More Than a Diet

The Pitfalls of Healthy Eating On Campus

Let’s go back however many years (we’re not going to ask) when you were a freshman going into your first semester in college. To those of you who have not (or have not yet) experienced being a college student, here’s a little run down. Aside from the excitement of being on your own, making new friends, and making new experiences, there were also some fears. One fear in particular that people tend to have is the freshman fifteen.

We’ve all heard of it, we’ve all seen it, and whether it’s losing 15+ pounds or, more commonly, gaining 15+ pounds- we’ve all feared it. You get to school, eat the food and LOVE it… for the span of about a month, and then you start getting sick of it. That’s where gaining weight comes in, because aside from the amount of partying (that we may or may not still deny to our parents that we did), the amount of sleep we lost by staying up all night studying, we also spent a lot of money on ordering food/stocking up on junk food so that we could avoid those wretched dining halls that we loved a month ago. And this my friends is how we make our way into gaining the dreaded freshman 15.

However, there’s also the concept of losing the freshman 15. These seemingly lucky individuals are also up at late hours of the night studying, they may also be going out to parties, and could also be avoiding the dining halls. The only difference is the way they react to those situations. Instead of stress eating, they probably have less of an appetite throughout the week- which is why the junk food affects them in a different way. For the purpose of this article though, we’re focusing more on the gaining weight aspect of the freshman 15.

Stress, pigging out, and getting no sleep over the course of a few months tend to accumulate. Before you know it you’re home for Thanksgiving and are greeted by comments from your friends and family members on how much ‘fuller’ you got. And unless you’re extremely self-aware, it was probably the first time you were told anything about your weight. Now it’s Spring semester and a part of your new year’s resolution list is to be in the gym 4 to 5 times a week in between classes. Sometimes the resolution will stick, and other times, the resolution will be short lived, and that’s okay.

I’m here to tell you that unfortunately, as many of us may have realized, the myth may actually be a reality. With all things in life, it’s our job to combat it before or after it comes to life. Living a healthy lifestyle is difficult no matter what stage of life you’re in. College is a great place to find yourself, however in finding yourself, you might come to realize that under certain stressful periods, you might not sleep- or sleep too much, you might pig out- or forget to eat, you might be lazy or you might be in the gym every day and at the end of the day, it all comes down to how you prevent or handle the situation.