Summer camp is a staple for a lot of American children today. Usually on a beautiful plot of land, with a pool or near a body of water. Camp is a 2-month long escape for children after the school year ends. It is an opportunity to meet new people, soak up some sun, and create lasting memories.
I went to a really fun summer camp in Maine one summer for four weeks, and I gained 20 pounds. My ravenous nine-year old self would eat dinner, get seconds, and then go make about four peanut butter and fluff sandwiches to top off the meal. So, the next summer my parents sent me to a different kind of camp—fat camp. Which brings me to my first point…
1. It’s not fat camp, its fit camp.
If any of us campers were overheard talking about fat camp, we would be firmly reminded that it is fit camp—you don’t have to be “fat” to come, you simply need the desire to get fit. As a camper, I knew that I was there because my BMI was not in the average range for my age; however, being constantly reminded to not use unflattering terms to describe myself has lasted till now. As an adult, it is very important to have confidence in everything I do—because I really have no idea what I am doing. But, if I make a few key word swaps, I can sound like I have a grasp on what’s going on. Saying that I am “curious to learn more” about something sounds much better than “I don’t know how.”
2. Always finish your plate, and UTILIZE THE SALAD BAR.
If you don’t finish your chicken patty, you can bet someone else will. The translation for my life today, is to remember to take what I’m given, and run. At fat camp, receiving food is a huge opportunity. When a certain resource is being rationed, it is extremely important to take your share and do everything you can to make the most of it. At fat—sorry, fit—camp, the only free reign over food we were given was at the salad bar. Endless refills, and being able to serve the food to yourself was a great privilege. It is important to remember to use every opportunity you are given to your fullest advantage.
3. Walking long distances is just as effective as high intensity workouts.
Sure, that one-hour CrossFit class is going to burn fat, but it is also going to make it impossible for you to walk for about a week. Instead, walking to and from work, around the dog park, or going on a short hike, can be a pleasant alternative to pushing tires and sweating buckets. Learning this key piece of information is crucial—it is a reminder that there is always more than one way to do something. I keep this in mind when I am on the brink of getting in an argument with someone. I can be harsh, stubborn and demanding; or, I could be patient and talk things out in a civilized manner. One way or the other, I will reach my end goal.
4. And finally, one of the most important lessons I learned: “fat” campers want love too.
Putting a large group of somewhat overweight preteens together basically turns into a competition of who can get a significant other first. My fellow campers and I would leave our hometowns for the summer, where most of us were written off into the “do not date” category in middle school, and the hormones just explode. This has taught me nothing about adult life other than the fact that everyone wants love. Keep that in mind the next time you’re looking for that perfect someone.
Did you go to camp too? What is your favorite camp memory?