem successful and one you deem unsuccessful – where the U.S. pursued an integrated approach to build peace in a conflict – affected country.

Learn more about the AFSA High School Essay Contest .

ScholarshipPoints $10,000 Scholarship

Deadline: 3/15/2018
Available to: High School Juniors through Graduate Student, Year 5
Award Amount: $10,000

ScholarshipPoints will award a $10,000 scholarship to one lucky member this quarter. All you have to do to become eligible is become a ScholarshipPoints member and log in. It’s simple, fun, and completely free!

Learn more about the ScholarshipPoints $10,000 Scholarship.

Live Más Scholarship

Deadline: 3/18/18
Available to: Ages 16-24
Award Amount: 100 Awards from $5,000 to $25,000

The Live Más Scholarship is available to innovators, creators, and dreamers between the ages of 16 and 24. To be considered, you must create and submit a video of up to two minutes in length that tells the story of your life’s passion.

Learn more about the Live Más Scholarship.

Brighter Future Scholarship

Deadline: 3/31/2018
Available to: College Freshmen through Graduate Students, Year 5
Award Amount: $500

The Brighter Future Scholarship is available to undergraduate, graduate or law students enrolled at an accredited college or university. You must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit 500 word letter of intent that identifies a problem and explains how you intend to use your education as a way to begin solving that problem, thus creating a brighter future.

Learn more about the Brighter Future Scholarship.

Project Yellow Light Video Contest Scholarship

Deadline: 4/01/2018
Available to: College Freshmen through College Seniors
Award Amount: 6 Awards from $1,000 – $5,000

The Project Yellow Light Video Contest Scholarship is available to high school juniors and seniors and full – time undergraduate students. To be considered, you must create a 25 or 55 second video that discourages distracted driving, specifically texting while driving.

Learn more about the Project Yellow Light Video Contest Scholarship .

Stop Texting and Driving Video Scholarship Contest

Deadline: 4/02/2018
Available to: High School Juniors through College Seniors
Award Amount: 3 Awards of $1,000

The Stop Texting and Driving Video Scholarship Contest is available to high school juniors, seniors and full-time college students. You must submit a 30 to 60 second video on YouTube that will convince others not to text and drive in order to be considered for this award.

Learn more about the Stop Texting and Driving Video Scholarship Contest .

Paradigm Challenge

Deadline: 5/01/2018
Available to: Maximum Age 18 Years
Award Amount: 100 Awards from $500 – $100,000

The Paradigm Challenge is open to students up to the age of 18. You may work in a team or alone in creating an original and creative way to reduce waste in homes, schools, communities, and / or around the world. Entries may come in the form of posters, videos, inventions, messages, community events, websites, mobile apps, or anything else that will help save lives. Additionally, you must submit a brief statement of your idea (140 characters or less) in order to qualify for this award.

Learn more about the Paradigm Challenge .

Asia SiVon Cottom Scholarship

Deadline: 5/07/2018
Available to: College Freshmen through Graduate Students, Year 5
Award Amount: $2,000

The Asia SiVon Cottom Scholarship is available to high school seniors, undergraduate, and graduate students. You must be pursuing a degree in science, technology, engineering, or math to be eligible for this award. You must also submit a minimum 300 – word essay on the effects and aftermath of September 11th on today’s society, what you plan to achieve through college that can possibly impact the community and / or the world, and why you should receive a Memorial Scholarship.

Learn more about the Asia SiVon Cottom Scholarship .

$2,500 Christian College Scholarship Drawing

Deadline: 5/31/2018
Available to: High School Freshmen through High School Seniors
Award Amount: $2,500

Request Christian college information and enter our $2,500 annual Christian college scholarship drawing. The winner may use the scholarship to attend any Christian college in the U.S. or Canada.

Learn more about the $2,500 Christian College Scholarship Drawing .

STEM Scholarship

Deadline: 7/31/2018
Available to: High School Seniors through College Seniors
Award Amount: $1,000

The STEM Scholarship is available to graduating high school seniors and current college students. You must demonstrate a passion for a STEM field, be planning to major in a STEM field, have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and answer a short questionnaire in order to be considered for this award.

Learn more about the STEM Scholarship.

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