Around this time last year I remember sitting in my high school cafeteria with all of my senior friends. We were conversing about college and the topic of the dreaded “freshman 15” came up. Of course, we were all concerned but had doubt that it would happen to us. Especially me.
I was always the “health-nut” of the group. My friends often teased me for my odd healthy food choices and my desire to exercise rather than binge watch Greys Anatomy. I was certain I could avoid the massive weight gain my freshman year. Boy was I wrong.
Even first semester I thought there was no way. I was training to become a fitness instructor and I was in running club, so this forced me to stay active. My motto is always “moderation is key”, so when it came to the dining hall I allowed myself a dessert here and there. I thought I was doing okay. I knew I wasn’t eating as well as I previously did in high school, but this was bound to happen because I didn’t have access to my usual “health” foods.
Then came Thanksgiving break. I could tell my t-shirts pants started fitting a little tighter, but I didn’t think much of it. when I got home I stepped on the scale. I was horrified. The numbers presented before me were unreal. There was no way I gained 10-15 pounds in that little of time. I was in shock.
Discovering my weight gain was a little bit of a mood changer. I constantly complained to my friends and family. I was in a terrible place. I didn’t know how to make things better. I was in constant denial. I would go through my old pictures and mourn my old body. I would try to diet for a day or two but I knew it wasn’t healthy so I would go back to my old ways.
Then I really reflected. What was making gain weight? For one, I started going out more. That definitely did not help. There were also a lot more late night snack runs that were more like second dinners. Being in the dining hall, I was surrounded my various food options which is great, but it makes it all the more difficult to make the healthy choice. I also ate a lot of more desserts than usual. So while I thought I wasn’t changing my habits that much, in reality my eating habits and patterns were completely different.
Fast-forwarding to now, I’m still not at weight that I was when I started college and thats okay. After reflecting I am more aware of what made my body change. In a way my first semester was a learning experience. Honestly, I was in such a dark place. My confidence had never been so low. I’m still working on it. I’m still not confident. Its still hard to have healthy habits, but Im trying.
It was important for me to share my experience of the freshman 15 because I thought it would never happen to me, and when it did i felt so alone. I wanted to hear people’s stories and I wanted to know if it gets better. And now I know it does, but only if you create change. First semester of Freshman year is a learning experience. Lots of mistakes will be made, but a lot of growth will also be made. I want you to know you are not alone. There are so many freshman that are in the same place I was in. It is your job to keep a positive attitude and take your challenges and make something great out of them.