The dreaded Freshman 15. We’ve all heard of it. We’ve all read countless numbers of blog post, magazine articles and YouTube videos about how to avoid it. But at the end of the day. there are only two categories. The people who believe it and the people who don’t. Of course there’s always sub-categories and such, but that’s not the focus of this Real Talk.
I moved in on August 16th, so I’ve been on campus for about a month and guess what?
I’ve already gained 10 pounds.
You read that correctly.
I’d like to say I don’t know how it happened, but I can’t. I’ve been on the “College Student Diet” that consist of fast food, piles and piles of junk and as little leafy greens and fruit as possible. In addition to my horrible diet of Panda Express at least six times a week, I’m not as active as I was in high school.
When I was in high school I was on a dance team where I danced for about 15 hours a week, not including the time spend at football games, Saturday practices, contest and our Spring Show. Back then, I could eat whatever I wanted to because my body needed more food to function. But not anymore.
I discovered my weight can in a couple of ways. I would look in the mirror and my face looked a little fuller than average. My shirts fitted a little snugger than usual and my thighs were more like pancakes than usual. I put it off thinking that maybe I had gained a couple of pounds, two or three.
One evening, a couple of friends and I went to the gym and we were talking about weight. After the conversation I decided to weigh myself in the locker room and the number blew me away. I was ten pounds heavier than I was on the weekend of move in. I knew my previous weight because I had just had a doctor’s visit, so I couldn’t say that I had gained weight over the summer.
My self-esteem was shot down to about zero. I didn’t want to talk to anyone anymore and I just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. My wonderful friends tried to console me with words of wisdom and truth. Telling me that my body was changing and that I was becoming a woman and no longer a teenager.
I knew that it’s true, but I didn’t care. All I could think about was how in the world did I gain so much weight so fast. I was angry because I saw thin girls eating the same things that I was eating, and yet they were fifty times lighter and more attractive than I was. It was hard for me to look at people who did nothing to me other than the fact that they were skinnier than me because I was filled with burning hatred of them and of myself.
Like the other 99% of the female population, self-worth and a positive body image is not something I do well with. When I am bombarded with images of slender beautiful women on TV, it’s really hard. But when I see slender beautiful people in real life, it makes me feel like dirt and I can’t help but think:
“What are they doing that I’m not?”
“Why can’t I look like she does?”
The truth is everybody is different and every body is different. I don’t really have a great metabolism, and my genetics are different than the person sitting next to me. But, for me to see a change in my body, I have to make changes in my life. Thanks to my fantastic friends who have embraced me and all my awkward glory, I actually go the campus rec, something I said I would do, but would probably never implement.
I am not a runner. At all. But within a couple of trips to the rec, I was jogging the track. Now, this may not seem like a big deal, but for me it was a small personal victory. It was a step in the right direction. The feeling that I get whenever I push myself for one more lap is amazing and I’m so thankful for my friends for challenging me to be better.
However, that’s just half of the equation. The real struggle is what I eat. Some days I only eat one real meal and fill the rest of the day with the empty calories that I get from eating snacks. Other days I’ll have three meals, two of them from Panda Express and the last one would be platefuls of the greasiest food from the all you can eat buffet dining hall. So either way, it’s a lose-lose situation.
My problem is that healthy foods don’t appeal to me, at all. Eating a salad? That doesn’t sound fun or appetizing. Leafy greens and broccoli? What a joke. Please tell me I’m not the only ridiculous picky eater in the world! However if I’m going to combat the Freshman 15, and lose those ten pounds (and hopefully more) I need to embrace healthy eating.
It’s hard for college kids like me to eat healthy for multiple reasons. Firstly, eating healthy in dinning halls is hard if you’re like me and only like two fruits. It’s so much easier to just get that chicken strip and french fry combo than it is to walk to the only dinning hall on campus that had a small variety of fruit and actually eat it. Second, if you’re like me and wanted to make your own healthy-ish meals, the kitchen in your resident hall is about the size of a bathroom stall. How am I supposed to cook my chicken if the oven is the same size as an Easy Bake? Third, buying fruits and veggies are a little more pricey. Not by much, but in a time of extreme penny pinching, 30 packets of Ramen seems more sensible to buy than a pound of apples.
However! I’m going to try! Maybe I’ll document my experiences on the blog, or maybe I won’t. Only time will tell, but until then!