When you’re beginning college, there are a lot of emotions — you’re SO excited, but also nervous, anxious, + maybe even afraid. There are so many uncertainties that it is difficult to feel confident about something so out of your comfort zone. Still, if there’s one thing you shouldn’t be scared of when beginning college, it’s the Freshman 15. You’ve heard about it since early in high school, ++ you know it as the *inevitable* weight gain from dining hall food, lots of frappucinos, late night pizza, + alcohol.
At first, you might embrace the *YOLO* attitude + embrace the weight that comes with the college lifestyle. Then, you might read an article online with *Tips To Avoid the Dreaded Freshman 15.* You might become overly conscious of abiding by these tips, because Thanksgiving Break is approaching + you don’t want your friends back home to see if you’ve gained any weight [even if you actually haven’t + it’s all in your head]. Then you remember that the holidays are coming up, which means all of your favorite foods + celebrations… Whether you’re a freshman or a post-grad, does this sound familiar?
THE RISKS OF DISORDERED EATING
This occurrence happens all too often with such a focus on weight gain. The stigma of the Freshman 15 can shame people into unhealthy lifestyles. While certainly not every person in college suffers from an eating disorder, 91% of female college students have tried to control their weight through dieting. This means that over 9 out of 10 of girls in college have thought they weigh too much. These restrictive practices can often be unhealthy, especially if they are for the wrong reasons.
The issue with so many girls trying to lose weight or avoiding weight gain is that they think they shouldn’t be bigger than what they are currently. As 18 year olds, girls sometimes are not done developing in puberty. Past typical puberty, female bodies still change as they naturally prepare you for child-bearing years. That being said, it’s natural for some weight to be gained. Regardless, you should never apologize for taking up space.
LEARNING HOW TO FUEL YOUR BODY TAKES TIME + PRACTICE
Especially since college students are often choosing all of their meals for the first time in their lives, it can be difficult to figure out the whole *nutrition* thing. It’s a learning process, + no one expects you to have it all figured out immediately.
If you do gain some unexpected weight, don’t fear — it is possible to lose weight in a healthy way. Trust us when we say that taste buds + preferences change over time, + there will be a time when nothing is more satisfying than fresh produce ; )
CHANGE FOR A BETTER LIFE, NOT A BETTER BODY
Still, it is best to teach yourself how to live a healthy, sustainable lifestyle early on so that you can reap maximum benefits, especially as you’re learning to fuel your body + mind through the long, tough days of college. Educate yourself on the best foods to eat for your body, how to exercise + crush your #FitGoals, + how to relax//recover. This way, when you do indulge, you’ll recognize you’re doing it for your *soul* + not as a quick fix for a greater issue.
It’s all about perspective — college is a short few years in comparison to the rest of your life. These are the times to develop your mind, your body, your passions, + most importantly, your education. Don’t sweat the small stuff, like a Freshman 15. Your GPA doesn’t determine your worth + neither does the number on the scale. Focus on being your best self + everything else will fall into place — we promise : ) <3
+ Mary K [@itsmarykfit] // VirtCHAARG Chicago