Between being busy with schoolwork, jobs and other activities around campus, sometimes we neglect the basics that were always present in our day-to-day lives. That’s when those three words that no student ever wants to acknowledge come into play: the freshman 15.
Upon arriving at college and waking up to reality, many students realize that the things that once mattered are really small in retrospect and don’t weigh that heavily on your success. Having new freedoms and responsibilities within this new world sometimes comes with a price, often shown in an excess of pounds.
Being wrapped up in a million other things can leave you with less time to think about eating the right foods or hitting the gym. Although we once had time for these common activities, with the lifestyle changes college brings, the small things are seen as less important, and we lose sight of what’s right for our bodies.
Now, I’m not saying that it happens to everyone — there are exceptions to everything, but the majority of college students begin to face both mental and physical changes, such as anxiety and weight gain. For some, their habits can take a turn for the better, but for others, it can turn into a slippery slope.
With the combination of stress and the lack of time, discipline and desire, it’s much easier to pick up French fries or a slice of pizza at Daly’s, but it takes slightly more effort to make a salad or some grilled vegetables. According to an article by Debby Mane of livestrong.com, college students are pushed over the edge when given freedoms in eating whatever they want, including fast food and drinking too often. Whether it’s the rush for time or laziness, these little pieces come together to create a big picture, and ultimately, a different you.
In high school, it may have been easier to work out recreationally or go on a run with a friend, whereas in college, there is only a certain time frame you have to get things done. Of course, regardless of what level of schooling you are in, spare time is rare, but college really challenges your limits and management skills. There are only a certain amount of hours in a day and working out may be at the very bottom of your to-do list. Seeing slight changes in your appearance can also create a negative attitude in your mind that can be hard to break. The feeling of self-doubt or even pity can lower your motivation and perseverance.
It seems ironic that college is one of the most judgment-free zones of your teen and young-adult years. We’ve all heard, “Wow, she’s put on a few pounds,” or “The college drinking has really gotten to him.” In a world with such criticism, it’s scary to think that these are some of the years that define us. Sources such as health.com have proven that with simple ideas such as structuring eating habits, planning ahead and getting a gym membership, college students have had higher success rates in getting or staying in shape.
Regardless of what’s been going on in college, the good news is there is always time to shape up and get active. Starting with simple things, like eating better or even going on a walk a few times a week will not only make your appearance go back to where you want it, but it will raise your confidence and make you feel great all around. Don’t let the freshman 15 hold you down.
Printed in the 2/15/13 edition.