Giving Back to Yourself by RC Stabile

Weight Loss

RC Stabile currently serves as a Residential Life Coordinator and Spin instructor at Stetson University. Previously, RC completed his graduate work at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. RC has committed to running his first 10-mile run at Disney World in October. Follow RC on Twitter at @rstabile1 or on myfitnesspal at rcstabile.



Upon graduating from graduate school, I accepted a live-on position in sunny Florida. I was excited to begin this new journey and really focus on becoming a great Residential Life professional without classes taking my time.

It wasn’t long before I realized that Florida was certainly different from Western Pennsylvania. I noticed that tank tops and short shorts were the norm – and not just because of the Floridian style but because 90% of the people around me were in great shape and appeared healthy. I found myself really evaluating myself and came to the scary conclusion that I was fat. All through college and graduate school I knew I wasn’t fit or in shape, but it was not until that moment that I realized how bad it was. The person in front of me in the mirror was kind and educated, but not healthy. I had spent so much time focusing on my education that I completely ignored the fact that I was killing myself slowly by poor food choices and lack of exercise.

I decided on October 13th 2013 that this would change. Below are some key steps that really assisted in me losing 85 lbs so far and becoming a stronger, healthier person.

Walk it out

The very first exercise I did was walking. Our campus has this great path called the Hatter Tracks which is signified by our symbol painted onto the ground on the edge of campus and guides you through a mile. I started by simply walking my dog (yes, we are pet friendly at Stetson) and I began to try and do a half hour each day. I increased my water intake around this time as well, setting a goal to drink three bottles of water each day.

Respect your kitchen

During the first week I cleansed my kitchen and got rid of all the unhealthy food. (Now don’t get me wrong, I was just recently able to donate my emergency ramen noodles, but I got rid of high fat condiments and other high fat foods.) Rather than eating out so often, I began instead to shop more often as I increased my veggies and fruits (and managed to save money, too – eating out is expensive). I now only shop along the perimeter of my grocery store as this is where the healthiest foods are located; when I need to go into the middle of the store, it must be on my list or I don’t buy it. I also invested in an air popper – if you like to snack, popcorn is definitely the way to go.

Eat it. Log it.

I knew immediately that I knew little about nutrition so I downloaded an app called “My Fitness Pal”. This app is free and also is available online for those without smart phones. I believe this is the strongest part of my tool belt. The application allows me to see what I am putting into my body, and I found myself quickly using it every day. It certainly helped when eating out as I could type in a restaurant and it would produce some healthy options. It also helped to educate me by using the forums and finding some support.

It Takes A Village

Chances are you aren’t alone in wanting to change your life for the better. For me it became a family of colleagues who were all dedicated to becoming better versions of ourselves. Along with the Assistant Dean of Students, the Assistant Provost, some students, and some Assistant Directors in Campus Life, we all began to hold one another accountable and take advantage of our free campus recreation classes. It started with spin where we would bike those calories away, and now also includes both running 5ks as a group as well as boot camp once a week led by our Director of Wellness and Recreation. Remember though, I started by walking for thirty minutes a day.

Challenge & Support

Although these two words haunted me in my dreams during graduate school they certainly have applied in this journey as well. By challenging yourself and others around you to live healthy, you will find that you can commit a bit easier. For me, it is knowing that my fitness family will be there at the gym right after work that gets me to go as well. By knowing you have others relying on you, you may just get that boost of energy to run home and change and show up ready to work out. It is also as important to support one another. My fitness friends and I try to do something different every month. One month we went to an indoor trampoline gym and bounced for about an hour (burned about 500 calories) and then all had dinner at an Indian restaurant. It’s important to reward yourself for your successes and celebrate one another’s commitment.

Now while I am lucky enough to work on a campus where the gym is free, the division is close-knit, and the weather is mostly warm, I know not everyone is able to have the same experience. But, I do know that all people can look to commit to at least one of the actions listed above. I can’t stress enough that when I started all I did was go for a walk once a day and log my food. The rest came naturally and now I can’t think of my life without daily exercises and healthy choices.

As Student Affairs professionals we give so much to so many people. Isn’t it time you gave back to yourself?


One comment to Giving Back to Yourself by RC Stabile

  • Teri  says:

    Thanks for sharing your journey- inspiring!! T

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