The Freshman 15 is REAL (And Guess What? That's Okay)

The myOptions Team

Gaining the Freshman 15 seems to be the ultimate dread for newcomers going into college. The good news? It is 100% possible to gain 15 pounds and remain perfectly healthy. Remember that we tend to associate health with a particular image, that being a smaller size. However, health is about finding balance, being active, eating well, sleeping well, fulfilling passions, maintaining strong relationships, and feeling happy. Clearly, there is a lot more to health than just the number on the scale. Now that you are living away from your parents, you have the perfect chance to form healthy habits (both physically and mentally) that you can carry with you long after you graduate. Here we have some tips to get you started!

1. Listen to your body.

Don’t count calories. Don’t restrict your eating. When you allow yourself to eat the foods you want to eat, food loses its irresistible charm. And once that habituation occurs, soon you’ll see food for what it is: a source of energy. Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full, and try not to snack mindlessly. Enjoy each bite you take, and savor the flavors slowly. Not only will you appreciate your food more, but you will know when your body has had enough. Listen to your body in situations unrelated to food, too. If you feel sleep deprived, it may be a good idea to stay in on Friday night to rest. Your body will thank you in the morning when you feel rejuvenated!

2. Find fun ways to stay active!

If you enjoy a daily workout at the gym, most schools have facilities on campus. But there are plenty of other ways to keep your body moving! Many students enjoy intramural sports or clubs that revolve around physical activity. To name a few: zumba, ballroom dancing, hiking, yoga, and even Quidditch! (Harry Potter fans, unite!) Try experimenting with different activities to find the one you like the most. Even going for a walk with a few friends is a great way to connect with your peers and get the blood flowing. (A double whammy, for sure).

3. Be careful with the alcohol.

Excessive drinking dehydrates your body, disrupts your sleep schedule, and can cause some serious damage to your heart and liver. Of course, when it comes to socializing with friends over a few drinks, feel free to treat yourself. Your health really only becomes a concern if you overdo it. As a rule of thumb, you should enjoy everything in moderation, this including alcoholic beverages. Be responsible, and you will always have a grand time. (Plus, you’ll keep the wicked hangovers to a minimum).

4. Get involved on campus.

By joining different clubs and social groups, you will have events and activities to look forward to! It will also open a space to make new friends, explore your interests, and feel inspired AF outside of the classroom. Check out activity fairs on campus, or go online to browse the different groups you can join! There are plenty of options to choose from, including service-oriented, academic, media/publication, political/multicultural, leadership, and religious/spiritual organizations.

5. Meditate.

Taking 5 minutes out of your hectic day to relax and breathe will help you unwind from the stresses of class workloads and the overall transition into college. There are plenty of apps and Youtube videos for guided meditation that you can do with your friends! Dim the lights, get comfy, and unravel all the tension from your week. Keeping a journal or a coloring book closeby also serves as a therapeutic practice to soothe any anxieties you may have. Maintaining your mental health is equally important as caring for your physical health, so if your stress is getting in the way of your daily life, here are some places to turn.

College is the wonderful purgatory between living at home and adulting IRL. Savor every last bit of it, and do not stress about your weight. When it’s all over, you and your friends will not remember the state of your bodies during this time. You will reflect on the wild memories of late night mischief, the moments you laughed so hard you collapsed to the floor, and the bonds you shared in the cramped space of a tiny dorm room. This life is meant for so much more than energy spent worrying about a little weight gain. Focus on being the best version of yourself and making the most of your first year; you are destined for glorious accomplishments, no matter your size!

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